Looking for modern Gothic mystery novels to read this year?
We have an amazing selection of Gothic mysteries and thrillers just waiting to make it into the right hands! Scary. Haunting. Chilling. These horror mystery books are really atmospheric, engaging and will keep you staying up late. They’re not merely the gripping Gothic tales but, at their best, they are riveting tales of heart-rending romance, nail-biting suspense, and spine-tingling terror.
They are stories that penetrate the deepest and darkest areas of human consciousness, presenting complex protagonists struggling with conflicting conscious and subconscious desires. They delve into the psychological and uncanny, exploring what most haunts us at a primal level, and revealing how horror and love can be two sides of the same coin.
I’m a big fan of modern gothic mystery novels, and this article is primarily for those who are into this genre. Here are some of the great modern Gothic mystery novels that I hope will be riveting and unputdownable for everyone.
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The Ultimate List of Best Modern Gothic Mystery Novels
Our ultimate list of best modern Gothic mystery novels features utterly engrossing, suspenseful, and thrilling reads with characters who will get inside your heart and haunt you, even when you put down the book. Enjoy!
1. Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
A deliciously wicked modern gothic mystery with all the secrets, Reckless Girls is perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware. Set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, the story unfolds through multiple POVs. Also, there are many relationships, betrayals, and mayhem to unpack in this one. Meroe Island is beautiful, but has a dark past. When six travelers arrive to enjoy paradise, they know the island’s history… but they don’t know each other’s.
A locked room mystery in the form of a deserted island, the book reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but with a different spin.
2. The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose
If you love modern gothic mystery novels, The Maid by Nita Prose is a big heads-up with its unique mysterious characters, a huge amount of heart, a touch of humor, and a main character you’ll adore. The book follows Molly Gray, a maid at the Grand Regency hotel, who’s otherness sets her apart from those around her. When she finds herself in the middle of a murder, she is forced into the spotlight and her life is tipped upside down.
The fact that not everything is as it seems at the Grand Regency hotel will make you want to put on your Sherlock cap in equal measure.
3. The Other Family by Wendy Corsi Staub
If you’re into a family drama, different POV’s and a whole lot of gothic mystery, The Other Family is for you! A family has recently made a cross country move from California to Brooklyn. But their excitement is short lived when they find out their home is the place where a grisly triple homicide claimed a family 25 years ago. As they try to adjust to their new surroundings, they finds it increasingly difficult to trust those around them, as the killer from 25 years ago seems to have unfinished business.
One of the best modern gothic mystery novels, the book kept me engaged the entire time, really not wanting to put it down.
4. Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
An atmospheric gothic tale full of mystery and romance, Anatomy: A Love Story is dynamic and gender role defying, plus set in Scotland. It is about an ambitious young woman fighting against societal restrictions to become a surgeon, a man who survives by stealing dead bodies to sell to the medical school, and the buried secrets they must uncover together. You’ll definitely love following Hazel through her journey to become a surgeon—even if it means dressing up as a man to go to school.
A delicious mix of historical fiction, gripping gothic mystery, forbidden romance, with a dash of fantasy and horror.
5. Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
From debut author Kit Mayquist, Tripping Arcadia is a propulsive modern Gothic mystery with all the grandeur of The Great Gatsby. The story follows a young woman as she recounts her role in the death of her billionaire employer through a series of poisons at Gatsby-esque parties in 21st century Boston, while unraveling the mystery of his drunken, poetic heir’s illness, and battling growing feelings for his disgraced daughter.
Featuring all the lies, secrets, and darkness that opulence can hide, and also an unforgettable protagonist, it’s a perfect read for fans of Mexican Gothic.
6. A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
Shea Ernshaw’s debut into adult reading, A History of Wild Places is perfectly dark, mysterious and twisty. A terrifying and timely book, it is set around a Commune where two outsiders have disappeared. Maggie, an author of dark fairytales, walks into the woods one day and never returns. Travis, known for his strange ability to track missing people, sets out to find her and soon disappears himself. The author masterfully unravels this mystery through a nested story, as Maggie’s dark series becomes more truth than folklore.
Must read it, if you haven’t yet. I’m sure you’ll love this beautiful, haunting, genre bending book!
7. Down A Dark River by Karen Odden
An intriguing historical mystery crime fiction with gripping gothic vibes, Down A Dark River draws you into the world of London in 1878. This gothic mystery follows Inspector Michael Corravan as he investigates a string of gruesome murders, involving merely women, that has rocked Victorian London’s upper crust. Who is targeting these women, and why? Now it’s up to Inspector Michael Corravan and his young co-worker to find out!
