Jump to content

The Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of Summer 2023

Recommended Posts


While it is Northern malarkey that summer begins in June (it’s been hot in Texas, where this editor lives, for months now), it is appropriate for a summer preview list to begin in the first official month of summer, so we are starting with June this year. The list is also a bit shorter than usual. That is because there were too many good books and we got overwhelmed and then sleepy and then didn’t read as many of them as we would have liked to…But there are still 60+ thrilling, compelling, thoughtful, and intricate crime novels on the list below! (It really is a stressful year for us in terms of reading…Why are there so many good books?!?!) There are also quite a few YA and horror novels on the list, and you’ll spot some historical fiction as well. You might be tempted to stick with your favorite authors this year—after all, they all have new books out—but you’d be missing out on some powerful new voices, especially from small presses. The name of the game on the list below is variety, so we hope you’ll find plenty of new discoveries to fill the long summer days.





S. A. Cosby, All The Sinners Bleed

S.A. Cosby does Thomas Harris!! And proves that the serial killer novel is back with his cleverly plotted and socially relevant take on the hunt for a monstrous killer. Cosby goes Southern Gothic with the backstory, focusing on the sins of society and how indifference and prejudice are the true culprits behind the most terrible acts. In true Cosby fashion, the novel manages to touch on all manner of hot button topics. The novel begins with a school shooting, where a white police officer kills the shooter: a Black man who was a former student at the school, and who claims his victim, a popular teacher, was hiding a terrible secret. When the town sheriff, the first Black man elected to the post in the small Southern town, begins to investigate the teacher’s horrific acts, the townspeople are deeply resistant to the truth, and meanwhile, he’s got a showdown coming between right-wingers determined to protect a Confederate monument and the protestors who want it gone. A fast-paced book that will also have you asking deep questions about the nature of faith, All the Sinners Bleed is bound to be one of my favorite books of the year. –MO


Jessie Gaynor, The Glow
(Random House)

Gaynor’s sharpened blades are out for the wellness industry and its cult-like devotion to personal brands, but The Glow is more than just incisive observation and pitch-perfect satire. There’s a deep well of human ambition and desire at the root of this story, not to mention a sharp plot that bounds ahead with the assurance of the best thrillers. Gaynor builds layer on layer of mystery out of everyday human yearning, creating a whole that’s deeply satisfying and always surprising. –DM


C. J. Leede, Maeve Fly
(Tor Nightfire)

For all those who stan the creepy girls/learned the Wednesday dance, Maeve Fly is a delicious, disturbing treat. Leede’s very-much-antiheroine is a Disney princess by day (one of the Frozen sisters, which makes it even funnier), and a serial killer by night. She has a best friend, a grandmother who understands her, and the kind of beauty that screams innocence. But when her grandmother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her best friend’s hockey-playing brother comes to town, her perfectly arranged life begins to unravel. Damn, this book is messed up. I’m really enjoying this “hot people can be serial killers too” trend (unless someone’s talking about Ted Bundy, who was terrible and also not hot). –MO


​​Katharine Beutner, Killingly
(Soho Press)

My sister went to Mount Holyoke, which is more known for protesting the removal of midnight cookies from menu options than murder, but this historical mystery is based on the real disappearance of a student in 1897 at the famed women’s university. Beutner uses the student’s disappearance as a wider set-piece to investigate the nature of those who stand apart from the crowd, and are punished for their independence. –MO


Clémence Michallon, The Quiet Tenant

I just got my advance copy of Clémence Michallon’s much-anticipated new novel and I *can* confirm that it’s worth the hype!! It is a beautifully and thoughtfully written book with a pitch-perfect premise, about a man named Aidan, who, after he loses his wife, must downsize. He must move to a new, smaller home with his teenage daughter… and the woman he’s secretly had captive on his property for five years. He is a serial killer, and she is the one woman he has ever spared. Narrated by the three women in his life—his daughter, the woman who falls for his cultivated charms, and the woman whose very existence is the only clue to his vicious true self. This book is fantastic.–OR


