Oh, hey there. It’s me again and it’s 2020, so you know what that means… another year for some great books! Now, I’m not a “new year, new me” kind of guy (no shade if you are). But one thing that always sparks some excitement for me on January 1 is the prospect of another great year of fantastic books and from the looks of it, 2020 is going to be amazing. Here are my can’t-miss thrillers of the first half of 2020 that will definitely keep you occupied until summer.
The Dark Corners of the Night by Meg Gardiner
Now is the perfect time for you to get into the UNSUB series by Meg Gardiner. For all you crime fiction junkies, this is the book version of garlic bread – too good to put down. Her titles are loosely based on real serial killers that you’ve read about while putting a unique spin on them with a great cast of characters. In the newest addition to this series, the third book, we follow Caitlin Hendrix in the most terrifying case yet – a serial killer who attacks parents and leaves the children alive and unharmed. This one was so addictive. There are some great creepy moments that make it hard to sleep, a police procedural aspect and another part of the plot that will surely make you eager for book four. Soon to be a TV series, you’ll definitely want to binge-read these books before it airs.
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica is one of my favorite thriller writers. Her characters are vivid and stunning, her prose is utterly brilliant and her plots are out-of-this-world addictive. The Other Mrs. is her darkest read yet and I read it in one sitting. When Sadie and her husband Bill move from the busy streets of Chicago to a small town in Maine, you would think life would slow down a little bit… not with Mary Kubica driving the bus. Soon, their neighbor is found murdered and Sadie is petrified. With a murderer on the loose, a disturbed niece who is still dealing with her mother’s death and a new home where Will’s sister died, Sadie and her family are in for a rude awakening. This read was stunning, dark and addictive – the perfect blend of thriller and domestic suspense with an ending that will leave you shocked. Mary Kubica just gets better with time and she is one of the best writers you’ll ever come across.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
When Simone St. James released The Broken Girls, I couldn’t think of one negative thing about it. Then I saw the cover of The Sun Down Motel and before even knowing what it was about, I knew she was going to kill it again… and I think this one was even better than the last. Flashback to 1982 in a small town in upstate New York, a young woman named Viv vanishes from her job as a night clerk at the Sun Down Motel. Cut to 2017 when her niece goes to the same motel to investigate her aunt’s disappearance. With dual timelines and multiple storylines blending seamlessly into one gigantic fast-paced psychological thriller, this book is guaranteed to chill you to the core. The Sun Down Motel is one of the best thrillers I have ever read and Simone St. James will take you where no one else will.
Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey
I love a good play on book titles and Woman on the Edge is a harrowing debut read that is shocking and brilliantly paced. When Morgan is waiting for the train, a woman named Nicole runs up to her and hands her her baby before jumping in front of a train. Morgan has no clue who this woman is or why she chose her and she quickly becomes a suspect when the police question if Nicole jumped or if she was pushed. Featuring a dual timeline with two character perspectives, Bailey gives the reader a look into what led Nicole to end up on that platform with her baby and Morgan’s frantic search for answers as she looks into Nicole’s life. Emotionally charged and fast-paced, this is definitely a book that will stay with you long after the final page. After reading this one, I can truly say that I think it’ll be like The Hunger Games amongst bloggers when the advanced copies of her second book come out. This is a new voice that you don’t want to miss.
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
I love Peter Swanson. The Kind Worth Killing is one of my favorite books of all time and his writing is superb. Each book has such a different vibe and yet they are entertaining and chilling. When a bookseller named Malcolm makes a list of the most unsolvable murders within the mystery and thriller genre of books, he is shocked when years later an FBI agent questions him about some unsolved murders that basically mirror his list. With a serial killer on the loose and Malcolm appearing to be the prime suspect, Swanson is for sure going to keep me captivated with this plot and I just know that this is going to be a read that I will devour in a single day.
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Greer and Sarah are one of the best writing duos I have ever come across and their past two titles have been fantastic reads. The plot of You Are Not Alone is eerie and ominous and doesn’t give much away, which I’m sure means it is going to be a devilish ride full of twists and turns that only these two brilliant women can pull off. This book features a woman who feels unfulfilled in her life when she meets a pair of sisters who have it all. While she wants their life, something else is brewing under the surface and I can’t wait to crack it open to find out what the twist is. If you haven’t read anything by Greer and Sarah, you can read their backlist titles before You Are Not Alone comes out this spring.
The Herd by Andrea Bartz
Andrea Bartz is a newer voice whose debut The Lost Night stunned me last year. The Herd is a women-only elite company that people would kill to be in… literally. This twisty and fun thriller is surely one that I think I will enjoy. Two sisters working for The Herd are shocked when the founder disappears and everyone is a suspect, including them. With one sister being a writer and one being a friend of the founder, it’s a race against the clock to look into this woman’s life and The Herd. I am so excited about this one and I think that Andrea Bartz is such a great author. Her prose is dangerous and beautiful, her characters jump out from the page and I find her writing sensationally hypnotic.
