Summer is the season for crime fiction. The days are long, the nights are hot, your blood is up and maybe, just maybe you’re going to get a little time to yourself on that much deserved vacation. Whether you go in for spine-chilling suspense, moody noirs, classic whodunits, splashy thrillers, or any other type of crime, chances are there’s a book for you coming out these next few months. The only question is how many novels are you going to devour this season? To help you prepare for the coming months’ bounty, we’re breaking down all the best and most anticipated crime fiction, mysteries, and thrillers coming out in late May, June, July, and August. (See here for Part I of our Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, and Thrillers of 2019.)
Selections come from CrimeReads editors and their band of accomplices, co-conspirators, informants, undercover agents, and moles. Be warned: there are over 100 novels on this list. If you endeavor to read them all, we cannot guarantee that your vacation will end well or that your relationships with family and friends will survive the summer. But at least you’ll know how they end.
Sujata Massey, The Satapur Moonstone (Soho Press)
The anticipated follow-up to The Widows of Malabar Hill finds Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer in 1920s Bombay, mediating a dispute over the education of a young prince whose family is long-threatened by a curse. Bringing the Sahyadri mountains of western India to life, Massey’s richly woven tale of political power plays and revenge is sure to transport those looking for a new batch of royal infighting in the aftermath of Game of Thrones.
Jeffery Deaver, The Never Game (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)
We are looking forward to this new series from Jeffrey Deaver, which takes place in the depths of the Silicon Valley darknet and features a power-seeking techie tycoon who may have brought to life a video game. When a young woman goes missing, Colter Shaw, a “reward seeker” is hired to track her, but soon finds himself submersed in San Francisco’s underworld of gamers and hunters. Deaver promises devilish suspense and a peek into Silicon Valley’s most powerful and insidious.
Agnete Friis, translated by Sinead Quirke Kongerskov, The Summer of Ellen (Soho Press)
This character portrait by Denmark’s Agnete Friis finds Jacob confronting a mid-life crisis—his marriage is shattered and alcohol threatens his career—when his elderly great-uncle calls from the family’s rural farm, planting a seed of doubt about the fate of a girl from his past, Ellen, a hippy from the local commune. Modern Copenhagen, Danish farmland in the ‘70s, and a hippy commune: The Summer of Ellen has all the ingredients for a gripping, literary noir.
Ragnar Jonasson, The Island (Minotaur)
Ragnar Jonasson knows how to ground the present in the darkness of history and the murk of myth, and The Island, his second in his new Hidden Iceland series, is no exception. In this very Icelandic mystery, a modern-day murder connects to 17th-century witch burnings for an eerie thriller with one foot in the world of horror.
Houston Noir, edited by Gwendolyn Zepeda (Akashic)
As the resident Texan on staff has been trying to convince the rest of the office, Houston is a city on the rise when it comes to crime fiction—something about all those lonely highways, gravity-defying overpasses, and drastic urban sprawl (and of course, the crime rate) make Houston a perfect setting for noir. This port city of close to five million residents is ready for a new reputation as a world capital of literature, and we’re here to support Akashic’s new collection of noir tales from Texas’ most complex city.
Anna Pitoniak, Necessary People (Little, Brown)
The center of Necessary People is a complicated friendship between the rich Stella and the up from rags Violet. Violet is an achiever and a hard worker, and she’s making her mark at the cable news station where she landed an internship as a producer out of college. Flighty Stella is off cavorting with minor royalty and dissolute aristocracy as the novel begins. When Stella returns, however, she also develops a taste for working at the cable station, but she wants to be on-air talent. Pitoniak is a shrewd observer of female attachment and ambition, and People both delivers interesting ideas and chronicles a shocking murder.
Sara Collins, The Confessions of Frannie Langton (Harper)
Sara Collins knows her history—and her confessional narratives—very well. In this gorgeous piece of historical fiction that also happens to be an incredibly self-assured debut, a woman about to be executed for the murder of her employer recounts the story of her life, and examines how she went from enslaved on a Caribbean plantation to employed as a maid by the woman who would become her lover. If that doesn’t seal the deal, both Emma Donahue and Lyndsay Faye blurbed it, so this one is officially approved by two authors who are historical fiction royalty.
Thomas Harris, Cari Mora (Grand Central)
The author of Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal is back in fine form with a thriller sure to draw on his particular talent for crafting grotesque villains and scrappy heroines. Set in Miami, this cat-and-mouse thriller takes us to a mansion under which 25 million in illicit profits is buried. Standing between two adventurers seeking boatloads of cash and their intended target is the mansion’s caretaker, ready to take on the wannabe thieves with some surprising skills of her own. This one seems kind of like Funny Games, if the family had fought back.
Jaime Manrique, Like This Afternoon Forever (Akashic)
Jaime Manrique’s new literary novel of love and murder is based on a shocking (and little-reported in US media) crime—up to 10,000 poor and mentally disabled Columbian citizens were lured to remote areas of the country by the Columbian military, murdered, then presented to superiors as “guerilla fighters” to inflate casualty numbers, in what’s been dubbed the “false positives” scandal. In Like This Afternoon Forever, two priests already forced to hide their forbidden love come across evidence of widespread government violence.
Marcie Rendon, Girl Gone Missing (Cinco Puntos)
Marcie Rendon burst onto the crime scene with her debut, Murder on the Red River, in which her pool-shark protagonist Cash takes on a double murder at a reservation. In her second, Girl Gone Missing, Cash is newly at college, and in between pool games and gawking at hippies, Cash begins investigating the mysterious disappearance of a number of blonde women who are fellow students. Marcie Rendon, a member of the White Earth Nation, has previously worked as a community activist and written several works of nonfiction, including two children’s books.
