Ready to stock your beach bag with some spine-tingling new reads? I’ve got 40 new summer thrillers you’ll be dying to read this year, so get ready to fill your carts, folks.
Summertime is the season of much-needed vacations, long weekends, and other forms of R & R. Book-lovers, naturally, like to use the three warmest months of the year to catch up on the reading they put off for spring cleaning and New Year’s resolutions. When we pack for three-day weekends and weeklong getaways, we always make sure to bring enough reading material — and then some.
The books we take on vacation can run the gamut: Romantic comedies, historical dramas, and mystery novels are all great books to read as you lounge in the sun. The only thing that makes something a “beach read” is that it’s a book you want to read on the beach — and trust me, all of these thrillers will have you flipping pages through one, two, three, or four sunscreen applications.
If you still aren’t sure what books you’re taking with you on vacation this year, check out the 40 summer thrillers I’ve picked out for you below:
‘Beyond All Reasonable Doubt’ by Malin Persson Giolito
Thirteen years after her old professor was convicted of brutally murdering a 15-year-old girl, Sophia gets the chance to exonerate him when she discovers that the investigation was mishandled. But as she digs into the case, becoming more publicly unpopular by the day, Sophia begins to wonder how well she truly knows Dr. Ahlin.
‘Man of the Year’ by Caroline Louise Walker (June 11)
On paper, respected doctor Robert Hart has everything — the perfect life. But when his family plays host to their collegiate son’s roommate, a young man who has come to Sag Harbor to escape his problems, Robert quickly finds himself losing grip on his perfectly manicured life.
‘The Good Sister’ by Gillian McAllister (June 11)
Sisters Martha and Becky have always been close, but their relationship is put to the test when Becky is accused of murdering Martha’s eight-week-old daughter, Layla. Sitting in on her sister’s trial, Martha wants more than anything to believe that Becky is innocent, but as evidence mounts, she becomes less and less certain.
‘The Starter Wife’ by Nina Laurin (June 11)
Although they never found Colleen’s body, the case has finally closed, years after her disappearance, as investigators conclude that there was no foul play in what they suspect was an unfortunate drowning. Married to Colleen’s former husband, Claire gets the shock of a lifetime when she gets an unexpected phone call from the missing woman.
‘Those People’ by Louise Candlish (June 11)
A quiet and close-knit neighborhood’s calm exterior is blown apart by the entrance of newcomers Darren and Jodie, who have inherited a house on the block. Everyone can agree that they’re terrible neighbors, and no one wants them to remain in Lowland Way. Eight weeks from now, however, someone will die. Who will it be — and who will be responsible?
‘The Body Lies’ by Jo Baker (June 13)
From Longbourn author Jo Baker comes this suspenseful thriller about a university professor pushed to the limit by one of her students. Newly appointed to teach creative writing at an English university in the country, the heroine soon finds herself threatened by a male student whose work depicts her horrible death.
‘Dear Wife’ by Kimberly Belle (June 25)
A woman named Beth has escaped an abusive marriage and fled, across the country, to start a new life. Sabine is missing from the city Beth left behind, and the police investigation into her disappearance has turned up unflattering details about her marriage. Are Beth and Sabine the same woman? Or is there more to the story?
‘Paranoid’ by Lisa Jackson (June 25)
Twenty years ago, Rachel killed her brother, mistaking him for an attacker, mistaking a real pistol for her pellet gun. Living with incredible anxiety, Rachel begins tracking down people from her past to invite to their upcoming high-school reunion, but she can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching her. Meanwhile, her detective ex-husband is chasing down a murderer who might know what happened on the night Rachel’s brother died.
‘False Step’ by Victoria Helen Stone (July 1)
When her husband is hailed as a hero for finding a missing boy, Veronica finds herself growing increasingly intolerant of the spotlight. Her marriage is already on the rocks, and she’d prefer not to air her dirty laundry. But when more details about the boy’s disappearance come to light, Veronica realizes that nothing is as it seems, and everything could spell danger for her.
‘Mother Dear’ by Nova Lee Maier (July 1)
Petty thieves Ralf and Brian think they’ve chosen an easy mark when they elect to rob Helen and Werner, but what happens inside the well-to-do couple’s home forever shatters the lives of all involved. In the wake of the burglars’ unexpected attack on their home, Helen finds herself on the defensive, and prepared to protect her family at all costs.
‘What You Did’ by Claire McGowan (July 1)
Twenty years after their college graduation, Ali and her friends reunite to relive old memories and make new ones. But when Ali’s best friend, Karen, shows up physically injured and claiming that Ali’s husband Mike is responsible for assaulting her, Ali will be pushed to her limits by the stories — and lies — that the people she loves the most have to tell.
