13 spine-tingling Canadian reads to check out for Halloween

If you like horror, thriller, mystery or crime, there's a book on this list for you!

Halloween is Oct. 31, and why not celebrate with a spine-tingling read? If you like horror, thriller, mystery or crime, there's a Canadian book on this list for you.

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

Samantha M. Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, journalist and editor. (Simon & Schuster, Dahlia Katz)

In Woman on the EdgeMorgan Kincaid's life changes forever when a woman standing next to her on the subway platform says Morgan's name, hands her a baby and jumps. And since no one else saw what happened, Morgan quickly becomes a murder suspect. Can she clear her name and figure out what is going on before it's too late?

Samantha M. Bailey is a journalist and editor in Toronto.Woman on the Edge is her first book.

Samantha M Bailey on her psychological thriller Woman on the Edge.

Watermark by Christy Ann Conlin

Christy Ann Conlin is the author of Watermark. (House of Anansi Press)

Watermark is a collection of gothic short stories. The characters within the book reckon with crises past and present, including a bride who runs from her wedding day, a young woman facing murder charges and a man living in exile.

Christy Ann Conlin lives in Nova Scotia and is the author of two acclaimed novels, Heave and The Memento

Christy Ann Conlin talks to Shelagh Rogers on location in Nova Scotia about her book of short stories, Watermark.

No Going Back by Sheena Kamal

No Going Back is a book by Sheena Kamal. (HarperCollins Canada, Malcolm Tweedy)

In No Going Backthe latest Nora Watts crime thriller by Sheena Kamal, Nora finds herself trying to protect Bonnie, the daughter she had given up for adoption. Two years previously, Bonnie had been kidnapped by the ruthless Zhang family. She has made an enemy in Dao, the intimidating triad enforcer for the Zhangs. From Canada to southeast Asia, Nora finds herself pursuing her adversary.

Kamal is a Vancouver-based writer of crime novels. Her book The Lost Ones won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. She is also the author of It All Falls Down.

Sheena Kamal talks about the third instalment of her Nora Watts mystery series No Going Back and debut YA novel Fight Like a Girl.

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan

A Deadly Divide is a novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan. (Alan Klehr, Raincoast Books)

In A Deadly Divide, the fifth book in Ausma Zehanat Khan's Getty and Khattak mystery series, Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are sent to Quebec, where a community is reeling in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque. Fuelling tensions is the arrest of a young Muslim man who was reported to be assisting the wounded, while a priest found holding a weapon was let go. 

Khan is also the author of the fantasy series the Khorasan Archives, which includes the books The Bloodprint and The Black Khan.

Ausma Zehanat Khan talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest book, A Deadly Divide.

Obsidian by Thomas King

Obsidian is a novel by Thomas King. (HarperCollins Canada)

Thomas King's sly investigator Thumps DreadfulWater returns in Obsidian. After the famed producer of a true-crime documentary turns up dead, Thumps is forced to look into an old cold case he had tried to forget: the Obsidian murders. When someone starts leaving reminders of the case around Chinook, Thumps is compelled to confront the incident that left his girlfriend and her daughter dead.

King is a Canadian-American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. He delivered the 2003 Massey Lectures, The Truth about Stories. His books include Truth & Bright WaterThe Inconvenient Indian and The Back of the TurtleThe Back of the Turtle won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 2014.

In Thomas King's latest book, a true crime reality show comes to Chinook to investigate a death that’s been ruled accidental.

You Will Love What You Have Killed by Kevin Lambert, translated by Donald Winkler

You Will Love What You Have Killed is a book by Kevin Lambert, translated by Donald Winkler. (Gregory Augendre-Cambron, Biblioasis)

In the surreal and dark comic novel You Will Love What You Have Killedchildren in Chicoutimi, Que., are dying untimely and often violent deaths. But their deaths aren't the end of the story: instead, they rise up, go to school, grow up and plot their revenge against the adults who have wronged them.

Kevin Lambert is a writer from Quebec. You Will Love What You Have Killed is his first novel, and the first to be translated into English. He is also the author of the novel Querelle de Roberval.

Donald Winkler is a filmmaker and translator from Montreal. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation for The Lyric Generation: The Life and Times of the Baby-Boomers by François Ricard, Partita for Glenn Gould by Georges Leroux and The Major Verbs by Pierre Nepveu. Two books translated by him have been finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: A Secret Between Us by Daniel Poliquin in 2007 and Arvida by Samuel Archibald in 2015.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

The End of Her is a thriller by Shari Lapena. (Tristan Ostler, Doubleday Canada)

The End of Her, a novel set in upstate New York, follows Stephanie and Patrick, a couple adjusting to life with their colicky twin babies. While Stephanie stays at home to take care of them, Patrick works 9-to-5 to pay the bills. Their life is turned upside down when a woman from Patrick's past pays an unexpected visit, raising questions and suspicions about his late first wife, who died in a supposed car accident many years ago. With the woman threatening to go to the police, his livelihood is put at risk. As the police start digging, Stephanie's trust in her husband begins to unravel, as does their marriage.

