Thrillers and Suspense
Snap by Belinda BauerWhat it's about: Three years after the unsolved murder of their mother, 14-year-old Jack and his younger sisters are abandoned by their father. To keep the family afloat, Jack takes to robbing nearby homes -- where he comes across what he believes is the weapon used to kill his mother.
Why you might like it: Because several characters share narrative duties, it's only slowly that the connections between them become clear.
For fans of: bleak and twisted tales that combine character study with gripping plots.
Three Days Missing by Kimberly BelleStarring: Kat, the recently divorced mother of eight-year-old Ethan, who can't really afford his private school tuition and is terrified of her vindictive ex; and wealthy Stef, mother of Ethan's classmate Sammy, who seems to have it all.
What brings them together: the kidnapping of one of the boys, and a ransom demand delivered for the other.
Reviewers say: "Satisfying twists and turns abound, and the resolution is sharp and unexpected" (Booklist).
Something in the Water by Catherine SteadmanWhat it's about: On a Tahitian honeymoon they can ill afford, Erin and Mark find the ruins of a plane -- and a canvas bag full of diamonds and cash. Smuggling it back into England, they face increasingly lethal consequences for their rash decision.
Read it for: The opening scene, in which Erin digs a grave.
For fans of: tales of ordinary folks finding untold riches (and making poor choices), like Marcus Sakey's Good People or Andrew Gross' Everything to Lose.
Baby Teeth by Zoje StageStarring: Seven-year-old Hanna, who loves her daddy; and Hanna's mother Suzette, who is in Hanna's way.
Is it for you? If you love bad seed/creepy kid books and movies, yes. Hanna acts and thinks in disturbing ways, targeting her mother in her constant attempts to rid herself of competition for her father's attention.
Reviewers say: "deviously fun" (Publishers Weekly); "deliciously creepy" (New York Post).
Dead Woman Walking by S.J. BoltonWhat it's about: An exhilarating hot air balloon ride over England's Northumberland Park turns deadly when the vacationers aboard witness a cold-blooded murder and the killer shoots down their balloon -- and then comes after the survivors.
Why you might like it: The only one to walk away from the crash, Jessica Lane is a resourceful young woman who sets a trap to catch the killer. Meanwhile, flashbacks explore her complex personal history -- and explain just how she became so resourceful.
The River at Night by Erica FerencikFeaturing: Four middle-aged women on their annual get-together, this time a whitewater rafting trip in rural Maine.
What happens: When an accident leaves them without their guide, their boat, or their supplies, they must navigate to safety -- and nothing proves to be more dangerous than the other humans on the river.
For fans of: James Dickey's Deliverance, of course.
Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonaldThe setup: On page one of this atmospheric debut, a man closes the trunk of his car, obstructing his children's view of the dead woman enclosed there. But who's the woman?
What happened: It all started when two families (one Irish, one American) agreed to swap homes to get away from their troubles. But they only manage to exacerbate them -- and then create new ones.
Read it for: the richly detailed character motivations; the economic pressures in both New York and Ireland; the locations themselves.
Haunted by James Patterson and James O. BornWhat it's about: New York detective Michael Bennett needs a vacation, so off he and his family go. But their idyllic Maine holiday ends abruptly when the bodies of several small children are found in the woods.
Why you might like it: Bennett runs up against the narcotic addiction taking over their corner of rural Maine at work...and at home.
Series alert: Haunted is 10th in the Michael Bennett series; the 11th, Ambush, will be available in October.
Cold Barrel Zero by Matthew QuirkWhat it's about: Former Marine Thomas Byrne is on vacation when he's arrested and "encouraged" to help find highly skilled Black Ops soldier John Hayes, who's accused of massacring civilians. But when Hayes kidnaps Byrne, the story he tells is very different.
Read it for: hair-raising battle scenes, a high-stakes plot, military tech, and conspiracies within conspiracies.
Series alert: This 1st in the series to star John Hayes is followed by Dead Man Switch.
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