Much like clothing styles, book covers change with the seasons. Every fall, the sunny, candy-colored beach reads are replaced by more serious artwork, better matching the darkening days. It’s this time when publishers boost the heavier fare, like high-minded literary works with noted authors - the ones you’ve definitely been meaning to read. Those books tend to have artsy covers that ambiguously tie into the plot.
It’s also the time of year when there is an uptick in psychological thrillers being released. I don’t know if the reasoning is as simple as shorter days equals more danger, or if it's just Halloween, but it seems folks are ready for a jolt. While we don’t have a thriller section at the library, it’s easy enough to spot them in the stacks because they almost universally stick to a simple cover art convention: brooding backdrop with striking text.
To illustrate this point, below are some brand new examples, that the critics loved, and whose marketing promises a disquieting experience:
THE CORPSE FLOWER by Anne Mette Hancock
“Hancock's striking debut rips the lid off a 3-year-old murder case and reveals even uglier secrets beneath… Scandinavian noir at its noirest.” Kirkus
Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari
“This vengeful tale that pits artistic genius against mental health and happiness will captivate fans of dark suspense.” Library Journal
Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan
“Through masterful plotting and subtle characterizations, Ryan creates niggling doubts in the reader's mind… This is a fast-paced, surprise-packed treat.” Publishers Weekly
My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa
“Shifting back and forth between present-day San Francisco and a private orphanage in Sri Lanka in 2002, Jayatissa's debut thriller takes every opportunity to lead readers astray… Jayatissa has a heyday exposing white-savior syndrome, religious hypocrisy, and mental-health system failures, with plenty of schadenfreude voyeurism.” Booklist
THE KILLING KIND by Jane Casey
“An intense, unputdownable roller-coaster ride packed with relentless suspense, terrifying twists and dramatic turns, dark violence, unforgettable characters, and an ending guaranteed to shock. An absolute must-read.” Booklist
LAST GIRL GHOSTED by Lisa Unger
“Unger always ratchets up the tension, and the revelations, in her final chapters. But in this book, she spins like Simone Biles--and sticks the landing. A young woman's foray into online dating becomes a heartbreak--and then a deadly nightmare.” Kirkus
THE SURVIVORS by Alex Schulman
“Three sons of alcoholic parents return to an idyllic setting of long-ago trauma… A final truth emerges, forcing the reader to reevaluate all that has gone before. A novel of family dysfunction that veers into startling and original territory.” Kirkus
THE LAST GUEST by Tess Little
“Here's a sure bet for Agatha Christie fans… The juicy Hollywood backdrop adds still more appeal for classic-mystery lovers.” Booklist
NO ONE WILL MISS HER by Kat Rosenfield
“The superb character-driven plot delivers an astonishing, believable jolt. Rosenfield shines a searing light on issues of classism, jealousy, and squandered potential.” Publishers Weekly
The Stolen Hours by Allen Eskens
“A rousing legal thriller that's also an acute study of female victimization and male privilege.” Kirkus
-Ransom Jabara is a Collection Development Librarian at Lawrence Public Library.