Danielle Trussoni, The Puzzle Master
(Random House)

Trussoni’s new novel is an absolute joy to dive into. A former football star suffers a brain injury that results in him acquiring extraordinary puzzle solving abilities. His path eventually leads him to a woman in prison drawing mysterious puzzles that seem to connect to the work of a thirteenth-century Jewish mystic. If that sounds like a heady, mesmerizing, exhilarating story, you’d be right, and you’d want to get your hands on this Trussoni gem as soon as possible. –DM


Andrea Bartz, The Spare Room

A young woman new to Philadelphia starts lockdown with the man who’s just called off her wedding, so naturally she takes up the offer from a friend and her husband who have a spare room…And then things get really interesting. Bartz always brings a healthy portion of social satire and incisive observation to her thrillers. –DM


Courtney Gould, Where Echoes Die
(St. Martin’s)

Two sisters head to the desert to find the truth behind their mother’s death in this moody, atmospheric detective story. Their journalist mother had been obsessed with a small town with a reputation for miracles—and lost memories. People return over and over again to the unremarkable desert town, and the sisters may never be able to escape.–MO


Josh Haven, The Siberia Job
(Mysterious Press)

Haven’s The Siberia Job is a wild ride through the Russian hinterlands after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a Texas and a Czech businessman crash rural auctions in order to buy up shares in the newly privatized national gas company. They criss-cross the country and soon have organized crime on their tails. Haven paints a vivid portrait of hustlers and crooks at a world geopolitical turning point. –DM


Lily Meade, The Shadow Sister
(Sourcebooks Fire)

In Lily Meade’s intriguing speculative thriller, two sisters present warring narratives in dual timelines. Casey is not a fan of big sister Sutton, nor Sutton’s white boyfriend or his lack of money, and when Sutton disappears, it’s hard for her to miss her sister. Sutton returns changed, and flashbacks to Sutton’s perspective leading up to the disappearance provide clues into what happened, and why she seems so different now—and so happy to see the sibling she formerly reviled. –MO


Julia Heaberlin, Night Will Find You

An astrophysicist with psychic powers reluctantly agrees to aid her childhood friend, now in the FBI, with a mysterious case, in this latest from the ever-inventive Julia Heaberlin. I’ve been a fan of Heaberlin’s moody mysteries for a few years now, and Night Will Find You continues to showcase her lyrical storytelling abilities. –MO


Rose Wilding, Speak of the Devil

Seven women. One decapitated head. And plenty of reasons for murder. When Jamie Spellman is found dead, a detective works to find the killer, but it quickly becomes clear that the victim deserved what was coming. A clever and tight thriller that demands to be read in one setting. –MO


Rachel Cochran, The Gulf

Set in 1970s Texas in a conservative town amidst the rise of the feminist movement, The Gulf is one of several thrillers that show that the Third Coast has come into its own. The Gulf follows a young queer woman searching for answers after the murder of a powerful woman she’d admired greatly, but who was hated by most of the men in town—and her own children. A refreshing read and a strong debut from a powerful new voice. –MO


Adorah Nworah, House Woman
(Unnamed Press)

Another Gulf Coast crime novel! This one features a young woman who goes from Lagos to Houston for an arranged marriage. Once she arrives, she finds her soon-to-be-in-laws more controlling, and her husband more indifferent, than she would like; as her conditions deteriorate, and tensions grow, this brutal character study leads to a visceral and shocking ending. –MO


Kate Khavari, A Botanist’s Guide to Flowers and Fatality
(Crooked Lane)

Saffron Everleigh, the astute heroine of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poison, returns in this charming sequel set in London during the roaring 20s. Saffron is working on a study at University College of London when she learns about a string of murders committed with poisonous flowers, and it’s not long before she puts her knowledge of plants (and murder) to the case. Handsome researchers, jazz clubs, and floriographic codes abound in this bright and lush novel. Take the day and go read it in a nearby botanical garden, why don’t you? You won’t be sorry. –OR


Julia Fine, Maddalena and the Dark

A slow-burn gothic novel set among the canals and music halls and mansions of 18th century Venice. This is the kind of book that will make you lose track of your surroundings as you sink into its enchanted salt marshes.

