Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
If your dream vacation is getting cozy in a tiny English village
Jackson Brodie returns to bookshelves after a nine-year hiatus in Big Sky. Brodie is doing the typical PI work of spying on an unfaithful husband in the village of North Yorkshire when he encounters a man about to jump to his death from a cliff. Brodie intervenes and, in doing so, becomes embroiled in a complex case of murder, betrayal and sex trafficking. Meanwhile, police detectives Reggie Chase and Ronnie Dibicki are also caught up in the dizzying plot when their routine assignment to interview witnesses in a cold case brings them into contact with some of the same individuals as those in Brodie’s case. Atkinson expertly balances plotlines and viewpoints from chapter to chapter, giving readers a panoramic understanding of the characters, their motivations and the consequences of their actions. All of it coalesces into a wild, frantic finish in which each plotline is neatly tied together.
★ Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley
For fans of “My Favorite Murder,” I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and all things Manson-related
Blanche Potter thought she had put her past behind her. She never talked about what happened when she was 7 years old. She changed her last name. She moved to a new city. She started a life of her own. But as the daughter of Chuck Varner, a deranged mass shooter, Blanche realizes the past may be buried, but it never goes away completely. Blanche learns that lesson the hard way in Nathan Ripley’s shocking new novel, Your Life Is Mine. Things are going well in her career as an up-and-coming filmmaker when she is told that her estranged mother, Crissy, has been shot and killed at her trailer home. News of Crissy’s death, brought to Blanche by a sleazy journalist who knows of her past, opens the floodgates of her memories and traumatic childhood. But as she tries to reconcile her past experiences with the recent death of her mother, someone else is gunning for her as well. The cult of Chuck Varner lives on, and it’s up to Blanche to stop it before his crazed follower can strike again. Ripley pulls no punches here, creating a tense and atmospheric story of personal identity and survival, while asking whether you can ever escape your past.
Gone Too Long by Lori Roy
If you’re looking for a mystery that’s almost too real
Lori Roy portrays the rise of white supremacy movements to chilling effect in Gone Too Long. Set in modern-day Simmonsville, Georgia, the story follows Imogene Coulter, the daughter of a Ku Klux Klan member, as she buries the sins of her father but unearths an even darker mystery. While sorting through her father’s KKK hideout, Imogene discovers a young boy. Along with Beth, a child abducted 10 years ago who has been raising the boy during their captivity, Imogene begins to discern the truth about her father’s role in the ordeal. But with another Klan member determined to reassert control of the situation, Imogene’s own life and the lives of her family are in peril. This darkly addictive tale is ultimately an engrossing portrait of survival and perseverance. With richly detailed prose, Roy pulls readers close into Imogene’s and Beth’s perspectives, creating empathy for both characters as their trauma and the threats against them, past and present, unfold.
Murder in Bel-Air by Cara Black
If your dream vacation is stylishly stalking through the streets of Paris
Sydney Leduc had one job: pick up her granddaughter from her play group and bring her home. But when Sydney fails to show up, her daughter Aimée is thrust into a convoluted case of murder and international intrigue in her attempt to find Sydney. Author Cara Black swiftly builds up the tension in her riveting new Aimée Leduc mystery, Murder in Bel-Air, en route to an action-packed finale. While retrieving her daughter in Sydney’s place, Aimée witnesses police investigating the death of a homeless woman at a nearby convent’s soup kitchen. She quickly learns that the last person to speak with the victim was none other than her own mother, adding to the mystery of Sydney’s whereabouts. The discovery of a bundle of cash stashed away in the convent’s laundry further complicates matters. Before long, Aimée and her unique cast of teammates are caught up in an international conspiracy involving a potential coup, a downed airplane and a dirty bomb. Hounding her every move are agents of the DGSE (France’s external intelligence agency), the CIA and a mercenary known as the Crocodile. Rich in Parisian settings and vernacular, Murder in Bel-Air is easily accessible and enjoyable to new and longtime series readers alike.
The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell
For fans of Fingersmith and Alias Grace
Laura Purcell captures the menace and gloom of Victorian-era England in The Poison Thread. Dorothea Truelove is rich, attractive and intelligent. As an act of philanthropy, she spends time with the women incarcerated at Oakgate Prison. Dorothea’s pet fascination is phrenology—using the shape of an individual’s skull as a gauge for temperament and disposition—and she believes the technique can reveal criminal inclinations. When she meets prisoner Ruth Butterham, Dorothea is keen to test her theory. Ruth, who has been charged with murdering the owner of the dress shop where she was employed, is resolute in her claim that she can kill through the power of her stitches. The tale is narrated in turns by the two women, and Purcell skillfully contrasts their voices and stories, spinning a fascinating mystery that’s rich in disquieting detail and atmosphere.
Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong
If you’re looking for a mystery with a deeply emotional hook
Kelley Armstrong’s gripping thriller, Wherever She Goes, is narrated by librarian and troubled mother Aubrey Finch. Aubrey’s marriage to successful lawyer Paul is strained, but they’re still raising their 3-year-old daughter together. Haunted by memories of past mistakes and her parents’ deaths, Aubrey finds that the life she’s built with her family is slowly eroding away. At the park one day, Aubrey watches helplessly as a little boy is forced into an SUV. She contacts the police, but when no further information about the abduction surfaces, they question her claims—and her mental health. A practiced hacker, Aubrey begins hunting for the child via computer, putting her own safety and reputation on the line. Armstrong balances the mystery of the kidnapping and the tension of Aubrey’s inner conflicts with moving scenes of a fragile marriage as Aubrey and Paul work to save their relationship. The latest from the bestselling author of Watcher in the Woods makes for pulse-racing summer reading.
★ Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman
For fans of The Secret History and Gone Girl
Cambria Brockman’s riveting debut, Tell Me Everything, takes place on the campus of an exclusive New England college, where six friends form a destructive connection. Introvert Malin comes out of her shell at Hawthorne College, bonding with five other students: Ruby, Max, John, Khaled and Gemma. They’re a close-knit group, but as graduation approaches, their relationships begin to unravel. Gemma drinks too much, and John is increasingly cruel to Ruby, who is now his girlfriend. Malin, meanwhile, excels academically while concealing her very dark past. The anxieties of senior year peak at semester’s end as she struggles to uphold her self-assured facade. She isn’t the only one in the circle who’s hiding something, and when a murder occurs, the six friends’ lives change forever. Narrated by Malin, whose intelligence and cunning drive the story, Tell Me Everything is an edgy exploration of loyalty and human desire. Readers in search of a true page-turner will savor this electrifying novel.
★ The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson
If you’re looking for a thriller you absolutely cannot predict
Fans of Paula Hawkins will be thrilled by Allison Dickson’s The Other Mrs. Miller. Phoebe Miller is starting to believe her best years are behind her. Heiress to a fortune left by her philandering late father, she passes the days in a haze of alcohol. Arguments with her husband, Wyatt, add to her feelings of discontent. But her life takes an unexpected turn after the Napiers move in across the street. Ron, a doctor; Vicki, his wife; and Jake, their attractive and flirtatious teenage son, appear to be a model family. Vicki is eager to be friends, but Phoebe doesn’t quite trust her. She also suspects she’s being watched by the driver of a car that keeps returning to the neighborhood. When Phoebe receives a series of frightening notes that may have some connection to her father, she begins to fear for her life. With an impossible-to-predict plot and a very unexpected murder, Dickson’s book is required reading for suspense addicts.