I am re-reading RED LIGHTS, by Georges Simenon, which I read two years ago and have thought about many times since. It's as much a psychological exploration as it is a suspense tale, but Simenon really kept me--well, not on the edge of my seat, since I was lying on my tummy, but AWAKE until the end of the book. (And that is a feat that is harder and harder to accomplish). :)
This mystery is all about MOOD and the city at night and all of the scary possibilities of the dark . . . .
The story begins when Steve Hogan and his wife Nancy are getting into their car to pick up their children from camp. It's dark on the road, and Steve is distracted by the lights on the highway and by his strong desire for a drink (he had two before he started). On the radio they hear of the predicted fatalities for the weekend, because it's a holiday. Steve eventually stops at a bar, against his wife's wishes, and hears that a man has escaped from prison.
The more Steve drinks the more he wants a drink, and when he stops at yet another bar his wife, who has been arguing with him, tells him that if he goes in, she will drive on without him. Maliciously (and drunkenly), Steve takes the keys from the ignition and goes in. He drinks more whiskey, and when he comes out, his wife is gone . . .
This was the first Simenon I'd read (I might have read a couple of Maigret novels in high school) and I was impressed. I've been meaning to look up a biography of this writer, but in the meantime RED LIGHTS is going on my most-suspenseful list.