15 New Thriller Novels We Can’t Stop Talking About

January 11 2023
Share 15 New Thriller Novels We Can’t Stop Talking About

In case you’re wondering what’s in and what’s out for bookworms in 2023, let us provide a quick guide. Out: Building messy TBR piles that topple over. In: Maximizing space with sturdy TBR piles that double as furniture. Out: Buying 100 books that we never read. In: Buying 200 books that we never read. But the one trend that we’re happy to carry over into the new year? Consuming as many thrillers as possible! If anything, the genre has proved even more popular this past year and we’re happy to fuel that reading habit with our most anticipated thrillers.

The Writing Retreat
by Julia Bartz

Andie’s Pick #1: Meet your next read-in-one-sitting thriller! This suspenseful debut by Julia Bartz had me hooked from the first page. THE WRITING RETREAT is about a famous author who invites five up-and-coming female novelists to her home in the Adirondacks for a month-long writing competition. The retreat is fierce, but there is a whole lot more at stake than just winning. The gothic atmospheric setting and complicated characters are icing on the cake for this cold winter hair-raiser. That’s all I’ll say about the plot . . . to make this psychological read all the more intriguing.

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The Writing Retreat
Julia Bartz

The Plot meets Please Join Us in this psychological suspense debut about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.

Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.

But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.

A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.

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Lying Beside You
by Michael Robotham

Andie’s Pick #2: Get ready for your next riveting read with Michael Robotham’s latest thriller LYING BESIDE YOU! In this third installment of the series (which can also be read as a stand-alone), a man is murdered and his daughter Maya Kirk is missing. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven is called in to profile the killer and help piece together the hours before the disappearance. While Cyrus is on the case, Evie Cormac, a damaged and gifted teenager who is also Cyrus’s ward and can tell when someone is lying, is working at a bar where another woman goes missing . . . and Evie is the only witness. Could these two cases somehow be linked? Add to the mix that Cyrus’s brother, Elias, has been released from a psychiatric hospital after twenty years for killing Cyrus’s parents and young sisters, and he’s coming to stay with Evie and Cyrus. These are all pieces to a big puzzle and suspenseful English ride. LYING BESIDE YOU is full of psychological twists and turns, the dynamic between Cyrus and Evie is first-rate, and Robotham is at the top of his game.

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Lying Beside You
Michael Robotham

Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return in Robotham’s latest page-turning, psychological thriller in this “gripping and eerie” (Karin Slaughter) series, reaffirming why Stephen King has proclaimed this author “an absolute master.”

If I could tell you one thing about my brother, it would be this. Two days after his nineteenth birthday, he killed our parents and twin sisters because he heard voices in his head. As defining events go, nothing else comes close for Elias, or for me.

As a boy, Cyrus Haven survived a family massacre and slowly pieced his life back together. Now, after almost twenty years, his brother is applying to be released from a secure psychiatric hospital—and Cyrus is expected to forgive Elias and welcome him home.

Elias is returning to a very different world. Cyrus is now a successful psychologist, working with the police, sharing his house with Evie Cormac, a damaged and gifted teenager who can tell when someone is lying. Evie has gone back to school and is working part-time at an inner-city bar, but she continues to struggle with authority and following rules.

When a man is murdered and his daughter disappears, Cyrus is called in to profile the killer and help piece together Maya Kirk’s last hours. Police believe she was drugged and driven away from the same bar where Evie is working. Soon, a second victim is taken, and Evie is the only person who glimpsed the man behind the wheel.

But there’s a problem. Only two people believe her. One is Cyrus.

The other is the killer.

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Their Vicious Games
by Joelle Wellington

Sharon’s Pick: Although THEIR VICIOUS GAMES doesn’t come out until the summer of 2023, it has already been garnering buzz across the internet, and for good reason! Citing ACE OF SPADES, Squid Game, and Gossip Girl as influences, THEIR VICIOUS GAMES sounds absolutely thrilling.

