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12 unputdownable thrillers that will keep you gripped from beginning to end

12 unputdownable thrillers that will keep you gripped from beginning to end

Summer might have been a washout so far but the one thing that hasn’t disappointed is the selection of thrillers gracing bookshop shelves. Whether you like your books dripping in revenge, steeped in domestic drama or set in far-flung destinations that turn paradise into a nightmare, these unputdownable thrillers promise to keep you gripped from the opening page right up to the end.

Her Sweet Revenge by Sarah Bonner

With her debut thriller, Her Perfect Twin, Sarah Bonner crafted a shocking and suspenseful mind game of a story that revelled in blindsiding readers. Her Sweet Revenge is yet another split-perspective novel built on payback, this time surrounding a grieving woman digging into her best friend’s ‘accidental’ death. Thea knows that Helena was murdered, she just needs to prove it. And when she does, she’s determined to make the perpetrator pay, even if it threatens her own life in the process. Bonner has quickly become a go-to author for deliciously dark novels, and this sharp, smart and brilliantly vengeful thriller is a real race-through-it-in-a-single-sitting book.  (6 April, Hodder & Stoughton)

Don’t Look Back by Jo Spain

For one week, Luke Miller’s life is perfect. Surprised with a belated honeymoon in paradise by his wife Rose, it’s more happiness than he ever thought he’d deserve. Then Rose confesses to accidentally killing a man before they left London, and now there’s a dead body waiting for them in their apartment. There’s only one person Luke can turn to, one person who specialises in helping women like Rose, and that’s Mickey Sheils. But even Mickey isn’t prepared for how complicated the situation becomes. Moving between the Caribbean, London and Ireland, this is a gripping thriller with complex characters  – particularly Mickey, who deserves her own series. (11 May, Quercus)

The People Watcher by Sam Lloyd

A hostage to her phobias and traumas, Mercy Lake has become a night person, living and watching out for the people of her town under the cover of darkness. If someone needs help, she steps in. She’s compassionate and discreet. Which is more than can be said for Louis, a man with a similar mission to Mercy but with much more violent methods. As the two grow closer, Mercy is equally fascinated and frightened by his actions. Then there’s Nadia, who knows she’s being watched and has no intention of waiting for them to make their move. A clever and twisty take on the Good Samaritan scenario, Sam Lloyd’s latest thriller is a propulsive novel full of sinister suspense. (8 June, Bantam)

The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner

Katherine Faulkner’s second book shines a spotlight on motherhood, control and female friendship as it follows ex-journalist Tash, whose search for a story to launch her freelance career runs parallel to her search for new friends. When she meets the other mothers at her son’s new playgroup, she’s welcomed into their circle. These women seem to have everything – the perfect houses, the perfect families, the perfectly kept secrets too. And not everyone in the playgroup can be trusted. Split between two perspectives and points in time, The Other Mothers pulls you into a cliquey world built on lies, mystery and unease. If you enjoy taut, slow burn psychological thrillers, you’ll love this one. (8 June, Raven Books)

Conviction by Jack Jordan

Wade Darling stands accused of killing his wife and teenage children whilst they were sleeping. When the case lands on the desk of barrister Neve Harper, she knows it could make her career. But when a man approaches her and tells her to throw the case, threatening the lives of those she cares about if she doesn’t comply, Neve must make a choice. Stand by her principles to help a potentially innocent man, or see those she loves die. Conviction is an intense and fast-paced legal thriller with a thought-provoking moral dilemma at its heart. It poses the question: Would you be willing to sacrifice the very ethics and beliefs you live by in order to protect your loved ones? (22 June, Simon & Schuster)

Good Girls Die Last by Natali Simmonds

Natali Simmonds’ Good Girls Die Last is an unflinching thriller built on a collective feeling of women’s fury. With her 30th birthday looming, Em’s life has fallen apart and she has two swaggering, dishonest men to thank for that. But Em has bigger things to worry about – chiefly catching a flight to attend her sister’s wedding and see her dying mother. As London simmers amidst a record-breaking heatwave and a serial killer stalks the streets, Em’s rage at constantly being silenced, belittled and harassed finally spirals out of control. A hugely timely and realistic novel which adds to the recent #MeToo era stories that give women characters an urgent, important voice. (22 June, Headline)

