A comfortable chaise lounge, an icy cold beverage, and a well-written, fast-paced thriller in hand. What defines summer luxury more than that, dear reader? Should you already be thinking about summer vacation and the reading you’ll be packing along with the sunscreen and sunglasses, this one’s for you. The summer of 2021 will see dozens of new literary, legal, psychological, medical, sci-fi and spy thrillers. Here are our pick of the 18 new thrillers best to keep you riveted and reading all summer long in 2021. Just don’t blame us when you’re too tired to join the crew for breakfast after staying up all night reading.
what are the best new thrillers of summer 2021?
Summer is the perfect time for books that allow us to escape to another place and time. And sometimes – as with our favorite roller coaster – what we really want is a thrill ride.[white_box]
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Something about the summer makes us want to lose ourselves in a juicy new book. There’s nothing like the experience of that rare, impossible-to-put-down novel that keeps us reading through the wee hours of the morning.
And since suspense is the best way to get us to turn the page, we have assembled a list of 18 exciting thrillers for you to check out this summer. They are all new releases, either out now or coming soon. They’re all pretty much guaranteed to give you the immersive, escapist experience you’re craving.
the 18 best new thrillers to read at the beach or on vacation this summer 2021
1. While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams.
We’re kicking off our list of the best new thrillers of summer 2021 with an offering from an unexpected source. You know Abrams as a politician, activist, advisor and romance novelist. But she’s not done showing us what she can do – this is her first literary thriller! While Justice Sleeps is a novel about the law and lawyers set in the Supreme Court. In it, a young woman clerk comes into her own as she pieces together the conundrum of what her boss—a controversial Justice who’s fallen into a coma—had been investigating. Sounds like an excellent Memorial Day read, no?
BUY NOW: $19.96.
2. Phase Six by Jim Shepard.
If you haven’t had enough of the word “pandemic,” this one’s for you. A smart medical thriller about a devastating disease that wipes out much of humanity, Phase Six is written by a National Book Award finalist. Penned before any of us had heard the phrase “COVID-19,” the novel follows Aleq, an 11-year-old boy, who is one of the last survivors of the initial outbreak of a deadly global virus. What can humanity rebuild in its aftermath?
BUY NOW: $23.95.
3. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.
The Plot has, well . . . a great plot. A disappointed writer working at a dead-end job doesn’t expect much from his Master of Fine Arts graduate students. But then one of them dies, leaving a highly promising manuscript behind that only his former instructor knows about. With a little tinkering, the protagonist passes off the masterpiece as his own. What could possibly go wrong? The author wrote You Should Have Known, the novel that inspired the Nicole Kidman-Hugh Grant HBO hit The Undoing. Oh, yeah – we are totally here for it.
BUY NOW: $23.49.[white_box]
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4. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris.
As a Black woman, I can report that sadly the wicked inside-baseball plot of the new thriller The Other Black Girl reads like an extreme version of a couple of real-life episodes in my own professional life. Nella, an editorial assistant at a prestigious publishing house is elated when she finally gets another Black colleague. At first, they bond over hair care and dismissive treatment from their coworkers. However, soon it becomes clear that Nella’s new coworker is more interested in competing with her than helping her. Then Nella starts getting notes on her desk telling her to leave the company—before it’s too late. Dang it! Whatever happened to Black Girl Magic?
BUY NOW: $18.99.
5. A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins.
The author of The Girl in the Train and Into the Water takes to the river in the new thriller A Slow Fire Burning. There’s a murder on a houseboat. And three different women have equal motives for revenge against the victim.
BUY NOW: $22.49.
6. The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson.
In 2018, the former President and the best-selling author teamed up to write The President Is Missing. In this sequel, The President’s Daughter, we follow the path of Matthew Keating, a former President and Navy SEAL who now lives in New Hampshire. He just wants to disappear quietly out of the spotlight and into rural life. But when his daughter is kidnapped, he must put all his training and connections to use. Fans of The West Wing will remember how irresistible this plot can be when done well.
BUY NOW: $20.99.[white_box]
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7. Survive the Night by Riley Sager.
You’ll know if the latest from the author of the thrillers Final Girls and Home Before Dark – Survive the Night – should be on your nightstand this summer with a simple test. Does this tagline appeal to you? “It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed female college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.” Your call, dear reader.
BUY NOW: $20.39.
8. We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz.
With We Were Never Here, the author of The Lost Night and The Herd returns with a new literary thriller. This one is about a backpacking trip gone wrong. We follow two best friends who share the secret behind a murder. And watch how they contend with the growing suspicion that the “accidental” death they claim to have witnesses was, well . . . no accident.
BUY NOW: $23.49.
9. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.
The acclaimed author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. is back in a horror thriller that plays with the trope of “the final girl,” The Final Girl Support Group.
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. This moody and modern novel finds us observing a support group of six actual final girls and their therapist. When one of the women misses a meeting, it seems that horrific terror has entered their lives again. But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, they will never, ever give up.
BUY NOW: $21.99[white_box]
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10. How Lucky by Will Leitch.
The protagonist of the debut novel How Lucky is 26-year old Daniel, who has suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child. One that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair. Which means he has lots of time at home – and also means that when he witnesses a kidnapping from his front window, no one believes him.
BUY NOW: $22.99.
11. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides.
From the best-selling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense about a charismatic professor of Greek tragedy at Cambridge University who’s accused of murdering one of his students. Mix murder, psychotherapy and Greek myth and you’ve got a thinking person’s thriller perfect for the beach.
BUY NOW: $19.59.
12. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain.
Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco. The day she arrives back her hometown, hoping to heal from a personal loss, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.
BUY NOW: $22.49.[white_box]
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13. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins.
A modern Jane Eyre retelling set in Alabama? Yes, please! New to Birmingham, Jane’s luck seems to change when she meets the recently widowed Eddie Rochester. Will Jane ever live up to the legacy of his late wife Bea? Will she finally get her happy ending?
BUY NOW: $19.09.
14. The Hunting Wives by May Cobb.
BUY NOW: $22.99.
15. A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin.
The most exclusive women’s club in New York is shrouded in secrecy, until a young woman journalist decides to infiltrate it for a story. The deeper she gets, the more her involvement becomes downright dangerous.
BUY NOW: $20.73.[white_box]
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16. The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer.
The Last Mona Lisa takes us back to the actual story of what happened in August 1911, when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre and went missing for two years. The truth about what happened is elusive, the chase nail-biting and if you cannot get to Paris and Florence this summer, this might be the next best thing.
BUY NOW: $14.49.
17. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
The only hope for humanity rests with Dr. Ryland Grace — if only he could remember his mission. The bestselling author of The Martian delivers a new science-based thriller with Project Hail Mary, a tale of impending catastrophe, survival and interstellar adventure.
BUY NOW: $18.04.
18. The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian.
We close our list of the best new thrillers of summer 2021 with a tale of witchcraft. Seventeenth-century New England was not a safe place, especially for women. Any small action outside of being a “good wife” had the potential to spurn allegations of witchcraft, so what was a woman to do if she found herself in a marriage marked by cruelty and domestic abuse?
BUY NOW: $18.03.
the best new thrillers of summer 2021
So, if you’re in search of what to read on vacation or at the beach, that’s our take on the best new literary, legal, psychological, medical, sci-fi and spy thrillers of summer of 2021. What’s at the top of your list, dear reader?
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