Anita Anand, The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and India’s Quest for Independence (Scribner)
—True Crime Spotlight—
In 1919, the dusty gathering place of Jallianwallah Bagh in the Northeastern Indian city of Amritsar became the site of a shocking bloodbath when British efforts to suppress perceived local unrest turned violent, and British soldiers opened fire into the crowd. A young man named Udham Singh swore vengeance against the British commanders responsible for the massacre, and spent the next 20 years engaged in a quest for vengeance that would take him all over the story. Anita Anand uses Singh’s life to tell not only a thrilling story of adventure and vengeance, but also to explore the harsh methods used to keep colonial hierarchies in place.
James Ellroy, This Storm (Knopf)
A new Ellroy novel is always cause for excitement amongst crime readers, but especially so with This Storm, which fills in some of the gaps of his epic and still evolving alternate history of L.A.P.D. corruption, West Coast development, and American greed. This one is set during WWII in Los Angeles, with a startling look at police profiteering, the rise of fascism in midcentury America, the internment of Japanese-Americans, and a generally mind-altering exploration of the ideological battles of good and evil fought contemporaneous to the famous battles of WWII.
Cara Black, Murder in Bel-Air (Soho)
This year, Cara Black and her many fans will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of her protagonist Aimée Leduc’s first appearance as the most stylish dressed detective in Paris. In Murder in Bel-Air, the 19th installment in the series, it’s 1999, and Aimée’s mother has gone missing after failing to pick up Aimée’s bébé from day care. In the course of her frantic search for her only recently resurfaced mother, who was last seen speaking with a homeless woman found murdered soon after, Aimée discovers a web of secrets and crimes dating back to the worst abuses of French colonialism in West Africa.
Sarah Gailey, Magic for Liars (Tor)
In Sarah Gailey’s delightful debut, magic meets mystery when a murder disrupts the quiet lives of students at a school for mages, and a private investigator with a wee alcohol problem must investigate the school’s mysterious problems. With such a creative and genre-bending debut, we can’t wait to see what Sarah Gailey does next!
Leonardo Padura, Grab a Snake by the Tail (Bitter Lemon)
Padura is one of the most celebrated crime authors in the world today, and rightly so. This novella, a standalone that the author has been tinkering with for decades, is a Mario Conde investigation, but it stands outside the author’s legendary Havana Quartet to tell a discrete story about a case in Havana’s Barrio Chino, where a particularly heinous murder illuminates a possible drug trafficking ring in the city’s old Chinatown. Readers can expect all the usual Conde charm—long meditations on the meaning of life and language and the trials of the Cuban people—as well as some new terrain, as he navigates a hidden pocket of the city and a community that holds itself apart.
Barbara Bourland, Fake Like Me (Grand Central)
Barbara Bourland, author of the wonderfully titled I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, is back in fine form with her new novel Fake Like Me, in which a struggling artist seeks to fill the shoes (and shows) of a drowned enfant terrible, in what promises to be the art mystery of the season (and if there’s anything you should know about the folks here at CrimeReads, it’s that we cannot resist a good art mystery).
Malin Persson Giolito, Beyond All Reasonable Doubt (Other Press)
In this scintillating legal thriller from a modern master of Swedish suspense, a lawyer takes on the case of a man she believes to be innocent of the murder of a young girl, yet her quest for exoneration quickly alienates her from her community even as she develops grave doubts about her client’s behavior. Giolito’s previous work, Quicksand, has been adapted for the small screen by Netflix, and we’re looking forward to seeing much more about this Swedish lawyer-turned-crime writer and her intricate psychothrillers.
Megan Miranda, The Last House Guest (Simon and Schuster)
Set in a Maine coastal community divided between wealthy summer visitors and the town’s year-round residents, most of whom earn their money from tourism, The Last House Guest explores a strong friendship between two girls growing up on either side of the tracks. When one commits suicide, the other dives in to investigate, and in the process, discovers dark secrets about the town and its inhabitants.
Jo Baker, The Body Lies (Knopf)
In this slow-burn psychological thriller, a writer moves to the countryside to teach and heal after surviving a vicious assault, yet soon finds herself in danger once more when a student begins writing violent fantasies that appear to star his teacher as the victim. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this creepy tale of craft, obsession, and reading between the lines.
Karen Lord, Unraveling (Daw)
Karen Lord’s latest is just as impossible to define as her previous work; Unravelling blends murder mystery, Carribean mythology, and archetypal journeys for what may just be the most original crime novel of the year. Dr. Miranda Ecouvo has just put a serial killer away after committing seven murders, each more bizarre than the previous. When she’s thrown into the spirit world after an unusual confluence of events, she soon realizes that the real killer is still out there, and teams up with two brothers, Chance and Trickster, to hunt down the true culprit before he can achieve immortality.
Tracy Clark, Borrowed Time (Kensington)
Clark’s debut mystery Broken Places introduced her crusty but lovable detective Cassandra Raines last year, and her second in the series promises to deliver just as much action, atmosphere, and heart as her first. When Cass is recruited to investigate the murder of a terminally ill man, she’s got too many questions to let the case go, and soon finds herself surrounded by danger, embroiled in a far-reaching plot.
Denise Mina, Conviction (Mulholland)
After a brief sojourn in the past, and a career writing crime fiction informed by a number of eras, Denise Mina takes on the present day with this mad-cap adventure of two lost souls on the run. When a woman in hiding finds herself spotted in the background of a celebrity’s widely-distributed selfie, she takes herself and the celebrity on a healing journey across Britain—and into their own past traumas.
Peter Houlahan, Norco ‘80 (Counterpoint)
—True Crime Spotlight—
Southern California in the 1970s was a bank robbery hot zone, but there was one robbery in particular that caught public attention, shifted law enforcement tactics and attitudes, and seemed to incorporate strands of nearly all the day’s cultural movements, from the self-help gurus sweeping the state to the militarization of grassroots ideological collectives. Peter Houlahan tells the story of a small outfit of bank robbers who started out small-time and followed their apocalyptic leader onto the national stage as a job turns violent. Like American Heiress in the summer of 2016, this looks like the true crime book that will launch a hundred conversations.