If you love Victorian England, enjoy a well developed plot, unexpected twists and turns, with some history, this is certainly a must-read gothic mystery for you!
8. The Shadowing by Rhiannon Ward
One of the gripping modern gothic mystery novels, The Shadowing is perfect for fans of The Quickening, The Shape of Darkness and The Foundling. Hester leaves home alone for the first time to undertake a journey to the Nottinghamshire workhouse where her sister died. She is trying to find out how her sister ended up in such a place after her elopement, and how she died. And, of course, the truth of what she uncovers is even more horrible and sinister than she could have possibly imagined.
An absolutely beautiful book, both from the stunning Autumnal cover to the story within!
9. The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton
A wonderful debut novel for Australian author Karen Manton, The Curlew’s Eye is one of hauntingly atmospheric modern gothic mystery novels. Set on an isolated Northern Territory property, we follow Greta, Joel and their three children. Greta and Joel are travelers and never settle in one place until Joel gets an offer to return to his childhood home. An abandoned farm house is awaiting many secrets to be exposed culminating in an eerie and devastating conclusion.
A book of haunting mystery and secrets! It’s compelling and descriptive prose takes you deep into a tropical and ancient land with ghosts of the past.
10. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
A thrilling and engaging read, Rock Paper Scissors is full of twists and suspenseful events. The story follows a couple struggling with their marriage. Things have been wrong with Adam and Amelia Wright for a long time. Now they are on a weekend trip to Scotland in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. As soon as they arrive, things seem strange and just keep getting stranger. Someone lured the pair to this remote spot for their own ends, and not everyone will make it home!
The author does a great job building tension and bringing the cold, creepy setting to life. It’s one of the most enjoyable, atmospheric modern gothic mystery novels that I think many thriller fans will enjoy!
11. The Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Slasher movies were all the rage in the ’80s, bringing us the concept of a Final Girl—the one woman still alive at the end of a murderous rampage at the hands of some archetypal villain. Set in the present day, the heroines of The Final Girls Support Group are all real life final girls, and have remained connected through their very specific therapy group. When one of the group members goes missing, the other women fear they are being targeted again, kicking off a thrilling quest for survival, truth and justice.
Absolutely recommended for lovers of fun horror, gothic mystery, final girls, slashers, Grady Hendrix, wild rides, and strong female characters!
12. On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright
Mysterious and hauntingly gothic, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor unfolds a plot that twists you every way but loose. It’s got suspense, intrigue, history, romance, and even ghosts! The story gracefully slips between two time periods—1885 with Adria Fontaine and present day with Kailey Gibson. As the sinister mysteries of Foxglove Manor haunt two women separated by time, they will have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons—including their own.
A very compelling read, featuring unusual history, gothic atmosphere and tension with memorable characters. If you enjoy modern gothic mystery novels with lush writing that will give you chills, I definitely recommend checking this one out!
13. The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
Laura Purcell’s The Shape of Darkness is a fantastically creepy Victorian gothic horror with murder mystery elements. The story follows Agnes, an ailing silhouette artist attempting to earn a living creating silhouettes in mid nineteenth century Bath. But suddenly, one by one, her recent customers become victims of murder. And she is desperately seeking to discover: why is the killer seemingly targeting her business? Beautifully written and overflowing with an oppressive, suffocating gothic atmosphere, this book manages to be everything I love about this genre.
If you love twisty historical gothic mysteries with multiple POVs and timelines, do not hesitate to pick this one up!
14. Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
Most compelling and thrilling, Local Woman Missing will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story begins by showing us the broader picture and ends by pin pointing to one singular aspect. One evening Shelby goes out for a run and never returns. Shortly after she goes missing, another woman in her neighborhood goes missing too. Are Shelby and Meredith’s cases connected? And what about Meredith’s daughter, Delilah, who goes missing too? Then, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly reappears with hidden secrets of the past.
If you’re looking for an amazing gothic mystery with a small town murder, family drama and an unpredictable twist, this is the perfect book for you!
15. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
If you only have time to read one gothic mystery book, you should definitely make it The Last House On Needless Street. The book is unique, creepy and slightly disturbing. The book features an odd, alcoholic man, his religious cat and his daughter, who isn’t allowed out of the house. They live in a boarded up, crumbling house that no one dares go near. Then a new neighbor moves in across from Ted’s house. And she’s on a mission to find out what really happened to her missing little sister. The secrets that are boarded up in Ted’s house threaten to come to light.
Ward has told an incredible story, with many twists and turns. This is unlike anything I have ever read regarding modern gothic novels.
Read On, Readers!
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