‘Girls Like Us’ by Cristina Alger (July 2)
Brought back to her hometown by the death of her estranged father, FBI Agent Nell Flynn becomes involved with a case the late homicide detective was working. The longer she pursues it, however, the more she realizes that her father might have been responsible for the murders of two young women — and that his cop buddies might be covering for him.
‘Pretty Revenge’ by Emily Liebert (July 2)
Unemployed and engaged, Kerrie plots revenge against Jordana, the woman who ruined her life nearly 20 years earlier, and who is now a successful wedding planner. But Jordana has secrets in her past, secrets only Kerrie knows, and she aims to keep it that way.
‘Temper’ by Layne Fargo (July 2)
Director Malcolm Mercer has a reputation for bringing out the worst in his actors, but landing a role in one of his plays is a dream come true for Kira, who has been down on her luck for years. As tensions mount during rehearsal, however, Kira clashes with Joanna Cuyler, the theater’s cofounder, and they both know that only one of them can come out on top.
‘Lock Every Door’ by Riley Sager (July 2)
When Jules, heartbroken and broke, decides to take a job apartment-sitting at the ultra-luxurious and glamorous Bartholomew, she hopes it will be just the change of location she needs to move on. But the Bartholomew hides more secrets than she knows, and when another sitter, Ingrid, goes missing, Jules must journey into the darkest corners of the building for answers.
‘Whisper Network’ by Chandler Baker (July 2)
Four women co-workers decide enough is enough when their boss, who has a track record of treating women terribly, gets promoted to CEO. But he’s not playing clean, and these women will have to fight for their lives and their careers if they want justice.
‘Hideaway’ by Nicole Lundrigan (July 9)
An abusive mother who knows exactly how to get what she wants, Gloria begins to lose control of her perfectly put-together life when her husband leaves and their son runs away. The boy hides out with Carl, a homeless man he has befriended, but between Carl’s paranoia and Gloria’s manipulation, it doesn’t seem as if he has anywhere safe to go.
‘The Need’ by Helen Phillips (July 9)
A genre-bending novel of suspense, The Need takes readers inside the home of Molly, who feels alone and unaided in meeting her responsibilities as a mother and paleobotanist. But when a mysterious person in a deer mask invades her home late one night, spouting information they cannot possibly know about her family, Molly agrees to their demands, unsure of whether her decision is the right one.
‘One Little Secret’ by Cate Holahan (July 9)
Three couples spending a much-needed vacation at a beach house wake from a night of drinking and over-sharing to find that one of the wives has been killed, and her body left on the beach. Local detective Gabby Watkins begins her investigation into the woman’s death, but she soon learns that everyone in the vacation house had both the motive and the means to kill the victim.
‘A Dream to Die For’ by Susan Z. Ritz (July 16)
A member of a cult that promotes collective dreaming, Celeste finds herself disturbed by a vivid and brutal dream, one that cannot possibly belong to her. But when she discovers that her cult leader has been murdered, and becomes the prime suspect in the police investigation, she’ll have to put herself in the real killer’s sights.
‘The Other Mrs. Miller’ by Allison Dickson (July 16)
Phoebe Miller’s life isn’t great. Sure, she lives in a mansion and will never have to worry about her finances, but she feels harassed by her husband and has been publicly embarrassed by her father. When a new family moves in on her cul-de-sac, Phoebe finally finds passion and excitement… but she’s not watching the person who’s watching her.
‘Gretchen’ by Shannon Kirk (July 23)
Fifteen-year-old Lucy has spent her whole life on the run with her mother, who has done her best to teach her daughter how to survive. The two think that they might have put their past behind them when they move into a remote New Hampshire home, but their new landlord and his daughter have secrets of their own.
‘Tell Me Everything’ by Cambria Brockman (July 16)
Set among a tight-knit group of friends at a New England college, Tell Me Everythingcenters on Malin, who has managed to gather all of her friends’ secrets while keeping her own hidden. But when Malin’s messy past threatens to come spilling out, her attempts to shove the skeletons back into her closet leave someone dead.
‘Labyrinth’ by Catherine Coulter (July 23)
The 23rd installment in Catherine Coulter’s FBI Thriller series comes out this summer, and you’re going to want to grab a copy. The story this time centers on a kidnapping victim who, along with the special agent who rescued her, is arrested by a vengeful sheriff after she accuses his nephew of murder.
‘Theme Music’ by T. Marie Vandelly (July 23)
Twenty-five years after her father murdered their family and took his own life, Dixie seizes the opportunity to move into the home where the murders occurred. As the ghosts of the home begin to haunt her, however, Dixie comes to realize that her father may not have been responsible for what happened on that dreadful day.
