Welcome to the SheReads Bookish Entertainment column! Each week, enjoy a new article by Garrett Billings— Bookstagrammer, blogger, book-to-screen junkie—on all things Reading + Hollywood. Stars’ book club picks and trailer reveals, book-to-screen news and book pop culture, and of course, Gare’s specialty, choosing his ideal Hollywood casts for book adaptations—Bookish Entertainment has you covered.
With 2021 already halfway over, there have been so many great thrillers that have captivated me from their first page. From missing wives to road trips with serial killers, here are some thrillers that will give you the absolute chills even on the hottest summer day.
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
Technically I’m bending the rules with this one as it was released 12/30/20—but this book is too good to let a couple of days get in the way. Lila is a woman who lives in a small college town where a student vanished months ago. When Lila’s husband goes missing, the police end up connecting his disappearance to the student, and the whole town is praying for the beloved teachers return. Everyone except for Lila: the last time she saw her husband was when she was staring at his dead body. This book is the ultimate psychological thriller and is impossible to put down from the first chapter down to the brutal finale.
Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks
Jace Montgomery is really down on his luck. After returning from a business meeting he finds his wife, Tessa, missing—and the cops have him as their prime suspect after finding her blood and clumps of her hair in the house. When a coworker he is accused of having an affair with also goes missing, the police really narrow in on Jace. Meanwhile, Tessa is safe and sound after setting up her husband. With a friend helping her with her new life and Tessa running from her past, it’s only a matter of time before both Jace and Tessa’s secrets and lies catch up with them. This is an explosive domestic suspense novel that will not only keep you guessing the whole time, but beguile you with Hendricks’ matchless storytelling.
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
Shortly after Sophie and her husband leave Chicago to raise their son in a small Texas town, Sophie finds herself restless and missing the big city. Then, Sophie meets the mystifying Margot and her clique known as the Hunting Wives. As Sophie bonds with the new women in her life, she finds herself in way over her head in a new world of late-night target practice and copious amounts of cocktails. Sophie’s world comes crashing down as her family life starts to fall apart, and the police find the body of a teenage girl close to where Sophie and her friends get together. This book is like Mean Girls with martinis and guns. It is non-stop entertainment and the perfect summer thriller to have you laughing one minute and picking up your jaw off the floor next.
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
Scream meets The Breakfast Club in this stylish YA thriller! Rachel is a high school student who is obsessed with horror movies. As the new kid at school, she is quickly “accepted” into the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club that watches scary movies and pulls pranks called Fear Tests. Things quickly escalate as the pranks become more elaborate, more terrifying, and lives are quickly in danger. This is a book that is fast-paced and addictive, featuring so many movie references that a marathon is impossible to resist.
Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams
Lena Nguyen arrives at Hairpin Bridge to meet Corporal Raymond Raycevic three months after her sister allegedly jumped off the bridge, resulting in her death. Ray was the last person to see Lena’s sister, Cambry alive…and was also the one to find her body. But Lena wants the truth; Raymond’s story doesn’t add up with some of the facts. Cambry had texted Lena shortly before her death referring to Raymond, and had also tried calling 911 many times before her death. After meeting the man she believes is responsible for her sisters death, Lena walks into a cat-and-mouse game that will test her ability to survive. Hairpin Bridge is an engrossing book that you’ll want to read in one sitting, with one of my favorite female protagonists.
Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon
Bath Haus is an anxiety-ridden thriller about a man named Oliver who lives a wealthy lifestyle with his partner Nathan, a surgeon. Oliver and Nathan have the perfect live together, despite not having much in common and being rather far apart in age. When Oliver visits a gay bathhouse and is attacked, a web of lies begins to spin as he tries to keep his secret from Nathan. Bath Haus is a shocking and diabolical thriller reminiscent of a modern and queer version of Basic Instinct!
Shutter by Melissa Larsen
Shutter is an eerie debut thriller about a woman named Betty who leaves everything behind to move to New York City after her father dies. Shortly after moving to the big apple, Betty lands a leading role in a new movie from a very mysterious and intense filmmaker. As filming begins on a remote island in Maine, Betty soon realizes that she may be in for way more than she bargained for. This slow-burning psychological thriller is atmospheric with a sensationally cinematic finale.
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
Speaking of cinematic, Riley Sager is back with one of the hottest thrillers of the summer. Survive the Night is a Hitchcockian and claustrophobic tale about a movie-obsessed college student named Charlie who is in a car with a complete stranger named Josh. Charlie is desperate to escape the guilt and memories after her best friend is murdered by a serial killer on campus. The longer the car ride, the more certain that this was no chance meeting; Charlie suspects that not only could Josh be the Campus Killer who murdered her best friend but, she could very well be next. Taking place in 1991, Sager takes the reader back to when things were less complicated and more dangerous without the safety of cell phones in his most terrifying story yet.