Literary thrillers in literary settings
These twist-filled stories are set in worlds that revolve around words – whether that be an isolated writers cottage in the country or the bustling hub of a publishing house in New York City; what these places share is that all is not as it seems.
Hell of A Book by Jason Mott
A Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent.
For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.
Read our review here.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling … Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
Read our review here.
The Vixen by Francine Prose
It’s 1953, and Simon Putnam, a recent Harvard graduate newly hired by a distinguished New York publishing firm, has entered a glittering world of three-martini lunches, exclusive literary parties, and old-money aristocrats. But Simon’s first assignment - editing The Vixen, a lurid bodice-ripper improbably based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg – makes him question the cost of admission. Because Simon has a secret that he cannot reveal: his beloved mother was a childhood friend of Ethel Rosenberg’s. Simon’s dilemma grows thornier as he realises that the people around him are not what they seem either.
Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
Florence Darrow wants to be a writer. Correction: Florence Darrow IS going to be a writer. Fired from her first job in publishing, she jumps at the chance to be assistant to the celebrated Maud Dixon, the anonymous bestselling novelist. The arrangement comes with conditions - high secrecy, living in an isolated house in the countryside.
Before long, the two of them are on a research trip, to inspire the much-promised second novel. Beach walks, red sunsets and long, whisky-filled evening discussions…win-win, surely? Until Florence wakes up in a hospital, having narrowly survived a car crash. How did it happen - and where is Maud Dixon, who was in the car with her?
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
When a young writer dies before completing his first novel, his teacher, Jake (himself a failed novelist), helps himself to its plot. The resulting book is a phenomenal success. But what if somebody out there knows?
Somebody does. And if Jake can’t figure out who he’s dealing with, he risks something far worse than the loss of his career.
Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
Gerry Anderson has been having trouble sleeping. He’s unwell - bed-bound - and has only his night nurse and his PA for company. But what’s really troubling him are the phone calls. Phone calls from a woman claiming to be the ‘real’ Aubrey. But that can’t be. Aubrey’s just a character Gerry made up in a book, years ago.
Can Gerry see past the ever-blurring lines of fact and fiction and figure out who is threatening him, or has his long-overdue moment of reckoning finally arrived?