Catherine McKenzie, I’ll Never Tell (Lake Union)
McKenzie’s twisty family thriller finds five adult siblings—four daughters and one son—attending the funeral of their parents back on their rural Canadian homestead, Camp Macaw. In their father’s will, however, Ryan is accused of assaulting a camp counselor 20 years earlier; his receipt of his share of the property is contingent on his sisters’ unanimous agreement of his innocence. Fraught with moral tension, the siblings attempt to excavate the past, only to realize that the secrets their father kept were more pervasive and tangled than they ever knew.
Kate Atkinson, Big Sky (Little, Brown)
Jackson Brody returns! Kate Atkinson made waves in the world of espionage fiction with last year’s impeccably plotted and deeply atmospheric novel, Transcription, and now she’s headed back into procedural territory as Jackson Brodie, settled in a seaside village tracking down cheating partners and errant cats, begins to discover there is something deeply wrong with her new abode. Along with Tana French, Kate Atkinson is one of the few writers equally beloved to literary fiction readers and genre fans, and we can’t wait to see what she does with her latest!
Hilary Davidson, One Small Sacrifice (T&M)
Davidson has recently been working in a space somewhere between procedural and thriller, crafting something all her own with stories that are psychologically penetrating while never scrimping on the meticulous investigative details. In One Small Sacrifice, Davidson’s NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling is looking into a friend’s mysterious death, while also unraveling a prime suspect’s past, which includes traumatic experiences as a photojournalist working in war zones. It’s a complex, nuanced story that will also keep readers turning the pages breathlessly to the end.
Kiki Swinson, The Safe House (Dafina)
From one of the most prolific and respected voices in urban fiction comes a new work of suspense that promises to be a cat-and-mouse game of epic proportions, as a cartel leader hunts down the woman who betrayed his organization to the feds. You’ll tear through this vivid and pulse-pounding journey of a young woman on the run, who will do whatever she can to save her life—and protect those she loves.
Neal Stephenson, Fall (William Morrow)
We’re not sure if the sci-fi and fantasy verses will be upset at our decision to include the new Neal Stephenson on this list, but hey, it’s 875+ pages of cyberthriller, and anything we can call a thriller, we will call a thriller. Stephenson’s latest promises to be another deep dive into metaphysics, cyberpunk, ancient sects, and near-future terrors. The publisher describes it as “Paradise Lost meets Philip K. Dick,” which is snappier than anything we could come up with, and makes us want to read this book very much.
Jean Kwok, Searching for Sylvie Lee (William Morrow)
From the critically acclaimed author of Girl In Translation comes a new novel of a woman gone missing, and her family’s search for her—as well as for themselves. When her talented elder sister Sylvia goes missing on a trip to Norway, Amy Lee, the baby of the family, tries to track down her sister’s whereabouts, and in the process unearths secrets both shocking and banal.
Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer, The Mask Collectors (Little A)
At a school reunion for an elite private academy, a journalist is murdered and the crime scene reminds anthropologist Duncan McCloud of a Sri Lankan ceremonial ritual. As those connected to the crime scatter across the globe, McCloud works to unravel a conspiracy with roots in the colonial past. We can’t wait to read to read this gothic thriller of secrets, lies, and ceremonies.
Randall Sullivan, Dead Wrong (Atlantic Monthly)
—True Crime Spotlight—
The case that transfixed the country for so long continues to unfold, as Randall Sullivan, author of Labyrinth, the 2002 book that offered an explosive account of the Christopher Wallace / Notorious B.I.G.’s murder, is back with an updated look at what we now know. And because Sullivan is one of the most able and dogged reporters around, this isn’t just any account of the Biggie assassination; Sullivan has new interviews and evidence implicating high-ranking law enforcement officials in the killing and the coverup. It’s true crime journalism at its most dynamic.
Felicity McLean, The Van Appel Girls Are Gone (Algonquin)
The publisher describes this one as “The Virgin Suicides meets Picnic at Hanging Rock,” and while it would ordinarily be a bit lazy of us to directly quote the marketing folks, this description is just too good not to include. When three sisters disappear over the course of a long, hot Australian summer, no one is sure if they chose to run away from their ultra-religious parents, or were kidnapped. Years later, a neighborhood woman, who was a child when the sisters first vanished, decides it’s up to her to reopen the investigation.
Jorge Zepeda Patterson, The Black Jersey (Random House)
From the author of the eerily titled Marlena: The Most Beautiful Femur in the World, comes a new tale of corruption, murder, and cycling. When a series of incidents, culminating in murder, begin to fell competitors in the Tour de France, a cyclist is recruited by French police to be a man on the inside. What follows is one part fast-paced thriller, and one part meditation on the nature of competition.
Chanelle Benz, The Gone Dead (Ecco)
Chanelle Benz’s 2017 story collection, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, was one of fiction’s most arresting and promising in some time, and now Benz is back with her first, eagerly awaited novel, The Gone Dead. The story centers on Billie James, a woman who returns to the family homestead in Mississippi after a long absence to find a troubling legacy, namely whispers connecting the timing of her father’s death to the day she disappeared. The Gone Dead promises all the moral and social complexity of Benz’s shorter works, thick with atmospherics and a deep, shuddering sense of humanity.
Kelsey Rae Dimberg, Girl in the Rearview Mirror (William Morrow)
Kelsey Rae Dimberg is certain to crash onto the scene with this new take on the nanny thriller. Finn Hunt, babysitter for charming and precocious Amabel, daughter of a senator’s son and a museum director, finds herself caught between the pull of an embracing, loving family and an emerging web of lies. Fans of Megan Abbott’s psychological twists will be itching for more from Dimberg.