In the wake of a family scandal, the titular Maddalena—the only daughter of a noble Venetian family—has been sent to live at a renowned all-girls music school. There, she meets the talented but lonely violinist Luisa, and the girls immediately fall into the kind of intense, charged friendship that only exists between teenage girls. The relationship becomes more dangerous as Maddalena and Luisa begin making deals with the darkness that lives in the waters of Venice.

I’m a sucker for books about magic and darkness, gothic novels, books about the relationships between teenage girls, books set in Venice, and books that are mostly vibes, so it feels like this novel was basically written for me. The girlies in the know will understand when I say this book reminded me of The Thief Lord (Cornelia Funke, 1999). If you’re not a girly in the know, just trust that Maddalena and the Dark is an atmospheric banger of a novel.  –McKayla Coyle, publishing coordinator


Eliza Jane Brazier, Girls and their Horses

Horse girls! As a former horse girl, I am obsessed with this fun and twisty read featuring gorgeous manes and dastardly deeds. A nouveau riche family signs their daughter up for posh riding lessons at a barn that plans to use the family as a cash cow. Come for the diabolical intrigue and stay for the vicious infighting. And the horses. Did I mention horses? –MO


Ruth Ware, Zero Days

Ruth Ware is quickly becoming a household name, and her new thriller promises to once again combine fast-paced action, unexpected twists, and well developed characters. Zero Days features a married couple who specialize in hacking, break-ins, and whatever other security systems need to be tested. When a job goes wrong, the husband is found dead, and the wife is accused of the murder, she must go on the run while seeking answers about the real killer. –MO


Riley Sager, The Only One Left

In 1929, Leonora was the main suspect in the shocking murder of her family. Fifty years later, as Leonora grows frail, her caretaker is determined to uncover the truth. I’m such a huge fan of Riley Sager’s gleefully plotted thrillers, where classic tropes are both honored and reinvented, and in this new one, Sager is at the top of his game. –MO


Ashley Audrain, The Whispers
(Pamela Dorman Books/Viking)

Ashley Audrain’s delightfully disturbing first novel, The Push, immediately established her as a voice to watch, and The Whispers brings more of Audrain’s cutting observations about motherhood and social mores. When a much-envied mother is witnessed shouting at her child at a neighborhood gathering, the other mothers are shocked; even moreso when that child is found barely alive after falling out of a window soon thereafter. As the boy’s life hangs in the balance, his injury is the catalyst for any number of secrets to rise to the fore. –MO


Polly Stewart, The Good Ones

Stewart’s debut is a powerful novel about a woman, recently returned to her Appalachian hometown, who grows obsessed with a friend’s disappearance twenty years prior, and with other cases of missing women. What emerges is a sprawling tale about a town’s secrets and lingering traumas, as well as one woman’s reckoning with life’s darkest turns. Stewart is a writer to watch. –DM


Wendy Heard, You Can Trust Me

Summer was raised as a wild child, then abandoned by her irresponsible hippie mother. Growing up rough, she learns how to pick pockets and fend for herself, that is, until she meets Leo, a fiercely free young woman. When Leo heads to a private island with a techie billionaire, then disappears, Summer must use all of her cunning in order to find out what’s happened to her friend.–MO


Samantha Leach, The Elissas : Three Girls, One Fate, and the Deadly Secrets of Suburbia
(Legacy Lit)