Knowing she has to work twice as hard to get half as much, Black teen Adina Walker strives to be perfect at the predominantly white Edgewater Academy in order to get into the Ivy League school of her dreams. However, when she gets in a fight and is blacklisted from her top choice school, she must participate in the Finish, a competition hosted by Edgewater’s founding family, which pits twelve girls of exceptional promise against each other. As Adina discovers that the Finish’s stakes are life-and-death, she realizes that the only means to her survival lies in changing the rules.

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Their Vicious Games
Joelle Wellington

A Black teen desperate to regain her Ivy League acceptance enters an elite competition only to discover the stakes aren’t just high, they’re deadly, in this searing thriller that’s Ace of Spades meets Squid Game with a sprinkling of The Bachelor.

You must work twice as hard to get half as much.

Adina Walker has known this the entire time she’s been on scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy—a school for the rich (and mostly white) upper class of New England. It’s why she works so hard to be perfect and above reproach, no matter what she must force beneath the surface. Even one slip can cost you everything.

And it does. One fight, one moment of lost control, leaves Adina blacklisted from her top choice Ivy League college and any other. Her only chance to regain the future she’s sacrificed everything for is the Finish, a high-stakes contest sponsored by Edgewater’s founding family in which twelve young, ambitious women with exceptional promise are selected to compete in three mysterious events: the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale. The winner will be granted entry into the fold of the Remington family, whose wealth and power can open any door.

But when she arrives at the Finish, Adina quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right with both the Remingtons and her competition, and soon it becomes clear that this larger-than-life prize can only come at an even greater cost. Because the Finish’s stakes aren’t just make or break…they’re life and death.

Adina knows the deck is stacked against her—it always has been—so maybe the only way to survive their vicious games is for her to change the rules.

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The Twyford Code
by Janice Hallett

Emily’s Pick #1: I didn’t fit enough jigsaw puzzling into my holiday break, so I’m trying to make up for it with mystery novels where scenes resemble puzzle pieces that I have to scramble to put together. THE TWYFORD CODE by Janice Hallett sounds perfect! When a young Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by Edith Twyford filled with bizarre markings inside, he enlisted the help of his English teacher to figure them out. Together they realized the markings relate to a secret code in all of Twyford’s novels. Forty years later and the mystery still haunts Steven. Freshly released from prison, he recounts his past and tries to unlock the decades-old mystery while also reflecting on what landed him in prison in the first place—and what happened to his English teacher from so long ago. 

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The Twyford Code
Janice Hallett

The mysterious connection between a teacher’s disappearance and an unsolved code in a children’s book is explored in this fresh novel from the author of the “clever and often wryly funny” (PopSugar) novel The Appeal.

Forty years ago, Steven “Smithy” Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. When he showed it to his remedial English teacher Miss Iles, she believed that it was part of a secret code that ran through all of Twyford’s novels. And when she disappeared on a class field trip, Smithy became convinced that she had been right.

Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Smithy decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. In a series of voice recordings on an old iPhone from his estranged son, Smithy alternates between visiting the people of his childhood and looking back on the events that later landed him in prison.

But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code holds a great secret, and Smithy may just have the key.

“A modern Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Times, London), Janice Hallett has constructed a fiendishly clever, maddeningly original crime novel for lovers of word games, puzzles, and stories of redemption.

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Murder Your Employer
by Rupert Holmes

Emily’s Pick #2: What a title! Now just wait until you hear the premise. At the McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, students are taught how to successfully get away with a murder—with lessons very closely tailored toward their specific goal and—er—victim. We follow three enrolled students as they go about their sinister studies. But, as we fall under the spell of these characters (and learn what brought them to such murderous ambitions), the gray areas of morality expand. I can’t wait for what’s sure to be a uniquely thrilling and thought-provoking reading experience—especially since I’ve seen many people call this book “wholesome.”

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Murder Your Employer
Rupert Holmes

From the diabolical imagination of Edgar Award–winning novelist, playwright, and story-songwriter Rupert Holmes comes a devilish thriller with a killer concept: The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.

Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college—its location unknown to even those who study there—is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.

Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read.

