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).
Khalil by Yasmina KhadraWhat it is: the character-driven and thought-provoking story of would-be suicide bomber Khalil, who begins to reevaluate his life and his choices after his explosive vest fails to detonate during a planned attack.
Read it for: Khalil's reflections on his difficult childhood as a Belgian of Moroccan descent and the racism that eventually radicalized him.
About the author: Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym used by former Algerian military officer Mohammed Moulessehoul to avoid censorship. His other novels include The Swallows of Kabul and What the Day Owes the Night.
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.
An Inconvenient Woman by Stéphanie BuelensWhat it is: an intricately plotted work of psychological suspense featuring well-developed, morally ambiguous characters with complicated personal lives.
Starring: Claire Fontaine, who makes shocking allegations about her ex-husband, including that he drove her daughter to suicide; Claire's ex-husband Simon Miller, who can no longer tolerate Claire's behavior; Sloan Wilson, a former LAPD detective hired by Simon to "deal with" Claire.
Reviewers say: An Inconvenient Woman is "a piercing, high-speed nightmare best consumed in a single breathless sitting" (Kirkus Reviews).
Just One Bite by Jack HeathWhat it's about: FBI consultant (and admitted cannibal) Timothy Blake has an unlikely side-hustle -- body disposal for the local crime lord. In this sequel to Hangman, Timothy’s disparate professional lives collide following the disappearance of a college professor.
Is it for you? The story is told in a darkly humorous tone but is still best for readers with strong stomachs, and those who can appreciate characters who manage to be engaging (if not exactly likeable).
Snake Island by Ben HobsonTwo years ago: Retirees Vernon and Penelope Moore cut ties with their son Caleb after he was convicted of brutally assaulting his wife, scandalizing their rural Australian town.
What's wrong now? Vernon gets word that Caleb has barely survived his own violent assault behind bars, at the hands of the son of a local crime boss. Trying to resolve things father to father, Vernon ends up setting in motion a series of events with consequences for everyone involved.
For fans of: small-town noir, flawed characters, and thrillers that contemplate complex moral and existential questions.
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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