15 Must-Read Thriller & Mystery Books Perfect for Summer

Summertime calls for relaxation, sunshine, a good book — and of course, a good scare. Want to get your heart racing while poolside? These 15 best new thriller and mystery books will do just the trick.

Whether you’re looking for something slightly spooky or downright horrifying, this diverse batch of beach reads has it all: YA and adult, psychological thrillers, classic slasher tales, unsettling supernatural mysteries, and page-turning whodunits. Take your pick! Just know that you won’t be able to put it down until you’re done… or else. JK!

While most of the books in this roundup are already waiting for you on the shelves, there are a few releasing later throughout the summer for you to look forward to. From the Bronx to haunted houses to summer camp, masterfully wicked authors like Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Jennifer Lynn Barnes will transport you to different worlds — how’s that for summer travel?

Check out our roundup of the 15 best new thriller and mystery books perfect for summer 2022 below.

Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele

Described as I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Haunting of Hill House, young adult author Dana Mele’s second novel Summer’s Edge follows the reunion of four friends a year after the tragic death of a member of their once-inseparable group. Emily died in an accidental fire in the summer lake house. But when the four remaining friends return to the lake house, now rebuilt, it becomes evident that Emily’s death wasn’t actually an accident — and the person responsible is in the house, looking for revenge.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware (July 12)

Author Ruth Ware has been called “the Agatha Christie of our generation,” and her new book is evidence of how worthy she is of the title. April Clarke-Cliveden was the “It girl” at Oxford. During her first term, April made a mark on campus and on her friends’ lives, especially Hannah Jones — which made it hurt even worse when April was killed by the end of their freshman year. Now, a decade after April was murdered, a journalist contacts Hannah with new evidence that seems to suggest the man convicted of her murder was actually innocent — and her close-knit group of college friends may be more guilty than she thought.

The Island by Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty’s The Island has already been optioned for television as a Hulu Original Series, so this is the perfect chance for you to read the book before it hits your screens. A thriller about a family vacation that morphs into a nightmare, the synopsis reads: “After a tragic accident, a young wife with her new husband and his two children find themselves being hunted by locals in harsh bushland. Her husband doesn’t really believe in her, the kids don’t trust her and the locals want to kill her. But Heather has been underestimated most of her life and she knows that she is capable of bringing this family together, becoming the mother her children need, even if it means doing terrible things to keep them all alive.”

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Perfect for fans of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment tells the tale of Jess, a young woman seeking a fresh start. Looking for a change of scenery, she decides to temporarily move to Paris and crash with her half-brother Ben, who already lives in the City of Light. But when she arrives at Ben’s Paris apartment, he’s nowhere to be found. As days pass and Ben is still MIA, Jess comes to realize that the people she’s questioning aren’t really Ben’s neighbors… they’re suspects to his disappearance.

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

In a modern thriller described as Stranger Things meets Jordan Peele’s social thriller universe, Vincent Tirado’s debut novel Burn Down, Rise Up follows a group of friends “determined to save their city at any cost.” A dark fictional twist on the real-life incidents of missing Black teens, two kids from the Bronx get wrapped up in a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game, one they’ll have to play to win and save their community… or die trying. 

The Counselors by Jessica Goodman

Summer camp is the most classic horror story setting for a reason. When a kid ends up dead in Camp Alpine Lake, one counselor named Goldie knows that someone isn’t telling the truth… because she isn’t either. When secrets threaten to surface, Goldie finds herself in the center of a tragic mystery, betrayal, and terrible danger.

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison (July 12)

For fans of Mare of Easttown, Margot Harrison’s We Made It All Up is a modern thriller that plays with the thin line between fiction and real life. When two high school misfits named Vivvy and Celeste befriend one another and start to write a star-crossed fanfiction about the most popular guy in school and the outcast stoner, the fanfic starts to reveal parts of Celeste’s past. When Vivvy and Celeste break through the real-life social barrier at school, Celeste ends up kissing the school’s golden boy… who then turns up dead. Soon enough, all eyes are on Vivvy and Celeste, who can’t seem to remember where she fits into the story of Joss’ murder.

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey (July 19)

When Vera, the daughter of a serial killer, returns to the house that her father buried his victims underneath to reunite with her estranged mother, she quickly realizes that there are still secrets alive in the place she once called home. When notes start popping up around the house in her father’s handwriting, she must find out what else is still undiscovered — or has been kept hidden — in the foundations of her home.

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson

Written by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson, young adult thriller The Agathas is inspired by none other than the mystery master Agatha Christie… with a little dash of Veronica Mars. The synopsis reads: “The most popular girl in school is dead. And everyone’s blaming the wrong guy. After falling from grace last summer, Agatha Christie-obsessed Alice Ogilvie needs to stay out of trouble. While smart and reclusive Iris Adams just wants to get the hell out of Castle Cove. But now they have a murder to solve. There are clues the police are ignoring, a list of suspects a mile long and some very dangerous cliffs. Amateur detectives Alice and Iris are about to uncover just how many secrets their sleepy seaside town is hiding.”

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier (July 19)

When Paris Peralta is the number one suspect in the murder of her celebrity husband — she’s arrested right at the crime scene, covered in his blood holding a straight razor — it’s not being convicted that scares her. It’s the threat of her dark and twisted past that she’s worked so long to hide finally being exposed. The past is coming back to haunt her, and potentially destroy her future. 

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (July 19)

Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night author Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back with a historical science fiction thriller that’s a reimagining of H.G. Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, set in nineteenth-century Mexico and weaving in political themes like colonialism and feminism that Moreno-Garcia effortlessly pens. 

We Were Kings by Court Stevens

The synopsis for Court Stevens’ murder mystery We Were Kings reads: “Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend, Cora King, and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act has passed giving Frankie thirty final days to live. Surprising everyone, one of the King family members sets out to challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Frankie Quick. The at-first reluctant but soon-fiery Nyla and her unexpected ally—handsome country island boy Sam Stack—bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel, Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. But who? The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?”

Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry

New York Times bestselling author April Henry is back with a YA mystery that follows a high school acting troupe who find themselves trapped by a blizzard in an old motel — with a killer. When a harmless game of Two Truths and a Lie reveal that there’s a murderer amongst them, the teens must uncover who is putting on the best performance of their lives… or die.

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney (August 18)

Alice Feeney has been lauded as the “Queen of Twists” — and her Agatha Christie inspired whodunit Daisy Darker may just be her crowning achievement. When the Darker family reunites for Nana’s 80th birthday party at her secluded tidal island home, a storm brings the tide in, preventing them from leaving. Suddenly, Nana is found dead. Then, an hour later, another family member is killed. In a modern take on And Then There Were None, Alice Feeney presents twist after twist after twist.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (August 30)

The highly-anticipated next chapter of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Inheritance Games saga arrives on August 30, so mark your calendars now. Here’s the synopsis: “To inherit billions, all Avery Kylie Grambs has to do is survive a few more weeks living in Hawthorne House. The paparazzi are dogging her every step. Financial pressures are building. Danger is a fact of life. And the only thing getting Avery through it all is the Hawthorne brothers. Her life is intertwined with theirs. She knows their secrets, and they know her. But as the clock ticks down to the moment when Avery will become the richest teenager on the planet, trouble arrives in the form of a visitor who needs her help—and whose presence in Hawthorne House could change everything. It soon becomes clear that there is one last puzzle to solve, and Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are drawn into a dangerous game against an unknown and powerful player.”

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