Rupert Holmes’s much celebrated career ranges from chart-topping story songs with surprising twists—“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”—to Tony Award–winning whodunit musicals—The Mystery of Edwin Drood—Edgar Award–winning comedy-thrillers—Accomplice—and the Nero Wolfe Best American Mystery Novel nominated Where the Truth Lies, made into an Atom Egoyan motion picture starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. Called “an American treasure” (Los Angeles Times), “a true Renaissance man” by Newsweek, “a comic genius” (Kirkus Reviews) and simply “a genius” (The Times, London), Rupert Holmes brings his wickedly clever storytelling talents to this outrageous and darkly comic mystery set in a secret, idyllic campus where students learn how to “do in others as you would have others do you in.”

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A Death at the Party
by Amy Stuart

Mel’s Pick: I completely devoured bestselling author Amy Stuart's A DEATH AT THE PARTY. I know it has been said many times over by thriller readers but this book truly had me guessing whodunit until the very end, and I have been raving about it to everyone I know since. It’s set over the course of a single day during an elaborate garden party and shows how a family drama devolves and rumors twist until they result in doting wife, mother, and daughter Nadine standing over a dead body in the cellar. If you love books by authors Lisa Jewell, Ashley Audrain, and Lucy Foley, you'll definitely want to pick this one up. A DEATH AT THE PARTY is a tense, literary thriller filled with secrets, haunting memories, and an exquisite twist ending. 

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A Death at the Party
Amy Stuart

In this tense, spellbinding thriller set over the course of a single day, a woman prepares for a party that goes dreadfully wrong—for fans of Ashley Audrain and Lisa Jewell.

Nadine Walsh’s summer garden party is in full swing. The neighbors all have cocktails, the catered food is exquisite—everything’s going according to plan.

But Nadine—devoted wife, loving mother, and doting daughter—finds herself standing over a dead body in her basement while her guests clink glasses upstairs. What happened? How did it come to this?

Rewind to that morning, when Nadine is in her kitchen, making last-minute preparations before she welcomes more than a hundred guests to her home to celebrate her mother’s birthday. But her husband is of little help to her, her two grown children are consumed with their own concerns, and her mother—only her mother knows that today isn’t just a birthday party. It marks another anniversary as well.

Still, Nadine will focus just on tonight. Everyone deserves a celebration after the year they’ve had. A chance for fun. A chance to forget. But it’s hard to forget when Nadine’s head is swirling with secrets, haunting memories, and concerns about what might happen when her guests unite.

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Zero Days
by Ruth Ware

Mackenzie’s Pick #1: If you’re a fan of the Bourne movie franchise, or Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you must read Ruth Ware’s next thriller ZERO DAYS! Our main character Jack (short for Jacinta) is a low-key professional spy who is forced to go on the run after being framed for a vicious crime. The reader follows her on a nail-biting, gut-wrenching quest through London as she searches for clues to prove she’s innocent. ZERO DAYS will delight both this masterful author’s longtime fans and appeal to new readers.

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Zero Days
Ruth Ware

The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.

Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).

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The Blackhouse
by Carole Johnstone

Sara’s Pick #1: Is moving to Scotland one of your 2023 resolutions? Maybe reconsider that one. When Robert moves his whole life, family included, to an island in the Outer Hebrides, he hopes he can leave the past behind and find a community he can rely on. But, well, let’s just say that his plan goes south quickly. When a young journalist named Maggie MacKay enters the picture some 20 years later, claiming to be the reincarnation of a murdered man from the same community, things go from bad to worse. Is Maggie crazy or is the long-presumed dead man looking to settle some scores? As full of twists and turns as the whipping winds of the island’s storms, THE BLACKHOUSE is sure to have you shivering from its atmospheric thrills and chills. 

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The Blackhouse
Carole Johnstone

From the author of the “dark and devious...beautifully written” (Stephen King) Mirrorland comes a richly atmospheric thriller set on an isolated Scottish island where nothing is as it seems and shocking twists lie around every corner.

A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.

Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.