Louise Candlish, Those People (Berkley)
In Lowland Way, the tight-knit families observe the unspoken conventions of the suburban idyll. But the new neighbors aren’t playing by the rules—they blast music and run a questionably-legal side business that fills all the available street parking with beat up cars. Not long after the couple moves in, however, someone turns up dead, and soon enough, the residents of the neighborhood turn on each other. Appearances give way to back-stabbing vendettas and the families show their true colors in this twisty feat of domestic suspense.
Aya de Leon, Side Chick Nation (Dafina)
Aya de Leon’s latest brings her signature blend of thrills and conscience to Puerto Rico, as her protagonist Dulce gets the hell away from her married, drug-dealing boyfriend—only to find herself stuck in the midst of a hurricane. Side Chick Nation is one of the first fictional works to explore the experience and impact of Hurricane Maria.
Daniela Petrova, Her Mother’s Daughter (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
One of the summer’s most promising debuts, Petrova’s thriller looks at the complicated relationship between two women, one of them an expecting mother and the other an egg donor, who meet on the streets of New York in a chance encounter that takes a dark turn when one of them disappears. Petrova has written a consummate page-turner that also manages incredible layers of emotional depth. This is one of the year’s most provocative and eye-opening novels.
M. T. Edvardsson, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, A Nearly Normal Family (Celadon Books)
When a 17-year-old girl is accused of murdering a shady businessman twice her age, her upstanding parents must take a hard look at their own lives and their daughter’s secrets, while learning just how far they’ll go to protect one of their own. With publishing rights already sold in over 30 countries, this one promises to be the next Scandinavian sensation.
Joyce Carol Oates, My Life as a Rat (Ecco)
From the ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates comes a haunting new meditation on guilt, betrayal, and family. When a young girl inadvertently testifies against her older brothers for committing a racist murder, she’s cast out of the family and forced to forge her way on her own. Oates asks tough questions when it comes to the consequences of doing the right thing, and looks at how found family and self-discovery can help in healing the wounds left by the family you don’t choose.
Blake Crouch, Recursion (Crown)
In the author of Dark Matter’s new genre-bending thriller, False Memory Syndrome, a new disease in which those infected wake up with decades worth of false memories in place in reality, is sweeping the nation. When a cop witnesses a woman’s suicide after losing memories of her son, he teams up with a scientist specializing in Alzheimers to investigate the epidemic, the nature of memory, and eventually, the meaning of reality itself.
Lori Roy, Gone Too Long (Dutton)
From two-time Edgar Award winner Lori Roy comes a gothic tale determined to grapple with the legacy and hatreds of the past. The personal and the political are intertwined in this story of two women separated by time and experience, but brought together by the hateful Klan leader who has kidnapped one, and is the estranged father of the other. Every Lori Roy novel promises to be a reckoning, but this one should satisfy on a number of levels.
Anthony Horowitz, The Sentence is Death (Harper)
If you’re looking for some hard-boiled action, a present-day take on the P.I. tradition, Anthony Horowitz’ second book in his Daniel Hawthorne series is sure to delight. When a celebrity divorce lawyer is found dead, beaten over the head by a very expensive bottle of wine, Daniel and his assistant Anthony are called onto the case. Escapist entertainment in the tradition we know and love never fails to be a fun ride, and Horowitz hits home with the thrills, surprises, and amusement.
Brad Thor, Backlash (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Military and action thriller fans are known to plan their summer vacations around the latest Brad Thor release, according to our favorite thriller columnist, Ryan Steck. And this year’s release, Backlash, promises to be one of the highest-octane thrillers in years. Relatively few details about this one have leaked out yet, but it appears to have some behind-the-Iron-Curtain twists to it, along with some very cryptic and illuminating soldier mythology that’s sure to keep fans turning the pages for more from their favorite go-it-alone warrior.
Ashley Dyer, The Cutting Room (William Morrow)
In this follow up to last summer’s Splinter in the Blood, writing team Ashley Dyer (Margaret Miller and Helen Pepper) have turned out another taut, original serial killer story. The killer in Cutting fancies himself an artist and uses social media to increase the circulation of his art, i.e. his carefully staged crime scenes.
Nathan Ripley, Your Life Is Mine (Atria)
Blanche Potter, an aspiring filmmaker, has done everything she can to dissociate with her father, Chuck Varner, a killer and cult leader. But her mother’s murder piques police interest in Blanche, and in trying to prove she had nothing to do with the killing, she finds herself revisiting some ugly truths of her childhood. It also raises the question of whether Varner is still inspiring violence.
James Polchin, Indecent Advances (Counterpoint)
—True Crime Spotlight—
Polchin’s harrowing account of the history of violence against queer men hits shelves on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It’s perfect timing for a book that dives deep into these never-before-told true crimes, and looks at the power mainstream messaging had on both the violence and the mounting resistance. Resurrecting a forgotten era of queer history, Polchin masterfully weaves brutal true crime research with critical analysis of the social history, exploring the way the media and nascent psychological theories were weaponizing prejudice and perpetuating a deviant stereotype of gay men.
Caite Dolan-Leach, We Went to the Woods (Random House)
From the author of Dead Letters comes a new work of secrets and lies set in upstate New York. When a failed anthropology student decides to get off the grid and move to a farm near Ithaca with four people she barely knows, it’s of course only a matter of time before their bucolic paradise is shattered by the mischievous cult next door and its charismatic interloper of a leader. Perfect for fans of The Likeness and The Secret History.
Holly Roth, The Content Assignment (Dover)
In this reissued classic spy novel from Holly Roth, who herself disappeared mysteriously at sea in the 1950s, a man searches for his intelligence agent fiancee, vanished into the murk of post-war Berlin while on assignment. He has waited patiently for a year and a half, but now, he’s found what he thinks is a clue—and the perfect excuse to get in way over his head.
