12 of our favorite thriller writers on what you need to read this season
Caroline Kepnes on #FashionVictim
Watching Lifetime's delicious new stalker drama YOU? Kepnes, the author of the book on which it's based (and a former EW staffer), offers another provocative story to read after you've turned off the TV. “[I] was mesmerized by Amina Akhtar’s voicey, vicious #FashionVictim,” she gushes. “As someone who despises planks and loves psycho-adventure, I appreciate the think piece about female bodies crackling inside this crazy yet grounded debut.”
Robyn Harding on Lying in Wait
The Her Pretty Face author recommends Liz Nugent's novel about an unraveling family. She teases: “It’s darkly funny, creepy, and has one of the most disturbing endings I’ve ever read!”
Sara Shepard on Our Kind of Cruelty
The mind behind Pretty Little Liars certainly knows a thing or two about a good twist. She joins A.J. Finn and Gillian Flynn in getting sucked into this hot title by Araminta Hall: “The narrator is delusional but charming, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen and I’m almost at the end.”
David Bell on Three Days Missing
Bell, best known for Bring Her Home, lavishes praise on this psychological thriller about a man who tries to save the life of a little girl who may be his daughter. "Three Days Missing hooked me right away and drew me into the shattered lives devastated by a missing child," he says. "And the ending packed a wallop: one of the best and most surprising twists I've read in a long, long time. It blew me away."
Rea Frey on She Was the Quiet One
Frey's debut, Not Her Daughter, has already been optioned for film. She loves this take on privilege and power: "It has a whole lot of intrigue, deception, relatable characters, and a rush to find out who’s to blame. You are definitely guessing until the very last page."
BM Hardin on The Girl in the Ice
The latest in Robert Bryndza's best-selling Erika Foster series certainly drew the attention of Hardin (Give Him Back): “[It] was chilling, captivating, and the ending left my mouth hanging wide open! I never saw it coming!”
Megan Abbott on Beneath a Ruthless Sun
A writer we're watching closely, Abbott (Dare Me, Give Me Your Hand) goes in a slightly different direction here, highlighting Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King's saga that thrills chiefly because it's true. The book explores racism and the judicial system against a 1950s Florida backdrop.
Mary Kubica on The Night in Question
Kubica, whose The Good Girl is headed to the big screen soon, says of Nic Joseph's suspense tale, "It is a unique and totally compelling mystery chock-full of desperation, greed, scandal and murder."
Tim Johnston on You Were Made for This
We've already heaped praise on Michelle Sacks' nasty domestic page-turner, but allow Johnston (Descent) to add a rave here. “I was immediately captivated by a certain… weirdness in tone — a subtle creepiness living somewhere between what is evident and what is not: a woman who has found the perfect life in the Swedish woods, and yet her description of that life raises the hairs on the back of your neck," he teases. "This unsettling bit of magic is the first sign of what turns out to be a great deal of dark domestic history, full of secrets and deceptions and wounds and violence, all of it tense and spooky and beautifully written. The book is a thrilling literary fable of the woods, except there are no bread crumbs for getting home!"
Chevy Stevens on Jar of Hearts
Calling it "one of my favorite thrillers of the year," Stevens (Never Let You Go) recommends this twisty novel by Jennifer Hillier. She adds, "It completely gripped me until the very last, astonishing twist."
Gilly Macmillan on November Road
We're fans of this ’60s noir drama, so we'll happily get behind the I Know You Know scribe's recommendation here. "The tone is pitch-perfect noir, the action nail-biting, the locations gorgeously, terrifyingly atmospheric, and there's a family story that'll tear at your emotions," Macmillan says.
Riley Sager on The Boy at the Keyhole
The Last Time I Lied was one of the summer's most anticipated thrillers, and its author suggests a fairly grim read here in The Boy at the Keyhole: "This slim, sinister tale about a boy left in the care of a housekeeper who might have murdered his long-absent mother kept me guessing all the way…"