Likewise's profile image

19 of the Creepiest Novels About Serial Killers

5 Books | by Likewise User verified icon

These disturbing novels follow detectives searching for serial killers in a race against time.

Unstable

Unstable

Books

WHEN IT COMES TO KILLING A dead man in a cemetery isn’t news—unless he’s found on top of a grave, with a bullet through his head. The body belongs to Jude Henley, who was supposed to be buried below. Instead, the grave contains the remains of Staci Gale, thought to have run away nearly three decades ago. Then an old VCR tape arrives at the sheriff station, showing Staci before her death—bound and terrified—with a note, claiming to be from the killer’s apprentice . . . PRACTICE Rachel Fisher’s job in cold case files has brought her back to Pike, Wisconsin—where she’ll be working alongside her ex-husband, Zac Evans. As Pike’s interim sheriff, Zac expected a low-key assignment. Instead, he and Rachel are racing to solve serial murders from decades past while a new monster goads them with a chilling promise. Every week there’ll be another old tape—and a fresh victim . . . MAKES PERFECT . . . In this small town a killer walks—twisted, ruthless, determined to continue his master’s work. And unless Rachel and Zac can find a way to get ahead of him, the nightmare will never end. Praise for Don’t Look “Exciting. . . . Once the pieces fall into place, the novel settles into an engaging rhythm.” —Publishers Weekly “Readers will still eagerly turn the pages to see if their suspicions about the killer’s identity are correct.” —Library Journal

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

Books

The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestselling classic, now with a note by author Thomas Harris revealing his inspiration for Hannibal Lecter.A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname—Buffalo Bill—is stalking particular women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the F.B.I. Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, Chief of the Bureau's Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and grisly killer now kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Lecter's insight into the minds of murderers could help track and capture Buffalo Bill.Smart and attractive, Starling is shaken to find herself in a strange, intense relationship with the acutely perceptive Lecter. His cryptic clues—about Buffalo Bill and about her—launch Clarice on a search that every reader will find startling, harrowing, and totally compelling.An ingenious, masterfully written novel, The Silence of the Lambs is a classic of suspense and storytelling.

Notes on an Execution

Notes on an Execution

Books

"A searing portrait of the complicated women caught in the orbit of a serial killer. . . . Compassionate and thought-provoking." –BRIT BENNETT, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half“A profound and staggering experience of empathy that challenges us to confront what it means to be human in our darkest moments. . . . I relished every page of this brilliant and gripping masterpiece."—ASHLEY AUDRAIN, New York Times bestselling author of The PushIn the tradition of Long Bright River and The Mars Room, a gripping and atmospheric work of literary suspense that deconstructs the story of a serial killer on death row, told primarily through the eyes of the women in his life—from the bestselling author of Girl in Snow.Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He knows what he’s done, and now awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls, years ago. But Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood. Through a kaleidoscope of women—a mother, a sister, a homicide detective—we learn the story of Ansel’s life. We meet his mother, Lavender, a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation; Hazel, twin sister to Ansel’s wife, inseparable since birth, forced to watch helplessly as her sister’s relationship threatens to devour them all; and finally, Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, who has devoted herself to bringing bad men to justice but struggles to see her own life clearly. As the clock ticks down, these three women sift through the choices that culminate in tragedy, exploring the rippling fissures that such destruction inevitably leaves in its wake. Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes on an Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it simultaneously unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our system of justice and our cultural obsession with crime stories, asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the psyches of violent men."Provocative, intelligent, thrilling, moving."—PAULA HAWKINS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train"Spellbinding and beautifully written . . .an irresistible, unbearably tense thriller; a poignant, deeply compassionate tale of resilience; and a vital intervention in the way we talk about violent crime." —MEGAN ABBOTT, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnout

The Jigsaw Man

The Jigsaw Man

Books

A serial killer and his copycat are locked in a violent game of cat and mouse. Can DI Angelica Henley stop them before it's too late? On the day she returns to active duty with the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Inspector Angelica Henley is called to a crime scene. Dismembered body parts from two victims have been found by the river. The modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer, who has spent the past two years behind bars. When he learns that someone is co-opting his grisly signature the arrangement of victims limbs in puzzle-piece shapes he decides to take matters into his own hands. As the body count rises, DI Angelica Henley is faced with an unspeakable new threat. Can she apprehend the copycat killer before Olivier finds a way to get to him first? Or will she herself become the next victim?

A Tiny Upward Shove

A Tiny Upward Shove

Books

“Addictive and headlong” (Lauren Groff), A Tiny Upward Shove is inspired by Melissa Chadburn's Filipino heritage and its folklore, as it traces the too-short life of a young, cast-off woman transformed by death into an agent of justice—or mercy. "My grandmother, sitting at her doily-covered table, marmalade on her cheek, explained that the aswang is all the evil bad things that a town or a society would want to deny—eventually it has to come out, has to be personified into something or the truth will reveal itself." Marina Salles’s life does not end the day she wakes up dead. Instead, in the course of a moment, she is transformed into the stuff of myth, the stuff of her grandmother's old Filipino stories—an aswang. She spent her life on the margins, knowing very little about her own life, let alone the lives of others; she was shot like a pinball through a childhood of loss, a veteran of Child Protective Services and a survivor, but always reacting, watching from a distance. Death brings her into the hearts and minds of those she has known—even her killer—as she is able to access their memories and to see anew the meaning of her own. In the course of these pages she traces back through her life, finally able to see what led these lost souls to this crushingly inevitable conclusion. In A Tiny Upward Shove, the debut novelist Melissa Chadburn charts the heartbreaking journeys of two of society’s cast-offs as they find their way to each other and their roles as criminal and victim. What does it mean to be on the brink? When are those moments that change not only our lives but our very selves? And how, in this impossible world, can we rouse ourselves toward mercy?

Scroll to top