Adrian McKinty, The Chain (Mulholland)
From one of contemporary noir’s most beloved practitioners, The Chain is a propulsive thriller with the kind of instantly compelling premise that makes a reader sit up straight and get ready to turn the pages. To get their own kidnapped children released, parents are being forced to kidnap other people’s children, extending the criminal “chain.” This is poised to be one of the most talked about novels of the summer, and will absolutely have you eyeing your friends and neighbors a little more suspiciously than when you began.
John Galligan, Bad Axe County (Atria)
Galligan’s new thriller debuts a powerhouse character in Heidi White, the interim sheriff of Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, a wicked landscape that alternates between gothic, dangerous, and darkly beautiful. Heidi is on the trail of a vanished girl, a twisted killer, and a local legend, all while an ice storm (this is Wisconsin remember) bears down on the community, heightening all tensions and ratcheting up all stakes.
Cristina Alger, Girls Like Us (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Based very loosely on the Long Island serial killer best memorialized in Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls, Girls Like Us explores the seedier side of Suffolk County (where the Hamptons are also located). FBI Agent Nell Flynn is forced to go home to Long Island after the death of her father, a local cop, in a motorcycle accident. Nell’s father worked tirelessly on the serial murders of several young women, all of whom worked as escorts. As Nell gets deeper into the investigation, she’s shocked and scared that her father and other local officials might be covering for one of the area’s richest and most powerful men.
Lisa Sandlin, The Bird Boys (Cinco Puntos)
Lisa Sandlin’s second novel to feature Beaumont-based detective Delpha Wade takes the ex-con-turned-private-investigator down a dark path as she and her iconoclast boss are hired by a man to search for his missing brother, only to discover that one (or both) of these brothers is a murderer. Immersed in the atmosphere and politics of 70s-era Gulf Coast Texas, and featuring a fierce heroine who refuses to be defined, this series is not to be missed.
Laura Purcell, The Poison Thread (Penguin)
A wealthy phrenologist with too much time on her hands becomes determined to practice her scientific theories on a young, impoverished murderess, yet quickly begins to doubt her beliefs as she learns more of the imprisoned woman’s tragic and surreal life. Who is guilty, and who is innocent? What is the truth, and who’s really in control? We’ll have to wait till the last pages to find out in Laura Purcell’s second foray into gothic suspense.
Alison Gaylin, Never Look Back (William Morrow)
In Gaylin’s latest psychological thriller, a true crime podcaster investigating a series of killings from the 1970s teams up with a woman whose mother may have been involved in the murders to look into the long-gone-cold cases. Gaylin’s previous work has made excellent use of the dark side of social media, and we can’t wait to see her explore the world of podcasting.
Laura Lippman, Lady in the Lake (William Morrow)
Lippman’s latest takes us back to 1960s Baltimore for a welcome return to her old haunts after several stellar standalone crime novels. When a white middle-class housewife leaves her comfortable existence to investigate the disappearance of a young African-American woman, she encounters life at the margins for the first time and delves deeper into a mystery that may involve more than meets the eye, in what promises to be one of the year’s best noir releases.
Cate Holahan, One Little Secret (Crooked Lane)
Everyone knows that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and yet the characters in Cate Holahan’s wicked new thriller have barely arrived at their glass beach house getaway before they start tearing each other apart. We can’t wait to read this twisty thriller reminiscent of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but crimier.
David Gordon, The Hard Stuff (Mysterious Press)
Gordon is fashioning himself an impressive crime world niche somewhere between Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard, with his raucous, rollicking stories of New York City crime. His latest is another heist novel, but this time the heads of the city’s various mob outfits are teaming up as an unlikely gang to pull off the big score. Come for the intricate, surprising crime scenarios; stay for the banter.
Kalisha Buckhanon, Speaking of Summer (Counterpoint)
Buckhanon’s literary psychothriller is a deeply felt, searching portrait of twin sisters, one of them mysteriously disappeared from the Harlem brownstone where they live, the other left behind and forced to deal with the inexplicable vanishing, eventually driven by her grief and confusion into launching an investigation of her own. Buckhanon’s previous work Upstate was an inaugural selection for the National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice Program.
Iris Johansen, Smoke Screen (Grand Central Publishing)
From thriller writer extraordinaire Iris Johansen comes a pulse-pounding excursion into a war torn nation, where forensic sculpture Eve Duncan heeds a journalist’s call to assist in identifying a village’s dead after a horrific massacre, only to discover more sinister plots may be lurking behind the journalist’s call for assistance.
J. Rozan, Paper Son (Pegasus Crime)
Rozan’s long-running PI Lydia Chin finds herself on the way from NYC’s Chinatown to the Mississippi Delta in Paper Son, a compulsive tale of culture clash, deep history, hidden secrets, and past sins. Rozan is a deft stylist and a consummate observer of both the details of crime and of everyday life. Readers can expect a vivid road trip and a journey into some dark terrain.
Cambria Brockman, Tell Me Everything (Ballantine Books)
Donna Tartt doesn’t have a monopoly when it comes to murder at elite New England colleges. In Cambria Brockman’s new academic thriller, interloper Malin finds her way into a tight-knit group of friends, ready to enjoy their company and gather their secrets, until an explosive Senior Day when all is revealed. Murder in the halls of privilege is ever-so-satisfying, both for those reading for a familiar setting, and those reading to see the privileged few dethroned.
Bonini and G. de Cataldo, translated by Antony Shugaar, The Night of Rome (Europa)
Bonini and de Cataldo bring a new sense of urgency to this tale of corruption, power vacuums, and the new Italy. Against the backdrop of a hopeful Rome, celebrating a new Pope and the incarceration of a mafia don, rising politicians clash with ambitious gangsters in what’s bound to be one of the most heavy-hitting noirs of the year.
Chandler Baker, Whisper Network (Flatiron Books)
From Austin-based author Chandler Baker comes a corporate satire and revenge fantasy that should be extremely cathartic to read. Set in Dallas, Whisper Network follows four women working at an athleisure company who must decide if and how much they want to intervene when their CEO dies and his named replacement is, shall we say, not great at respecting boundaries.
