Best 2020, Best Books, Best Year-End, Horror, Mystery & Thriller

The Best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller Books of 2020 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

“What are the best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller books released in 2020?” We looked at 182 of the top Mystery, Horror, and Thriller books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 26 books, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 150+ titles, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Our other Best Of 2020 Articles:

Previous Years: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

All titles have been added to a Bookshop list as well!

Happy Scrolling!



Top 26 Best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller Books From 2020



26.) All the Devils Are Here written byLouise Penny

All the Devils Are Here

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kirkus
  • Amazon

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER PARADE MAGAZINE – ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS CRIMEREADS – ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS AARP’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF FALL The 16th novel by #1 bestselling author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec invest



25.) Clown in a Cornfield written byAdam Cesare

Clown in a Cornfield

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Kirkus 2
  • The Lineup

In Adam Cesare’s terrifying young adult debut, Quinn Maybrook finds herself caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress–that just may cost her life.Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don’t know is that eve



24.) Dear Child: A Novel written byRomy Hausmann

Dear Child: A Novel

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bookpage
  • NYPL
  • Amazon

“[A] tantalizingly disturbing debut…As enthralling as it is thought-provoking.” -New York Times Book Review Bustle Best Books of Fall 2020 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers of Fall 2020 She Reads Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020 A woman held captive finally escapes–but can she eve



23.) Plain Bad Heroines written byEmily M. Danforth

Plain Bad Heroines

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Goodreads
  • Library Journal

“A delectable brew of gothic horror and Hollywood satire . . . [and] what makes all this so much fun is Danforth’s deliciously ghoulish voice . . . exquisite. –Ron Charles, THE WASHINGTON POST A multi-faceted novel, equal parts gothic, sharply funny, sapphic romance, historical, and, of course, spo



22.) Ring Shout written byP. Djèlí Clark

Ring Shout

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Library Journal
  • The Lineup

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS. In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ra



21.) Survivor Song written byPaul Tremblay

Survivor Song

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • NPR
  • The Lineup

“Fresh and surprising. Survivor Song may be one of Tremblay’s best– beautifully detailed, viscerally frightening, and deep with emotional resonance. –Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will A riveting novel of suspense and terror from the Bram Stoker award-winning author of The Ca



20.) The Boy from the Woods written byHarlan Coben

The Boy from the Woods

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads 2

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away. Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from



19.) The Kingdom written byJo Nesbø ; translated by Robert Ferguson

The Kingdom

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Times
  • Kirkus
  • Waterstones

“I read The Kingdom and couldn’t put it down … Suspenseful … Original … This one is special in every way.” –Stephen King Two brothers. One small town. A lifetime of dark secrets. A tense and atmospheric standalone thriller from best-selling author Jo Nesbø. Roy has never left the quiet mounta



18.) The Year of the Witching written byAlexis Henderson

The Year of the Witching

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Goodreads
  • NYPL

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut. In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast he



17.) Troubled Blood written byRobert Galbraith

Troubled Blood

Lists It Appears On:

  • Five Books
  • Waterstones
  • The Telegraph

A breathtaking, labyrinthine epic, Troubled Blood is the fifth Strike and Robin novel and the most gripping and satisfying yet. Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough – who went missi



16.) Winter Counts written byDavid Heska Wanbli Weiden

Winter Counts

Lists It Appears On:

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Amazon
  • NPR

“Winter Counts is a marvel. It’s a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth. This book is a brilliant meditation on power and violence, and a testament to just how much a crime novel can achieve. Weiden is a powerful new voice. I couldn’t put it down.” –Tommy Orange, author of There There A R



15.) If It Bleeds written byStephen King

If It Bleeds

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Goodreads
  • Kirkus 2
  • The Lineup

From #1 New York Times bestselling author, legendary storyteller, and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas–Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleeds–each pulling you into intriguing and frigh



14.) Squeeze Me written byCarl Hiaasen

Squeeze Me

Lists It Appears On:

