If I Disappear by Eliza Jane BrazierWhat it is: an intensifying, creepy debut thriller about fandom, obsession, and small-town secrets.
Starring: recent divorcee Sera Fleece, whose appreciation of a true crime podcast grows increasingly compulsive; Rachel Ward, the podcast's host whose sudden disappearance drives Sera to make things personal.
Media Buzz: A TV adaptation of If I Disappear is in the works, with the novel's author set to write the screenplay.
Girls with Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy KatzmanWhat it's about: One place at Stanford. Three qualified applicants from the same prep school. And three mothers determined to see their daughter win admission.
Meet the mean girls: stay-at-home mom Kelly, a Stanford alum; tech CEO Alicia, whose donations might make up for her daughter's lackluster grades; and single mom Maren, whose daughter is valedictorian.
Reviewers say: Girls with Bright Futures is a "bracingly vicious portrait of entitlement" (Kirkus Reviews).
Possession by Katie LoweThe premise: Ten years ago, Hannah McLelland's life was upended when her husband was murdered in their London home. Since then she has worked hard to rebuild and make a life for her daughter, far away from the media sensation surrounding the trial of her husband's killer.
The problem: A true crime podcast is re-investigating the case, and as the host digs deeper into Hannah's past, the court of public opinion turns against Hannah and threatens to undo everything.
For fans of: Conviction by Denise Mina, which also features a main character who must deal with the airing of her dirty laundry on a true crime show.
Lola on Fire by Rio YouersWhat it is: an action-packed crime thriller about desperate decisions, blackmail, and settling old scores.
The setup: In desperate need of cash, Brody Ellis robs a convenience store. The only witness who can tie him to the scene of the crime agrees not to go to the police, but only if Brody will commit another crime on her behalf.
Read it for: the well-developed characters; the intricately unfolding revenge plot involving Brody's estranged mother and a bitter mob boss.
The Nightworkers by Brian SelfonWhat it is: a gritty, character-driven crime novel about a dysfunctional family of money launderers dealing with trauma, betrayal, and cultural alienation.
The setup: Mixed-race but white-passing Shecky Keenan runs a reliable dirty money business with his artistic nephew Henry and niece Kerasha, a gifted thief. But when their newest runner vanishes with $250,000, both their livelihood and their lives are at stake.
Reviewers say: The Nightworkers is a "sharp, surprisingly affecting debut" (Kirkus Reviews).
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga TokarczukWhat it's about: Translated from the original Polish, this stylistically complex blend of literary fiction and suspenseful detective story follows quirky, reclusive Janina Duszejko as she involves herself in the investigation of a neighbor's murder.
Read it for: the offbeat tone, compelling writing, and Janina's insightful reflections on life in a small Polish village.
Try this next: Death in Her Hands, which also features an acclaimed author of literary fiction (in this case, Otessa Moshfegh) dipping her toe into the genre.
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