In this urgent expose of the long-term trauma caused by the troubled teen industry, Samantha Leach investigates the life of a close friend lost to addiction, and the two girls who shared a friendship with her at boarding school and also perished far too young. These lives cut short unmask the brutal social control behind the concept of reform schools, where well-off parents pay thousands to have their children beaten, starved, abused, and otherwise coerced into toeing the line. –MO





Amy Goldsmith, Those We Drown

Another Sea-mester book! But quite complementary to the other book set at sea, as this one is horror. Those We Drown features a group of wealthy kids and one scholarship student on a weeks-long cruise where they must mingle with influencers, the elderly, and soon enough, sea monsters. Those We Drown gets bonus points for cheekiness—some of the villains are literally named the Sirens, and one of those keeps singing sea chanties. Delightfully campy and creepy! –MO


Colson Whitehead, Crook Manifesto

Pulitzer Prize winner Whitehead continues his journey through the history of modern New York City, this time taking on the 1970s, as the cast of characters from Harlem Shuffle get swept up in political action, civil unrest, corrupt policing, the rise of Blaxploitation culture, and more. It’s a rich backdrop for Whitehead’s powerful human dramas, and he paints a vivid portrait of people moving between the straight and the crooked world, just trying to get by. –DM


Dwyer Murphy, The Stolen Coast

If the lovers at the heart of Casablanca had met about 30 years later, and had a kid, and then that kid and his dad started a business, then the story might have gone something like Dwyer Murphy’s upcoming New England beach thriller, The Stolen Coast. Murphy’s lawyer hero and his retired spy dad have an unusual business helping people on the run, using the legions of homes left abandoned outside of the summer season. When an ex-girlfriend shows up with a plan for a diamond heist, the risks of an already-dangerous job go through the roof, but the rewards may just be big enough to be worth it. I have been assured that this book has no boat shoes. –MO


Sarah Weinman, Evidence of Things Seen

Sarah Weinman is the exact voice I want to be thinking and writing critically about true crime culture, what it provides, and who it exploits, and I can’t wait to read her new anthology of criticism featuring a wide variety of thinkers on the subject. –MO


Tom Mead, The Murder Wheel
(Mysterious Press)

Set within the theater world of 1938 London, this ingenious new novel is packed full with lush period detail, a glittery cast of characters, and a genuinely compelling puzzle at its center. Mead knows his subject and gives the reader a full immersion into this compelling mystery. –DM


Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi, The Centre
(Gillian Flynn Books)

What would you do to be part of the most elite language academy ever established? And what would you be willing to keep secret? The Centre follows a struggling translator who learns of a place where people can go to become completely fluent in a new language in mere days of effort. She is determined to reap the rewards, but shocked when she begins to find out the dark secrets underpinning the secretive institution. A vicious and entertaining speculative satire of late-stage capitalism. –MO


D. L. Soria, Thief Liar Lady
(Del Rey)

What if Cinderella was not, in fact, a dainty fan of the monarchy, but instead, a conniving revolutionary con artist fighting her way to the top of power in a divided kingdom warring over ancient magic? Also, what if her stepsisters and her stepmother were all really nice to her? And finally, what if the prince to whom she was engaged had a distractingly handsome and brooding foster brother with revolutionary potential of his own? D. L. Soria explores these possibilities and more in her delightfully fractured fairy tale. –MO


John Milas, The Militia House
(Henry Holt)

In this military horror novel, a rare but hopefully growing subgenre, American soldiers stationed near the ruins of an old Soviet outpost in Afghanistan find themselves in the midst of strange happenings, unexplained disappearances, and disturbing visitors. Milas is a wordsmith, and this novel is as haunting as it is impressive. –MO


Rachel Howzell Hall, What Never Happened
(Thomas and Mercer)

