Scribd Data Report: Mysteries, thrillers & crimes

Scribd Data Report: Mysteries, thrillers & crimes

In Reading Trends, Scribd News by Sarah Sung

Scribd Data Report: Mysteries, thrillers & crimes

Inspired by Halloween and its spooky and frightful goings-on, we decided to take a deep dive into one of our most popular categories on Scribd: the mystery, thriller, and crime genre. We were curious to dissect the data and learn more about what the most popular books are, how readers consume them, as well as the breakdown of which states gravitate toward mysteries and thrillers — and which states run the other way.

Will it turn out how you expected? Can you guess the ending? Here’s what we found:

In the past three months, Scribd’s members have been listening to mysteries, thrillers, and crimes as audiobooks over ebooks at a pace of more than 4 to 1.


Top 10 most read mystery, thriller & crime titles on Scribd

The 10 books and audiobooks were the most popular mysteries, thrillers, and crimes on Scribd. In other words, if you haven’t read these books yet, this is the month to do it.

1. The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave

Reese Witherspoon chose this mystery as her May book club pick. Dave’s novel “gives new meaning to the phrase ‘you can never judge a book (OR suspicious husband) by its cover’ with her gripping tale of love, deception, and disappearance. If the thrilling start doesn’t hook you — a missing husband, a duffel bag of cash, a cryptic note and teenage stepdaughter drama — wait till you find out how it ends. Warning: there’s so many secrets that you may start to question if you can even trust yourself,” Witherspoon wrote on Instagram. Julia Roberts is set to star in the Apple TV+ adaptation.

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2. The Guest List: A Novel By Lucy Foley

Witherspoon picked The Guest List as one of her June/July 2020 book club picks. “A very stormy seaside destination wedding is the backdrop for this thrilling June book pick. … Get ready for so many twists and turns as you try to figure out the who, what, and when of this mystery. It reminds me of some of my favorite mysteries from Agatha Christie,” Witherspoon wrote in her Instagram announcement post.

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3. The Maidens By Alex Michaelades

The author of the smash hit The Silent Patient is back with another gripping thriller, this one centered on a secret society at Cambridge University. When a student is found dead, a psychologist is convinced the charismatic, cultish new professor on campus is the killer. But the psychologist’s personal demons cast a shadow on her credibility, pushing her to take deadly risks to prove she’s right. “The Maidens” is already being adapted for a TV series by Miramax.

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4. And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie

Arguably the best mystery story ever written. Ten people — all strangers — are lured to a mansion on a private island. Each person has a criminal history. They share their secrets, and one by one, they die.

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5. The Other Black Girl By Zakiya Dalila Harris

Nella’s excited when another Black woman joins the very white publishing house where she works: She’s no longer the only Black employee! Her delight takes a turn for the sinister when threatening anonymous notes start showing up on her desk. Is her new coworker an ally or an enemy? A twisty, timely, funny, and creepy thriller with hints of “Get Out.”

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6. Billy Summers By Stephen King

A hit man with a heart of gold. An honorable Iraq war vet-turned-assassin about to retire after one last job. An unlikely pair thrown together on a quest for revenge and redemption. You may think you’ve heard this one before, but King masterfully turns all the hard-boiled crime tropes on their head in this thrilling noir page-turner. 

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7. Local Woman Missing By Mary Kubica

First, one woman goes missing, then another woman and her daughter disappear. The investigation goes cold until, 11 years later, the daughter shows up. It may feel as if you can’t turn the pages fast enough, which makes this one of those books you end up reading in one sitting to find out exactly what happened.

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8. The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelades

The latest craze in psychological thrillers is right here. In Michaelides’ debut, a painter is convicted of murdering her husband, and refuses to talk after his death. One psychotherapist is particularly determined to hear her side of the story.

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9. The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley

Take a group of old friends, bring them together to celebrate New Years in a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, add in a murder, and you’ve got the recipe for “The Hunting Party.” It’s a psychological thriller and crime novel that comes together nicely in the end.

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10. Later By Stephen King

Like many of King’s other beloved classics, Later blends true-to-life, coming-of-age elements with unforgettable thrills and chills. Jamie Conklin might seem like an ordinary boy, except for the fact that, for better or worse, he can communicate with the recently deceased. The one thing that’s not frightening about “Later” is its length: You can read it in an afternoon (followed by a sleepless night).

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States that love mysteries, thrillers & crimes (and ones that don’t)

It turns out New England states dominate the top list for mysteries, while the West Coast lags on the other end of the spectrum:

Top 10

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. Wyoming
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Montana
  7. New Mexico
  8. South Carolina
  9. Mississippi
  10. North Dakota

Bottom 10

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Hawaii
  4. Utah
  5. New Jersey
  6. Kentucky
  7. Washington
  8. New York
  9. Nevada
  10. Idaho

About the Author: Sarah Sung

Sarah is the Editorial Director at Scribd who obsesses over content strategy and brand building, and has written lifestyle content for AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, and Under Armour. In her spare time she teaches indoor cycling and consumes podcasts, audiobooks, and ebooks at all times of the day and night. Traveling and dining out are always high on her to-do list