  • Washington Post
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Amazon
  • The Times

A New York Times Bestseller If you could use some wild escapism right now, Hiaasen is your guy. In its themes and its wild imagination, Squeeze Me offers some familiar pleasures, akin to a Greatest Hits collection. Anyone who’s read him will know what a prime recommendation that is . . . Angie is a



13.) The Boatman’s Daughter written byAndy Davidson

The Boatman's Daughter

Lists It Appears On:

  • Kirkus 2
  • NYPL
  • Library Journal
  • The Lineup

Go read Andy Davidson’s lush nightmare, The Boatman’s Daughter. It put an arrow through my head and heart.” –Paul Tremblay, author of Growing Things Ample bloodshed is offset by beautiful prose . . . A stunning supernatural Southern Gothic. –Kirkus (starred) Ever since her father was killed when s



12.) The Guest List written byLucy Foley

The Guest List

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Popsugar
  • The Urban List
  • Amazon

A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICKTHE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER”I loved this book. It gave me the same waves of happiness I get from curling up with a classic Christie…The alternating points of view keep you guessing, and guessing wrong.” — Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sile



11.) The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires written byGrady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Book Riot 2
  • NYPL
  • Library Journal

The New York Times Best Seller #1 April LibraryReads Pick April Indie Next Pick Goodreads Big Book of Spring Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this ’90s-set horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and f



10.) The Sun Down Motel written bySimone St. James

The Sun Down Motel

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2
  • Popsugar
  • Worldly Gentleman

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls. Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delan



9.) Blacktop Wasteland written byS.A. Cosby

Blacktop Wasteland

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Urban List
  • Waterstones
  • Amazon
  • Bookpage
  • NPR

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi. “Sensationally good–new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended.” –Lee Child Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a



8.) Long Bright River written byLiz Moore

Long Bright River

Lists It Appears On:

  • Washington Post
  • Goodreads 2
  • Amazon
  • NYPL
  • NPR

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK [Moore’s] careful balance of the hard-bitten with the heartfelt is what elevates Long Bright River from entertaining page-turner to a book that makes you want to call someone you love.” – The New York Times Book Review This



7.) The Devil and the Dark Water written byStuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Waterstones
  • Bookpage

“Compulsively readable.”–New York Times Book ReviewThe extraordinary new thriller from Stuart Turton, author of the bestselling murder mystery The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award.A murder on the high seas. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or



6.) When No One is Watching written byAlyssa Cole

When No One is Watching

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Popsugar
  • Bookpage
  • Worldly Gentleman
  • NPR

An instant NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLER!I was knocked over by the momentum of an intense psychological thriller that doesn’t let go until the final page. This is a terrific read. – Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author*Marie Claire’s September Book Club Pick* Rear Window meets



5.) The Only Good Indians written byStephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Goodreads
  • NYPL
  • Library Journal
  • NPR
  • The Lineup

A USA TODAY BESTSELLER A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year “One of 2020’s buzziest horror novels.” –Entertainment Weekly A “Most Anticipated Books of Summer” selection in Esquire, Elle, Vulture, Time, AV Club, Bustle, and Literary Hub “Gritty and gorgeous” –The New York Times “Jones is one



4.) The Thursday Murder Club written byRichard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Five Books
  • Waterstones
  • Amazon
  • The Telegraph
  • NYPL

A little beacon of pleasure in the midst of the gloom…SUCH FUN! –Kate Atkinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Sky Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves A female cop with her first big case A brutal murder Welcome to… THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB In a peaceful retirem



3.) One by One written byRuth Ware

One by One

Lists It Appears On:

  • Washington Post
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads 2
  • Kirkus
  • Popsugar
  • Waterstones
  • Worldly Gentleman

“The Agatha Christie of our generation.” –David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author “Diabolically clever.” –Riley Sager, author of Final Girls The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-



2.) The Searcher written byTana French

The Searcher

Lists It Appears On:

