Literary thrillers to get your heart racing
Are you a fan of literary fiction that has been expertly engineered to create heart-stopping suspense? Here is a collection of new and recent literary thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat while reading.
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
When the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in Kit Owens’s high school chemistry class, it lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them. More than a decade later, Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving a coveted position with her idol. But then she learns Diane is her direct competition and the former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse.
Lullaby by Leila Slimani (translated by Sam Taylor)
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties. The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other, and as resentment and suspicions increase, their idyllic tableau is shattered.
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Louise is struggling to survive in New York. Juggling a series of poorly paid jobs and renting a shabby flat, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia, who has everything. Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, shares her clothes, her coke, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or, rather, to have Lavinia’s life?
Fallow by Daniel Shand
Two brothers elude a press witch-hunt by hiding out in the remote wilds of highland Scotland. We learn early on that one of them is a murderer. As they travel, the power balance between the brothers begins to shift, and we realise there is more to their history than seems. Daniel Shand’s brilliant debut is at once a tense psychological thriller, and an unreliable narrative of unsettling force.
The Plotters by Un-su Kim (translated by Sora Kim-Russell)
In Seoul’s corrupt underworld, the important thing is not who pulls the trigger but who’s behind the person who pulls the trigger – the plotters, the masterminds working in the shadows. In this world, Reseng is destined to be an assassin. That is, until he breaks the rules, teaming up with a trio of young women who have an extraordinary plot of their own. The Plotters is a cracking noir thriller combined with the soul, wit and lyricism of a highly original literary voice.
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
A psychological thriller set in 1950s Morocco, soon to be a major film starring Scarlett Johansson and produced by George Clooney. Since arriving in Tangier with her new husband, John, the last person Alice Shipley expected to see was Lucy Mason. After a horrific accident, the two haven’t spoken in over a year. Now Lucy is trying to make things right. But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice – she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy. Then John goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything
The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa (translated by Edith Grossman)
In 1990s Peru, during the turbulent and corrupt years of Alberto Fujimori’s presidency, Rolando Garro tries to blackmail high-profile businessman Enrique with lewd pictures from his past. Having failed, the next day Garro publishes the pictures on the front page of the notorious magazine he edits. Meanwhile, Enrique’s wife is having an affair with the wife of Enrique’s lawyer and best friend. Then Garro shows up murdered, the two couples are thrown into a whirlwind, and the magazine staff begin work on their greatest exposé yet.
Wintering by Krissy Kneen (available September)
When Jessica’s partner disappears into the dark Tasmanian forest, there is of course the mystery of what happened to him – the deserted car, the enigmatic final image recorded on his phone. There is the strange circle of local women, widows of disappeared men, with their edgy fellowship and unhinged theories. And the forest itself: looming hugely over this tiny settlement on the remote tip of the island. But for Jessica there is also the tight community in which she is still a stranger and Matthew was not. What secrets do they know about her own life, that she doesn’t?