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I love thrillers. And I mostly love winter. I also really enjoy reading with the season or my surroundings (creepy books in October, stormy books when it’s raining, cozy winter books).
And while winter is cozy and quiet, I still love thrillers and want to read winter thrillers, too. I have three or four of these on my shelf that I got this summer and have been saving for winter, so I can’t wait for it to get colder here!
While this isn’t the longest list, I didn’t want it to just turn into a Nordic Noir list since that’s coming up next. So, if you want to get your thrills this winter, not just in the fall, continue for a wonderful list of winter mysteries and thrillers!
- If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free. Get that Audible deal here.
- If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd! You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
- Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
- If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
- Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
- Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
- Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
- Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!
Dead of Winter
I got an ARC of this from Net Galley and I’m reading it right now! So far I really like it but I’ll update in my March round-up post. My only major complaint so far is who joins a tour group to stay at one hotel with no activities for two weeks? Just go on your own?
Christa and her boyfriend Kiernan joined a tour group heading into the Rocky Mountains and she hopes it’s her chance to move forward, leaving the ghosts of her past behind.
A snowstorm sweeps through the region leaving them stranded in an abandoned cabin. They plan to just wait out the storm but on the first morning, they realize their guide is missing. They go out to look for him and find his severed head up in a tree. Now she is trapped with eight strangers and one of them is a killer.
Le Sommet, in the Swiss Alps, has always been a sinister place always plagued by troubling rumors. The former sanatorium has now been turned into a five-star hotel.
It’s the last place Elin Warner wants to be but since she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, she has no reason not to accept the invitation from her estranged brother, Isaac and his fiance Laure, to celebrate their engagement.
Arriving in a storm, there is something about the hotel that makes her feel on edge. When they awake the next day, they find Laure missing and the hotel cut off because of the storm. The remaining guests begin to panic and Elin is under pressure to find Laure but no one has realized another woman is also missing.
This is perfect if you want a locked-room mystery.
Milla expects an intimate weekend of catching up with old friends when she gets the invitation to Le Rocher in the French Alps where they bonded while training for an elite snowboarding competition.
But when they arrive, they realize something is wrong. The resort is deserted, cell phones are missing, cable cars aren’t working, and instructions await. The icebreaker game is designed to draw out their secrets and remind them of Saskia, their sixth friend who vanished the morning of the competition and has been presumed dead.
Ok, so this may not specifically be winter (I won’t lie, I’m not 100% sure) but I have this series on my shelf and the third book is wintery so I’m saving the whole thing for winter.
When a young Russian woman’s body washes up on the Icelandic shore, it’s quietly decided it was a suicide and the case is closed.
Over a year later Detective Huda Hermannsdottir is forced into retirement at 64 from the Reykjavik police, but dark memories from her past are threatening to come back and haunt her.
But before she leaves, she is given two weeks and the chance to solve and cold chase of her choice and she chooses the Russian girl who is hope for asylum was ended on the cold rocky shores. She finds out another girl went missing at the same time and everyone seems determined to put the brakes on her investigation, but she will find the killer.
Ari Thor is a rookie policeman on his first posting farm from his girlfriend, who is in Reykjavik, in an isolated fishing village where no one locks their doors in the fjords of Northern Iceland. A young woman is found naked, bleeding, and unconscious in the snow and a highly esteemed writer falls to his death. Ari is dragged right into it in a community where secrets and lies are a way of life.
This is a classic winter thriller Nordic Noir that I just got and can’t wait to read! It’s not the first in a series but you can read it first and follow it just fine.
After the first snowfall of the year, Jonas wakes up to find his mother missing. Her new pink scarf is the only thing left behind and is now on the snowman that appeared in their yard earlier that day.
Inspector Harry Hole suspects a connection between her and a mysterious letter he received and things get even weirder when a pattern emerges over the past decade of women vanishing after the first snow of the year.
This is one of the books in the Joe Pickett series but they don’t necessarily need to be read in order.