  • Washington Post
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads 2
  • Waterstones
  • Amazon
  • The Times
  • NPR

A New York Times Bestseller This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet…its own kind of masterpiece. –Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post A taut, chiseled and propulsive (Vogue) new novel from the bestselling mystery writer who is in a class by herself. (Th



1.) Mexican Gothic written bySilvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot 2
  • Goodreads
  • Kirkus 2
  • Popsugar
  • Bookpage
  • Library Journal
  • Worldly Gentleman
  • NPR
  • The Lineup

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird.”–The Guardian IN DEVELOPMENT AS A HULU ORIGINAL LIMITED SERIES PRODUCED BY KELLY RIPA AND MARK CONSUELOS An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic ari



 


The 150+ Additional Best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller Books Released In 2020



#BookAuthorLists
27A Shadow IntelligenceOliver HarrisKirkus
   NPR
28A Song for the Dark TimesIan Rankin
Waterstones
   
The Telegraph
29And Now She’s GoneRachel Howzell HallAmazon
   
Publishers Weekly
30Box 88Charles Cumming
Waterstones
   
Financial Times
31Dead LandSara Paretsky
Washington Post
   Kirkus
32Djinn Patrol on the Purple LineDeepa Anappara
Washington Post
   NPR
33Eight Perfect MurdersPeter SwansonKirkus
   
Publishers Weekly
34Home Before DarkRiley Sager
Goodreads 2
   Popsugar
35Magpie LaneLucy AtkinsFive Books
   
The Telegraph
36Moonflower MurdersAnthony Horowitz
Waterstones
   NPR
37Take Me ApartSara SligarKirkus
   Bookpage
38Tender Is the FleshAgustina BazterricaGoodreads
   The Lineup
39The Darkest EveningAnn CleevesShe Reads
   
Waterstones
40The Dead LineHolly Watt
Financial Times
   The Times
41The DeepAlma KatsuBook Riot 2
   The Lineup
42The Dirty SouthJohn Connolly
Waterstones
   Amazon
43The Golden CageCamilla Läckberg ; translated by Neil SmithKirkus
   
Publishers Weekly
44The Hollow PlacesT. KingfisherBook Riot 2
   Goodreads
45The Last FlightJulie ClarkAmazon
   
Worldly Gentleman
46The Last TrialScott TurowShe Reads
   The Times
47The Law of InnocenceMichael Connelly
Waterstones
   Amazon
48The Missing AmericanKwei Quartey
Washington Post
   NPR
49The SentinelLee Child, Andrew Child
Waterstones
   
