Mysteries and Thrillers

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

QB of the varsity football team. Passing grades in all his classes. Dating the hottest—and smartest—girl at school. Things in Cody’s world seem to be going pretty well. Until, that is, his girlfriend, Clea, is sent off to boarding school, and a torn ACL ends his high school football career. But the worst is yet to come. Clea, now his ex, has disappeared from her boarding school in Vermont, and the only clue is a letter she sent to Cody the morning of her disappearance. With that as his guide, Cody sets out to find out what happened. Once in Vermont, he unearths the town’s secrets—and finds out that football isn’t the only thing he’s good at.

 

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

Ingrid is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at least her shoes are. And getting them back will mean getting tangled up in a murder investigation as complicated as the those solved by her idol, Sherlock Holmes. With soccer practice, schoolwork, and the lead role in her town’s production of Alice in Wonderland, Ingrid is swamped. But as things in Echo Falls keep getting curiouser and curiouser, Ingrid realizes she must solve the murder on her own – before it’s too late! (M)

 

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal. (M)

 

 

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil

It all began with The Scream. And ended with…well, if we told you that, it wouldn’t be a mystery! But in between The Scream and The Very Surprising Ending, three friends find themselves on a scavenger hunt set up for a girl they never met, in search of a legendary ring reputed to grant wishes. (M)

Top

 

You by Charles Benoit

You’re just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can’t be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place? There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them? Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late? Think fast, Kyle. Time’s running out. How did this happen? (S)

 

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

When Evie’s father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him…until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two. (S)

 

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

When best friends Chris and Win go on a cross country bicycle trek the summer after graduating from high school, only one returns. Now Chris is under investigation by the FBI, who want to know what happened to Win. But how can Chris answer their questions when he doesn’t know himself? (S)

 

Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

When Rose was twelve, her mother and stepfather went out for dinner and never came back. Now seventeen, she lives with her grandmother and goes to school in London. She’s always wondered about her stepbrother, Joshua, whom she only lived with briefly and who was also relocated after their parents’ disappearance. When Rose and Joshua meet again, they find they have much in common, including a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance…and a mutual attraction to each other. But when Rose witnesses the murders of not one but two of her classmates, she must uncover who is behind these violent crimes. And when she and Joshua discover that a much larger conspiracy is underway, both of their lives will be in danger. (M, S)

 

Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

When Fletcher Moon, the youngest detective in the world, is framed for a crime he did not commit, he must team up with the unlikeliest of allies, run from the authorities, and solve the case within twelve hours to clear his name. (M)

Top

 

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

First Jack Fountain’s mother dies of cancer after postponing treatment so her baby, Tris, could be born. Then his father is run over after two-year-old Tris accidentally moves the parking brake. Shortly after their father’s death, Jack’s sisters bail—Smithy to boarding school and Madison to her godparents’ home. But Jack stays at home to watch over Tris, knowing that “Aunt” Cheryl, now ensconced in the family home, is hardly a mother figure. She then proves it by selling the Fountains’ tragic story as a reality TV show. On their father’s birthday, the girls are drawn home, and the siblings must put aside their hostilities to salvage their family and save their baby brother. (M, S)

 

Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney

Missy and her cousin Claire are best friends who finish each other’s sentences and practically read each other’s minds. It’s an eerie connection—so eerie that Missy has questions she wants to put to her parents. But she’s afraid to ask. So she decides to use a school project about scientific hoaxes to try to uncover the answers. She enlists Claire to help. As part of the project the girls perform a dramatic scene that is captured on video at school. After the video is posted on YouTube, Missy and Claire realize that they’ve opened Pandora’s box and much more than they ever imagined has come out. Not only are their identities called into question, but so is the future of everyone involved. (M, S)

 

Payback Time by Carl Deuker

Through the eyes of a distinctly non-athletic protagonist—a fat high school journalist named Mitch—veteran sports novelist Deuker reveals the surprising truth behind a mysterious football player named Angel. When Angel shows up Lincoln High, he seems to have no past—or at least not one he is willing to discuss. Though Mitch gets a glimpse of Angel’s incredible talent off the field, Angel rarely allows himself to shine on the field. Is he an undercover cop, wonders Mitch? Or an ineligible player? In pursuit of a killer story, Mitch decides to find out just who this player is and what he’s done. In the end, the truth surprises everyone. (S)

 

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder. (S)

Top

 

Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan

Seventeen-year-old April finds her comfortable life changed forever when death threats to her father, a witness in a federal case, force her family to go into hiding under assumed names and flee the pursuit of a hired killer. (M, S)

 

 

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place. But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers an antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”. Now Lo can’t get the murder out of her mind. As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined – a world, she’ll discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death. (S)

 

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery by John Feinstein

After winning a basketball reporting contest, eighth graders Stevie and Susan Carol are sent to cover the Final Four tournament, where they discover that a talented player is being blackmailed into throwing the final game. (M)

 

 

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

On the payroll as an assistant to her coroner father, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney uses her knowledge of forensic medicine to catch the killer of a friend while putting herself in terrible danger. (M, S)

 

 

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford

Christopher just needed a job to kill time the summer after high school graduation. He didn’t expect it to be in the morgue. Or that he would accidentally discover a murder cover-up. Or that his discovery would lead him to a full-blown investigation involving bribery, kidnappings, more murders . . . and his best friend. (S)

Top

 

