Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Mysteries With Endings You Won’t See Coming

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Michelle Regalado

Staff Writer

Michelle Regalado is a New York-based digital writer and editor. When she's not hunting down her next must-read book (recommendations are welcome!) or writing about all things pop culture, you can probably find her drinking iced coffee and hanging out with her dog, Lola. Follow her on Twitter: @mar8289

There’s nothing better than getting caught up in a great mystery novel — except for maybe being completely blown away by its ending. While the amateur sleuth in you might enjoy figuring out the perpetrator of a whodunit early, closing out a suspense-packed story is so much more satisfying when you truly can’t predict what’s coming. The following books accomplish just that, delivering plenty of unpredictable twists and turns. 

With shocking storylines and surprise endings, these engrossing mysteries will keep you on your toes every step of the way. Whether you’re looking for a classic private eye story or a recently released buzzy thriller, there are plenty of unique mysteries to choose from on this list that are unlike anything you’ve read before. So put on your best detective hat and get ready to flex your clue-deciphering skills. Your TBR list is about to be stacked with a bunch of compelling mystery novels that will delight you, shock you, and stay on your mind long after you finish the final page. 

So if you’re looking for mysteries with major plot twists that you definitely won’t see coming, we’ve got you covered — check out ten of the best options, ahead. 

cover of Yesterday: A Novel by Felicia Yap

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

In Yap’s Yesterday, society is divided not by wealth, but by memories. The world is split into two groups: the majority is known as the Monos, who can only hold up to a day’s worth of memories, and the elite class is known as the Duos, who can remember up to two days of memories. When a woman’s body is found in a river, the detective must race against time to find the killer before his memory is erased. Told from four different perspectives, this sci-fi mystery thriller delivers a wholly original story that will keep you hooked. 

cover of The Maidens

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The bestselling author of The Silent Patient delivers another intriguing and suspenseful tale with his 2020 novel, The Maidens. Mixing Greek mythology with psychological suspense, this captivating thriller centers on a charismatic professor at Cambridge University who gets enmeshed in a series of murders on campus. The book has already been optioned for a TV series adaptation. 

cover of We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This 2014 YA novel will appeal to mystery lovers of any age. The book follows Cadence and her three cousins, known as the “Liars,” who spend every summer with their families gathered on a private island. When she returns to the usual vacation spot at 17 years old, everything is different — only she can’t remember exactly why. You’ll find it nearly impossible to wrench yourself away from the compelling story that unspools as Cadence’s memories slowly start to resurface.

The cover of the good son

The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong

Having suffered from seizures his whole life, 26-year-old Yu-jin often has issues remembering events from the past. His memory problems become even more troublesome the morning he wakes up to find the body of his mother lying at the bottom of the stairs — with no idea of how she got there or what happened to her.

With only the faint recollection of his mother calling his name, Yu-jin is left struggling with the question: Could he have killed her? The dark truth surfaces during a chilling three-day search for answers. Buckle up, because Jeong’s tale is a twisty ride.

the cover of the sanatorium

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

After taking time off from her job as a detective, Elin has no excuse not to attend her estranged brother’s engagement party at a sanatorium-turned-luxury hotel, Le Sommet. When she arrives in the middle of a storm, Elin is already feeling tense and uneasy. But things go from bad to worse when it’s discovered that the bride-to-be is missing the next morning. As time goes on and she remains missing, the severe weather forces the hotel to close off, guests begin to panic, and Elin is forced to take action before someone else disappears. 

the cover of I let you go

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

Mackintosh’s 2014 debut is an accomplished thriller that follows the intersecting stories of a woman haunted by the death of her child as she contends with a painful past and a pair of detectives as they launch an investigation into the case of a 5-year-old boy killed by a hit-and-run.

Told through varying points of views, I Let You Go builds suspense gradually so that every new bombshell along the way feels completely unexpected. 

cover of out by natsuo kirino

Out by Natsuo Kirino

This mystery thriller, released in 1997 and translated into English in 2004, centers on a young mother who strangles her abusive husband while working a night shift at a Tokyo box lunch company and turns to her co-workers for help concealing the crime. The novel won the 51st Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

the cover of language of secrets

The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan 

Detective Esa Khattak is the head of Canada’s Community Policing Section, which focuses on minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. After falling under scrutiny for his last case, Khattak is surprised when INSET, Canada’s federal intelligence agency, calls him in to investigate another controversial case: the murder of an informant deeply embedded in the local terrorist cell. 

Cover of the murder of roger ackroyd cover

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

In the village of King’s Abbot, a widow’s sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband and was being blackmailed while carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The next day, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study — but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow’s blackmailer. With plenty of potential suspects in the village, it’s up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot to uncover the real killer. Thanks to its famed innovative twist ending, this book is widely considered one of the most influential mysteries ever written. 

the cover of The Plot, large font with the outline of a grave plot visible in the letters

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

In The Plot, A washed-up writer working as a professor steals a promising manuscript from one of his MFA students after he dies and tries to pass the masterpiece off as his own. But someone knows he didn’t write the novel himself, and it’s not long before they try to get even.

For more suspense-packed novels, check out the best mystery books of all time, as well as some of the best new mystery releases of 2022.