15 Killer Mysteries & Thrillers You Need to Read This Summer

    From classics to contemporary crime, we've got the reads worth your cloud space.

    You. The beach. A thriller so chilling the sweat beads dripping down your brow turn to ice. That’s what we all want out of our summer reading list, right? Consider your virtual shelves stocked.

    The Big Sleep

    By Raymond Chandler

    Thanks to digital technology, we can all be whisked away to 1930s Southern California without the hassle of actual travel or a time machine. Repubbed for the e-reader in 2016, The Big Sleep and the adventures of hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe can now be consumed one swiped page at a time. Whether you’ve never read The Big Sleep or it’s one of your favorite classics, it’s a perfect summer read.

    The Big Sleep

    By Raymond Chandler

    The Keep

    By Jennifer Egan

    There are books. And then there are books. The Keep isn’t Jennifer Egan’s newest release, but it’s the Gothic tour de force that settled her into a class of her own. A brainy puzzler about two cousins linked by a dark secret, it has all the murder, meth, and medieval castles you’ll need to get thoroughly spooked.

    The Keep

    By Jennifer Egan

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    By Steig Larsson

    Of course, you followed the gnarly Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they hacked into the Vanger family’s sordid saga, but now’s the perfect time to revisit the seedy Swedish series. The fifth entry in the series, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, is due out in September.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    By Steig Larsson

    I Let You Go

    By Clare Macintosh

    Before her urban paranoia release, I See You, retired police commander and writer Clare Mackintosh went first person with her brilliant debut set on the rocky shores of a remote Welsh town. About a woman grieving her son’s hit-and-run death, this novel packs that wallop you crave: the almighty twist.

    I Let You Go

    By Clare Macintosh

    You Will Know Me

    By Megan Abbott

    If you’re not familiar with the acclaimed author already, you will be soon enough. Here, Abbott envelops readers in a world of violence, scandal, and unbridled desire. The springboard? Teenage gymnasts. You’ll be flipping over the secrets and horrors hidden in the seemingly benign world of gymnastics.

    You Will Know Me

    By Megan Abbott

    The Death of Rex Nhongo

    By C.B. George

    A compelling crime novel that uses a real assassination in post-colonial Zimbabwe to inspect the crimes that happen within the confines of marriage, C. B. George’s thriller interlocks the lives of a handful of married couples, all staring down the barrel of the gun that mysteriously killed ex-military chief Rex Nhongo.

    The Death of Rex Nhongo

    By C.B. George

    The Wicked Boy

    By Kate Summerscale

    Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime Book, this one is all truth. An atmospheric Victorian whodunit, Kate Summerscale’s thriller weaves narrative with historical research to examine the titular character’s journey from matricide to asylum to redemption.

    The Wicked Boy

    By Kate Summerscale

    Magpie Murders

    By Anthony Horowitz

    For those who gravely miss the class-based antagonism so deftly handled in an Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot potboiler, turn to this inspired homage about a book editor reading between the murderous lines of her latest author’s vintage crime novel. Horowitz’s book-within-a-book formatting gives new life to a classic genre.

    Magpie Murders

    By Anthony Horowitz

    See What I Have Done

    By Sarah Schmidt

    You know her rhyming crime, but did Lizzie Borden actually take an ax and deliver all those whacks? This is the question Sarah Schmidt thoroughly researched for her debut, which lends a fresh and fictional treatment to the notorious 19th-century murder. Perhaps things didn’t quite go down as history has written…

    See What I Have Done

    By Sarah Schmidt

    A Psalm for Lost Girls

    By Katie Bayerl

    Nothing like your typical hardboiled nerve-jangler, A Psalm for Lost Girls is a genre-blender mixing mystery, suspense, romance, and religion into one moving debut. The gist: While a community pushes for one dead teen’s sainthood, her sister uncovers the beautifully flawed person she actually was. A YA read for every age, A Psalm for Lost Girls will delight and surprise.

    A Psalm for Lost Girls

    By Katie Bayerl

    The Perfect Stranger

    By Megan Miranda

    Now that you’ve found All the Missing Girls, dive into another feverishly paced psychological thriller from Megan Miranda. Follow along as a pair of floundering friends, Leah and Emma, get caught up in a case of murder, violence, and personal identity. Though familiar at times, it’s one eerie read.

    The Perfect Stranger

    By Megan Miranda

    Into the Water

    By Paula Hawkins

    You know her psychological mind-play from The Girl on the Train. With her newest release, be prepared to dive head-first into a pool of intrigue, multiple narrators, and drownings galore. Paula Hawkins casts a wide net in her second novel.

    Into the Water

    By Paula Hawkins

    Do Not Become Alarmed

    By Maile Meloy

    Two couples, four children, one cruise ship. What could possibly go wrong? In a word: everything. Docked along the shores of Central America, the protagonists descend from the safety of the buffet-laden ship for a dip in cultural immersion—one from which not everyone will return. Consider this a hot summer commodity. 

    Do Not Become Alarmed

    By Maile Meloy

    The Readymade Thief

    By Augustus Rose

    An intellectual white-knuckler that hinges on art history, teenage rebellion, and a seriously creepy underground society who worships Marcel Duchamp, Augustus Rose’s first foray into fiction, due out August 1st, is a doozy. But it’s one you’ll find rewarding, like unearthing the Easter eggs in a Lynchian masterpiece.

    The Readymade Thief

    By Augustus Rose

    Y is for Yesterday

    By Sue Grafton

    Fans of the best-selling author have been patiently saying their ABCs since 1982 when Kinsey Millhone first popped onto the scene as a 32-year-old private investigator. Now nearing 40 and the end of her literary career, she faces her darkest case yet: four teenage boys assault a 14-year-old girl at an elite private school and film it. The penultimate Kinsey Milhone thriller will be released on August 22nd, just in time for the dog days of summer.

    Y is for Yesterday

    By Sue Grafton

    This post is sponsored by Open Road Media. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for Murder & Mayhem to continue publishing the mystery and thriller stories you love.

    • summer reads
    • thrillers
    • mysteries


    scroll up