The obituary is an art unto itself, and I am so excited it is being explored by none other than the fantastic Rachel Howzell Hall! Skilled obituary writer Coco Weber is back on Catalina Island, a tiny island paradise off the coast of California. Twenty years before, she was the sole survivor of a terrifying home invasion. But now she’s back–ready to grapple with the bad memories and take care of her Aunt Gwen. Exxxxxxxxcept maybe there’s a serial killer on the island targeting elderly people? Coco begins to wonder… and then one day, she gets a copy of her own obituary in the mail. What! (Note: I wanted to end this blurb with the phrase “special die-livery” but I didn’t want to be fired.) –OR


Jessica Ward, The St. Ambrose School for Girls

In Jessica Ward’s 90s-set novel, a girl arrives at boarding school ready to stand out in her all-black wardrobe, but hoping to keep her mental health history private. When the queen bee of the school begins to mercilessly pick on her, things escalate quickly, and when a body is found, Ward’s narrator finds herself unable to trust anyone, including herself. Ward treats the subject of bipolar disorder with respect while still crafting a complex psychological thriller. –MO

Heather Chavez, Before She Finds Me

Chavez’s latest is an adrenaline-pumping conspiracy thriller pitting one mother against another, both of them connected to an attack on a college campus, both determined to protect their families against the shadowy forces seem to be coalescing around them. –DM


Laura Lippman, Prom Mom
(William Morrow)

I promise you—I swear to you—that Prom Mom means something very different than what you’re thinking! I’m not going to spoil it. I’m just going to say that Laura Lippman’s incredibly layered and tense COVID-era thriller tells multiple stories about its main characters, a man and a woman whose pasts are linked by tragedy and tawdry gossip, and whose current lives are connected by something more powerful: the desire for a second chance. –OR


Arianna Reiche, At the End of Every Day

The second book on this list to be set in a theme park, Arianna Reiche’s gorgeous debut follows a park worker helping dismantle the huge attractions as the park prepares to be moved thousands of miles away. She tries not to question the strange happenings around her, but it seems that people (and animatronic figures) have been disappearing, and it’s been harder and harder to ignore as her world collapses, one packed-up ride at a time. –MO


Liz Nugent, Strange Sally Diamond

Sally Diamond has led a quiet life for decades, with her own peculiar habits, without bother. Then her father dies, she burns the corpse in the incinerator, and she becomes an object of much curiosity indeed. Liz Nugent finds much empathy for her strange heroine, whose heartbreaking backstory slowly comes to the fore, interspersed with Sally’s journey from isolation to beloved community member. There’s the usual trademark Liz Nugent disturbing content, but with a heart-felt dose of humanity to balance things out. –MO


Chandler Baker, Cutting Teeth

Children can be such little monsters. But monstrous enough to kill their beloved teacher, weeks into a class-wide biting outbreak in which the children appear to have developed a taste for human blood? Baker already impressed me with her #metoo thriller The Whisper Network and her reverse-Stepford Wives take, The Husbands, and with Cutting Teeth, she once again proves herself one of the sharpest and wittiest observers of women’s roles and mothers’ sacrifices. –MO


Chuck Tingle, Camp Damascus
(Tor Nightfire)

So, what if there was a Christian Conversion Camp that always worked…but only via performing some seriously dark magic? And what can a queer kid do to fight back? Chuck Tingle’s new novel, aside from having an awesome tagline (“They’ll scare you straight to hell.”), is a well-crafted and surprisingly moving novel. And certainly quite different from Chuck Tingle’s previous work… –MO


May Cobb, A Likeable Woman

Austin-based writer May Cobb is back with another sizzling thriller set in the sultry Texas heat. In her latest, a woman who has always wondered about the death of her unpredictable mother finds new answers in a memoir. She returns to her hometown to seek out the truth (and perhaps reconnect with an old flame, or at least have some flirtation in a swimming pool). You’ll tear through this one poolside! Maybe on the beach, while wearing sunglasses…who knows what thoughts of delicious vengeance may be hidden behind sunglasses. –MO