For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray—a place she’d never visited—had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.

Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth.

Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.

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How to Sell a Haunted House
by Grady Hendrix

Sara’s Pick #2: Horror author Grady Hendrix is back with yet another tale of terror that hits close to home, literally. When estranged siblings Louise and Mark inherit their childhood home after their parents’ questionable deaths, they agree to sell it to salvage what’s left of their bank account post-pandemic. But they soon discover that their parents had done some pretty strange things to the house, like covering all the mirrors and nailing the attic door shut—not to mention the presence in the house of harassing puppets. Something strange is lurking in the old home, and Louise and Mark will have to get over their grudges and emotional baggage to survive it. HOW TO SELL A HAUNTED HOUSE is as much about the horror of family as it is about creaky floors and mysterious shadows, and highlights just how scary it can sometimes be to go back home. 

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How to Sell a Haunted House
Grady Hendrix

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The Sanctuary
by Katrine Engberg

Heather’s Pick: Fellow Scandinavian noir fans, you won’t want to miss the conclusion to Katrine Engberg’s Kørner and Werner series. The investigators are back for one more case together in THE SANCTUARY, where the clues surrounding a severed corpse in downtown Copenhagen lead Detective Anette Werner to the island of Bornholm, where Jeppe Kørner, on leave, just so happens to be spending his winter. All he wanted was to escape the world for a little while, but Kørner comes to realize Bornholm isn’t at all the peaceful place he had assumed it would be. In fact, its dark secrets may get him killed. . . .

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The Sanctuary
Katrine Engberg

From internationally bestselling author Katrine Engberg, the series that is a “gripping addition to the Scandinavian crime fiction pantheon” (Oprah Daily) comes to a stunning conclusion as Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner rush to untangle a long-simmering mystery before a brutal killer strikes again.

Jeppe Kørner, on leave from the police force and nursing a broken heart, has taken refuge on the island of Bornholm for the winter. Also on the island is Esther de Laurenti, a writer working on a biography on a female anthropologist with a mysterious past and coming to terms with her own crushing sense of loneliness in the wake of a dear friend’s death. When Jeppe lends a helping hand at the island’s local sawmill, he begins to realize that the island may not be the peaceful refuge it appears to be.

Back in Copenhagen, Anette Werner is tasked with leading the investigation into a severed corpse discovered on a downtown playground. As she follows the strange trail of clues, they all seem to lead back to Bornholm. With an innocent offer to check out a lead, Jeppe unwittingly finds himself in the crosshairs of a sinister mystery rooted in the past, forcing him to team up with Anette and Esther to unravel the island’s secrets before it’s too late.

With her signature “unforgettable characters and brilliant plot twists” (Kathy Reichs, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Katrine Engberg weaves a satisfying and white-knuckled finale to her Korner and Werner series that is a modern classic of Scandinavian noir.

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Camp Zero
by Michelle Min Sterling

Emily’s Pick #3: Although I’m terrified of the very real threat of climate change, I’m trying to read books that put the future into a present perspective. Michelle Min Sterling’s debut thriller seems to do just that while providing intriguing character development. In the near future, climate change has ravaged the world, forcing many to enter isolated “camps” in northern cities. The main protagonist, Rose, heads to one such mysterious camp in northern Canada—she’s been promised housing there if she spies on its creator—where she meets another newcomer and climate-displaced person, Grant. As they get to know each other and delve into the mysteries of the camp and nearby research stations, the story contemplates layers of class, gender, and more.

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Camp Zero
Michelle Min Sterling

In a near-future northern settlement, a handful of climate change survivors find their fates intertwined in this mesmerizing and transportive novel in the vein of Station Eleven and The Power.

In the far north of Canada sits Camp Zero, an American building project hiding many secrets.

Desperate to help her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother, Rose agrees to travel to Camp Zero and spy on its architect in exchange for housing. She arrives at the same time as another newcomer, a college professor named Grant who is determined to flee his wealthy family’s dark legacy. Gradually, they realize that there is more to the architect than previously thought, and a disturbing mystery lurks beneath the surface of the camp. At the same time, rumors abound of an elite group of women soldiers living and working at a nearby Cold War-era climate research station. What are they doing there? And who is leading them?