Joe knows he has to get off Battle Mountain. Lamar Gardiner’s body is splayed against the tree in front of him, shotgun in his left hand, and his trucks’ detached steering wheel handcuffed to his right while a snowstorm rages around him.
He will stop at nothing to find the killer when his daughter gets involved in the hunt.
The Hunting Party
This has been on my TBR for a while and maybe I’ll finally read it this winter!
A group of friends from Oxford are keeping up a ten-year tradition and ringing in the new year together at an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands.
The trip begins as usual but after a decade, secrets and resentments start to come to the surface. The cord holding them together snaps and a historic blizzard has them trapped in the lodge. Two days later, on New Years Day, one of them is found dead and they need to figure out which of them did it.
If you like locked-room mysteries, this is the perfect choice for you!
Moon of the Crusted Snow
As winter looms, a small Anishinaabe community is cut off and people start to panic as their food supply dwindles. As community members struggle to maintain order, a stranger shows up with others following.
The leadership loses its power and the strangers manipulate the tired citizens to take control. As the months pass, the death toll rises. Soon, a group of young friends and their families turn to Anishinaabe tradition in hopes to return their community to its thriving state while facing a grave decision.
Here’s another Nordic Noir for you. This is more of a police procedural than a thriller.
Embla has been plagued with nightmares for the majority of her twenty-eight years. She channels most of her anxious energy into her Detective Inspector position in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden, and sports.
She joins her family and friends on the annual moose hunt trip as a needed break from her stressful job. When they arrive, she sees a familiar face: Peter, attractive and newly divorced. A longtime hunt member also notices and doesn’t like the presence of an outsider which happens to make their group number thirteen, a bad omen for the week.
Bad things start to happen and two group members disappear. Embla takes charge of the search, delving into the dark pasts of her fellow hunters as she searches for the killer.
Crime By the Book recommended this one on Instagram this week and I had to get it. This is another good choice for anyone that likes locked-room mysteries but instead of a room, it’s Antarctica.
A&E Kate North has been knocked out by a personal tragedy so she jumps at the chance to be the emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica. The previous doctor died in an accident on the ice.
It’s the perfect opportunity for her but as darkness and winter descend, she starts to suspect his death wasn’t an accident at all.
The Ice Coven
This is another one I’m pretty excited to read. It’s been six months since Jessica’s encounter with a serial killing coven of witches and the death of her mentor. Her nightmares have only gotten worse and she’s doing what she can to stay focused. Her murder squad, under new leadership, has been given a new series of disappearances to investigate: a young woman’s corpse washing up on a beach and two Instagram influencers disappearing at the same time.
They all have ties to a sinister cult. Jessica finds a strange painting of a lighthouse on an island with a poem detailing a gruesome murder below it. As she frantically solves her last case, her horrific past comes back, threatening to destroy her.
One by One
It doesn’t sound the worst to be snowed in at a luxurious French chalet but it is when it’s eight coworkers that all have something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.
It started out like your average corporate retreat but tensions rise and loyalties are tested when a shareholder upended the agenda by pushing a contentious but lucrative buyout offer.
The storm brewing inside rivals the one brewing outside. An avalanche leaves the group stranded but one person never made it back from the slopes. As time passes and no sign of rescue is seen, the group begins to dwindle, one by one.
I Remember You
Three friends are renovating a rundown house in Iceland’s Westfjords and soon they realize they aren’t as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave and it’s making its presence known.
Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a doctor is investigating the suicide of an elderly woman and he discovers that she was obsessed with his son that disappeared. The horrifying truth is uncovered as the two worlds collide.
The Ice Twins
One of Sarah’s daughters died, but can she be sure which? A year after Lydia, one of their identical twin daughters, died in an accident, Angus and Sarah move to the tiny Scottish island he inherited from his grandmother, hoping to repair their lives.
