The best way to seek immersive distraction this spring break is with a thrilling read. From psychological thrills to supernatural chills, we have a list that will keep you thoroughly enthralled—with nary a scantily clad beachgoer in sight. Bonus: They all feature strong female protagonists. With their clothes on.
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The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
Every day like clockwork, Rachel boards the commuter train to and from London. And every day she watches as the same idyllic homes zip by, one belonging to a couple she’s playfully named Jason and Jess. Though this day, Rachel witnesses an act that brings her world to a screeching halt. Murder. In her latest book, writer Paula Hawkins crafts a thriller so compelling, it has Gone Girl fans dropping their jaws.
The Blue Line, by Ingrid Betancourt
Colombian politician and anticorruption activist Ingrid Betancourt pulls from her own history of being held hostage by the FARC in the jungles of Colombia to concoct a thriller about love, betrayal, and chaos. With Argentina’s Dirty War as her backdrop, Betancourt tracks the coming-of-age of Julie, a peculiar woman with an even more peculiar gift: the ability to see forthcoming horrific events.
The Expats, by Chris Pavone
A tale about a woman name Kate Moore who moves across the pond to leave her secrets behind but finds herself staring her past in the face in Luxembourg, The Expats is a New York Times bestseller from Edgar Award winner Chris Pavone, and though it comes after The Accident, which put author Pavone on the proverbial map, it’s what keeps Pavone on shelves and e-readers of international genre fans.
Disclaimer, by Renee Knight
Picture this: You’re snuggled in bed, e-reader in hand, eager to keep the pages flipping. Until your fiction takes a turn for the all-too-familiar. That’s what happens to Renee Knight’s Catherine Ravenscroft in her psychological thriller Disclaimer. And when Catherine picks up that murder mystery so mysteriously left by her bedside, she’s forced to confront the secret she thought was dead and buried.
The Shut Eye, by Belinda Bauer
Feast your eyes on a supernatural chiller that’s thrilling genre fans on both sides of the pond. From British author Belinda Bauer comes a tale about a mother who seeks a psychic’s help in finding her missing son. Armed with a few tiny footprints and a load of desperation, Anna Buck’s descent into madness will leave you wanting to do anything but get some shut-eye.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz
Didn’t get enough of the tatted-up hacker and her Swedish investigative journalist buddy in Steig Larsson’s hit Millennium series? Us neither. Which is why we’re headed into journalist-slash-author David Lagercrantz’s topical web of cybercrime and political corruption that resurrects our beloved Lisbeth Salander and her Blomkvist. And you should, too.
Hush Hush, by Laura Lippman
Ready your nerves for a case more disturbing than the sordid contents of files that come across Luther's desk. A Tess Monaghan thriller from Laura Lippmann, Hush Hush offers its private investigator protagonist her most perplexing case yet: A woman commits murder, is found not guilty by reason of insanity, then flees the country. Twelve years later, she returns. But why?
A Banquet of Consequences, by Elizabeth George
Detective Barbara Havers must redeem herself. And she’s going to do it by solving a murder. Only, after some digging, she learns there’s more than just a poisoning—including one man’s leap off a cliff. One can expect the obligatory yet exciting twists and turns of a murder mystery, but the truly disturbing truths that lurk behind a façade of idyllic English countryside may just surprise even the most-savvy reader.
Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master, by Paddy Hayes
Thrilling, compelling, brilliantly told—and it’s all true. Paddy Hayes’s Queen of Spies chronicles the bizarre experience of one of Britain’s most celebrated spies: Daphne Park, a 1970s-era Area Controller and one of the only women to ever achieve such rank. Told through Park’s eyes, Hayes covers her time with the Secret Intelligence Service from WWII to the Cold War.