It’s back to school time! Lucky me, I don’t have class tomorrow (or ever again). If I was still in school, I’d be staying up all night writing papers rather than staying up all night turning the pages on these collegiate thrillers. When I was in college, the biggest mysteries I grappled with were which roommate borrowed my sweater and what the cafeteria mystery meat was made from. These books take academic mysteries to a whole new, thrilling level.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A close-knit group of classics students at an elite Vermont college are under the pull of a morally bankrupt professor. The clique’s lifestyle consists of studies and debauchery in equal measure. They accidentally kill a man during a frenzied ancient Greek style bacchanalia. When one member of the group seems on the verge of confessing, the others plot to kill him too. This psychological thriller will keep you thinking and guessing, even though you already know whodunit.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Blue van Meer is a smart and precocious student at an elite private school in North Carolina. Blue gets drawn into a group of charismatic friends and their enchanting teacher, Hannah Schneider. When one of Hannah’s friends drowns and Hannah herself dies under mysterious circumstances, Blue sets out to unravel a host of mysteries. The book, structured like a literature class syllabus, is chock full of clever literary references, which you’ll either adore or abhor. If you’re looking for a mystery that’s a bit different in style and structure, this is one to try.
The Raising by Laura Kasischke
Beautiful, innocent, straight-A Nicole was mangled beyond recognition in a horrific, bloody car accident. A year later, her boyfriend Craig, who was driving that night, is back on campus and trying to pull his life together. But Nicole’s mournful sorority sisters accuse Craig of murder and try to drive him off campus. Meanwhile, several students claim to be haunted by Nicole’s ghost. Craig’s roommate, Perry, and a few professors try to sort out what’s really going on. If you like your academic mysteries tinged with sex and the supernatural, you won’t want to miss The Raising.
What are you waiting for? Crack those books. Don’t worry. You won’t be graded and we won’t be having a quiz in the morning.