Summer Thrillers That Will Have You At The Edge of Your Chaise Lounge

Don't tell the other genres, but thrillers make for the best summer reads. When it comes to plots that keep you physically stuck in one place, thrillers have the highest frequency of magnetism. You'll be compulsively turning the page until the knot is unraveled, the tension is resolved, and you can exhale at last.
Thriller is a broad category — there are crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, suspense thrillers, romantic thrillers. Not to get all existential, but given the breadth of the genre, what is a thriller, anyway? To me, "thriller" is a mood. It's a book that steeps you in an atmosphere of unease and peril, and then devises a mystery to keep you reading. Thrillers mess with your head, but in a good way. And, as HBO's adaptations of Big Little Lies and the forthcoming Sharp Objects demonstrate so aptly, thrillers also make fantastic fodder for prestige TV shows.
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These books, all released in 2018, make for fantastic vacation reads. Our only advice is to bring more than one along. You'll inhale one a day.
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Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey (2018)

Not Her Daughter describes a parent's worst nightmare: Their child suddenly disappearing. But Rey Frey's debut novel also complicates the typical storyline. When Sarah Walker takes five-year-old Emma Townsend, it's only because she has seen the girl mistreated before. It's a highly emotionally gripping thriller.
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The Other Woman by Sandie Jones (2018)

For anyone who's dealt with an unsavory in-law, this thriller will hit close to home. Emily Havistock and Adam Jones hit it off quickly. But when she meets Adam's mom, Pammie, Emily begins to question the entire relationship — and with reason.
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Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas (2017)

Who would say no to a house swap in the beautiful Cornwall countryside? Libby and her husband Jamie see this swap as an opportunity to escape from the recent media attention Libby received after saving children from a fire. But in the confined environment of the home, Libby and her new husband experience ruptures at breakneck speed. Douglas is one of the most reliably captivating thriller writers around.
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She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell (2018)

In She Was the Quiet One, an elite boarding school becomes the setting for twin-on-twin rivalry and eventually, tragedy. Bel and Rose Enright are orphaned fraternal twins shipped off to the Odell School by their grandmother. Immediately after arriving, they're plunged into different cliques with drama of their own. One of the twins ends up dead — but which? A creepy thriller that has notes of Mean Girls and The Secret History.
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Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco (2018)

Rough Animals will appeal to anyone who, like me, watched Godless and suddenly realized they like Westerns after all. DelBianco is uniquely suited to tell the story of orphaned siblings whose cattle farm is attacked by a rogue girl. At the age of 8, DelBianco began competitively showing livestock, and she started her own cattle farm at 14. Rough Animals, which follows 23-year-old Wyatt Smith's trek through the countryside to track down the assailant, is a lyrical thriller garnering comparisons to Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson.
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Providence by Caroline Kepnes (2018)

Providence isn't just a thriller. It's a supernatural love story tinged with a bit of horror, too. In the book, two best friends named Jon and Chloe have a bond so deep no one else understands it. Then, Jon is kidnapped, leaving a hole in Chloe's life. When he reappears four years later, he's stronger, bolder, and in possession of a strange set of powers that leave his loved ones and community at risk. Jon runs away, and maybe that explains why kids in the state of Rhode Island are dropping dead unexpectedly of heart attacks.
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Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (2018)

Social Creature is the perfect psychological thriller for the summer of scammers. Living in a shabby apartment in Brooklyn and working an underwhelming job, 29-year-old Louise Wilson dreams of a more glamorous and financially illustrious life. When she meets 23-year-old socialite Lavinia Williams at a New Year's party, Louise has a chance to live a life of excess and tremendous fun. But the clock is ticking on Lavinia's attention span, and on Louise's ability to financially sustain this lifestyle. What will Louise do to ensure she stays Lavinia's best friend forever?
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All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth (2018)

If we had to take a guess, All These Beautiful Strangers will be the literary thriller of the summer. Ten years ago, Charlotte "Charlie" Calloway's mother, Grace Fairchild, vanished. Charlie has never recovered from the loss. When she's 17, she's tapped to be a part of A's, her elite school's secret society. After joining A's, she wades into exhilarating and morally treacherous territory — all the while getting closer to understanding what happened to her mother. It's the perfect blend of glamour, diabolicalness, and The Secret History.
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The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (2018)

Brett Courtney is the tattooed, down-to-earth, 27-year-old founder of a boutique spinning studio with a charitable mission. She's also a contestant on the popular reality TV show Goal Diggers, which follows a group of millennial women entrepreneurs — and is by far the fan-favorite. If she's so popular, why does she end up dead by page one of Knoll’s riveting novel? The Favorite Sister is a thriller with about a thousand twists, but it’s also a whip-smart meditation on the discomfiting, exhilarating intersection of ambition and womanhood.
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The French Girl by Lexie Elliot (2018)

A group of six Oxford students goes to a French villa for the summer, bringing their love triangles and rivalries along with them. Severine, the girl in the house next to theirs, rattles up the group dynamic. Then, she disappears. Years later, where the novel begins, Severine's body is found. Our narrator, Kate Channing, reconnects with her old clique to confront what really happened that summer.
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (2018)

There's a reason why Ruth Ware is a bestselling author — she knows how to write classic, Agatha Christie-esque thrillers that keep you fixed in one place. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is no exception. At the start of the book, Hal, a struggling tarot card reader, gets an unexpected letter in the mail promising her a substantial inheritance from her grandmother, whom she's never met. When she goes to the funeral, she realizes this is just one aspect of a larger scheme, and that she's already in deep.
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Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman (2018)

Erin and Mark are a couple in Bora Bora who have, let's be honest, relatively perfect lives. Erin is a documentary filmmaker, and Mark is her happy-go-lucky financial adviser fiancé. Everything changes while they're on a scuba diving expedition and find something with potentially explosive implications floating in the water. Something in the Water has the Reese Witherspoon stamp of approval — she picked it for Reese's Book Club.
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Ghosted by Rosie Walsh (2018)

Ghosting is an affliction particular to the 21st century, and so Ghosted by Rosie Walsh is a psychological thriller perfect for our time. Sarah and Eddie have a whirlwind seven-day romance. And then, on the eighth day, Eddie vanishes. He doesn't call. He disappears. Ghosted has a deeply moving, romantic streak, too — we wouldn't be surprised if you cried at the end. This is Walsh's debut, and we can't wait to read what she writes next.
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Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (2018)

What is it about female friendships that makes such fertile fodder for a psychological thriller? Megan Abbot's highly anticipated novel looks at the repercussions of a secret that only Kit Owens and Diane Fleming, childhood best friends turned adult rivals, know.
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