An electrifying page-turner where nothing is as it seems, Camp Zero cleverly explores how the intersection of gender, class, and migration will impact who and what will survive in a warming world.

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Where Are the Children Now?
by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

Danielle’s Pick: The late Mary Higgins Clark was known as the “Queen of Suspense” and the accolades she accrued in her lifetime—including fifty-six bestselling novels—make it easy to see why. If you need any additional convincing, however, look no further than Mary’s final collaboration with her longtime co-author Alafair Burke, WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN NOW? The long-awaited sequel to the novel that made Mary a household name—WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?—revisits the woman at the center of the original, Nancy Harmon, and her now adult children, Mike and Melissa. When Melissa’s new stepdaughter goes missing, Mike and Melissa must draw from their own childhood experience of being abducted to try to save her from sharing their trauma (or worse). This book is a must-read for any fan of domestic suspense, and you don’t need to have read the first book to be completely gripped by the twists and turns of WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN NOW?

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Where Are the Children Now?
Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

The legacy of the “Queen of Suspense” continues with the highly anticipated follow-up to Mary Higgins Clark’s iconic novel Where Are The Children?, featuring the children of Nancy Harmon, facing peril once again as adults.

Of the fifty-six bestsellers the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark published in her lifetime, Where Are the Children? was her biggest, selling millions of copies and forever transforming the genre of suspense fiction. In that story, a young California mother named Nancy Harmon was convicted of murdering her two children. Though released on a technicality, she was abandoned by her husband and became such a pariah in the media that she was forced to move across the country to Cape Cod, change her identity and appearance, and start a new life. Years later her two children from a second marriage, Mike and Melissa, would go missing, and Nancy yet again became the prime suspect—but this time, Nancy was able to confront the secrets buried in her past and rescue her kids from a dangerous predator.

Now, more than four decades since readers first met Nancy and her children, comes the thrilling sequel to the groundbreaking book that set the stage for future generations of psychological suspense novels. A lawyer turned successful podcaster, Melissa has recently married a man whose first wife died tragically, leaving him and their young daughter, Riley, behind. While Melissa and her brother, Mike, help their mom, Nancy, relocate from Cape Cod to the equally idyllic Hamptons, Melissa’s new stepdaughter goes missing. Drawing on the experience of their own abduction, Melissa and Mike race to find Riley to save her from the trauma they still struggle with—or worse.

Just like the original, Where Are the Children Now? keeps readers guessing and holding their breath until the very last page.

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By Off the Shelf Staff | January 11, 2023

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Don't Fear the Reaper
by Stephen Graham Jones

Justin’s Pick: A sequel is rarely ever as good as the original, especially when it comes to horror—and *especially especially* when it comes to horror slashers. But leave it to genre master Stephen Graham Jones to once again take your expectations and trope-awareness and kindly slash them in half with a chainsaw. DON’T FEAR THE REAPER is not only a worthy follow-up to MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, picking up with our Final Girl Jade Daniels four years after the life-altering events of that book, but it somehow elevates the gritty violence and glorious bloodshed to exorbitant new heights. Compared to the slow-burn of MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, REAPER is a raging fire, though it never loses sight of the potent emotional core at its center. You will speed through this 500-page novel and be left with fever dream-esque flashes of killers and carnage . . . every horror aficionado's perfect nightmare.

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Don't Fear the Reaper
Stephen Graham Jones

December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.

Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.

Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.

Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

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Regrets Only
by Kieran Scott

Laura’s Pick: As a huge fan of disturbing suburbia thrillers—à la BIG LITTLE LIES or SUCH A QUIET PLACE—I am so excited for Kieran Scott’s REGRETS ONLY to be released this January. When single mom Paige Lancaster goes undercover to investigate the death of the president of her new neighborhood’s Parent Booster Association, she slowly uncovers a host of disturbing secrets her neighbors are keeping—all the while carefully trying to conceal her own dark past. Embezzlement, bribery, adultery, and murder—just how far will her not-so-friendly neighborhood PBA go to maintain a pristine appearance? REGRETS ONLY is at the very top of my TBR list and will be the perfect thriller to start out the new year!