Patrick Coleman, The Churchgoer (Harper Perennial)
Patrick Coleman combines evangelical malpractice, noirish cynicism, and seedy southern California underworlds in this debut literary noir. When Mark Haines, a former youth pastor who has succumbed to a more hedonistic life, meets a young drifter who seems inauspiciously connected to a failed robbery, he suddenly finds himself captivated by the young woman, following her trail into the depths of California drug trade and straight into the Evangelical megachurch of his past. With a palpable nod to Raymond Chandler, this forceful mystery is an exploration of religion, responsibility, and the inverted forces at play in the modern world.
Shari Lapena, Someone We Know (Pamela Dorman Books)
In this fox-in-the-henhouse take on the domestic thriller, a neighborhood is plagued by mysterious break-ins by a local teenager who’s far more interested in rummaging through their hard drives than their medicine cabinets. When residents begin receiving anonymous letters regarding the break-ins, and a neighborhood woman is murdered, citizens find themselves tempted to take matters into their own hands, regardless of consequence.
Kristen Lepionka, The Stories You Tell (Minotaur)
Kristen Lepionka’s third mystery to feature Roxane Weary, still one of the only bisexual crime-solvers around, and certainly one of the most charming investigators out there, sends Weary on a dive into the underground music world, after a hip DJ goes missing and Weary’s brother falls under suspicion as the DJ’s last contact before her disappearance. This promises to be another fast-paced, witty installment of one of the best new series around.
Amanda Lee Koe, Delayed Rays of a Star (Nan A. Talese)
In Amanda Lee Koe’s lush historical debut, a chance meeting between Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl, captured in a famous photograph, becomes a jumping-off point for a literary investigation of each woman’s life and the part each played in 20th century history. An empathetic and devastating portrait of women equally defined by their passions and their politics.
Riley Sager, Lock Every Door (Dutton)
Sager’s new thriller has evocative gothic tones, as a house-sitter in an exclusive Manhattan apartment building probes into the dark past of the building, its residents, and her own sister’s death. Sager’s compulsive thrillers have become a highlight of the summer season, and Lock Every Door might well be the best yet.
Daniel Silva, The New Girl (Harper)
Daniel Silva, creator of the Gabriel Allon series, needs no introduction, and frankly his readers need no reminder that July means the release of the latest Allon thriller. Silva is, quite simply, the best spy novelist of his generation; for heady, geopolitically intricate, emotionally nuanced stories combined with genuinely gripping action, you just can’t beat Silva and Allon. In the new novel, a mysterious young woman at a Swiss boarding school is kidnapped from under the nose of her large security team, and Allon is called in to help avert yet another international crisis.
Daniel Nieh, Beijing Payback (Ecco)
Daniel Nieh is a true Renaissance Man: when he’s not writing fiction, he works as a translator and model, and brings all his skills to the table in this ultra-stylish debut thriller that’s equal parts Hong Kong action movie and fish-out-of-water cross-cultural noir. When a college basketball player’s father is murdered soon after his mother’s death from cancer, and he discovers his father’s prosperity was derived from, shall we say, illicit means, he finds himself embroiled in a plot to take down an international criminal operation—and on the journey of his life.
Michele Campbell, A Stranger on the Beach (St. Martin’s Press)
A stranger looming outside a family’s beach house is a powerful symbol for the destructive forces within the unit, as their seemingly perfect life begins to unravel. Money dwindles, secrets are exposed, and readers will be turning the pages, ideally on a beach of their own, fervently to find out what happens to the Stark family’s summer idyll.
Joshilyn Jackson, Never Have I Ever (William Morrow)
Joshilyn Jackson is far from receiving her proper due in the crime and mystery world, despite her many works of fiction that comfortably belong in both the genre and general fiction sections of the bookstore, and we’re looking forward to Never Have I Ever bringing Jackson the credit she deserves. Jackson’s latest is a classic interloper tale—a woman named Roux enters the lives of a seemingly perfect family and of course, her disruption reveals all the family’s darkest secrets.
Jo Nesbo, Knife (Knopf)
It’s almost time for a new Harry Hole novel, which is reason enough to be excited. This time around, everyone’s favorite gruff Norwegian detective has been assigned to the cold case unit (a shift that served the Harry Bosch series quite well) and is trying to balance his new job poking around on long dormant cases with his own contemporary vengeance mission. Readers are sure to have all the cool Scandinavian atmospherics they’ve grown to love along with a few dark new twists to the series.
Ace Atkins, The Shameless (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The cosmology of Quinn Colson’s South keeps on expanding, a tangled web of highway smugglers, truck stop traffickers, and small town pushers, with Sheriff Colson taking the whole network on from his perch in Tibbehah County, Mississippi. In the latest installment of the series, a cold case and a pair of New York City reporters add to his worries and his obligations, as he tries to do justice to a long dead teenage boy while also fending off the Delta’s sprawling criminal forces.
Alex Dahl, The Heart Keeper (Berkley)
From one of the biggest voices in Scandi-Noir comes a new tale of doubles and obsession. One woman’s daughter, in death, gives life to another woman’s daughter in need of a heart transplant, but their connection goes much further than anyone planned, as grieving mother Allison becomes convinced that the young donee is host to her daughter’s spirit, as well as her heart. This should be a perfect psychological noir, with love and obsession at the center of this complex, tragic story.
The Arrangement, Robyn Harding (Scout)
Harding’s strength is her interesting and complex female characters, and she’s created another one in Natalie Murphy. Nat is a struggling art student in New York City who can barely squeak by on her waitressing money. So when a school friend of hers reveals that she frequents and profits from a sugar daddy website which hooks up older, wealthy men with young women who are willing to have a no strings relationship with a payoff, Nat thinks she’s found the perfect sugar daddy in Gabriel, a workaholic lawyer. But as she discovers more about Gabe, her situation becomes precarious and even dangerous.
