The Next Chapter

6 great mystery recommendations for holiday reading

Authors Amy Stuart and Craig Davidson share books that gave them the shivers — in a good way.
Authors Amy Stuart (photo: Paige Lindsay) and Craig Davidson (photo: Kevin Kelly).

There's nothing like curling up with a suspenseful book over the holidays. The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers is always looking for recommendations, and in this segment, she turned to two authors who should know a good thriller when they see one — Amy Stuart's debut mystery Still Mine was published this year, and Craig Davidson writes horror novels, including his latest, The Acolyte, under the pseudonym Nick Cutter. Stuart's and Davidson's recommendations are below.

Amy Stuart on the foreboding book she couldn't put down

The Girls by Emma Cline is not in any way a traditional mystery, but it's worth your time. It tells the story of a young woman in 1960s California, and it very much mirrors the Charles Manson storyline. She finds herself embroiled in this commune, and it's very foreboding and atmospheric and scary. From the very beginning, there's this sense that something terrible has happened, and you're just waiting to get to it. Of all the books I read this summer, this was the one I tore through and was peddling to everybody else. 

Craig Davidson on the well-crafted, post-apocalyptic book he loved

The Wolf Road is by British author Beth Lewis. It's her first book, and it's a brilliant high-wire act. It's kind of set in this post-apocalyptic world, but not in an obvious way. It's told in this old dialect, and it really picks up a pace and a tenor and it's really enjoyable to read just on a sentence-by-sentence level. The main character's father may or may not be a serial killer, so she's on his case, which is the mystery element on it. I found it galvanic and propulsive, and especially for a first-time author I was just amazed at the craft on display.

The panellists' comments have been edited and condensed.