There’s nothing quite like a page-turning thriller to bring a few chills to your summer reading list. From salacious murders to mysterious disappearances to more monstrous threats still, here are 10 books that will hold you in their icy grip until the last page—making them a perfect choice for the hottest days of the year.
It’s why we’ve declared it Thriller Week—and why the 10 can’t-stop-reading books below, and a wide selection of others, are buy one, get one 50% off for a limited time.
Unsolved, by James Patterson and David Ellis
James Patterson and David Ellis delivery the sequel to Invisible, which introduced the obsessive, genius FBI researcher Emily Dockery. Emily notices things others miss, and it has made her reputation in the bureau. Now, she’s seeing a string of murders across the country—deaths that appear to be accidental, and which seem to have no connection to one another. Whoever’s orchestrating them seems to know what Emily is thinking, and keeps one step ahead of her as she works the case hard. Meanwhile, Emily’s ex-fiancee and reluctant partner, Special Agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, suspects treason within the Bureau—and hasn’t ruled out Emily herself as the culprit.
Cari Mora, by Thomas Harris
The author of The Silence of the Lambs delivers his first standalone novel in four decades, a tense thrilling with a most unexpectedly dangerous protagonist. It’s the story of Cari Mora, an tenuously legal immigrant working in Miami as the caretaker of a luxurious beach house, having fled violence and brutality in her home country. What Cari doesn’t know is that her life in the U.S. will be no safer: a drug cartel has buried $25 million under the house, and a group of ruthless, driven men seek to claim it. The worst of them, a sadistic fiend named Hans-Peter Schneider, is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the money, but he finds himself distracted with the beautiful Cari, and decides to claim her as part of the fortune. But Schneider soon discovers that Cari has learned how to survive the hard way, and has the skills—and the desperate drive to survive—to match his own perverse desires.
Run Away, by Harlan Coben
First Simon lost his daughter figuratively: Addicted to drugs and involved with the wrong guy, her life had spiraled. Then he lost her literally, and when she disappeared, it was obvious she didn’t want to be found. But when she turns up in Central Park, playing the guitar—dirty, frightened, and unable or unwilling to recognize her own father, Simon must take matters into his own hands, risking his own life, and his family, to get her back. A dark novel of suspense from a master of the genre, Run Away will thrill longtime Coben fans, and hook new ones. The B&N special edition includes an interview with the author.
Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly
Connelly pairs up two of his most enduring characters as Harry Bosch, now retired and working cases for his own reasons, and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard see their paths cross. After Ballard files a sexual harassment claim against the police department, she gets relegated to the graveyard shift. One night she catches Bosch looking through an old case file, researching the unsolved murder of a runaway girl in 2009. When she learns the girl’s mother, Daisy, is staying with Bosch as he helps her recover from drug addiction, Renée is moved to help. Meanwhile, Bosch’s other activities have put him directly in the sights of one of the most violent and ruthless street gangs in the area, Varrio San Fer 13, making the new partnership an extremely dangerous one—not that the detective is the type to spook easily.
Long Road to Mercy, by David Baldacci
Baldacci takes a break from Amos Decker to introduce FBI Agent Atlee Pine, whose skill set makes her one of the FBI’s top criminal profilers, but who chooses to work in solitude as the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency. Pine is haunted by the kidnapping of her twin sister, Mercy, when they were six years old; the kidnapper sang out an old nursery rhyme as they chose which twin to abduct. Mercy was chosen, and Atlee never saw her sister again, and dedicated her life to saving others. When a mule is found dead in the Grand Canyon and its rider missing, Atlee is plunged into an investigation that would be beyond most agents—but not her. At least not until she’s abruptly ordered to close the case just as she’s figuring out the terrifying scope of what’s she’s chasing after…
The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pakkanen
Take liberal doses of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Trainand mix them up in wholly unexpected ways, and you have this crackling new thriller from former book editors Hendricks and Pakkanen. Vanessa and Richard got divorced after a series of failed fertility treatments left them childless, but now charismatic, controlling Richard has married a younger version of Vanessa—or so it seems to her. Nellie, the new fiancée, is a bright-eyed schoolteacher uncertain she’s ready to leave her fun lifestyle for the suburbs. And Richard’s secretive destination wedding brings up haunting memories of a traumatic event in her past. Meanwhile, Vanessa unravels, drinking and pushing herself to the brink of unemployment as she becomes increasing unreliable and increasingly obsessed with Nellie. To say this setup doesn’t go where you might think is the understatement of the year.
Bird Box, by Josh Malerman
The basis for the meme-spawning Netfliz original film starring Sandra Bullock, Josh Malerman’s intense monster thriller tells of a world slowly crumbling as people begin succumbing to a mysterious plague of murderous madness triggered by a mere glimpse of a breed of mysterious creatures—referred to simply as The Problem—that suddenly appear and begin wreaking havoc on humanity. Though the events are massive in scope, the novel is supremely scary because of the limited perspective through which we view it: the reader only has access to the same information the characters do, and that’s not much. Our primary point-of-view character (though calling them that is darkly funny, as they spend much of the narrative blindfolded to avoid seeing the creatures) is a woman named Mallory who is desperate to shepherd her young children to safety. As the world collapses around her, Mallory has no choice but to try to stay one step ahead of an unknowable threat. Chilling.
Tailspin, by Sandra Brown
Rye Mallett is a “freight dog,” making a living flying cargo around the country. He accepts a strange job ferrying a mysterious black box through bad weather to a remote area of Georgia, where one Dr. Nathaniel Lambert will meet him to accept it. As Rye approaches the small airport, someone shines a laser into the cockpit. Rye is temporarily blinded, and crashes the plane while trying to land. He survives, and when he exits the wreckage with the box he meets Brynn O’Neal, a beautiful doctor who claims Lambert sent her in his place. Although Rye doesn’t trust her, he has no choice but to accept her help when it soon becomes clear there are others seeking whatever’s in the mystery box—and they’re willing to kill for it.
Girl Last Seen, by Nina Lauren
Nina Laurin’s debut thriller focuses on Laine Moreno, a young woman struggling to adjust to her normal life after spending three years as the captive of a man who kidnapped and terrorized her—and who is still on the loose. News reports of another disappearance—that of 10-year-old Olivia Shaw—finally give Laine purpose. Despite the fact that Olivia seems a far different sort of kidnapping victim—the pampered child of wealthy parents, as opposed to the daughter of a drug addict—the mere physical resemblance between the two is enough to convince Laine her captor has claimed his next victim. Her suspicion is shared by Detective Sean Ortiz, one of the cops who brought Laine back to civilization. But as both of them investigate, Laine quickly finds her carefully reconstructed life unraveling around her. It’s a haunting story of resilience in the face of trauma, with no guarantee of a happy ending.
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
Luke Jennings delivers a followup to his hit 2018 thriller Codename Villanelle, which served as the inspiration for Killing Eve, the breakout BBC America series starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer and created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. For her work tracking down Villanelle, a deadly assassin who targets figures active in dirty politics and organized crime, MI5 agent Eve Polastri lost her job, and she’s convinced it was because someone pressured her old boss, Dennis Cradle, to work on behalf of Russian interests. Now working for MI6, Eve attempts to strike a dangerous deal with Cradle to reveal who was behind the plot, but he’s unwilling to go quietly, and partners with none other than Villanelle, still on the loose, to take Eve down. The chases and spycraft are great fun, but the real thrills are found in the cat-and-mouse interplay between the exacting Villanelle and her increasingly desperate quarry.
What books are thrilling you this summer?