Like scary stuff? Or maybe you think you want to try it out? Here’s a few books to get you started!
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch is the first I will recommend. It’s scary, but not too scary. Originally written in German, this book takes place in a small Bavarian town in the mid-1600s. A boy, near death, is pulled from a river by local hangman Jakob Kuisl and is found to have the symbol of Venus on his back. The panicked people of the town are convinced that the murderer must be practicing witchcraft and that the town’s midwife is obviously to blame. Kuisl is forced to arrest the midwife, whom he his sure is innocent, and only has a short amount of time before he will have to be the one to execute her unless proof of a different killer is found. As Kuisl, his daughter, and the local physician’s son race against the clock to solve a murder mystery, they find that the true killers may be bewitched by a different type of dark magic: greed.
Next is Mistress of the Art of Death by Diana Norman (pen name Ariana Franklin). This story is very similar to The Hangman’s Daughter but is much more suspenseful and violent (mature readers only, please!). Adelia Aguilar, an Italian educated doctor who specializes in autopsies, is hired by the King of England to join a Jewish knight and a Muslim assistant to prove that a series of child murders in Medieval-era Cambridge are not the acts of the Jewish residents of the town. Adelia faces challenge after challenge as a female doctor who must keep her tasks and theories under wraps. As Adelia and her companions investigate the killings, they find that the King has a deeper connection to the deaths than just a threatened economy and that the murderer is highly aware of the investigation against him.
Finally, American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett. This is completely and totally different from the other two books I have recommended as it is a thriller, but also definitely science fiction, and set in modern times. In the small town of Wink, New Mexico, something strange is happening. Having always been the perfect, suburban town just a little too far off the map, Wink does not draw much attention. But now that Texas native Mona Bright has inherited her mother’s home (who committed suicide when Mona was a child) she finds that not everything is as it seems in Wink. Using her detective skills, Mona starts to uncover the town’s secrets and realizes that something big is happening. Soon. And she is in the middle of it. Very well written and wonderfully suspenseful, American Elsewhere is a good read for any sci-fi fan who wants something just a little spookier.
Bonus title: If you’d like to take it a step further, another great sci-fi/thriller novel is The Taking by Dean Koontz.