Speculative fiction is an umbrella term that covers several different genres. These stories introduce readers to worlds rich with magic and supernatural creatures, or even alternate versions of our own reality where futuristic technology exists. With a bit of mystery added to the mix, these tales turn into suspenseful page-turners set in unfamiliar lands. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of sci-fi and fantasy books with a twist of mystery. Take note that this list is done in no particular order.
First up, at #1, we have ‘Clean.’ Written by Alex Hughes, it’s the first entry of her ‘Mindspace Investigations’ series. Told from the first-person perspective, it follows an unnamed protagonist who has the ability to read people’s minds. He helps the police interrogate killers, but his superiors keep him on a short leash because of the uneasy relationship between telepaths and normal people. Now, he has to earn his colleagues’ trust and deal with a serial killer who’s coming after him, all while battling his addiction to a drug known as Satin.
Next, at #2, is ‘Liquid Cool’ by Austin Dragon. It revolves around a private investigator named Cruz, who lives in Metropolis, a city mostly controlled by mega-corporations. When one of his friends gets killed in a shootout with the police, he decides to look into the case himself. Eventually, Cruz realizes that there’s more to his death than it seems, and now he has to figure out what’s really going on before he becomes the next victim.
At #3 is ‘A Man of Shadows’ by Jeff Noon. The story is set in a city that’s split in half, with one side being permanently lit up with bright lights and the other completely shrouded in darkness. It follows private eye John Nyquist as he searches for a runaway girl named Eleanor Bale, the daughter of a wealthy corporate head. As he travels back and forth between both halves of the city, he makes an enemy out of Quicksilver, a notorious serial killer who murders people in broad daylight.
Next up, at #4, we have ‘Black In White’ by JC Andrijeski. Miri Fox is a telepathic psychologist who occasionally works as a profiler for the police. She agrees to help hunt down the ‘Wedding Killer.’ The police suspect that the murderer is a man named Quentin Black. When she meets Quentin, Miri is surprised to learn that he has a lot in common with her, and he insists that he’s innocent. Now, she reluctantly works with him to find the real killer, hopefully learning more about his mysterious origins along the way.
At #5 is ‘Panacea.’ Written by F. Paul Wilson, it’s the first entry of his ‘ICE Sequence’ series. After examining two charred bodies with no discernible cause of death, Dr. Laura Fanning notices that they both have strange identical tattoos. She’s later hired by a dying billionaire to confirm the existence of panacea, a drug that can cure any known illness. Realizing that the bodies from earlier are related to an ancient cult that claims to be in possession of the fabled substance, she rushes to find them before a mysterious rival group can kill her.
Next, at #6, is ‘Valiant’ by Merrie Destefano. In the distant future, the Earth is suffering from a second economic depression. The only thing that can save mankind is a ship known as the Valiant, but the second it leaves the planet’s atmosphere, aliens start invading and are forcing people to kill each other. Sara, a seventeen-year-old girl, is sent back in time by a mysterious alien, who tells her that she can stop the invasion if she can prevent the death of her brother, Gabe.
At #7 is ‘Last Day on Mars’ by Kevin Emerson. In the year 2213, Earth has been completely destroyed by the sun, and all of the survivors now live on Mars. When everyone learns that the planet will suffer the same fate as their previous home, scientists start working on technology that will ensure mankind’s survival elsewhere. Liam and Phoebe are among the last people left on the planet, but when they discover that hostile aliens are trying to wipe out the human race, they have to find a way to warn the others.
Next up, at #8, we have ‘God Save the Queen’ by Kate Locke. The story is set in an alternate version of 19th century London where Queen Victoria is a vampire, and the upper class is made up of supernatural creatures. It mainly revolves around Xandra Vardan, a half-human member of the Royal Guard. When her sister suddenly goes missing, she sets off to find her. Along the way, she discovers dark secrets that will forever change her view of the ruling aristocracy.
At #9 is ‘Duplicity’ by N.K. Traver. Brandon is a talented hacker who steals from banks for fun. One day, he notices that his reflection has started acting on its own volition, drastically changing his appearance to become a better version of himself. When Brandon suddenly wakes up trapped in the virtual world, with his evil mirror image possessing his real body, he has to rely on his hacking skills to find a way out.
Finally, at #10, we have ‘A Name Among the Stars’ by Mark Henwick. When her entire family dies after a successful coup, Zara Aguirre escapes her homeworld and finds refuge in the planet Kernow. There, she’s taken in by Duke Tremayne, whose estate is located in a seemingly peaceful remote town. Just when Zara thinks she’s finally safe, she realizes that the conspiracy that murdered her family may be a threat here as well, and now she has to risk her life in order to save everyone.