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
Jennifer Hillier is so sweet but scares the hell out of me. Jar of Hearts made me so anxious, afraid and amazed at what one person can do with a novel. She is an astonishing storyteller who is not afraid to get really dark with her stories and her characters. Little Secrets is about a woman named Marin (love the name) who has the perfect life running a hair salon until she and her husband’s lives tragically fall apart when their son is abducted. A year later and with no leads, Marin hires a private investigator to look for her son, but what he finds is that her once-perfect husband is having an affair, a secret that will force Marin to take action. I cannot wait to see what Hillier does with this one and I have already added all of her other titles to my Wishlist on Amazon. This author can really do no wrong and I am telling you one thing – I’m going to binge-read this one like it’s the last day of my life.
He Started It by Samantha Downing
Samantha Downing is a talented woman who slayed the thriller genre last year with My Lovely Wife. In He Started It, Downing takes her readers on one hell of a wild ride. When Beth, Portia and Eddie – siblings who haven’t seen each other in a long time – have to travel for their wealthy grandfather’s final wish and to score some cold hard cash, things get a little tricky and possibly deadly. From what I read there may be a missing person, a possible stalker and a dead body in a trunk? This is surely going to be one of the wildest thrillers and I may or may not be saving a bottle of rosé for the rainy night that I devour this one.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley really raised the bar with atmospheric thrillers with The Hunting Party – I was so immersed in the story that I set the book aside and waited to pick it back up during a snowstorm so I could step up my reading experience. With her new novel The Guest List, I know she is going to captivate me again with another locked-room mystery featuring a wild cast of characters on an island in Ireland celebrating a wedding. Murder on an island during a wedding? Sign. Me. Up. And that’s coming from someone who hates weddings. This might be the read that catapults my expectations of spring thrillers.
The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
I love the way Liv Constantine tells a story. This writing duo (and sisters) are incredible storytellers with vivid imaginations, a knack for setting and a terrifying way of pacing a novel. This one sounds really good and diabolical. A beautiful woman moves into a new town and quickly falls in love with a very handsome man… a very handsome married man. Soon enough the sparks are flying between the two and his wife is not happy about it at all, so she does what anyone would do: she digs into her husband’s mistress’s past and uncovers some disturbing information. This book is going to be perfect for your book club and definitely one to spark some conversations on Bookstagram.
Perfectly Famous by Emily Liebert
Emily Liebert is an author I had the pleasure of reading last year. Her combination of dark humor and sensationally-plotted storylines was so gripping and addictive. The minute I put down Pretty Revenge, I was ravenous in needing to write my review so I didn’t miss a single thought. Perfectly Famous is another novel by Liebert I am expecting to shock me into oblivion. I love novels about authors and publishing and this one features an author whose daughter is murdered. When she vows to never write again, she soon enough meets a newly-single housewife who is dying to tell the story of Ward DeFleur. What I’m guessing is this might be a cat-and-mouse game between the two women and the killer. Liebert is a brilliant writer and this one sounds even more complex and sinister than her last.
The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell
Some look forward to the Fourth of July, some look forward to going to the beach, some love barbecues. What do I love most about summer? Lounging by the pool with the newest Michele Campbell novel. Since her debut, Campbell has bewitched me and I have yet to take more than one day to read one. In her newest, an affair between a rich preppy guy and the pool girl at his country club is something that has stayed with Tabitha for years. Years later, Tabitha reunites with Connor who is unhappy in his marriage. Connor’s wife then commits suicide and leaves behind a diary with the last entry alluding to the fact that if anything should happen to her, that it is Connor’s doing. Campbell always crafts these captivating plots, diabolical characters and gut-punching endings. She’s the ultimate beach read author.
The Swap by Robyn Harding
If you don’t know Robyn Harding, now is the time to get going. She is the sweetest Canadian author you will ever meet, but then you open her books and they are beguiling, malevolent and have twisty and dark finales. In her newest tale, we find a teenager named Low who befriends a woman named Freya. Freya ends up befriending Jamie and leaving Low in the dust. One night, Freya suggests to Jamie that they should switch partners after a few too many cocktails. What happens next is sure to be a dark, sexy story with brilliant twists and turns and one hell of a shocking ending. You know, Robyn Harding style. The way she can combine crime with a domestic aspect in her stories is stunning. Do not miss out on Robyn Harding – she is the real deal.
The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
Megan Miranda books are thrillers that aren’t too violent but are still crazy enjoyable and addictive. She is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. In her newest tale (and my most anticipated book of the summer), Arden went missing one night during a rainstorm while sleepwalking and became a local legend when she was found alive. When the media and fan letters become too much, Arden runs away and changes her name. As the 20th anniversary of her disappearance approaches, she begins to sleepwalk again and before you know it, a dead body is in front of her and I can only imagine where it goes from here. This is the kind of book that I think will have everyone talking and be sure to shock her fans everywhere.
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Thank you so much for the list! I loved it!
Such a great set of recommendations! Many thanks for helping me sort out my must reads for 2020. SJ
I love this list of books I HAVE to read!