11 September Mystery & Thriller Books To Read

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Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

I know most of September is considered summer since technically the summer season ends on September 22 — and I am 100% all in for as many pool months as possible — but my brain has always equated it with the start of fall. Maybe because of the start of school? Who knows. But I feel like this line where summer meets fall needs a fresh new stack of mystery and thriller books (to be fair I think everything and every time needs a fresh new stack of books). And I’m here to tell you about some of the new releases this month.

It does feel like a quieter month of releases and there are very limited releases by authors of color in September which *glares at publishing, JCO, and Patterson.

I did round up some excellent releases and plenty of different sub-genres, tones, and reads for all kinds of mystery readers. I have a legal thriller that takes on a really emotional case, a librarian lead cozy mystery, a short story collection with a great contributor list, a decades old unsolved mystery, a group of lady assassins, a fictional serial killer, a grieving sister interviewing everyone present at her brother’s murder, the most recent Thursday Murder Club, and more!

cover image for Next of Kin

Next Of Kin by Kia Abdullah

For fans of legal thrillers that take on really tough cases. The legal court case of this book is a negligent manslaughter charge: Leila Syed was meant to drop her nephew off at daycare but due to a distracting and urgent phone call from work, she ends up leaving him in her car on the hottest day of the year.

cover image of South Central Noir

South Central Noir (Akashic Noir Series) edited Gary Phillips

Short story collections are great when you want to do reading where you can dive in and out as necessary or even when you want to find new authors. Fourteen stories bring to life South Central L.A. — from some of the best crime writers like Steph Cha, Naomi Hirahara, and Tananarive Due.

cover image for Murder Out of Character

Murder Out of Character (Peach Coast Library Mystery #2) by Olivia Matthews

For cozy mystery fans who like librarian leads! Marcella (Marvie) Harris moved from Brooklyn to Georgia to work in a library at the start of the series. Now, while still getting used to small town life in Peach Coast, she comes across a list of names at a library event, including a suspected murder victim’s name. Being a cozy mystery, the list is obviously a “these peeps are in danger!” list and Marvie better get to solving who is behind it and why… If you’d like to start at the beginning pick up Murder by Page One.

cover image for All That's Left Unsaid

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

I’ve seen people say this is for fans of Celeste Ng and Steph Cha, so SOLD and SOLD. Ky Tran lives with the guilt of telling her parents to let her brother Denny go out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends because he ends up murdered. Even though the restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta had a dozen people in it when Denny was murdered, they all claim to have seen nothing. Ky won’t accept this and decides to find each witness herself to speak to them to find out what really happened that night.

cover of Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn, showing an red graphic of a hand wearing a dainty white bracelet while holding a black knife

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

If you want a fun and smart assassin book, this is one of my favorite reads of the year. Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie were recruited in the ’70s by an organization that takes out dangerous and powerful people around the world. Now they’re in their 60s and discover that they may not get to choose between retirement or continuing as assassins because there is a hit out on them. The four women are trained killers and absolutely not going down without a fight… And if you’re not already reading Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series, get on that!

cover image for Creep

Creep: A Love Story by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Holy Family High School has a popular couple: Laney Villanueva and Nico Fiore. Rafi is obsessed with them. She wants to be their friend. She wants to feel loved and accepted. And so she watches them. Stalks them. Until slowly they start to welcome her, and her obsession only grows…

cover image of The Killing Code

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

For fans of fictional serial killers and historical mysteries! Kit Sutherland is recruited as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall during WWII when she ends up hunting for a murderer. It appears that government girls are being brutally murdered, so Kit teams up with fellow codebreakers to figure out what is going on and who is responsible…

Bonus: I loved Marney’s last crime book None Shall Sleep.

cover image for I'm the Girl

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers

For Sadie fans, this time a ripped-from-the-headlines story. Just note that while Sadie kept the graphic things off the page, I’m the Girl does not. Sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis is obsessed with becoming an Aspera girl. Her mother worked at the members-only resort and after once making a comment that Georgia couldn’t, it’s all she’s ever wanted to do — kids, am I right? Now that her mother has died, her older brother is in charge of her. Her life really takes an even darker turn when she discovers the body of a teen girl. She’s then hit by a car. As she starts trying to solve the murder, she actually gets one step closer to becoming an Aspera girl because the resort hires her for a different job… This book is just an ominous feeling layered on top of Georgia’s obsession — it’s hard to watch and harder to put down.

cover image for Broken Summer

Broken Summer by J.M. Lee, An Seon Jae (Translator)

Here’s a character-driven translated mystery! Artist Lee Hanjo wakes up the day after his 43rd birthday to find his wife missing and in her place a novel she’s written. The novel is about an artist with questionable morals and sure sounds a lot like Lee Hanjo…

cover image for The Bullet That Missed

The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3) by Richard Osman

Thursday Murder Club fans will be delighted that the third book is now available. A group of septuagenarians who meet to discuss murder cases while living in a retirement community have their plates full this time with not one murder to solve, but two… that are a decade apart. If you want to start at the beginning, pick up The Thursday Murder Club.

cover image for Back to the Garden

Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King

For Laurie R. King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) fans and decades old unsolved murder mysteries. In California. the Gardener Estate is going through restorations when a human skull is found… Inspector Raquel Laing has her work cut out for her being that the estate was a counterculture commune 50 years ago and it appears a lot of people disappeared when the commune fell apart.

Need more crime? We absolutely have you covered with tons of posts for every type of mystery and thriller reader.