Holiday Gift Guide

13 mystery books for the thrill-seeker on your list

If you've got a mystery lover on your shopping list, check out these Canadian thrillers and crime novels from 2018.

If you've got a mystery lover on your holiday shopping list, check out these Canadian thrillers and crime novels from 2018.

You can see the complete CBC Books gift guide here

Foe by Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of the novel Foe. (CBC )

Foe takes place in an old, isolated farmhouse in the not-so-distant future. The house is inhabited by Junior and his wife Hen, whose peaceful lives are interrupted by the arrival of a man in a business suit. Junior has been randomly selected for a scientific program. The shock of this announcement sends Junior in a tailspin, as he races to figure out what's really going on.

Cold Skies by Thomas King

Thomas King is the author of several books, including the mystery novel Cold Skies. (Trina Koster/HarperCollins Canada)

Thumps DreadfulWater is finally retired and living a quiet life in a small town. But when a body turns up, the sheriff's department turns to DreafulWater for help, and even though he'd rather stay out of it, he finds himself immersed in something bigger than he could have ever imagined.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Louise Penny's latest mystery is Kingdom of the Blind. (Jean-Francois Berube/Raincoast)

Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Québec, has a new mystery on his hands. An elderly woman he's never met before has named him one of the executors of her will and the contents are extremely strange, eventually leading to the shocking discovery of a dead body. Meanwhile, an internal investigation into the events that led to Armand's suspension is underway and deadly opioids threaten to hit the streets of Montreal.

A Dangerous Crossing by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Ausma Zehanat Khan is a Canadian novelist and author of crime and fantasy novels. (Athif Khan/Raincoast Books)

Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty make their way to Syrian refugee camps in Greece where they face the devastating fall-out of civil war. Khattak and Getty are there to investigate the disappearance of an NGO worker named Audrey, an old childhood friend who was working with refugees until becoming implicated in a double homicide.

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay is the author of several thrillers, including The Noise Downstairs. (HarperCollins/Bill Taylor)

Paul Davis is awoken in the night by the sound of a manual typewriter. Only eight months prior, Paul had discovered that a colleague was forcing women to typewrite apology notes before violently killing them. The next morning Paul finds a note that reads: "We typed our apologies like he asked but he killed us anyway."

Godhead by Ho Che Anderson

Ho Che Anderson is a comic book creator based in Toronto (Fantagraphics)

A powerful multinational corporation is working to develop the ultimate device: a machine that can speak to God. Such a project is a magnet for trouble — the coldblooded CEO known only as Sir is briefly kidnapped, an ex-soldier of a shadowy war is implicated and the company's chief of security is left to unravel the mystery.

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

An Unwanted Guest is a novel by Shari Lapena. (Facebook)

Mitchell's Inn, nestled in the Catskills woods, is the perfect spot for a winter getaway. When a blizzard knocks out the electricity, guests and staff rally by lighting candles, starting a roaring fire and getting cozy under layers of blankets. Things take a turn for the murderous when a dead body turns up — the first in a series of suspicious deaths.

It All Falls Down by Sheena Kamal

It All Falls Down is a thriller by Sheena Kamal. (Malcolm Tweedy)

Facing her grief head-on, Nora Watts decides to investigate the circumstances of her father's mysterious death by suicide. Sam Watts was one of thousands of Indigenous children to be forcibly separated from his family by the government, a policy that started in the 1950s. As Nora digs into her father's early life in Detroit, she discovers troubling truths surrounding his upbringing and death.

Careless Love by Peter Robinson

The 25th Inspector Banks mystery novel by Peter Robinson. (Paul Hansen/McClelland & Stewart)

Peter Robinson marks a milestone with Careless Love, his 25th Inspector Banks novel. This time, Banks and his colleague Annie are investigating two mysterious deaths: a young student found in a car on a country road and a man in his 60s discovered partially devoured in the wild moorland.

Hysteria by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the author of thriller novel Hysteria. (Ayelet Tsabari/HarperCollins Canada)

Hysteria follows a young German woman named Heike Lerner who, after escaping the Second World War, finds herself living in upstate New York with a husband and four-year-old son. But the eeriness of her idyllic life becomes hard to ignore when a mysterious little girl appears one afternoon at the pond and vanishes just as quickly — and things take a turn for the worse when her son disappears.

Still Water by Amy Stuart

Still Water is Amy Stuart's second novel. (Simon & Schuster/Paige Lindsey)

Clare O'Dey is sent to a mysterious town called High River where women run to escape their pasts. Clare poses as a long-lost friend to resident Sally Proulx, who has gone missing along with her son. While investigating their disappearance, Clare learns that virtually everyone in High River has their secrets, including Malcolm, the man who hired her.

Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley

Nathan Ripley is the author of the thriller Find You in the Dark. (Simon & Schuster)

Naben Ruthnum, under his pen name Nathan Ripley, delivers this tale of a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of a serial killer's victims. His actions end up catching the attention of a murderer on the streets of Seattle.

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Sister of Mine is a psychological thriller by Ryerson University professor Laurie Petrou. (Submitted by Laurie Petrou)

In Laurie Petrou's debut thriller, two sisters have a lot of secrets. Terrible ones. And these secrets keep them together even as they drive them apart. But what happens when their bond begins to crack, and one sister takes things too far? The manuscript for Sister of Mine won the inaugural Half the World Global Literati Award, a $50,000 U.S. ($64,575 CDN) literary prize that honours unpublished work featuring women as lead characters.

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