The Perfect Nanny. The Good Mother. The Favorite Sister. Whether it’s the Big Little Lies effect, the #metoo movement, or a bit of both, women have owned the thriller genre this year. Some of these summer reads for mystery lovers draw inspiration from current events; others from the shadowy world of classic noir. Each killer title is sure to chill you to the bone, no matter how scorching temperatures get.
The Perfect Nanny
Inspired by 2012's actual “nanny murders” in New York City, when nanny Yoselyn Ortega brutally murdered two young children in her care, The Perfect Nanny was first published in French in 2016. Newly translated to English, The Perfect Nanny has become an international bestseller. Slimani delves deep into the circumstances leading up to a similar, fictionalized story about a nanny who murders a young child. The opening sentence of this dark, compelling read: “The baby is dead.”
The Woman in the Window
As soon as it appeared, this novel shot to the top of The New York Times bestseller list with praise from the likes of Gillian Flynn and Stephen King. Anna Fox lives alone and barely ventures outside–she struggles from agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces–but she finds plenty to occupy herself with by spying on her neighbors. It’s all fun and games until she thinks she may have witnessed a crime. But what if her mind is just playing tricks on her?
Related: 8 Books Like The Girl on the Train
The Wife Between Us
Like many a thriller, The Wife Between Us starts with a scorned woman. Vanessa isn’t thrilled when she learns that her newly ex-husband is already engaged to another woman, Nellie. But that’s where the predictable plot points end. Perhaps it’s the fact that this summer thriller has not one but two authors that gives The Wife Between Us double the twists and turns.
Laura Lippman is one of the best noir writers around today, and Sunburn continues her hot streak. Inspired by classic noir films like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, Sunburn is the perfect read for a hot day by the pool. Polly and Adam are two drifters who meet randomly in small town Delaware. Soon they embark on a passionate affair, but both harbor secrets that could ultimately destroy their love—not to mention their lives.
Related: Film Fatale: 9 Noirs and Their Literary Inspiration
The Flight Attendant
Flight attendant Cassandra Bowden chose her lifestyle for a reason. She’s always on the run from something and spends many a morning with a pounding hangover and a flight to catch. But one morning she wakes up next to a corpse, and has no recollection of how he got there. As she’s pursued by the FBI, Cassandra will have to become the detective of her own life if she wants to prove her innocence.
The Perfect Mother
Soon to be a movie starring Scandal’s Kerry Washington, this bestseller takes on the microcosm of Mommy and Me groups, bringing them to the next, terrifying level. When a group of moms escape for a night out on the Fourth of July, they leave their babies at home–after all, what’s a break if the kids are still around? Winnie is particularly hesitant to leave her six-week-old son at home. When she returns home, Midas is no longer in his crib. Did someone in the group kidnap her baby, knowing she would be gone?
Related: 15 Killer Mysteries & Thrillers You Need to Read This Summer
The Favorite Sister
Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive was one of the bestselling debut novels of 2015. Now she returns with The Favorite Sister. Five young women are cast in a New York City reality show called "Goal Diggers." Each girl is unique, but the relationship between two sisters, Brett and Kelly, is the most intense of the show. When one of them turns up dead, it’s far from case closed–any of these cutthroat women had it in them to commit the crime.
Give Me Your Hand
From the author of You Will Know Me and many other thrillers, Give Me Your Hand hits shelves July 17. And we’re waiting (not so) patiently. Kit Owens was an average student when a girl named Diane Fleming walked into her life and inspired her to be more ambitious. The two were inseparable, and Kit told Diane her darkest secret. Then they lost touch. Now adults, they’re up for the same job, and Kit is terrified that Diane will share her secret with the world and destroy both of their lives in the process.
Fiona Lawson comes home one day to find strangers moving in to her house. Though there must be some misunderstanding, Fiona suspects it may have something to do with her unique arrangement with her wayward husband, Bram. The two rotate, taking turns in the house to spend time with their two sons. But now Bram and the children have vanished, and a new family means to take over, sending Fiona on a desperate mission to save her house and her family. Our House arrives August 7.
The Good Son
Yu-jin is awoken by a phone call from his brother, asking if everything is all right at home. And no, everything is not all right. Yu-jin discovers his mother’s body, lying in a pool of blood at the foot of the stairs. But as he suffers from seizures, he can’t remember what happened the night before. Is it possible that he killed his own mother, even accidentally? It’s no surprise that this terrifying page-turner from Korean novelist You-Jeong Jeong has quickly become an international bestseller.
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