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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



# Book Author Lists
27 A Shadow Intelligence Oliver Harris Kirkus
NPR
28 A Song for the Dark Times Ian Rankin
Waterstones
The Telegraph
29 And Now She’s Gone Rachel Howzell Hall Amazon
Publishers Weekly
30 Box 88 Charles Cumming
Waterstones
Financial Times
31 Dead Land Sara Paretsky
Washington Post
Kirkus
32 Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line Deepa Anappara
Washington Post
NPR
33 Eight Perfect Murders Peter Swanson Kirkus
Publishers Weekly
34 Home Before Dark Riley Sager
Goodreads 2
Popsugar
35 Magpie Lane Lucy Atkins Five Books
The Telegraph
36 Moonflower Murders Anthony Horowitz
Waterstones
NPR
37 Take Me Apart Sara Sligar Kirkus
Bookpage
38 Tender Is the Flesh Agustina Bazterrica Goodreads
The Lineup
39 The Darkest Evening Ann Cleeves She Reads
Waterstones
40 The Dead Line Holly Watt
Financial Times
The Times
41 The Deep Alma Katsu Book Riot 2
The Lineup
42 The Dirty South John Connolly
Waterstones
Amazon
43 The Golden Cage Camilla Läckberg ; translated by Neil Smith Kirkus
Publishers Weekly
44 The Hollow Places T. Kingfisher Book Riot 2
Goodreads
45 The Last Flight Julie Clark Amazon
Worldly Gentleman
46 The Last Trial Scott Turow She Reads
The Times
47 The Law of Innocence Michael Connelly
Waterstones
Amazon
48 The Missing American Kwei Quartey
Washington Post
NPR
49 The Sentinel Lee Child, Andrew Child
Waterstones
The Telegraph
50 A Castle In The Clouds Kerstin Gier NPR
51 A Double Life Charlotte Philby The Times
52 A Time for Mercy John Grisham
Waterstones
53 Agency William Gibson NPR
54 All My Lies Are True Dorothy Koomson
Waterstones
55 All These Monsters Amy Tintera Kirkus 2
56 Amnesty: A Novel Aravind Adiga NPR
57 Bad People Craig Wallwork The Lineup
58 Black Rain Falling Jacob Ross
Waterstones
59 Black Sun Rising Matthew Carr
Publishers Weekly
60 Blackwood Michael Farris Smith NPR
61 Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) Lana Popovic Kirkus 2
62 Boneset & Feathers Gwendolyn Kiste
Library Journal
63 Broken Don Winslow The Times
64 Burn Our Bodies Down Rory Power Book Riot 2
65 Catherine House: A Novel Elisabeth Thomas NPR
66 Cirque Berserk Jessica Guess
Library Journal
67 City of Ghosts Ben Creed The Times
68 City of Margins William Boyle
Washington Post
69 Code Name Hélène Ariel Lawhon The Times
70 Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy Talia Lavin Kirkus 2
71 Death in the East Abir Mukherjee Five Books
72 Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre Max Brooks Goodreads
73 Don’t Look for Me: A Novel Wendy Walker NYPL
74 Empire of Wild Cherie Dimaline Book Riot 2
75 Execution S. J. Parris
Waterstones
76 Fair Warning Michael Connelly Kirkus
77 Fake Like Me Barbara Bourland Five Books
78 Find Them Dead Peter James She Reads
79 Forced Confessions John Fairfax Five Books
80 Foul Is Fair: A Novel Hannah Capin NPR
81 Good Girl, Bad Girl: A Novel Michael Robotham Five Books
82 Heaven, My Home Attica Locke
Barnes & Noble
83 Hexis Charlene Elsby The Lineup
84 Hidden in Plain Sight Jeffrey Archer
Waterstones
85 Hide and Seeker Daka Hermon Kirkus 2
86 Horrid Katrina Leno Book Riot 2
87 House of Correction Nicci French The Times
88 Howdunit Martin Edwards (Editor)
The Telegraph
89 I Follow You Peter James
Waterstones
90 If I Can’t Have You Charlotte Levin She Reads
91 Joe Country Mick Herron Five Books
92 Lady in the Lake Laura Lippman
Barnes & Noble
93 Lakewood: A Novel Megan Giddings NPR
94 Leave The World Behind: A Novel Rumaan Alam NPR
95 Little Secrets Jennifer Hillier Book Riot
96 Maigret Set One
The Wall Street Journal
97 Malorie Josh Malerman Goodreads
98 Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel Elizabeth George
The Wall Street Journal
99 Midnight At The Barclay Hotel Fleur Bradley NPR
100 Murder On Mustique Anne Glenconner
Waterstones
101 My Life as a Villainess Laura Lippman
The Wall Street Journal
102 Negative Space B.R. Yeager The Lineup
103 November Road Lou Berney Five Books
104 One Good Deed David Baldacci She Reads
105 Our Bodies, Their Battlefields: War Through the Lives of Women Christina Lamb Kirkus 2
106 Our Dark Secret Jenny Quintana She Reads
107 Perfect Kill Helen Fields Five Books
108 Perfect Little Children Sophie Hannah Bookpage