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Regrets Only
Kieran Scott

In a fast-paced new novel in the vein of Big Little Lies, a single mom goes undercover to investigate a host of disturbing secrets held by the leaders of a local suburban parent-school association, including embezzlement, bribery, adultery, and murder—by the bestselling author of Wish You Were Gone.

Paige Lancaster, single mom and prodigal daughter, has returned to the East Coast from her prestigious, well-paid job in Los Angeles, writing for the smartest detective series on television. Something terrible happened to her back in Hollywood. Okay, two terrible things, one featuring a misplaced tire iron—and now she’s broke, homeless, and living with her widowed mother and eight-year-old daughter, Izzy, in her Connecticut hometown.

Paige needs to buckle down and find a new writing gig but first, she meets the movers and shakers of Izzy’s school’s Parent Booster Association, run by the intimidatingly gorgeous Ainsley Anderson, who just happens to be married to Paige’s old high school flame, John.

Then she shows up at the annual Parents and Pinot fundraiser, held at Ainsley and John’s dazzling mansion in the toniest part of town, where she’s caught in a compromising position with John, accidentally destroys the guest bathroom, overhears an incriminating conversation, and discovers that her purse has gone missing. And later that night, Ainsley turns up dead at the bottom of her own driveway.

Did she fall? Or was she pushed?

Paige may have only written about detectives, but she is convinced she can handle a little undercover sleuthing. After all, it’ll give her an excuse to spend more time with John. Still, she can’t help but wonder: could he be capable of murder? Or could one of the PBA members have planned a dastardly crime to reach the top? But the most important question of all: will Paige ever get her life back on track?

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MENTIONED IN:

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The St. Ambrose School for Girls
by Jessica Ward

Mackenzie’s Pick #2: The mind of a teenage girl can be a scary and complicated place, but being inside Sarah Taylor’s mind is next level. A sophomore at an all-girls boarding school and recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Sarah immediately becomes the target of the school bully, Greta Stanhope. Luckily Sarah and her roommate get along well enough, and Sarah focuses on her schoolwork and the hot RA down the hall to get her through the semester. But as Greta’s sinister pranks get increasingly more malicious, and Sarah struggles to control her mental health, a terrible crime occurs, and then Sarah can’t remember where she was that night. What comes next will leave readers on the edge of their seats! If you watched Pretty Little Liars—or read the book and its sequels—you’ll love this one.

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The St. Ambrose School for Girls
Jessica Ward

Heathers meets The Secret History in this thrilling coming-of-age novel set in a boarding school where the secrets are devastating—and deadly.

When Sarah Taylor arrives at the exclusive St. Ambrose School, she’s carrying more baggage than just what fits in her suitcase. She knows she’s not like the other girls—if the shabby, all-black, non-designer clothes don’t give that away, the bottle of lithium hidden in her desk drawer sure does.

St. Ambrose’s queen bee, Greta Stanhope, picks Sarah as a target from day one and the most popular, powerful, horrible girl at school is relentless in making sure Sarah knows what the pecking order is. Thankfully, Sarah makes an ally out of her roommate Ellen “Strots” Strotsberry, a cigarette-huffing, devil-may-care athlete who takes no bullshit. Also down the hall is Nick Hollis, the devastatingly handsome RA, and the object of more than one St. Ambrose student’s fantasies. Between Strots and Nick, Sarah hopes she can make it through the semester, dealing with not only her schoolwork and a recent bipolar diagnosis, but Greta’s increasingly malicious pranks.

Sarah is determined not to give Greta the satisfaction of breaking her. But when scandal unfolds, and someone ends up dead, her world threatens to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. The St. Ambrose School for Girls is a dangerous, delicious, twisty coming-of-age tale that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | January 11, 2023

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