Thrillers and Suspense
You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan AmesIntroducing: former FBI agent Joe, who, traumatized by his past and by his work rescuing the victims of human trafficking, is now looking for the missing 13-year-old daughter of a New York State senator.
Is it for you? Only 100 pages long, this is a dark and violent book; rumor has it that it's the 1st in a new series.
Book buzz: Does the guy on the cover look familiar? That's right, it's Joaquin Phoenix, who stars in the award-winning film released in the U.S. in April.
Tangerine by Christine ManganStarring: two former college friends, Alice and Lucy, who are reunited in 1956 Morocco a year after their friendship imploded.
Why you might like it: In addition to a vividly depicted setting, this tale of love, obsession, friendship, and betrayal offers plenty of intrigue and slow-simmering tension.
For fans of: Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Warning Light by David RicciardiWhat it's about: Weapons analyst Zac Miller literally falls into a job as a spy when his plane crash lands in Iran, right near a secret nuclear facility. Beat up and tortured by Iranian security for taking photos, he eventually decides to escape, launching a thrilling and dangerous journey to safety.
Series alert: This rip-roaring debut is said to be the 1st of many starring the quick-thinking Zac. Fans of espionage novels will likely hope to see more of him.
All the Beautiful Lies: A Novel by Peter SwansonWhat it's about: Harry's father Bill has seemingly died by suicide, but when Harry returns home, he becomes convinced that his father was murdered.
Prime suspects: Harry's femme-fatale stepmother, Alice, whose attentions to Harry border on inappropriate; the mysterious woman whom Alice claims Bill was seeing.
What reviewers say: All the Beautiful Lies is "a gripping exploration of delusion and deceit" (Booklist).
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-LeachStarring: irresponsible Zelda Antipova, who appears to have died in a barn fire, and her distant twin sister Ava, who doesn't really believe it.
What happens: After the fire, Ava starts receiving cryptic messages from Zelda; her scavenger-hunt-like quest to figure out what actually happened is hampered by her alcoholic mother, her estranged father, and her hyper-critical grandmother.
Is it for you? If you like twisted, manipulative games full of red herrings, you'll devour this literary debut.
Stolen by Daniel PalmerWhat it's about: In order to pay for his wife's cancer treatment, John Bodine steals a customer's identity; when the customer finds out, he demands that John play a life-or-death game in which John must commit increasingly criminal acts -- or risk the lives of his loved ones.
Why you might like it: Suspenseful and fast-paced (if at times quite brutal), this unsettling cat-and-mouse game is a good bet for fans of Harlan Coben.
Try this next: Tom Hunt's Killer Choice, which likewise forces a desperate man to make terrible choices to save his wife.
The Lying Game by Ruth WareWhat it's about: Four boarding-school friends, expelled 17 years ago, are brought back together after the discovery of a human bone stirs up the past -- and threatens to unearth their secrets.
Why you might like it: Well-developed characters, an atmospheric British setting, and slow-building tension keep the pages turning.
Where does the game come in? So glad you asked -- these four girls developed an elaborate score-keeping system, all based on how many schoolmates and teachers they could get to believe their outlandish lies.
Black Chalk by Christopher J. YatesFeaturing: six Oxford students who bring a twisted idea for a game to the Oxford Game Society; the elaborate, humiliating challenges that result have tragic consequences.
Why you might like it: Alternating perspectives portray the unfolding of the game itself as well as an unreliable first-person point of view years after the game's beginning.
For fans of: Donna Tartt's The Secret History, Tana French's The Likeness, and other college-set novels of psychological suspense.
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