If you’re as obsessed with the adventures of Detective Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) on British TV show Broadchurch as I am, then you’re in agony awaiting the third season. If you haven’t started the show and still have your emotions intact, here’s a primer: Broadchurch begins with the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer in a small, beachside British town. Hardy, haunted from a past case left unsolved, and Miller, a kind and determined soul who knows Danny’s family, are the primary investigators. As the suspects pile up, the small town is shaken and lives are changed forever. From the brilliant acting by Tennant and Colman to the gasp-inducing twists in every episode, the show is magnificent, and waiting till 2017 for season three feels like a long time to go. Luckily, we have just what we need to help us in our plight: a fine offering of YA mysteries and thrillers with similar themes to Broadchurch that will make the wait feel short. Or at least bearable.
The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn
Broadchurch tackles many tough questions, including the chilling, “What happens when I don’t know someone like I thought I did?” From Danny’s unexpected death to the sordid backgrounds of the various suspects, Broadchurch reminds you that even living with someone isn’t a guarantee that you know everything they’re hiding. Dunn’s protagonist, CeCe Brooks, asks this question about her mother, who allegedly committed suicide six months ago after rumors went rampant about her having sex with a student. CeCe never imagined her mother doing either of those things, and when she’s forced to volunteer at the crisis hotline her mother worked at, she finds clues that suggest everything isn’t as it seems.
The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando
The more time that passes after a kidnapping, the slimmer the chances of finding the victim alive. One of Hardy’s deepest character motivations is his despair over leaving a past crime unsolved, blaming the lack of closure on himself. The Leaving opens with five out of six kidnapping victims returning home 11 years later…with no memory of what happened to them. Avery, the sister of the sixth and still missing victim, is desperate for answers and begins her own investigation, determined to uncover the truth behind what happened 11 years ago.
Local Girl Swept Away, by Ellen Wittlinger
Local Girl Swept Away features a group of friends who are shaken when one of their members is swept out to sea. Without a body, they can’t know if Lorna is alive or if she’s lost under the waves forever. The three remaining friends are grieving and uncertain, especially Jackie, who struggles with unrequited feelings for Lorna’s boyfriend. As questions about Lorna’s fate rise, the haunting sense of disillusionment and grief matches the unforgettable tone of Broadchurch. However, as in Broadchurch, a sense of possible hope on the horizon shines through.
Afterward, by Jennifer Mathieu
After a tragedy, particularly one in a sparsely populated community, healing can be a slow process. Season Two of Broadchurch deals with such healing, as does Jennifer Mathieu’s upcoming September release, Afterward. The book follows Caroline, whose little brother was kidnapped for several days before his rescue, and Ethan, who lived with the same kidnapper for four years after being abducted at age 11. What starts out as Caroline questioning Ethan to find out what her brother went through turns into an unlikely bond over music and refreshing honesty. Just as Hardy and Miller needed friendship to survive the aftermath of Danny’s case, Caroline and Ethan find that true friendship might be the key to saving themselves.
The Row, by J.R. Johansson
Whether in the UK or the U.S., no justice system is ever entirely without fault—there’s always a chance someone who is guilty will be determined innocent, and vice versa. J.R. Johansson’s The Row, releasing this October, addresses both the fallibility of the legal system and the dark secrets that can be uncovered in the course of investigating a crime. Riley’s father is on death row in Texas. When he goes from claiming innocence for years to suddenly admitting guilt—if only for a brief moment before taking it back—she uncovers more shocking scandals about her family than she ever imagined as she digs for the truth.
Useless Bay, by M.J. Beaufrand
Small-town murder mysteries are scary on many levels, but there’s something about such a small town being on the waterfront that makes it extra creepy. The waters look calm, but there’s no telling how many people are swimming with the fishes below the surface. Like Broadchurch, tUseless Bay, a magical realism mystery releasing in October from M.J. Beaufrand, takes place on a shore. It’s set on Whidbey Island, home to the Gray quintuplets (yes, quintuplets), a group of teens with a deep connection to their island home. With the help of their dog, they volunteer for search and rescue missions, and set out to help when the young son of a family friend goes missing. When they find the body of the boy’s mother instead, they realize a killer is hiding in their midst.