The Telegraph
50A Castle In The CloudsKerstin GierNPR
51A Double LifeCharlotte PhilbyThe Times
52A Time for MercyJohn Grisham
Waterstones
53AgencyWilliam GibsonNPR
54All My Lies Are TrueDorothy Koomson
Waterstones
55All These MonstersAmy TinteraKirkus 2
56Amnesty: A NovelAravind AdigaNPR
57Bad PeopleCraig WallworkThe Lineup
58Black Rain FallingJacob Ross
Waterstones
59Black Sun RisingMatthew Carr
Publishers Weekly
60BlackwoodMichael Farris SmithNPR
61Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel)Lana PopovicKirkus 2
62Boneset & FeathersGwendolyn Kiste
Library Journal
63BrokenDon WinslowThe Times
64Burn Our Bodies DownRory PowerBook Riot 2
65Catherine House: A NovelElisabeth ThomasNPR
66Cirque BerserkJessica Guess
Library Journal
67City of GhostsBen CreedThe Times
68City of MarginsWilliam Boyle
Washington Post
69Code Name HélèneAriel LawhonThe Times
70Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White SupremacyTalia LavinKirkus 2
71Death in the EastAbir MukherjeeFive Books
72Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch MassacreMax BrooksGoodreads
73Don’t Look for Me: A NovelWendy WalkerNYPL
74Empire of WildCherie DimalineBook Riot 2
75ExecutionS. J. Parris
Waterstones
76Fair WarningMichael ConnellyKirkus
77Fake Like MeBarbara BourlandFive Books
78Find Them DeadPeter JamesShe Reads
79Forced ConfessionsJohn FairfaxFive Books
80Foul Is Fair: A NovelHannah CapinNPR
81Good Girl, Bad Girl: A NovelMichael RobothamFive Books
82Heaven, My HomeAttica Locke
Barnes & Noble
83HexisCharlene ElsbyThe Lineup
84Hidden in Plain SightJeffrey Archer
Waterstones
85Hide and SeekerDaka HermonKirkus 2
86HorridKatrina LenoBook Riot 2
87House of CorrectionNicci FrenchThe Times
88HowdunitMartin Edwards (Editor)
The Telegraph
89I Follow YouPeter James
Waterstones
90If I Can’t Have YouCharlotte LevinShe Reads
91Joe CountryMick HerronFive Books
92Lady in the LakeLaura Lippman
Barnes & Noble
93Lakewood: A NovelMegan GiddingsNPR
94Leave The World Behind: A NovelRumaan AlamNPR
95Little SecretsJennifer HillierBook Riot
96Maigret Set One 
The Wall Street Journal
97MalorieJosh MalermanGoodreads
98Mastering the Process: From Idea to NovelElizabeth George
The Wall Street Journal
99Midnight At The Barclay HotelFleur BradleyNPR
100Murder On MustiqueAnne Glenconner
Waterstones
101My Life as a VillainessLaura Lippman
The Wall Street Journal
102Negative SpaceB.R. YeagerThe Lineup
103November RoadLou BerneyFive Books
104One Good DeedDavid BaldacciShe Reads
105Our Bodies, Their Battlefields: War Through the Lives of WomenChristina LambKirkus 2
106Our Dark SecretJenny QuintanaShe Reads
107Perfect KillHelen FieldsFive Books
108Perfect Little ChildrenSophie HannahBookpage
109PiranesiSusanna ClarkeNPR
110Play the Red QueenJuris JurjevicsThe Times
111Precious YouHelen Monks TakharKirkus
112Pretty As A PictureElizabeth LittleShe Reads
113Pretty Things: A NovelJanelle BrownAmazon
114Robert Ludlum’s the Bourne EvolutionBrian FreemanKirkus
115Saint XAlexis Schaitkin
The Urban List
116Seven LiesElizabeth Kay
Publishers Weekly
117Sisters: A NovelDaisy JohnsonNPR
118Slippery CreaturesKJ CharlesNPR
119Smoke and AshesAbir MukherjeeFive Books
120SnowJohn Banville
Waterstones
121That Time of YearMarie NDiaye ; translated by Jordan StumpKirkus 2
122The Aosawa MurdersRiku OndaNYPL
123The Big Book of EspionageOtto Penzler
The Wall Street Journal
124The Book of Lamps and BannersElizabeth HandBookpage
125The Bright LandsJohn FramBookpage
126The Butchers’ BlessingRuth Gilligan
Barnes & Noble
127The Cabinets of Barnaby MayneElsa Hart
Publishers Weekly
128The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America’s WildlandsJon BillmanKirkus 2
129The Coyotes of CarthageSteven WrightShe Reads
130The Distant DeadHeather YoungBookpage
131The End of OctoberLawrence Wright
Publishers Weekly
132The EnglishmanDavid Gilman
Financial Times
133The Familiar DarkAmy Engel
Publishers Weekly
134The Forger’s DaughterBradford Morrow
Publishers Weekly
135The Girl in the MirrorRose CarlyleNYPL
136The Half SisterSandie JonesShe Reads
137The HerdAndrea Bartz
The Urban List
138The Horizontal ManHelen Eustis Charles Finch (Foreword by)
The Wall Street Journal
139The Killings at Kingfisher HillSophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
Waterstones
140The Last ProtectorAndrew Taylor
Waterstones
141The Law Of LinesHye-Young Pun
The Urban List
142The Less DeadDenise Mina
The Telegraph
143The Living Dead 
Library Journal
144The Long CallAnn Cleeves
Barnes & Noble
145The LoopJeremy Robert JohnsonThe Lineup
146The Mulberry TreeAllison RushbyKirkus 2
147The NeighbourFiona Cummins
The Urban List
148The Order (Gabriel Allon Series)Daniel SilvaAmazon
149The Other PassengerLouise Candlish
Waterstones
150The PaladinDavid Ignatius
Financial Times
151The Postscript MurdersElly Griffiths
Waterstones
152The Rat Began to Gnaw the RopeC. W. Grafton Leslie Klinger (Editor)
The Wall Street Journal
153The River: A NovelPeter HellerFive Books
154The RunnerStephen Leather
Financial Times
155The Sicilian MethodAndrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli
Waterstones
156The Space Between WorldsMicaiah JohnsonNPR
157The StrangerSimon ConwayThe Times
158The Stranger DiariesElly GriffithsFive Books
159The Treatment 
The Telegraph
160The Wicked SisterKaren Dionne
Publishers Weekly
161The Widening StainW. Bolingbroke Johnson Nicholas A. Basbanes (Introduction by)
The Wall Street Journal
162The Windsor KnotSJ Bennett
Waterstones
163The WivesTarryn Fisher
Goodreads 2
164They Threw Us AwayDaniel Kraus ; illustrated by Rovina CaiKirkus 2
165Things in JarsJess KiddAmazon
166This Is My AmericaKim JohnsonNPR
167This Time Next Year We’ll Be LaughingJacqueline Winspear
The Wall Street Journal
168Three HoursRosamund LuptonThe Times
169Three Hours in ParisCara Black
Washington Post
170Tiny NightmaresLincoln Michel & Nadxieli NietoThe Lineup
171Trouble is What I DoWalter Mosley
Washington Post
172Unspeakable ThingsJess LoureyAmazon
173V2Robert Harris
Waterstones
174Vampires Never Get Old, EditedZoraida Cordova and Natalie C. ParkerBook Riot 2
175Walk the WireDavid BaldacciFive Books
176We Need to Do SomethingMax Booth IIIThe Lineup
177What You Pay ForClaire AskewFive Books
178Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story Of Loss, Love, And The Hidden Order Of LifeLulu MillerNPR
179Wobble to DeathPeter Lovesey Jeffery Deaver (Foreword by)
The Wall Street Journal
180WonderlandZoje StageBook Riot 2
181Written in BloodChris Carter
Waterstones
182Your House Will PaySteph Cha
The Telegraph

