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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.

summer mystery reads

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.

summer mystery reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer mystery reads

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.

summer mystery reads

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.

See What I Have Done

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…

summer mystery reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

summer mystery reads

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. 

summer mystery reads

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.

summer thriller reads

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.

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