Shari Lapena is a novelist. She is author of bestselling thrillers, including The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the HouseAn Unwanted Guest and Someone We Know.

Never Forget by Martin Michaud

Never Forget is a book by Martin Michaud. (Dundurn Press)

The latest in Martin Michaud's ongoing Victor Lessard detective series finds Lessard and his partner Jacinthe Taillon on the trail of a deadly killer in Old Montreal. Never Forget begins with a homeless man jumping to his death, an incident that leaves behind baffling evidence — two wallets. One belonged to a dead psychiatrist, who was murdered in a bizarre ritual, the other to a missing corporate lawyer. As the bodies begin to pile up, can Lessard and Taillon crack the case before the next murder? 

Michaud is a Montreal-based writer, musician and former lawyer. His Victor Lessard series has won the Arthur Ellis award and the Prix Saint-Pacôme for Crime Fiction. The book series is also the basis for the critically acclaimed French TV show Victor Lessard

Martin Michaud on Never Forget, the first of his novels featuring Montreal cop Victor Lessard to be published in English translation.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic is a novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. (Martin Dee)

Mexican Gothic is a gothic horror novel set in 1950s Mexico. It tells the story of a young woman named Noemi who is called by her cousin to save her from doom in her countryside home, the mysterious and alluring High Place. Noemi doesn't know much about the house, the region or her cousin's mysterious new husband, but she's determined to solve this mystery and save her cousin — whatever it takes.

Mexican Gothic is in development to become a TV series for Hulu.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian author, who was born and raised in Mexico. She is also the author of the novels Signal to Noise, which won the 2016 Copper Cylinder Award, Gods of Jade and Shadow and The Beautiful Ones. She is also a critic and has edited science fiction anthologies. 

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

Hurry Home is a thriller by Roz Nay. (Simon & Schuster Canada, Lisa Seyfried Photography)

In Hurry HomeAlexandra Van Ness lives a perfect life tucked away in a resort town in the rocky mountains with her handsome boyfriend, Chase. She works in child protection, dedicating herself to helping those at risk. But, when Alexandra's long-lost sister turns up out of the blue, Alexandra is forced to confront the memories of their fraught past. 

Roz Nay is a B.C.-based writer. Her debut novel, Our Little Secret, won the Douglas Kennedy Prize for best foreign thriller, and was nominated for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Mystery and the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award.

Roz Nay talks about her sophomore psychological thriller Hurry Home, which tells the story of two sisters and their dark secret past.

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

All the Devils Are Here is a novel by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books, Jean-Francois Berube)

All the Devils Are Here is the latest Inspector Armand Gamache novel from bestselling mystery writer Louise Penny. Gamache is in Paris, enjoying a family trip, when his elderly godfather is attacked on the street — and Gamache is convinced it's not a random attack. It turns out that his godfather knows many secrets and Gamache must figure out the web of deceit and lies before it's too late.

13 years ago, Penny was a CBC broadcaster and journalist. Now, she's an award-winning author who has sold more than four million books and has won armloads of prizes, thanks to her Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries. Her mysteries include Still LifeBury Your DeadA Trick of the Light and Glass Houses. In 2013, Penny was named to the Order of Canada.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Louise Penny's debut novel, 'STILL LIFE'. Still Life was the first book in what has since become an enormously popular murder/mystery series. Set in the fictional Quebec town of Three Pines, it focuse

The Residence by Andrew Pyper 

The Residence is a novel by Andrew Pyper. (Simon & Schuster Canada, Heidi Pyper)

In the thriller The Residencethe White House is haunted by the dead son of the president. It's 1853 and president-elect Franklin Pierce's son Bennie dies tragically in a train accident. Pierce and his wife Jane grieve as they transition into their roles as president and first lady. But the ghost of their son won't let them rest. When Jane tries to end the haunting with a seance, it instead opens a barrier between this world and the world of the dead, and now all of America is at risk.

Andrew Pyper is known for his spine-tingling novels like Lost Girls, which won the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel in 2000, The DemonologistThe Only Child and The Homecoming. He currently lives in Toronto.

Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley

Your Life is Mine is a novel by Nathan Ripley. (Simon & Schuster)

Your Life Is Mine is a page-turning thriller about Blanche, the daughter of a notorious murderer and cult leader. Her father killed himself after a shooting spree more than 20 years ago, but when Blanche learns her mother was murdered, she must return home. She learns there's more to her family's story than she could have ever imagined — and that the cult her father founded might be making a comeback.

Nathan Ripley is the pseudonym of Toronto writer Naben Ruthnum. He won a Journey Prize. Find You in the Dark was Ripley's first thriller, which was an Arthur Ellis Awards finalist for best first novel. Your Life Is Mine is his second thriller.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?