Samantha Downing, Twisted Love Story

Samantha Downing is one of those rare writers equally focused on character and plotting, and it shows in the twists and turns of her novels, as well as the genuine emotions they evoke in readers. In her latest, an on-again-off-again couple is bound together by a dark secret—and it’s unclear whether it will destroy them or allow them a chance to prove their fully, once and for all. –MO


Sarah Rose Etter, Ripe

Millennial, anti-capitalist malaise-lit isn’t exactly new at this point, but Ripe, while all of those things, manages to skewer workplace politics and the vacuousness of modern existence in a way that makes it feel like a fresh subject. Cassie works in the classic dead-eyed field of technology in Silicon Valley, each day spent working for a morally-vacant company, each day increasingly severing herself from her true personhood, cleaving herself into two beings: the fake, cheery self at work, and the real self, who does cocaine every night by the light of the refrigerator and feels a black hole devouring herself from her center.

Sarah Rose Etter captures the cruel facts of San Francisco well: the dystopia that that eden-like setting has turned into. As Cassie watches the sun set over the water from the train, pink and light and heavenly, a man asks her for a dollar and she refuses. Maybe Etter’s not saying anything radical, but every reminder of the daily cruelties of life in this city (not that it’s just there), and our own complicity in it, is sickening. There’s more to come, more we can’t look away from: things at work take an illegal turn, an unplanned pregnancy occurs, suddenly everything feels very delicate, like one wrong move could shatter the illusion of a life, and the truth is, it probably can.  –Julia Hass, contributing editor


Juan Goméz Barcena, Not Even the Dead
Translated by Katie Whittemore
(Open Letter)

Goméz Barcena’s Not Even the Dead is a hallucinatory trip through the frontier days of northern Mexico, as a soldier who agrees to the proverbial ‘one last job’ finds himself on the heels of a supposed heretic who may just be a prophet. The story travels through a vivid, haunting landscape that seems to transcend time. This is a deeply imagined novel and one you won’t soon forget. –DM





Isabel Cañas, Vampires of El Norte

I loved Isabel Cañas’ lush, gothic debut, The Hacienda, and I’m psyched for her follow-up, set on the Texas-Mexico border during the 1840s, and featuring two childhood friends (and perhaps soon-to-be lovers) reunited in a battle against the undead. –MO


Keith Rosson, Fever House
(Random House)

What if Courtney Love and her son suddenly came into possession of a demonic severed hand that inspired violent thoughts in all who are near it? That’s the amazingly left-field set-up of Keith Rosson’s Fever House, which, in addition to the aging rocker and her son, features the viewpoints of two enforcers for a crime boss, two feds who work for a secretive government agency studying the occult, and government reports on the esoteric visions of the Angel Michael, held in captivity and slowly declining. The search for the severed hand has several folks on the musician’s trail, but she and her son are ready to get as badass as her lyrics in the 90s in order to defeat them. –MO


Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Silver Nitrate
(Random House)

Both of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s parents worked in radio, so perhaps that’s part of the inspiration behind this bonkers ode to sound engineering and the (literal magical) power of the human voice. Silver Nitrate features a sound editor and a has-been actor as they befriend an elderly icon from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, only to find themselves drawn into a vast conspiracy to harness the magic of the silver screen and bring an occult-obsessed Nazi back from the dead. This book has everything, and I could not recommend it enough! –MO


Catherine Chidgey, Pet

Damn this book is good. Pet is at once a brilliant coming-of-age thriller and a sharp dissection of racism and misogyny in 1980s Australia. When a new teacher comes to town, every girl in class is swooning over her glamor and vying to be her favorite, even when the competition for affection tears lifelong friendships apart. Meanwhile, someone’s been stealing things in the classroom. Little things, but they’re greatly missed. And someone will have to take the blame, because for every pet, there’s a scapegoat. –MO


Jamison Shea, I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me 
(Henry Holt)

