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Despite the scorching temps this previous week (and those expected next week), I spent the last few days engaging in one of my favorite “back to school” activities: Decorating for Fall and Halloween. Tomorrow is October 1st and with October comes all things pumpkin spice (apple spice if you’re a pumpkin spice hater) and spooky stories. In celebration of this harvest month, my books to read in October list consists solely of thrillers and mysteries.

In the past few months, I’ve tried to shake up my TBR list with different genres, but not this month. October is for thrillers only…by far my favorite genre. Check them out below:

(As always, blurbs are from Goodreads and in italics.)

The Institute by Stephen King

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window.

And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

What collection of thrillers would be complete without a novel from the master of thrillers, Stephen King?

I’m starting off my books to read in October with his newest novel about kids with paranormal gifts that are kidnapped from their homes. They come together at The Institute where they cannot escape the ruthless staff who are determined to keep them there. There is no escape—or is there?

Goodreads readers are loving this book. It currently has a rating of 4. 33 which is practically unheard of in Goodreads land. I’m about 370 pages into this 550 page tome and I am literally biting my nails. Definitely a suspenseful and intriguing read.

P.S. The picture accompanying this description is a little weird, but I think it’s appropriate given the nature of the book. Why is there a bottle of Jim Beam in a book about kids??? Once you read it it’ll make more sense. Oh, and it’s Halloween so my pictures can be as weird as I want them to be.


Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. And no disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent. 


Just reading this blurb from Goodreads gives me chills. As with Riley Sager’s past novels, the main character finds herself in too deep and in trouble, causing the reader to wonder what is real and what is dangerous. Perfect novel for my books to read in October list—creepy and thrilling.


Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark, a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

I’m always a little wary of blurbs that describe the characters as “passionately in love” or “wildly in love”…like gag. But since this is a thriller and not a romance, I’m hoping that the whole gag-inducing romance of it is not a big part of the storyline. This book doesn’t rate nearly as well as some of the others on my books to read in October list on Goodreads. But I’m willing to give it a shot because it’s a Reese Witherspoon book club pick and Reese doesn’t steer me wrong.


The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah

A psychopath the police have dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” is targeting pairs of best friends, and killing them one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book.

For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or figure out what the white books symbolize and why the killer leaves them behind. The police are on edge; the public in a panic. Then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. What she reveals shocks the investigators and adds another troubling layer to an already complex case.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did last year. Was the stranger Billy, and is he targeting her—or is it something more nefarious? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how—and why—could Billy Dead Mates want to target her? If it’s not her, then who will be the next to die?

When I read my first Sophie Hannah book, The Wrong Mother, ten years ago, I was instantly hooked. I devoured book after book of the Spilling CID mysteries, enjoying not only the mysteries themselves, but the detectives’ lives in Spilling.

The past few Sophie Hannah novels have not held the same magic for me and I kind of swore off her for awhile. But based on the blurb of this one, I’m definitely excited to add her latest novel about the Spilling detectives to my books to read in October list. If nothing else, it’ll be a heart pounding read.


The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family’s rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.

But what she doesn’t know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice…

I found this book on the discount rack at the grocery store. I’ve never heard of this author before, but considering some of the books that I have picked up at the discount rack have been amazing, I’m giving it a chance. I bought this book back in August, but haven’t gotten around to reading it until now. Since the blurb sounds a bit sinister, it’s a great fit for my books to read in October theme.

Oh, and since I own it, it’s not a two week book like the rest of these books that I have to read at warp speed to get them back to the library on time. Library late fees be damned!


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