Dark Song by Gail Giles

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he’ll stop at nothing – even using his guns – to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them? (S)

 

Chasing the Jaguar by Michele Dominguez Greene

After having unsettling dreams about the kidnapped daughter of her mother’s employer, fifteen-year-old Martika learns that she is a descendant of a long line of curanderas – Mayan medicine women with special powers. (M, S)

 

 

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When a diphtheria epidemic hits her 1840 village, thirteen-year-old Jessie discovers it is actually a 1996 tourist site under unseen observation by heartless scientists, and it’s up to Jessie to escape the village and save the lives of the dying children. (M)

 

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

When Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, while at an elite party, Scarlett had her first kiss with her crush Dan McAndrew, only to watch him die in her arms afterward. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed. (M, S)

Top

 

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is. (S)

 

Shock Point by April Henry

Fifteen-year-old Cassie Streng is determined to expose her stepfather after learning that he is giving a dangerous experimental drug to his teenaged psychiatric patients, but he sends her to a boot camp for troubled teens in Mexico in order to keep her quiet. (S)

 

Silverfin (Young Bond) by Charlie Higson

Thirteen year-old James Bond cannot wait to get away from his stuffy boarding school, and visit his aunt and uncle in Scotland. Upon arriving, he learns that a local boy, Alfie Kelly, has gone missing. When James teams up with the boy’s cousin Red to investigate the disappearance, the clues lead them to the castle of Lord Hellebore, a madman with a thirst for power. And what James discovers in the dark basement of Hellebore’s estate will change his life forever. (M, S)

 

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

While attempting to solve the mystery of a stolen jewel, Seikei, a merchant’s son who longs to be a samurai, joins a group of kabuki actors in eighteenth-century Japan. (M, S)

Top

 

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle’s dangerous work for Britain’s intelligence agency, MI6. (M)

 

 

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Meet Jasmine, forensic supersleuth, aspiring Model Daughter, and friend to animals. One second she’s trying to enjoy her Vegas Vacation, the next she’s tangled up in an outrageous adventure and has to outwit a crazed killer before he ends ten lives, one of them her own. (M, S)

 

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to? (S)

 

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered an education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? (M, S)

Top

 

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say. But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, “Take Your Son to Work Day” was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could – from the criminals’ point of view. And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again. In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret – could he be more like his father than anyone knows? (S)

 

Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison

When someone steals her purse – the one with gorgeous Alfy Romero’s phone number in it – and her identity, high-school junior and reluctant girl sleuth Lulu Dark investigates. (M, S)

 

 

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle…at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable… (S)

 
Traitor by Andy McNab

All his life Danny Watts has dreamed of becoming a soldier. But there’s a problem: The grandfather he’s never met, army hero Fergus Watts, was a notorious traitor, and now family history is keeping Danny out of Officer’s Training school. Danny is determined to track Fergus down. But how can he find a man trained to avoid capture, an expert at surveillance and covert operations? (M, S)

 

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

Duncan works the lost-and-found in the Toronto subway system. One day he finds the diary of someone who is stalking women, preparing to kill them. When the police don’t take him seriously, Duncan sets out to stop the wannabe serial killer on his own. (S)

Top

 

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kerstin Miller

Life will never be the same for Ananka Fishbein after she ventures into an enormous sinkhole near her New York City apartment. A million rats, delinquent Girl Scouts out for revenge, and a secret city below the streets of Manhattan combine in this remarkable novel about a darker side of New York City you have only just begun to know about… (M, S)

 

The Boxer and the Spy by Robert B. Parker

When a shy high school student’s body is found washed up on the shore of a quiet beach town—an apparent suicide—Terry Novak doesn’t know what to think. He decides to do some investigating with the help of his best friend, Abby. Before long, they learn that asking questions puts them in grave danger. Fortunately, Terry has been learning about fighting, thanks to a retired boxer, who teaches him to use his head and keep his feet set beneath him—lessons Terry takes to heart in more ways than one. (M, S)

 

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast. (S)

 

 

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

In search of clues to the mystery of her father’s death, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries – and realizes that she herself is the key to both. (M, S)

 

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits—and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective—to save her cousin’s reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way. (M, S)

Top

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

After one of their tightly-knit group mysteriously disappears, four high school girls find their friendship difficult to maintain when they begin receiving taunting messages from someone who seems to know everything about their past and present secrets. (S)

 

First Shot by Walter Sorrells

David Crandall’s mother was murdered. With few clues, no witnesses, and no motive, the police were never able to solve the crime. Now, two years after the murder, David’s starting his senior year and struggling to get on with his life. But still, the doubt remains: could someone in his small town know something about his mother’s death? Then one night, David spies his father burying an old rifle in a deserted lot near his house, and is left with one thought—is his own father the killer? (M, S)

 

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen

Thirteen-year-old Sammy’s penchant for speaking her mind gets her in trouble when she involves herself in the investigation of a robbery at the “seedy” hotel across the street from the seniors’ building where she is living with her grandmother. (M)

 

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Nina was beautiful, wild, and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, Nina disappeared. Two years later, everyone has given up hope that Nina will return, but Ellie knows her sister is out there. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.Then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing. Determined to find Nina, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she’s got a chance – her hot, adventurous new crush. Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn’t planning on. Like love. Lies. And the most shocking thing of all: the truth. (S)

 

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin

Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering. (S)

 

Top