There's something about the summer that makes us want to read creepy, suspenseful books that make it hard for us to sleep at night. Who knows why, but in the spirit of craving thrillers when it's hot out, here are 15 new ones you should absolutely pack in your beach bag.
The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose
In this genre-crossing debut novel, Lee, a 17-year-old girl, is squatting with a group of young runaways in an abandoned building in Philadelphia. When homeless kids start disappearing from the streets in alarming numbers, Lee—with the help of a young artist and hacker—attempts to get to the bottom of it. Together they discover a secret society whose motives are way darker than they could’ve imagined.
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Joan and her four-year-old son are enjoying a day at the zoo. When she hears a noise crack through the air, she assumes it’s nothing, until she heads toward the exit and sees someone with a gun. The rest of the novel—set over three hours—sees Joan and her son running for their lives and attempting to stay one step ahead of the killer. Our heart is racing already.
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Emily asks her best friend, Stephanie, to pick up her son after school. No biggie, right? Nope. Emily never comes back, and Stephanie realizes something is terribly wrong. As she and Emily's husband search for clues, they get the news that Emily is dead. What follows is an incredibly tense and twisty investigation into the death, proving that nothing—including love, friendship and favors—is as simple as it seems.
Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
The murder of a popular high schooler impacts basically everyone in her small Colorado town, whether that's the classmate who was obsessed with her, the girl who hated her guts or the police officer investigating her death. Told through three perspectives, Kukafka's debut novel is a dark look at how a community grieves, heals and casts blame in the wake of a gruesome tragedy.
The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Jacks’s marriage is already on the rocks. And then she gets the news that her husband died in an accident...with another woman. To find out the truth, she teams up with the mysterious woman’s fiancé (who was also blind to the affair) to retrace their late spouses' last steps.
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy
Talk about a vacation from hell: Two families are on a cruise together when they leave the ship for a day excursion in Central America. One second, the four children are there. The next, they've vanished. What follows is a startlingly realistic story, told by both the parents and the children, that will (we promise) keep you up at night.
Arrowood by Laura McHugh
Welcome to Arrowood, a grand and ornate historic house lining the Mississippi River in southern Iowa. It’s also where two young girls were abducted. Twenty years later, their older sister, Arden, has returned to her childhood home to find out what really happened. But when she discovers the truth, it’s more devastating than she ever could have imagined.
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Ready for a fast-paced YA thriller? (Of course you are.) Seventeen-year-old Flora is an amnesiac who has no long-term memories past the age of ten. Relying on the notes she leaves herself, she struggles with trusting others. But when she shares a forbidden kiss with her best friend’s boyfriend on his last night in town, she wakes up the next day to discover she can remember the kiss. Thinking this boy might hold the key to unlocking her fractured mind, she sets off to find him.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
FYI, in horror movies, the "final girl" is the one young woman who makes it out of a slasher film alive. But in Sager's story, Quincy, who survived a mass murder, refuses to play into the "final girl" trope. Instead, she creates a fulfilling life in NYC. Then, a woman like her dies of an apparent suicide, and Quincy's well-crafted facade gradually begins to unravel. This one will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Bring Her Home by David Bell
Just a year and a half after the death of his wife, tragedy strikes Bill Price’s life again when his 15-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend go missing. Days later, the girls are found in a city park: Summer is barely clinging to life and her friend is dead at the scene. As he watches over his injured daughter in the hospital, he uncovers the truth. And it changes everything he thought he knew about his family.
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Posthumously-published (Crichton actually wrote it before he wrote Jurassic Park), this novel is based on real-life characters: a pair of feuding paleontologists. Set in the American West in 1876, it's a fictionalized account of the sabotage-heavy relationship through the eyes of a wealthy Ivy Leaguer who has no business hunting for dinosaur bones.
A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
Get ready for some serious twists and turns. Karen is making dinner and waiting for her husband to come home when she gets a disturbing phone call. Then she abruptly wakes up in the hospital, with no memory of what happened next. The police suspect she was up to something, her husband doesn't believe it and the rest of the people in her life aren't so sure. Lapena's smart and suspenseful novel will have you believing so many different points of view, you'll never see the ending coming.
The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick
A fascinating memoir by a New York Magazine editor, The Hot One follows Murnick on her quest to find out what really happened to her childhood best friend, who was murdered at her home in Hollywood at the age of 22. True crime fans will hang on Murnick’s every word as she takes us through the hills of Hollywood, into courtrooms in Los Angeles, to strip clubs in Las Vegas and back to her own childhood memories in search of the truth.
The Child by Fiona Barton
While demolishing an old house in a gentrifying section of London, workers find a tiny skeleton that's been buried for years. Journalist Kate Waters (the same protagonist as Barton's previous best-selling novel, The Widow) pursues the story, convinced that cracking the case open will put her byline back on the front page. But as she digs into the case, she becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of two women who might hold some of the keys to the discovery.
It's Always the Husband by BY MICHELE CAMPBELL
Aubrey, Jenny and Kate met as roommates in college. Their lives became inextricably linked when they all witnessed the death of another friend at a local railroad bridge. Twenty years later, they're all back living in their college town when Kate dies at the same bridge. (Whoa.) Was it a suicide, or was it murder?