Maureen Callahan, American Predator (Viking)
—True Crime Spotlight—
Maureen Callahan’s extensive and deft investigation of Israel Keyes, an American serial killer who broke into houses, abducted victims in broad daylight, and then buried their bodies in remote corners of the country, will shock even the most avid true crime fans. Rife with conversation between Keyes and the FBI, Callahan delves into the psychology of both law enforcement and criminal in this chilling account of “the most meticulous serial killer of the 21st century.”
Preston & Child, Old Bones (Grand Central Publishing)
From the thriller world’s dynamic duo comes a new work of archeology, murder, and the Donner Party. This one should please longtime fans of Preston and Child, as well as new devotees drawn in by that ever-appealing set up of a past crime coming back to haunt the present.
J.P. Delaney, The Perfect Wife (Ballantine Books)
The Perfect Wife promises to be just as harrowing, fast-paced and psychologically astute as we’ve come to expect from Delaney, who has made a splash with his previous two novels. In his third, Delaney takes us into the mind of a woman slowly recovering awareness after a near-fatal accident, who must rely on her husband to help her, even as she begins to doubt the veracity of his account when it comes to how she was injured in the first place.
Madeline Stevens, Devotion (Ecco)
With a cover design that looks like Persona meets Lolita, this one’s definitely up our alley. Madeline Stevens’ new tale of jealousy and obsession is the next big psychological thriller debut, featuring two women who become dangerously entangled. One has everything, and the other wants everything—and will do anything to get what the other has.
Ruth Ware, The Turn of the Key (Gallery/Scout Press)
We hope it’s not too much to say that Ruth Ware is the future of traditional mystery in contemporary settings; each of her novels takes us into well-worn territory and reinvents for the present day. Her upcoming mystery is no exception. This time, she takes us into a gothic tale in which a nanny takes up a new position with a seemingly perfect family in a seemingly-perfect manor house, only to see her situation go horribly awry.
Alix Nathan, The Warlow Experiment (Doubleday)
What’s better fodder for a psychological mystery than an enlightenment experiment gone horribly awry? Inspired by an era that brought us horrific experimentation in the name of progress, Alix Nathan has written a delicious historical thriller set in the remote Welsh Marches and featuring a mad scientist determined to explore the effects of long-term isolation, and his half-literate, and semi-willing, subject of study, who has agreed to be imprisoned for seven years with no human contact. With the release of The Wolf and the Watchman back in March, we’re happy to see that this is the year of enlightenment horrors, and nothing’s more noir than examining the suffering caused by so-called “progress.”
Fred Vargas, The Poison Will Remain (Penguin Books)
Vargas has long enjoyed her reputation as an international sensation and is known to send her Commissaire Adamsberg on the occasional pan-European adventure, but in the latest installment he’s going deep into the history of France, in one of its most historical towns, Nimes, where a series of deaths leads him to investigate mysterious events at a local orphanage over a half century before. There’s a good reason why Vargas has devoted noir readers the world over.
Rachel Monroe, Savage Appetites (Scribner)
—True Crime Spotlight—
Savage Appetites has all the makings of a nonfiction sensation, and opening it up you’ll quickly see why. Monroe tells the stories of four different women representing the “archetypes” of the modern true crime obsession—Detective, Victim, Defender, and Killer. Monroe gives each story ample time and insight, but their cumulative effect is a bigger piece of commentary on modern culture and its particular fascinations with crime. Monroe is a gifted storyteller with a nose for the provocative and poignant. For anyone who finds themselves more and more drawn into the world of crime and wants to think about what characteristics may be at play here, this is the book to read.
Laura McHugh, The Wolf Wants In (Spiegel & Grau)
Laura McHugh’s foray into southern gothic is a journey into the depths of rural Kansas, a hotbed of opioid and crime, in which a woman investigates the suspicious and untimely death of her brother. Meanwhile, an 18-year-old dreams of leaving Kansas and escaping the crimes of her family. This atmospheric thriller finds the two women grappling with the weight of family history, loyalty, and justice, and is sure to grip anyone looking for a finely drawn, character-driven mystery that delves into the realities of rural America.
Hollie Overton, The Runaway (Redhook)
In the third novel from Hollie Overton, an LAPD psychologist searches for her runaway foster daughter, who’s been pulled back into her life on the streets to help a friend in need. Hollie Overton’s father was a member of the Overton Gang and spent several years in prison for manslaughter; she brings a complex and nuanced attitude towards law enforcement and the criminal underworld into her work.
Jamie Mason, The Hidden Things (Gallery)
Jamie Mason first came onto our radar with her fantastic domestic espionage thriller Monday’s Lie, in which a woman’s spy skills, learned from her ex-CIA mother, save her from a scheming husband. Mason’s new novel, The Hidden Things, takes us into the midst of a wealthy family guarding a terrible secret. When the family’s scion fights off an attack, the footage goes viral, the family’s secrets come to light, and a valuable painting becomes the catalyst for a final reckoning.
Rob Hart, The Warehouse (Crown)
Fresh off the heels of finishing his Ash McKenna series, Hart is expanding his oeuvre (and our minds) with his new standalone, a corporate espionage thriller set in the near-future, but with strong overtones of the present. When a regular schlub starts work at a giant corporation’s live/work complex and encounters an undercover agent engaged in high-stakes corporate espionage, they begin to uncover the company’s darkest secrets.
Alex Segura, Miami Midnight (Polis Books)
Segura’s Pete Fernandez series continues this summer with a new installment that finds Pete living a relatively stable life running a bookshop in Miami and sleuthing by night. The appearance of a Cuban gangster disrupts the calm, as Pete is charged with investigating the murder of a jazz musician, the disappearance of a woman, and, ultimately, his own past. Miami has never been so vibrant, so full of ghosts, as it is in this latest Fernandez novel, which gives Segura ample room to explore the hidden pockets and stories of his (and his hero’s) hometown.