In this ballet horror novel, a young ballerina is given a chance at power after a star of the company takes her under her wing. But all power comes at a cost, and this power derives from an ancient source with its own agenda. I’m not sure what it is about dance that lends itself so well to horror—think Black Swan or Suspiria—but add this one to the list of stories that take the bloody feet and brutal precision of the dance world and turn them into visceral horror. –MO


Ken Jaworowski, Small Town Sins
(Henry Holt)

In a tough Pennsylvania town on the precipice, three lives and three stories barrel toward calamity in this debut novel from Ken Jaworowski. Small Town Sins gives us a portrait of modern America in all its dark complexity, as Jaworowski brings insight and empathy to his characters’ struggles, while always maintaining the story’s strong momentum. –DM


Naomi Hirahara, Evergreen

Hirahara’s Clark and Division was one of the more accomplished crime novels in recent memory, and this year she’s following it up with Evergreen, following Aki Ito and her family as they make the journey from Chicago back to California, where they find the Japanese-American community in distress. Evergreen dives into the shadows of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo to tell a story about one of the darker chapters of American history. With these books focused on the Japanese-American experience of post-WWII America, Hirahara has found a pivotal subject and brought her immense talents to bear. –DM


Jesse Q. Sutanto, I’m Not Done With You Yet

Man, does Jesse Q. Sutano know how to plot a novel! By God. You know when novels start out by showing how their protagonists have it all: great career, attractive and successful spouses, beautiful homes? This starts out with the complete opposite premise! Jane’s books don’t really sell, she’s got a bland marriage, and she’s stuck paying a mortgage for a house she barely likes. She misses Thalia, a friend from her past; her best friend, her soulmate, whom she hasn’t seen since the horrible, bloody night one decade earlier. Now, though, Thalia has written a book–a book that seems like it could be about that fateful moment, a book that is poised to rocket to #1. And so Jane heads to the book launch, to see her old friend again. Because she’s not done with Thalia. And Thalia, clearly, is not done with her. I told you! What a premise! –OR


Lauren Beukes, Bridge

There’s a lot of books out there already about husbands trying to save their wives via other dimensions, but this is the first time I’ve seen a daughter go into other worlds to find her mother. This isn’t just mind-bending scifi; it’s a thriller driven by a frenetic search for both love and answers. Beukes’ trademark balance between horror and thriller, with a focus on character, is on full display in Bridge. –MO


Lisa Jewell, None of This Is True

Lisa Jewell pens yet another dark and twisty psychological thriller, this time, about true crime podcasts, interlopers, and discovering that you’re in the kind of story you once read for entertainment. Imagine if Dead to Me were much, much creepier. –OR


Stephen Kearse, Liquid Snakes
(Soft Skull)

This book has the best tagline: “What if toxic pollutants traveled up the socioeconomic ladder rather than down it?” Kearse weaves together two main stories: a Black biochemist-turned-coffee-shop-owner in mourning for his stillborn daughter, dead because of toxic chemicals leaking into Black neighborhoods, and crafting a toxic revenge plan, and two Black epidemiologists investigating the mysterious death of a high school girl. Liquid Snakes is a compelling dystopian novel that rewards careful reading and uses the structure of a criminal investigation to channel righteous anger and explore weighty questions. –MO


David Joy, Those We Thought We Know

Joy is back this year with a new novel about a small mountain town in North Carolina and a pair of crimes that resonate through the community. The story follows an artist from Atlanta looking to explore her family roots and the investigation into a presumed vagrant who turns out to be a Klansman on a mission. Joy weaves the stories together and comes out the other side with a richly-layered vision of a small town living through the broader crises of a divided nation increasingly enamored with violence. –DM


Temi Oh, More Perfect

More Perfect is a searing dystopian YA version of the tale of Orpheus. Temi Oh has crafted a world in which almost everyone has a “Pulse” installed, a small device that syncs with their brains and allows them to access an augmented reality, but which also can be used for social control and psychological manipulation. Orpheus is a dreamweaver, the son of an anti-tech revolutionary, who heals trauma through his complex dreamscapes. He meets a dancer, they dream together, and then they fall in love. Their cozy idyll is disrupted quickly, however, when Orpheus is accused of future crimes against the Pulse infrastructure. For those of us who remember Feed, this novel is the logical next step to the world M. T. Anderson depicted (which has, in many ways, already come to be).–MO


