Three summer thrillers obliterate the boundaries of what can rightfully be chalked up to “all in a day’s work.”
Captain Catherine Wells, commander of the spacecraft Sagittarius, perished on the wrong side of a wormhole in deep space. Or so NASA believed. Vessel, Lisa A. Nichols’ debut thriller, opens nine years after the mission launched. Houston has just received a signal from the Sagittarius and makes contact with Catherine, who has few memories of her years in space and even fewer answers about what led her to this point. Soon she’s back helping to oversee the launch of Sagittarius II, which will attempt the same fateful voyage on which Catherine lost her crew. NASA prodigy Cal Morganson is desperate to keep the upcoming mission safe and is sure Catherine is hiding something. He’s right—but will exposing her secrets be enough? Vessel is a deliciously creepy dive through the wormhole.
Layne Fargo’s addictive Temper centers on the artists of the Chicago theater scene for a wildly different take on a job gone very wrong. Following struggling actress Kira Rascher and repressed director Joanna Cuyler, Temper begins at the audition for a play of the same name, an intense marital drama with a cast of only two. Malcolm Mercer, a towering figure in the community and Joanna’s creative partner, plays the lead in all of their productions. Being cast opposite Malcolm—a genius method actor or a gaslighting sociopath, depending on whom you ask—spikes Kira’s deep artistic ambitions like nothing before. Joanna has worked with Malcolm for years, quietly swallowing her own ambition and agency in order to remain in his orbit. The novel’s violently sensuous suspense careens toward a chilling conclusion you’ll never see coming.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager is a nightmarish thriller set against the backdrop of a Manhattan fairy tale. Jules Larsen has no living family, recently lost her job and just discovered her live-in boyfriend is cheating on her. So she swallows her better judgment and accepts an offer to apartment-sit in the legendary Bartholomew building. Within a day of starting, she begins to notice that many aspects of her new digs are off. She can’t have visitors, and she must spend every night in the apartment. She isn’t allowed to speak to the other residents. Most disturbingly, the other apartment sitters are as alone in the world as she is. The more she starts digging into the Bartholomew’s history, the harder it is to dismiss the rumors that the building is cursed by some very disturbing magic. Readers who enjoy a touch of horror mixed with their suspense will love Lock Every Door.