Guillaume Musso, The Reunion (Little, Brown)
A tiny boarding school on the coast in the South of France is the setting for Musso’s new thriller, which has already been a hit in Europe, but will mark the author’s US debut. The action revolves around a twenty-fifth high school reunion, which brings two students back to the scene of a tragedy they participated in and covered up—a young woman tragically dead, and the body buried in the walls of the school that’s set to be demolished. Despite the ticking-clock premise, Musso takes time to set the atmosphere, with lush details that transport the reader to a locale that’s at once glamorous and also laced with a deep, abiding sadness.
Lisa Lutz, The Swallows (Ballantine)
From the impossible-to-predict Lisa Lutz, who, after years of writing her Spellman Files series, reinvented her crime fiction career with the 2016 standalone The Passenger, comes a new tale of creative writing and dark happenings. When a writing instructor takes up a new position at a seemingly perfect school, she quickly discovers both students and faculty have something to hide—and whatever that something is, it’s happening in the darkroom.
Karin Fossum, The Whisperer (HMH)
Fossum has earned her place atop the world of Scandi-Noir and is back Stateside with a dark new novel in the Inspector Sejer series. Sejer is called to investigate threats against a woman living in near reclusive circumstances, alone and locked into her everyday routine, which has recently been disrupted by a series of cryptic notes. Fossum’s pacing is always pitch perfect, and her stories open into something darker and more penetrating than you’ll ever see coming.
Karin Slaughter, The Last Widow (William Morrow)
Slaughter’s work doesn’t have a winning formula so much as she has an endless ability to pen uniquely winning works. From the #1 internationally bestselling author, who counts the crime world’s greatest luminaries amongst her readers, comes a new thriller featuring a kidnapped scientist, a desperate search, and a deadly epidemic.
C.J. Box, Bitterroots (Minotaur)
C.J. Box is back with a Rocky Mountain mystery, this one starring former police chief Cassie Dewell, who was previously featured in a series known as The Highway Quartet. Cassie has recently opened a private investigation firm, and just when she thinks all is underway and she’s freed herself from having to report to higher-ups, she gets a call from an old friend who wants her to investigate a wrongful accusation involving a powerful Montana family. Box’s new heart-pounding thriller is sure to be as expansive as the Montana sky.
Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Murder List (Forge)
Hank Phillippi Ryan has won five Agatha Awards, 34 Emmys, and 14 Edward R. Murrow awards, plus a host of other accolades, which is one way of say that this journalist-turned-crime writer really knows her stuff. In her latest, Ryan gets personal, and pens a twisty, spellbinding tale of secrets, lies, and legal maneuvers, set in Boston, where Ryan lives with her criminal defense attorney husband.
Haylen Beck, Lost You (Crown)
In the second standalone from Haylen Beck, the pseudonym of Irish crime writer Stuart Neville, two women engage in a drawn-out and increasingly vicious battle over the child each claims to be her own. Lost You builds on the question “What would you do to have a child?” and asks, “What wouldn’t you do to keep your child?”
Edoardo Albinati, The Catholic School (FSG)
This 1280-page tome is the perfect reminder that Italy in the 1970s was…well, extra. Albinati’s semi-autobiographical tale immerses us in the world of privileged elites blindsided by the rapidly changing social norms of the world around them, and grounds its violent tale in a brutal, real-life incident known as the Circeo massacre, wherein two women were brutally assaulted and murdered by several students from a prestigious all-male Catholic school in Rome. A novel this long should be difficult to define, and there’s as much memoir and true crime investigation in this one as there is creative license.
J. Golakai, The Score (Cassava Republic)
Golukai’s reporter-activist heroine Vee Johnson returns for her second investigation, as she and her partner stumble upon a murder in the midst of what was meant to be a punishingly boring assignment reviewing a dusty tourist lodge in the middle of nowhere. As the journalists investigate, they’re drawn into an intricate web of corruption, murder, and dog-walking.
William Kent Krueger, This Tender Land (Atria)
Krueger’s latest novel is more epic adventure than traditional thriller, but the author’s many ardent fans will be no less anticipating its fall release, as Krueger takes on a grand and ambitious story about four orphans traveling during the Great Depression after breaking free from the Lincoln School for Native American children. This Tender Land is a moving portrait of a time and place receding from the collective memory, but leaving its mark on the heart of what the nation has become.
Attica Locke, Heaven, My Home (Mulholland Books)
Attica Locke’s second book to feature Darren Matthews has the ambivalent ranger tracking down a missing boy, stranded in the midst of Lake Caddo. Darren’s on a quest to save the boy—and take down his white supremacist family at the same time. We’re recommending this book because it, like all of Attica Locke’s previous works, is bound to be amazing, but also because the Texan on staff is chuffed to have an opportunity to mention that Lake Caddo is the only natural lake in Texas.
Craig Johnson, Land of Wolves (Viking)
No ‘most anticipated’ list would be complete without including the latest Longmire novel from Craig Johnson, whose beloved Sheriff Walt is back in Wyoming after his most recent and tumultuous investigations in Mexico. No time for him to recuperate, though, as a would-be suicide in shepherd country draws his attentions and a new Basque crime family rears up.
Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay (Ecco)
Cha is one of the crime world’s most promising voices, and her upcoming book is a snapshot of Los Angeles in one of its most volatile periods, as two families are thrown into tumult by a series of crimes and the political upheaval spreading from one end of the city to the other. Expect complex, passionately rendered noir.
John le Carré, Agent Running in the Field (Viking)
John le Carré’s 25th novel is set in London in 2018, and will apparently be tackling “the division and rage at the heart of our modern world.” Otherwise, we’ve got very few details to work with: the publisher tells us that the protagonist, “in a desperate attempt to resist the political turbulence swirling around him, makes connections that will take him down a very dangerous path.” Which tells us exactly nothing, so we’ll all just have to wait patiently—or steal an advance copy.