Christine Mangan, The Continental Affair

Mangan has quickly made a name for herself as a purveyor of international mystery with a dash of glamor. Sure enough, The Continental Affair brings us onto a train from Belgrade to Istanbul and into a story that will hop from one lushly recreated locale to the next. A woman on that train is holding a good sum of money; a man on the same train has been sent to collect it. Their stories will take readers down a gauntlet of rich settings and haunting back stories. –DM





Angie Kim, Happiness Falls

Angie Kim once again combines an intense character study with a searching mystery, this time after her narrator’s husband disappears, and police are interested in quickly pinning it on her nonverbal son. Kim uses the parallel investigations of police and family to explore the complex dynamics of interracial marriage, Asian and biracial identity in America, and the nuances of raising a child with special needs. You’ll want to savor every word as Kim plunges the depths of human action and finds love at the center. –MO


Lou Berney, Dark Ride
(William Morrow)

Berney’s new novel, Dark Ride, introduces readers to an immediately unforgettable character: Hardly Reed, a twenty-one year old stoner working at an amusement park, breezing through life’s various travails when he comes across a pair of kids he suspects of being abused. When Hardly, against all odds and his own inclinations, decides to get involved and try to help the kids, he soon finds himself pitted against a local lawyer who’s also at the helm of a dangerous drug trafficking operation. Berney brings a compelling human touch to a story that grabs hold of the reader early and never lets go. –DM


Adam Sass, Your Lonely Nights Are Over
(Viking Young Readers)

In this delightful YA homage to the slasher, a serial killer is a targeting a school’s queer club, and two besties find themselves ostracized from the club after suspicion falls on them for the murders. They must clear their names, in between going to drive-in movies, settling scores, and occasionally hooking up. Will they solve the murders? Will they end up together? Do I even care who the murderer is when I’m desperate for these two to smash? Anyway, file this one under, Very Fun and Not at All Scary (at least, compared to other slashers). –MO


Tananarive Due, The Reformatory

Tananarive Due is one of the greatest living horror writers, and her new book blends her signature style with an exploration into a very personal trauma: Due’s great-uncle was one of many Black children harmed by the Florida reform school known as the Dozier School for Boys, and The Reformatory takes readers into the nightmare that was the school circa 1950. Sure to be as powerful as it is haunting. –MO


Jessica Knoll, Bright Young Women
(S&S/MarySue Rucci)

Jessica Knoll is a careful writer, and this, her third novel, is a perfect match for her cold dissection of social mores and her fierce rage at misogyny. Knoll takes on the story of Ted Bundy, told from the perspective of a student who survives a horrific attack on a sorority house. She then must fight to preserve her sisters’ dignity and get the truths of their last moments as the world around them fetishizes their killer and attempts to make jokes of their deaths. Some may claim that the crime genre is rift with misogyny; those people have not read Jessica Knoll. She tears apart the restrictive world of women’s roles and lays bare the purpose of such hobbles: to keep women from making a scene, to keep them from seeking justice, and most of all, to keep them from seeking their own lives. –MO


Jonathan Lethem, Brooklyn Crime Novel

Lethem’s return to the Brooklyn crime novel brings a wild, exuberant ambition that pays off and delivers to readers a true achievement: a book at once full of art and grace and mystery. The book’s backward-looking gaze takes up a half-century of history in one neighborhood, as we see the porous borders between what’s remembered and what was, with criminals and hustles providing all the misdirection needed for a truly astonishing effect. Lethem proves again why he is a master of the form. –DM

View the full article

Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



WTF is Wrong With Stephen King?

  • Create New...