 


25 Best Mystery, Horror, and Thriller Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Amazon Best mysteries and thrillers of 2020
Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble’s Best Mysteries & Thrillers of 2020
Book Riot Best Books of 2020 (So Far)
Book Riot 2 2020 HORROR NOVELS: 16 NEW BOOKS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Bookpage Best Books of 2020: Mystery & Suspense
Financial Times Best books of 2020: Thrillers
Five Books BEST MYSTERY BOOKS OF 2020
Goodreads Best Horror
Goodreads 2 Best Mystery & Thriller
Kirkus Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2020
Kirkus 2 The 13 Scariest Books Written This Year
Library Journal Best Horror of 2020
NPR NPR’s Book Concierge
NYPL Best Books for Adults 2020
Popsugar Popsugar Entertainment Books POPSUGAR Book Club Awards Nominees 2020
Publishers Weekly Best Mystery books
She Reads 2020 thrillers you might have missed
The Lineup 15 Best Horror Books of 2020
The Telegraph The best crime and thriller novels of 2020
The Times Best thriller books of the year 2020
The Urban List Bury Your Head Into The Most Gripping Thriller Books Of 2020
The Wall Street Journal Holiday Gift Books 2020: Mysteries
Washington Post Best thriller and mystery books of 2020
Waterstones The Best Books of 2020: Crime & Thrillers
Worldly Gentleman The Best Books of 2020