‘A Stranger On The Beach’ by Michele Campbell (July 23)
When Caroline’s perfect life falls apart, she falls into the arms of Aiden, a stranger. It’s a fling — nothing serious, just a way to cope with a public fight with her husband and a family financial crisis. But it’s not nothing to him, and his infatuation with Caroline grows more and more sinister with each passing day.
‘The Two Lila Bennetts’ by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (July 23)
When one bad decision results in two alternate realities for criminal defense attorney Lila, she finds herself both kidnapped and on the run, unsure of who is after her or why — or whether knowing the truth will even matter, in the end.
‘The Arrangement’ by Robyn Harding (July 30)
Nat wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Gabe. He’s decades older than her, and established, with a family he loves. She’s just his sugar baby, or she was, that is, until Gabe cut her out of his life. Now Nat is desperate to get him back, and she’ll go to any lengths to have him.
‘Someone We Know’ by Shari Lapena (July 30)
From The Couple Next Door author Shari Lapena comes this new novel about a small suburb torn apart by rumors and accusations. Someone has been breaking into homes and gathering intel on the residents, but who is it? And why?
‘The Escape Room’ by Megan Goldin (July 30)
An “escape room” goes terribly wrong in this thriller from Megan Goldin. Four Wall Street executives think this “escape room” is just a team-building exercise. But when the ultra-competitive co-workers file into an elevator, the doors stay shut and the lights go off. It soon becomes obvious it isn’t a game at all.
‘Speaking of Summer’ by Kalisha Buckhanon (July 30)
Shortly after their mother’s death, Autumn loses her twin sister Summer in a disappearing act. Summer vanishes from the rooftop of the twins’ home in Harlem, leading to a locked-door mystery that only Autumn seems keen to solve.
‘Never Have I Ever’ by Joshilyn Jackson (July 30)
Amy has the perfect life: Perfect family, perfect friends, perfect book club. But when Angelica Roux arrives suddenly at the book club, Amy knows she’s more than a charming new reader. Roux has a secret about her life, and Amy has to beat her at her own game.
‘Because You’re Mine’ by Rea Frey (August 6)
Raising her son Mason with the help of a talented therapist named Noah, Lee lives her life according to a strict schedule. When friend and fellow mom Grace offers Lee the chance to get away for the weekend, she takes it. But one of the four vacationers will soon be no more, and someone very close to them may be responsible.
‘The Turn of the Key’ by Ruth Ware (August 6)
The fifth novel from The Death of Mrs. Westaway author Ruth Ware, The Turn of the Key centers on Rowan Caine — once a live-in nanny, now a woman incarcerated on murder charges in the death of a child. Rowan writes to her lawyer from prison, explaining how and why the household she moved into was so strange, and trying to figure out who might be responsible for the killing.
‘The Wolf Wants In’ by Laura McHugh (August 6)
Another novel about a rookie investigator forced to dig into an overlooked case, The Wolf Wants In follows Sadie as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind her brother’s untimely death, in a town where such incidents have become commonplace.
‘Cold Woods’ by Karen Katchur (August 13)
River Bodies author Karen Katchur returns to Northampton County in Cold Woods. In this Appalachian murder mystery, someone discovers the remains of a man who went missing decades prior, and his stepdaughter and her childhood friends must reckon with what they know about the case, and what they want to remain a mystery.
‘The Hidden Things’ by Jamie Mason (August 13)
When a video of a teenage girl successfully defending herself against an attacker goes viral, attention swiftly turns to something visible in the corner of the image — a 400-year-old painting that vanished without a trace years earlier. In the wake of the painting’s re-discovery, four people connected to the work of art and the viral video must decide what truly matters to them, even if it means bringing ruin upon others.
‘The Perfect Son’ by Lauren North (August 13)
Shortly after her husband’s death, Tessa wakes up in the hospital, injured. Her 8-year-old son is missing, and she knows who is responsible, but it quickly becomes clear that no one is interested in listening to her. Stuck in the hospital, Tessa must figure out what happened in the months after her husband’s death, leading up to her son’s disappearance.
‘Empty Hearts’ by Juli Zeh (August 20)
This near-future-set thriller centers on Britta, a German mom who runs a suicide-prevention service, and whose work helps a terrorist cell find people willing to die for their cause. But when a terrorist attack is pre-empted and Britta’s database of potential bombers is stolen, she finds herself on the run from a new and different terrorist organization known as the Empty Hearts.
‘Stolen Things’ by R.H. Herron (August 20)
The daughter of a town’s first Arab-American police chief places a call to 911 dispatch. She wakes up drugged, assaulted, and confused, with no idea how she wound up at the house of a local anti-police-brutality activist and sports celebrity. There’s a dead body, and the last person she can remember seeing is nowhere to be found. As the girl and her mother begin to piece together the evidence, it becomes clear that they may have more enemies than friends in their little burg.