Godspeed by Nickolas ButlerWhat it's about: Although the Wyoming construction company started by childhood friends Cole, Bart, and Teddy has been getting by, boredom and financial trouble prompts them to accept a high-stakes mansion project for a mysterious, demanding client -- a job which might put their business, their friendships, and even their lives at stake.
Who it's for: readers who like socially aware, slow-burning suspense.
About the author: Nikolas Butler is best known for his novels, including the best-selling Shotgun Lovesongs, but has also published poetry, short fiction, essays, and criticism in Narrative Magazine, the journal Terrain, and The New York Times Book Review.
Just One Look by Lindsay CameronStarring: disgraced lawyer Cassandra Woodson, who is stuck in low-wage, dead-end clerking jobs after a very public workplace faux pas ruined her prospects.
What else could go wrong? After stumbling across a personal message from a partner at the firm to his wife, Cassandra's curiosity about the couple's seemingly perfect life grows into a darker, more frightening obsession.
Why you might like it: The compelling writing style makes even an unlikeable, unstable protagonist like Cassandra sympathetic.
Embassy Wife by Katie CrouchWhat it is: an intricately plotted fish-out-of-water thriller wrapped in witty and engaging social satire.
The setup: Amanda Evans leaves her successful career in Silicon Valley to join her Fulbright scholar husband in Namibia. There, she's forced to adapt to a disorienting expat social scene full of frivolous, bored "trailing spouses" who are much more complex (and dangerous) than they seem.
For fans of: Maria Semple and Meg Wolitzer who are looking to spice things up.
The Guide by Peter HellerWhat it's about: Wilderness guide Jack, who is still mourning the loss of a friend on a previous excursion, takes a job at the Kingfisher Lodge, a rustic retreat for high-end clients. During a seemingly normal river outing, Jack and his celebrity client accidentally uncover a horrifying crime scene, the first thread in a tangled web of small-town secrets.
Read it for: the intricate plotting and lush depiction of nature, which take on an increasingly sinister air as the story progresses.
You might also like: Murder at Sunrise Lake by Christine Feehan; Sleep by C.L. Taylor.
Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreightThe premise: Four Vassar alums gather in a Catskills vacation home to stage an intervention for Keith, the fifth member of their friend group, who might lose the art gallery he owns if he doesn't go to rehab.
The problem: An uninvited sixth guest crashes the party, threatening the success of Keith's intervention and dredging up a dark secret that Keith's friends have tried to keep buried for the last ten years.
Read it for: the steadily intensifying pace, beautiful yet claustrophobic setting, and shocking twists you won't see coming.
Books You Might Have Missed
2034 by Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James StavridisWhat it is: a sobering, near-future political thriller about a possible military clash between the U.S. and China.
What creates the spark? A seemingly disconnected series of events including the hijacking of a plane by hackers and a "fishing boat" that wanders into contested international waters.
About the authors: Former military officers Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis served in the U.S. Marines and Navy respectively, and each has written bestsellers such as Ackerman's novel Waiting for Eden and the memoir The Accidental Admiral by Stavridis.
Gambit by David HagbergSeries alert: Gambit is the 26th entry in the long-running, action-packed series of thrillers starring former CIA agent Kirk McGarvey.
The mission: survive the plots of husband-and-wife assassin team The Chinese Scorpions and the return of a former enemy, vindictive millionaire Thomas Hammond.
About the author: Novelist David Hagberg worked in the military intelligence service before becoming a writer and published other thrillers under the pseudonyms Sean Flannery, Nick Carter, and David Bannerman. He passed away in 2019.
Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanThe odd couple: In the throes of a mid-life crisis, architect Greg Hamiln gets engaged to Jade, an up-and-coming lifestyle blogger twenty years his junior.
What goes wrong: A brutal home invasion leaves Greg with a traumatic brain injury, a new sense of paranoia about his fiancée, and a growing collection of household surveillance equipment.
Read it for: the fast-paced plot and multiple narrators, each of whom has complex reasons to want Greg to trust their version of events.
Mirrorland by Carole JohnstoneWhat it's about: After Los Angeles-based Cat learns that her estranged twin sister Ellice has gone missing, she returns to her childhood home, a creepy mansion in Edinburgh. While sifting through traumatic memories for the truth, she begins to receive urgent, anonymous messages warning her to flee.
Who it's for: readers who enjoy gothic suspense, unreliable narrators, and rich world-building.
Reviewers say: "This ambitious blend of psychological suspense and horror casts a powerful light on the liberating power of imagination" (Publishers Weekly).
People of Abandoned Character by Clare WhitfieldThe premise: In 1888, Susannah Chapman marries wealthy young surgeon Thomas Lancaster, who takes her on a whirlwind honeymoon that promises they will have a comfortable, happy life together.
The problem: Her husband's behavior changes drastically after they return to London, and a string of grisly murders in Whitechapel makes Susannah wonder if Thomas might be the killer later known as Jack the Ripper.
You might also like: Peter Ackroyd's The Trial of Elizabeth Cree and its film adaptation The Limehouse Golem.
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