If you’re seeking edge-of-your seat thrills and psychological suspense to keep you turning pages long into the humid summer nights, then look no further. From exotic locales like the Greek islands to the seamy underbelly of New York City, these books have the right ingredients for an entertaining escape.
Years and miles apart will change people. So will wealth—or a lack of it. Ian Bledsoe discovers this the hard way in Christopher Bollen’s engrossing new novel, The Destroyers. Set on the Greek island paradise of Patmos, the novel reunites Ian with his childhood friend and college pal, Charlie Konstantinou, who may be Ian’s best chance of getting out of a precarious situation. Ian is on the outs with his affluent New York family after stealing $9,000, and he’s currently on the run following a failed business venture in Panama (rumored to involve drugs). Charlie, who hails from a wealthy family of his own, readily offers Ian a job with his tourist-centric yacht company. Ian is further surprised to be reunited with his former college girlfriend, Louise Wheeler, who has also found a refuge of sorts amid Charlie’s eccentric circle of friends and extended family. But before Ian gets a chance to repay Charlie for his generosity, Charlie vanishes after a business trip, leaving his friends and family to fend for themselves. Bollen takes his time unraveling the seeds of deceit, obsession and secrets, building suspense with each page.
Obsession takes many forms. In Colin Harrison’s new novel, You Belong to Me, the consequences of various obsessions are often messy and deadly. Successful immigration lawyer Paul Reeves is obsessed with his hobby of collecting rare archival maps. His neighbor, Jennifer Mehraz, is obsessed with her long-lost lover, former Army Ranger Bill Wilkerson. Jennifer’s husband, Iranian-American entrepreneur Ahmed Mehraz, is obsessed with her. Paul, being the good neighbor and friend that he is, soon becomes entangled in Jennifer, Bill and Ahmed’s complex love triangle, even as he tries to focus on acquiring an elusive, rare archival map of New York City. Events quickly careen out of control as neither Paul’s nor Ahmed’s wealth can easily buy the two out of the situations they’re in, forcing the men to resort to other, less reliable alternatives to get what they want. Harrison, who is the editor-in-chief at Scribner and the author of eight previous novels, explores how far each of these characters will go to conquer their obsession and attain the unattainable. You Belong to Me is an intriguing, moody tale of love, lust and avarice—and great summer reading.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
You’ll want to buckle up and hold on tight for Jordan Harper’s debut novel, She Rides Shotgun, a fast-paced, energetic noir about an ex-convict and his 11-year-old daughter. Nate McClusky isn’t your typical protagonist—he’s done a lot of bad things in his lifetime, both beyond and behind bars. But his compassion for his daughter, Polly, drives everything, making their quest for survival one readers can embrace. Nate makes the drastic mistake of killing a member of the Aryan Steel gang in jail, resulting in a bounty being put on his head and on the heads of his wife and child. Nate is too late to save his wife, but he manages to get to Polly, setting off a cat-and-mouse chase. Along the way, Nate becomes the dad he never was to his child, a spunky and smart girl whose infatuation with her long-missing dad grows the longer they are together. Polly, in turn, grows up much too fast as Nate begins training her to fend for herself. By turns heartwarming and shocking, this book entertains on numerous levels. Harper is also a talented screenwriter, and it’s easy to envision this electric story unfolding on the silver screen. Get in and go along for the ride.
PREDATOR AND PREY
Author Gin Phillips thrusts Joan and her 4-year-old son, Lincoln, into the middle of a life-and-death scenario in one of the summer’s most action-packed and emotionally harrowing thrillers, Fierce Kingdom. The pair are just about to wrap up a visit to their local zoo when the sounds of gunshots shatter the otherwise tranquil environment. Joan’s motherly, protective instinct immediately kicks in as the pair hide from the shooters amid the zoo’s exhibition spaces. Their only connection to the outside world is through Joan’s text message exchanges with her husband, who is unable to reach them. Joan must rely on her own wits and courage to see them through this frightening situation in one piece, but with a young child in tow who sees everything as a game, doing so proves easier said than done. Fierce Kingdom unfolds at a rapid-fire pace with each chapter upping the tension and danger.
LAST WOMAN STANDING
Stephen King recently praised Final Girls by Riley Sager as “the first great thriller of 2017,” an assessment we’ll second. This suspense-packed novel—written by an established author under the Sager pseudonym—follows the life of Quincy Carpenter, the lone survivor of a horror movie-like massacre of five college friends that happened 10 years ago during their vacation at Pine Cottage. Somehow Quincy eluded the assailant long enough to reach a nearby cop for help, but the memories of that harrowing ordeal—or more precisely the trauma-triggered absence of those memories—never let go. When the lone female survivor of a similar ordeal dies and a third “Final Girl” of another incident winds up on her doorstep, Quincy is immediately thrust into yet another do-or-die scenario. To survive this time, Quincy will have to solve the mystery of her past. Sager quickly ratchets up the mystery and the psychological suspense in classic slasher-movie fashion. Unlike those movies, however, Sager takes time to delve into the head of the main character, creating an emotionally charged experience readers won’t soon forget.