The Wicked Sister by Karen DionneThe setup: For the last 15 years, Rachel Cunningham has lived in the mental institution where she voluntarily committed herself after her parents' violent deaths, for which she blames herself.
The twist: A fellow patient at the facility stumbles across information that casts doubt on Rachel's guilt, throwing everything -- including Rachel's sanity -- into disarray.
Read it for: the menacing tone, which is reminiscent of gothic horror films; the shifting perspectives, which include entries from Rachel's mother's diary that ratchet up the tension as the inevitable approaches.
The Night Swim by Megan GoldinStarring: Rachel Krall, a popular true-crime podcaster whose insatiable curiosity makes her great at her job but also puts her in danger after a listener begins leaving her a series of mysterious notes.
The case: The notes beg her to investigate the suspicious drowning death of a teenage girl that took place 25 years ago in a small North Carolina town -- the same town where Rachel is covering the trial of a disturbing more recent crime that may have some shocking connections to the older case, and to her own life.
The Boys' Club by Erica KatzThe premise: This compelling debut follows the complex and flawed young Harvard grad Alex Vogel as she begins her career as an associate at a prestigious law firm, where the clients are as high-profile as the off-the-clock antics are debauched.
The problem: Alex finds the glamour and high stakes captivating, but after she's drawn into the firm's most lucrative department she soon discovers (and runs afoul of) a deep well of corruption and misogyny that's out of control, even by high-powered law firm standards.
Final Cut by S.J. WatsonWhat it's about: Set in the small English town of Blackwood Bay, this atmospheric thriller stars Alex Young, an award-winning documentarian who follows an anonymous invitation to tell the town's story. Once she arrives however, Alex is sidetracked by the unresolved disappearances of three teenage girls, one of whom just might have been her.
Read it for: the unreliable narrator, which is doubly compelling given Alex's documentarian career and alleged commitment to truth in storytelling; the story's intricate plotting, which unfolds at a breakneck pace.
Flashmob by Christopher FarnsworthWhat it is: a fast-paced cyber-thriller that raises questions about how certain online activities may lead to real life violence -- in this case, a site on the dark web called Downvote, which allows users to put a price on anyone's head, from famous celebrities to political activists to spurned lovers.
Series alert: Flashmob is the 2nd entry in the series of suspenseful novels starring fixer and former CIA agent John Smith, who has the ability to read (and sometimes control) the thoughts of others.
The Snakes by Sadie JonesStarring: Bea Adamson, a London-based therapist who traded her family's extreme wealth for a normal life; Dan Durrant, Bea's aspiring-artist husband who accompanies her on a sabbatical trip to France; Alex Adamson, Bea's underachieving brother who is failing in his latest venture, a decrepit and vermin-infested hotel in the French countryside.
Who it's for: fans of supernatural and gothic horror; and the twisted dynamics of dysfunctional wealthy families.
Reviewers say: "A well-executed, character-driven cross between domestic drama and crime thriller" (Kirkus Reviews).
Sleeping in the Ground by Peter RobinsonWhat it's about: When a shocking mass shooting turns a wedding in rural Yorkshire from joyous occasion to tragedy, DCI Alan Banks is brought in to investigate after the killer manages to escape the crime scene.
Why you might like it: this genre-bending entry in the long-running Inspector Banks mystery series will please fans of both police procedurals and manhunt thrillers while also raising interesting questions about collective grief and mass violence.
Damaged by Lisa ScottolineWhat it is: the fast-paced and intricately plotted story of a complex and disturbing legal case involving a disabled boy and an employee at his school who accuses the boy of attacking him with a pair of scissors, only as the case unfolds the facts appear to be much, much darker than anyone anticipated.
Series alert: Damaged is the 4th novel in bestselling author Lisa Scottoline's Rosato and DiNunzio series, which is itself a spin-off of the earlier Rosato and Associates series. Next up are Exposed and Feared.
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