Have you ever tried to explain your love of thrillers to someone else? “We just love a good book about murder and lies that frightens the bejeezus out of us” somehow sounds a little odd, but we’re sure that you understand, Savvy Readers. Nothing says good thriller like a pounding heart and sauce-pan-wide eyes as you turn the pages, and it’s with that spirit that we bring you a list of 11 thrillers that left us both shocked and shook. If you enjoy the likes of The Perfect Girlfriend and The Woman in the Window, prepare yourself for these recs!
The Move by Felicity Everett
Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by her husband Nick. They’re making a fresh start. But something is awry in the new house – it’s not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another’s company – that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it’s the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Imagine that your husband has two other wives. You’ve never met the other wives. You can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself. But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket — an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives. You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever. Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth?
Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison
The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions, and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous. In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide. But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
The Playground by Jane Shemilt
In London, the lives of three couples collide when their children join the same tutoring circle. There’s Eve, a bougie earth mother with a well-stocked trust fund; she has three little ones, a blue-collar husband, and is obsessed with her Instagrammable recipes and lifestyle. And Melissa, an interior designer whose husband is careful not to leave visible bruises; she curates her perfectly thin body so closely she misses everything their teenage daughter is hiding. Then there’s Grace, a Zimbabwean immigrant, who lives in housing project with her two children and their English father Martin, an award-winning but chronically broke novelist; she does far more for her family than she should have to. As the weeks go by, the couples become very close; there are barbecues, garden parties, a holiday at a country villa in Greece. Resentments flare. An affair begins. Unnoticed, the children run wild. The couples are busily watching each other, so distracted and self-absorbed that they forget to watch their children. No one sees the five children at their secret games or realize how much their family dynamics are changing until tragedy strikes.
The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan
Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon. So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family. Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…
The Killer Inside by Cass Green
You love me. But do you really know me? You were the golden girl. The apple of your parents’ eyes. My beautiful, clever wife. I would do anything for you. But some things about me must stay hidden. One summer afternoon, it all begins to unravel. Because I’m not the only one with terrible secrets to hide.
The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan
When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind. Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew. Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…
Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle
For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. She sees it as her new beginning—one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her. A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play. As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.
The Lying Room by Nicci French
It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, all the lies she has stitched together threaten to unravel. After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting? An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, Neve descends into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair….
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps. Now, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
A Girl Named Anna by Lizzy Barber
Raised in a quiet rural community, Anna has always been taught that her mamma’s rules are the only path to follow. But, on her eighteenth birthday, she defies her mamma for the first time in her life and goes to Astroland. She’s never been allowed to visit Florida’s biggest theme park, so why, when she arrives, does everything about it seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives that same day—a letter addressing her by a different name? Rosie has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes as the funds dedicated to the search dry up, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth herself. But can she find the answer before it tears her family apart?
That’s all the pearl-clutching thriller content we have for you today, Savvy Readers! Let us know if you read any of these in the comments or over on our Twitter @SavvyReader!