Their world comes crashing down again when Kristie, the surviving daughter, says they’ve mistaken her identity and she’s actually Lydia.
Angus has to leave for work as winter approaches and Sarah is left with an ever-disturbed Kristie/Lydia. They are forced to face what happened that fateful day when they’re stranded by a violent winter storm.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Things haven’t been good for Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a while so when they win a weekend away in Scottland, it may be just what they need.
They exchange traditional gifts on their anniversary every year and every year she writes him a letter she never lets him read. Until now.
They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage. But they didn’t randomly win the trip. One of them is lying and someone doesn’t want them living happily ever after.
This one is also on my TBR! Update March 2022: I read this one and loved it!
Voices in the Snow
Clare remembers the cold, the abandoned cars, the children’s toys scattered across the road, the dark shapes in the snow, the terror she can’t explain, then nothing.
She’s told she was in an accident when she wakes up in a stranger’s gothic home. He saved her, he says. She wants to leave but a violent snowstorm has trapped them there together.
He seems kind, but can she trust this stranger? He says they’re alone but shadows and sounds are convincing her otherwise. The only thing she is certain of is that her accident wasn’t an accident.
An Unwanted Guest
Mitchell’s Inn in the Catskills makes for the perfect romantic weekend getaway. When the weather takes a turn for the worse the guests try and make the most of being snowed in and cut off from the outside world.
One of them turns up dead soon and it looks like an accident. But when a second does, panic ensues. All they can do now is hope they survive the storm and each other.
This is another locked-room mystery if you like those. That seems to be a common theme in these winter thrillers.
I’m currently reading this one and liking it so far!
These Silent Woods
This is another one I would love to read! Cooper and his young daughter Finch have lived isolated in his cabin in the northern Appalachian woods for eight years. It’s exactly how he wants it because he has a lot to hide.
Scotland, a local hermit, and Jake, Cooper’s old friend, are the only two people who know they exist. Every winter Jake visits to bring supplies but this year he didn’t show up which set off an irreversible chain of events showing how precarious their position really is.
The boundaries of their safe haven are blurred when one day, a stranger wanders into their woods. Finch develops an obsession with the stranger that could put them all in danger and Cooper is forced to face the sins of his past to keep them safe.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Jake and his girlfriend are on their way to meet his parents. She’s thinking of ending things with him, but you know, parents.
I won’t lie, it’s hard to find a good description of this without spoiling anything. Something about a snowstorm? I don’t know but I’ve heard very good things about this and I’ll update this part once I read it.
I read this one in February and really can’t explain more of it without spoiling it but I liked almost all of it. It’s unsettling and I liked that part of it!
I just got this on a Kindle deal (literally as I write this post) and it might be the next one I read! Update: it was and I LOVED it! The movie, not so much but the book yes!
Darby is on her way to seeing her dying mother back home in Utah when she gets caught in a blizzard in the Colorado mountains. She’s forced to wait out the storm at a rest stop with four total strangers.
Trying to find a signal to call home, Darby goes to the parking lot and instead finds a little girl locked in an animal crate in the van parked next to her.
Now she is determined to find a way to get the girl out of the van and escape since one of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. She has to decide who she can trust now.
Five Total Strangers
Mira desperately needs to get home but a blizzard traps her at the airport after her connecting flight indefinitely. Then Harper, her glamorous seatmate from the flight, offers her a ride. Harper and her three friends can drop Mira off on their way home.
Once they set off, she realizes one of them is hiding something. The roads go from slippery to terrifying when things start disappearing and she realizes someone in the car is lying. Will she make it home or will the nightmare turn fatal?
Have you read any of these winter thrillers? What are your favorite mysteries and thrillers set in winter?
The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf would make an excellent addition to this list! It switches between 3 different POVs that are all equally thrilling and engaging. The main storyline takes place in a snowstorm and it’s a locked-room mystery (kind of). A great read!
Ohh, thank you! That one sounds like it would be really good, I’ll check it out!