Everyone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena

Stanhope has always been a safe family neighbourhood. At least it was until nine-year-old Avery Wooler went missing hours after her father William – reeling from the abrupt end of an affair – lost his temper with her. But William isn’t the only one on the street who’s concealing something. As witnesses come forward with information that may or may not be true, the neighbourhood becomes increasingly hostile and unhinged. You can always rely on Shari Lapena to deliver a suspenseful, tightly woven domestic thriller and Everyone Here Is Lying doesn’t disappoint in that respect. It’s a rewarding story set in a so-called safe suburbia where not everything is quite what it seems. (6 July, Bantam)

The Honeymoon by Kate Gray

Kate Gray’s debut psychological thriller begins in Bali, where two newlywed couples hit it off at the end of their respective honeymoons, only for the evening to end with a dead body. Back in England, the couples go back to their lives and try to move on, but the shadow of what happened in Bali follows them home. It soon becomes clear that more than one of these characters has secrets to hide, and those secrets are about to unravel. Fraught with red herrings, sinister twists and unreliable narrators, The Honeymoon will have you guessing right up to the end. (20 July, Welbeck)

The Conspirators by G. W. Shaw

Fans of Dead Rich will be just as gripped by Shaw’s latest standalone thriller, which follows an out-of-his-depth translator who unwittingly becomes embroiled with an organised crime conspiracy. When Jacob Meaney takes a quick money job at an opulent villa in the Austrian Alps, he doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Held against his will alongside a trafficked worker called Vlada, Jacob is forced to interpret conversations between criminal gangs – one more dangerous than the other. As the two sides clash, Jacob must figure out how to escape before it’s too late. Blending international glamour and a sense of genuine threat, The Conspirators is stylish, pacy and cleverly plotted too. (20 July, Riverrun)

The Contest by Karen Hamilton

From the best-selling author of The Perfect Girlfriend comes this entertaining and darkly compelling thriller that pits rival travel guides against each other in a competitive challenge to win the ultimate prize. Tasked by their boss to escort a group of privileged, wealthy clientele up Mount Kilimanjaro, Florence and Jacob both have their own reasons for taking part. For Florence, it’s a chance to get answers about an accident at a previous retreat. For Jacob, it’s about impressing his father who owns the company. But when the stakes are this high, it’s not just about winning or losing. It’s about surviving too. Atmospheric and immersive, this is a slow-burner that takes the word cutthroat to a whole new level. (20 July, Wildfire)

The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay

This twisty crime thriller from Linwood Barclay centres on struggling author Jack Givins who embarks on a mission to track down his estranged father who’s been in the witness protection program since Jack was a kid. Recruited by the U. S. Marshals to create false histories for people in witness protection, Jack sees it as an opportunity to finally find his dad. But how can he find a man he’s never known? A man with an unscrupulous past who is being targeted by deadly enemies and seems to have disappeared too. The Lie Maker is a tense and original page-turner with a likeable protagonist and intriguing side-characters. A must-read for Barclay fans. (31 August, HQ)

The Confession Room by Lia Middleton

Welcome to the confession room. An online forum for anonymous atonement. Enter former police officer Emilia Hayes, who stumbles on the macabre site where a killer is confessing to murders they’ve yet to commit. Using her experience and expertise, Emilia tries to reach the victims before it’s too late, but the killer is always too quick for her. And when the next confession comes through, it’s Emilia who is named as the imminent victim. Lia Middleton has crafted the most unsettling and unique of premises, utilising the anonymity of the Internet to build tension. Mixing serial killer crime and edge-of-your-seat mystery, it’s a book that’s absorbing and chilling in equal measure. (31 August, Penguin)

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