Thrillers and Suspense
The Winters by Lisa GabrieleWhat it is: an homage to Daphne du Maurier's iconic gothic thriller Rebecca, set in the Hamptons and updated for the digital age.
Featuring: Senator Max Winter, a widower whose teenage daughter Dani is determined to make her new stepmother miserable; the unnamed narrator, whose dream come true is about to turn into a nightmare.
Read it for: the author's careful balance between tribute and update; the atmospheric, Hitchcockian tension; the heroine's welcome sense of female empowerment.
Pulse by Michael HarveyWhat it's about: This compelling, intricately plotted story begins like many other police procedurals (with a dead body and a couple of cops), but quickly goes off the rails when the victim's brother reveals he had a premonition about the crime.
Is it for you? Though very much a thriller, Pulse does borrow heavily from murder mysteries and has strong supernatural elements.
Author alert: Michael Harvey is best known for his Michael Kelly series of mysteries, though with Pulse and 2016's Brighton, he is starting to veer more towards suspense.
Leave No Trace by Mindy MejiaStarring: speech therapist Maya Stark, who works at an isolated mental health facility near Minnesota's Boundary Waters; and Lucas Blackthorn, who went missing at age 9 and has resurfaced ten years later, refusing to speak to anyone about his past.
What happens: Maya and Lucas form a bond that gets him to finally open up a bit, but soon it becomes clear that Lucas' (presumed dead) father is still out there somewhere and that Lucas will do anything to get back to him.
Read it for: the compassionate handling of mental illness and the author's impressive use of the wilderness setting to create a strong sense of foreboding.
The Spite Game by Anna SnoekstraThe premise: Ava was mercilessly bullied in school, and as an adult she has dedicated her life to revenge. Changing her looks, attitude, and social connections, Ava has infiltrated the exclusive circles of her tormentors and begins to ruin each woman's life, one by one.
The problem: Ava has taken down every member of the clique who made her life hell, except for the group's queen bee Mel, who just might escape Ava's particular brand of justice.
For fans of: unreliable narrators, vengeance stories, and mean girls getting their comeuppance.
The Fixer by Joseph FinderWhat it is: a fast-paced, intricately plotted financial thriller about how a simple home renovation ends up undermining the foundation of one man's already crumbling life and memories.
Starring: Rick Hoffman, who returns to his childhood home after losing his job as a journalist, the apartment he can no longer afford, and the girlfriend who prized them both more than she did Rick.
What goes wrong: Rick's efforts to spruce up the place lead him to a large stash of money hidden in the walls, and when he decides to move the money, he ends up uncovering a tale of political corruption that many people would rather stayed buried.
It Takes One by Kate KesslerStarring: sassy and likeable criminal psychologist Audrey Harte, who is definitely, definitely not a murderer.
What happens: Audrey returns to the hometown she left behind seven years ago, where rumors persist about her involvement in a man's death. It doesn't take long before another person connected to that death also turns up dead, and Audrey knows she'll have to find the real killer before everyone decides it's her.
Series alert: This is the 1st novel in the Audrey Harte series, followed by Two Can Play, Three Strikes, and Four of a Kind.
Worthy Brown's Daughter by Phillip MargolinWhat it's about: Matthew Penny is a recently widowed lawyer in 1850s Oregon who has agreed to take the case of Worthy Brown, a freed slave who's suing for the release of his 15 year old daughter Roxanne from bondage.
What goes wrong: Worthy is arrested for a murder, and soon enough both cases intersect with the conflicting interests of the wealthy and powerful of the bustling frontier town of Portland.
Author alert: Phillip Margolin is also known for his contemporary thrillers, such as the Amanda Jaffe novels and the standalone Woman With a Gun.
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