109 Piranesi Susanna Clarke NPR
110 Play the Red Queen Juris Jurjevics The Times
111 Precious You Helen Monks Takhar Kirkus
112 Pretty As A Picture Elizabeth Little She Reads
113 Pretty Things: A Novel Janelle Brown Amazon
114 Robert Ludlum’s the Bourne Evolution Brian Freeman Kirkus
115 Saint X Alexis Schaitkin
The Urban List
116 Seven Lies Elizabeth Kay
Publishers Weekly
117 Sisters: A Novel Daisy Johnson NPR
118 Slippery Creatures KJ Charles NPR
119 Smoke and Ashes Abir Mukherjee Five Books
120 Snow John Banville
Waterstones
121 That Time of Year Marie NDiaye ; translated by Jordan Stump Kirkus 2
122 The Aosawa Murders Riku Onda NYPL
123 The Big Book of Espionage Otto Penzler
The Wall Street Journal
124 The Book of Lamps and Banners Elizabeth Hand Bookpage
125 The Bright Lands John Fram Bookpage
126 The Butchers’ Blessing Ruth Gilligan
Barnes & Noble
127 The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne Elsa Hart
Publishers Weekly
128 The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America’s Wildlands Jon Billman Kirkus 2
129 The Coyotes of Carthage Steven Wright She Reads
130 The Distant Dead Heather Young Bookpage
131 The End of October Lawrence Wright
Publishers Weekly
132 The Englishman David Gilman
Financial Times
133 The Familiar Dark Amy Engel
Publishers Weekly
134 The Forger’s Daughter Bradford Morrow
Publishers Weekly
135 The Girl in the Mirror Rose Carlyle NYPL
136 The Half Sister Sandie Jones She Reads
137 The Herd Andrea Bartz
The Urban List
138 The Horizontal Man Helen Eustis Charles Finch (Foreword by)
The Wall Street Journal
139 The Killings at Kingfisher Hill Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
Waterstones
140 The Last Protector Andrew Taylor
Waterstones
141 The Law Of Lines Hye-Young Pun
The Urban List
142 The Less Dead Denise Mina
The Telegraph
143 The Living Dead
Library Journal
144 The Long Call Ann Cleeves
Barnes & Noble
145 The Loop Jeremy Robert Johnson The Lineup
146 The Mulberry Tree Allison Rushby Kirkus 2
147 The Neighbour Fiona Cummins
The Urban List
148 The Order (Gabriel Allon Series) Daniel Silva Amazon
149 The Other Passenger Louise Candlish
Waterstones
150 The Paladin David Ignatius
Financial Times
151 The Postscript Murders Elly Griffiths
Waterstones
152 The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope C. W. Grafton Leslie Klinger (Editor)
The Wall Street Journal
153 The River: A Novel Peter Heller Five Books
154 The Runner Stephen Leather
Financial Times
155 The Sicilian Method Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli
Waterstones
156 The Space Between Worlds Micaiah Johnson NPR
157 The Stranger Simon Conway The Times
158 The Stranger Diaries Elly Griffiths Five Books
159 The Treatment
The Telegraph
160 The Wicked Sister Karen Dionne
Publishers Weekly
161 The Widening Stain W. Bolingbroke Johnson Nicholas A. Basbanes (Introduction by)
The Wall Street Journal
162 The Windsor Knot SJ Bennett
Waterstones
163 The Wives Tarryn Fisher
Goodreads 2
164 They Threw Us Away Daniel Kraus ; illustrated by Rovina Cai Kirkus 2
165 Things in Jars Jess Kidd Amazon
166 This Is My America Kim Johnson NPR
167 This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing Jacqueline Winspear
The Wall Street Journal
168 Three Hours Rosamund Lupton The Times
169 Three Hours in Paris Cara Black
Washington Post
170 Tiny Nightmares Lincoln Michel & Nadxieli Nieto The Lineup
171 Trouble is What I Do Walter Mosley
Washington Post
172 Unspeakable Things Jess Lourey Amazon
173 V2 Robert Harris
Waterstones
174 Vampires Never Get Old, Edited Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker Book Riot 2
175 Walk the Wire David Baldacci Five Books
176 We Need to Do Something Max Booth III The Lineup
177 What You Pay For Claire Askew Five Books
178 Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story Of Loss, Love, And The Hidden Order Of Life Lulu Miller NPR
179 Wobble to Death Peter Lovesey Jeffery Deaver (Foreword by)
The Wall Street Journal
180 Wonderland Zoje Stage Book Riot 2
181 Written in Blood Chris Carter
Waterstones
182 Your House Will Pay Steph Cha
The Telegraph


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



Source Article
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
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