· Reviews,amreading,mysteries

If you're like me, as Halloween approaches, I often step beyond my almost-cozy comfort zone and seek out novels on the spookier side—thrillers, creepy settings, unreliable narrators, and paranormal activity. Here are some of my favorites to get into the Halloween spirit!

An Occupied Grave By A.G. Barnett • ★★★★★

When mourners gather in the village of Lower Gladdock, the grave is found to be already occupied. The victim is soon linked to a tragedy that tore the village apart five years ago.

The Woman in the Window By A.J. Finn • ★★★★

Those familiar with Paula Hawkins' masterful The Girl on the Train will recognize many of the same tropes here: the alcoholism and denial that makes the narrator unreliable, and the sense that there's always very present physical danger lurking right around the corner, in spite of what others in the narrative say.

Sadie's Spirit By CB Samet • ★★★★★

Samet has a great handle on her two main characters—in this case, Sadie, the ghost trying to solve her own murder, and Asher, the one who got away all those years ago. As a novella, it's a quick read—I started and finished it on a short flight—but it was also satisfying and made me want more.

The End of Magic by Mark Stay • ★★★★★

I don't read a lot of fantasy, but The End of Magic took me by surprise. Rosheen and Sander are two mages forced by fate to opposite sides of a war to essentially rule the known world as magic ceases to exist. Yes, there are moments of silliness and levity, but Stay keeps the stakes high at all times, and leaves just enough light at the end of the tunnel.

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