The warm weather may still be here, but I’m already bursting with excitement for my favourite reading season of the year. Fall is always when I find myself most absorbed in books, likely because the changing leaves and cooling weather creates the perfect atmosphere for curling up on the couch with a great read. While I’m always trying to read a range of genres, fall is inevitably high time to read thrillers, mysteries and police procedurals.
Thrillers, Mysteries & Police Procedurals
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware - Suspense Queen Ruth Ware is back with this new spellbinding novel about a young woman who takes a job as a nanny at a remote house in Scotland only to discover her host family is not what it seems. Filled with beautiful scenery, lush atmosphere, and spine-tingling suspense, The Turn of the Key is the perfect read for fall. Read my full review here.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager - Sager’s latest installment follow the story of Jules, a broke young woman who accepts a job as an apartment sitter in a famed New York City building. The lucrative position quickly turns terrifying when Jules realizes that her fellow apartment sitters are going missing. Written in Sager’s classic mysterious style and set during a beautiful fall in New York City, Lock Every Door should definitely be on your reading list. Read my full review here.
The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan - After her beloved nanny left in 1988, Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Her relationship with family crumbled and she lost touch with her formerly aristocratic home, Lake Hall. Thirty years later Jocelyn returns home to reconnect with her past, but her trip takes a dark turn when human remains are discovered on the Lake Hall grounds and a figure from her past shows up on her doorstep. Jocelyn is forced to grapple with her past and reconsider what might have happened to her beloved caretaker.
Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear - In the second book of her brilliant police procedural series, Caz Frear pulls us back into the life of London detective Cat Kinsella. With her wisecracking partner Luigi Parnell, Kinsella must investigate the murder of a young Australian women who turned up dead after a party at her new boss’s house. All signs point to Joseph Madden, the owner of a local coffee shop, as the culprit, but as Cat digs into his family history she realizes that the case is going to be much more complicated than originally thought.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - If you haven’t read the Millenium series, now is the perfect time to start. The internationally bestselling first installment follows the story of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist as he takes a mysterious job with a wealthy businessman. Assigned to solve the mystery of the businessman’s missing niece, Blomkvist soon finds himself wrapped up in a terrifying case and eventually partners up with a very savvy hacker.
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - On her 25th birthday Libby Jones, adopted as a baby after the death of her parents, is shocked to discover that she has inherited a massive house in Chelsea, London from her deceased relatives. As Libby is starting to come to terms with her new reality, other figures from her past are also making moves to stake a claim on her fortune. Soon Libby will learn more about the mysterious series of events that led her to become an orphan - and the sole inheritor of the house - in the first place.
Non-fiction & Memoirs
Daughter of Family G by Ami McKay - Celebrated author Ami McKay tells the story of her family’s decades-long battle with cancer, showcasing what it’s like to live with a genetic mutation that causes the deadly disease. Spanning more than a century and exploring the lives of dozens of relatives, Daughter of Family G is one of the most unique and original memoirs of the year, penned in McKay’s beautiful, linguistic style. Read my full review here.
Crisis In The Red Zone by Richard Preston - In the follow up to his bestselling medical thriller The Hot Zone, journalist Richard Preston lays out the terrifying reality of the 2013 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Crisis In The Red Zone, like its predecessor, tells the stories of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us from infectious disease, and of the patients whose cases attracted international attention to an illness that had, until that point, been largely ignored because of the demographic it affected. Preston explores what the 2013 outbreak could signal for the future of infectious disease, and of humankind.
In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado - Set for release later this month, In The Dream House is a stunning memoir about love, abuse, and finding the strength to walk away. Using narrative tropes from the horror genre, Machado weaves an inventive, compelling and heartbreaking true story about one of the most challenging and frightening experiences of her life.
The Red Word by Sarah Henstra - Campus novels are my favourite kind of fall read. Nothing so perfectly captures the atmosphere of autumn like a story about a beautiful, complicated college campus. The Red Word follows a sophomore student as she navigates the complicated tension between her feminist roommates at the fraternity to which her boyfriend belongs. The Red Word slowly builds to an explosive, deadly conclusion, all while exploring the frightening polarization of gender politics on campus. Read my full review here.
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker - In a quaint university town a group of students are settling in to their new dormitory building at the beginning of freshman year. Just as their budding relationships are starting to solidifying a mysterious illness starts spreading across campus, causing sufferers to fall into a deep sleep from which they can’t be woken. In lush, lyrical prose, Thompson Walker traces the illness as it breaks apart families and friendships and forces people to choose between love, life and necessity. Read my full review here.
The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye - A recently graduated would-be writer shocks her family by taking a position at an artists commune on a bee farm in rural Ontario. In exchange for manual labour she’ll get free room and board and time to work on whatever artistic project she wants. But as summer transitions to fall increasingly troubling occurrences lead the young woman to believe that the farm’s owner may not be what she seems. Read my full review here.
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips - In the year after two young sisters disappearing from a city in Kamchatka, Russia, the people of the region find themselves thrown into turmoil. Women in particular find themselves absorbed in a newfound fear of those around them, and this fear changes peoples’ lives in unexpected ways. Julia Phillips explores life and love in one of the world’s most vast and misunderstood landscapes, all while weaving a beautiful and spellbinding mystery. Read my full review here.
Bunny by Mona Awad - Samantha, a graduate student in Warren University’s prestigious creative writing program, finds herself wrapped up in a terrifying ordeal after she befriends a group of bouncy, frilly, beautiful girls who refer to one another only as Bunny. This hilarious and horrifying novel amplifies the more frightening, obsessive side of female friendships, and is filled with the tense, competitive atmosphere of a high-class university. Read my full review here.
Essay and Short Story Collections
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino - New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino has been hailed as the voice of her generation, and in her debut essay collection she explores the complications of life in the digital age. Covering her experience appearing on reality television as a teenager and growing up in a heavily religious community, Tolentino beautifully, hilariously and impeccability captures what it’s like to be a young person in a constantly changing world. Read my full review here.
Homesick For Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh - With her signature darkness and depth, Moshfegh has firmly solidified her position as one of the most interesting contemporary writers. Her short story collection Homesick For Another World is filled with the kind of creepy, atmospheric stories that will surely get you in the mood for fall, while also freaking you out in vague, indescribably ways. Read my full review here.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - A young woman takes her first job as a governess for two eerily quiet and subdued children at a remote, spooky estate. Her life is turned upside down by suspicious circumstances and strange events, and all the more troubling the fact that her two wards don’t seem frightened at all by the odd occurrences that affect their lives daily. This gothic novella is one of the most beloved suspense stories of all time.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland is invited by her wealthy neighbours to accompany them on a visit to Bath, England to participate in the winter seasons of balls and festivals. During her stay she meets clergyman Henry Tilney, with whom she quickly falls in love, and is eventually invited to his family home at Northanger Abbey. Catherine, a young woman of intense imagination, begins to picture all of the creepy, gothic tropes that could occur during her stay at the Abbey.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Sharp-witted orphan Jane Eyre is sent away to boarding school and eventually becomes a teacher. Upon deciding that she’s like to see more of the world she takes a job as a governess for a young girl in another English town, and soon finds herself wrapped up in the mysterious and melancholy life of the young girl’s steward, wealth Mr. Rochester. Both a love story and a novel of gothic suspense and ample atmosphere, Jane Eyre is the perfect fall read.