10 Gripping Stand-Alone Mystery Novels

A great mystery novel is more than entertaining, it's enthralling. It gets you hooked early on and keeps you on the edge of your seat until all of the pieces are put together. If you love this exciting genre and are looking for a gripping book, check out the ten stand-alone mystery novels we've gathered here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Gripping Stand-Alone Mystery Novels

Title Author More by the Author
1. Defending Jacob William Landay The Strangler
2. Blame Jeff Abbott Adrenaline
3. Watch Me Disappear Janelle Brown This Is Where We Live
4. Watermelon Snow William A. Liggett
5. Deception Wears Many Faces Maggie James After She's Gone
6. Depth of Lies E.C. Diskin Broken Grace
7. Dead Letters Caite Dolan-Leach We Went to the Woods
8. The Last Mrs. Parrish Liv Constantine The Last Time I Saw You
9. Point of Control L.J. Sellers The Sex Club
10. The Perfect Mother Aimee Molloy However Long the Night

The History of the Mystery Genre

Some of the world's oldest known stories used the same elements that make modern mysteries so enticing. Homer's famous epic poem The Odyssey is something of a prototype of the genre. The hero's life is in constant danger as he uses his cunning to solve problems and overcome his enemies. But the genre isn't exclusive to Western culture. One of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights (commonly known as Arabian Nights) is considered to be the oldest known murder mystery. This tale, The Three Apples, is full of plot twists and revolves around a mysterious death. Centuries later, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle popularized the genre with his stories about the now-famous Sherlock Holmes. Eventually, of course, mystery made its way from the pages of books to the big screen. Some of the most well-known of these movies were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who worked on several classics throughout his career, including Psycho, Vertigo, and Rear Window.

10 Fun & Exciting Mystery Movies

  1. Clue (1985)
  2. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
  3. Chinatown (1974)
  4. Dial M for Murder (1954)
  5. Minority Report (2002)
  6. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
  7. Se7en (1995)
  8. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  9. The Game (1997)
  10. Gone Girl (2014)

The History of Detective Fiction

In Depth

If you know all about MacGuffins, have a nose for red herrings, and won't rest until you get to the bottom of a perplexing mystery, you're in luck; there's no shortage of amazing novels that will have you guessing until the very last page. Whether you love a good whodunit or you're in the market for a sophisticated story of intrigue, here are, in no particular order, some of the best mysteries to curl up with on a cold, dark night.

At #1, we have William Landay's "Defending Jacob," a story of family loyalty and heartbreaking betrayal. When a brutal murder takes place in Andy Barber's small Massachusetts town, the assistant A.D. has to get to work to find out who the culprit is. But when his 14-year-old son Jacob becomes the prime suspect, he finds out just how far he'll go to defend his own flesh and blood, even if he does have his doubts. This fast-paced story doesn't let up until the very last page, making it perfect for readers who love being on the edge of their seats.

In the #2 spot is "Blame" by Jeff Abbott, the mysterious tale of a woman whose amnesia won't let her seek the answers she craves. When teenager Jane Norton gets into a car crash that robs her of her memory and kills her friend David, she doesn't know where to turn. With her whole town blaming her for the accident, Jane knows that she can't trust anyone in her community. But can she trust herself to remember the details of an accident she'd prefer to forget? This gripping read deftly mixes action with psychological twists and turns for a thrilling read.

But can she trust herself to remember the details of an accident she'd prefer to forget?

At #3, we find Janelle Brown's tantalizing "Watch Me Disappear." When Olive's mother disappears during a wilderness hike, she doesn't know where to turn. As her father descends into alcoholism, Olive must take it upon herself to find out what really happened on that trail, and who her mother really was. For fans of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette," this ghostly tale provides a perfect follow-up read.

For #4, we have "Watermelon Snow" by William A. Liggett. When Doctors Kate Landry and Grant Poole first find themselves together in the heart of Washington's quickly-melting Blue Glacier, they don't trust each other. But when things go wrong during their mission, they have to fight against the treacherous wilderness to make it out alive.

#5 brings us to Maggie James' "Deception Wears Many Faces." Sisters Lyddie and Ellie are on the hunt for a con artist. After Ellie was taken advantage of by a man who wiped out her bank account and ghosted her, she tried to kill herself. Desperate to bring the man to justice, Lyddie vows to find her sister's ex and make him pay. But can she outwit a true sociopath, or will she end up getting sucked into his dangerous world?

After Ellie was taken advantage of by a man who wiped out her bank account and ghosted her, she tried to kill herself.

For #6, we have "Depth of Lies" by E.C. Diskin. A community is shaken up when a suburban mom ends up dead of an overdose in her bathtub. When the victim's best friend Kat hears the news, she knows something's afoot, and she can't let it rest. As Kat digs deeper into the mystery of her friend's death, she ends up with more hard truths than she bargained for. With a fantastic twist ending and breakneck pacing, this read will have you stopping to catch your breath after each dramatic turn.

Coming in at #7 is Caite Dolan-Leach's "Dead Letters." Ava Antipova ran away from her dysfunctional, toxic family to live out a new life in Paris. But when news of the death of her destructive twin sister reaches her, she knows she has to return to the site of all her past mistakes. Ava's search for her sister is guided only by a series of letters, seemingly written from beyond the grave.

#8 brings us Liv Constantine's "The Last Mrs. Parrish." Amber Patterson's life is lacking. Her solution? Try to steal someone else's. The someone happens to be the beautiful Daphne Parrish with her flawless marriage and photoshop-perfect life. Amber ingratiates herself into the Parrish household, but will she end up getting more than she bargained for?

Amber ingratiates herself into the Parrish household, but will she end up getting more than she bargained for?

For #9, we have "Point of Control" by L.J. Sellers. Set against a backdrop of big tech and the CEOs that would kill to keep their companies afloat, this tale centers on FBI agent Andra Bailey, a woman who identifies as a high-functioning sociopath. When Bailey uncovers a pattern in a string of high-profile disappearances in the tech world, she's quick to get to the bottom of the story. But with desperate, dangerous men standing between her and the truth, will Bailey be able to solve the mystery and stay alive?

Finally, at #10, we find Aimee Molloy's "The Perfect Mother." The May Mothers are a group of first-time parents in Brooklyn. Through a strong bond forged by love and support, they help each other adjust to the highs and lows of motherhood. But when one of the babies goes missing, the mothers have to band together to do what the police couldn't: bring the child back home. A stunning story about trust, lies, and unbreakable bonds, this work ranks with "Rosemary's Baby" for bone-chilling twists and turns.