26 July 2021

22 Mysteries, Thrillers, & Suspense Novels for July

July is a good month for fans of suspense, with the publication of all kinds of genre books from dark psychological thrillers to fun cozy mysteries. The titles listed here are just a handful that caught my attention. I find it hard to resist a good crime novel, and it was difficult to limit this post to just 22.

Note that I have read only a few of these books, and most of the short descriptions have been taken from the publishers’ summaries. Audiobook information is provided when available. Thanks to the publishers for the review copies (print, digital, and/or audio).

Amateur Sleuthing

What to read in July 2021

The Grandmother Plot by Caroline B. Cooney
(Poisoned Pen Press): Freddy may be unambitious and somewhat lost, but he loves his grandmother, whose memory is fading. When a resident in her assisted living home is murdered, Freddy must protect his grandmother and figure out what happened, while facing the consequences of his own dubious life choices. The audiobook is read by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Audio).

The Moonshine Shack Murder by Diane Kelly (Berkley): The start of a cozy mystery series set in Tennessee featuring a 21st-century moonshiner. When one of her customers is found dead supposedly after drinking her whiskey, Hattie gets involved in the case in order to save her name and business. The audiobook is read by Tyla Collier (Penguin Audio).

Much Ado About Nauticaling by Gabby Allan (Kensington): The first in a cozy mystery series set in Southern California featuring a boat tour guide. When taking out tourists in her glass-bottomed boat, Whitney spots the dead body of a wealthy local businessman; after her bother becomes suspect number one, she gets involved in the investigation. The audiobook is read by Marnye Young (Tantor Audio).

Beware of Your Friends and Family

What to read in July 2021

Fierce Little Thing by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
(Flatiron): Five estranged friends, who met while in a cult, are blackmailed into returning to the Maine compound they left almost 20 years earlier. The past is never fully buried, and as secrets are exposed they must find a way to survive. The audiobook is read by Saskia Maarleveld (Macmillan Audio).

Look What You Made Me Do by Elaine Murphy (Grand Central): This is a Dexter-like story in which a woman ends up helping her serial-killer sister hide the bodies of her victims. When a second killer seems to be targeting the sisters, they need to continue to hide their own crimes while trying to stop and expose the other person’s crimes. The audiobook is read by Elaine Murphy (Grand Central).

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena (Pamela Dorman): This domestic thriller focuses on the three adult children of a wealthy couple that was murdered soon after a family Easter dinner. Who would have wanted the Merton’s dead--stranger, friend, or relative? The audiobook is read by Ellen Archer (Penguin Audio).

Step back in Time

What to read in July 2021

M, King’s Bodyguard by Niall Leonard
(Pantheon): Set in Edwardian London and based on a true story. A Scotland Yard detective uncovers a possible assassination attempt that is supposed to happen at Queen Victoria’s funeral, when many heads of state will be gathered in the same space. The audiobook is read by Marcus Lamb (Random House Audio).

The Silver Blonde by Elizabeth Ross (Delacorte): In 1946, Clara works as a vault girl for a major Hollywood studio, awaiting her chance to become a film editor. When she almost literally stumbles across the body of a famous actress, she becomes involved in the investigation and takes a walk on the darker side of the industry. The audiobook is read by Lisa Flanagan and Elizabeth Ross (Listening Library).

A Study in Crimson by Robert J. Harris (Pegasus): Imagine that Sherlock Holmes lived during the 1940s. In the dark days after the Blitzkrieg, a copycat Jack the Ripper killer murders women on the blacked-out streets of London; can Holmes and Watson solve the case?

Neighborhoods Can Be Tough

What to read in July 2021

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller
(Ballantine): When tragedy strikes an exclusive gated community in the San Francisco Bay Area, rumor has it a wealthy widow is somehow to blame. Enlisting the help of two married neighbors, the widow attempts to learn the truth about the accident; all three have secrets to protect. The audiobook is read by Dorothy Dillingham Blue, Catherine Taber, and Cassandra Campbell (Random House).

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda (Simon & Schuster): A gated community in Virginia is double rocked: first with the murder of their neighbors and second when the woman who was initially convicted is freed to return home to that same community. Old wounds are reopened, paranoia runs high, and the true killer is, apparently, still on the loose. The audiobook is read by Rebekkah Ross (Simon & Schuster Audio).

The Therapist by B. A. Paris (St. Martin’s Press): Soon after Alice and Leo decide to live together, moving into a gated community in London, they learn their house was the site of a murder-suicide that was never fully solved. Alice’s obsessive search to learn what really happened threatens to unearth her new neighbors’ secrets. The audiobook is read by Olivia Dowd and Thomas Judd (Macmillan Audio).

School Is a Killer

What to read in July 2021

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell
(Berkley): An English professor passes off a missing student’s manuscript as his own. Its publication, however, triggers a series of events that may implicate him in a murder he didn’t commit. Can he find the student or the true killer before he loses everything? The audiobook is read by Jon Lindstrom (Penguin Audio).

Safe in My Arms by Sara Shepard (Dutton): Three young mothers, each hiding something from her past, meet at the back-to-school event for their children’s first day at an upscale California preschool. Soon after, the principal is violently attacked and all eyes turn to the newcomers; together the women try to protect their secrets while uncovering the darker underbelly of the school. The audiobook is read by Eileen Stevens (Penguin Audio).

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue (Algonquin): This modern Gothic story is set in a prestigious Irish girls boarding school, where a scholarship student is first bullied, then meets the dashing male art teacher, and then disappears with him, never to be seen again. Twenty-five years after the couple went missing, an investigative journalist is determined to find out what happened. The audiobook is read by Jennifer Fitzgerald and Clodagh Duggan (Workman).

Travel Gone Wrong

What to read in July 2021

Falling by T. J. Newman
(Simon & Schuster): Don’t read this thriller if you’re planning to fly. A pilot’s family has been kidnapped; to free them, he is told he must crash the plane, killing everyone on board. The audiobook is read by Steven Weber (Simon & Schuster Audio).

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish (Atria): When his neighbor and commuting partner disappears, Jamie is accused of his murder after someone tells the police the two men had been arguing while riding the ferry across the Thames. Jealousies, secrets, deceptions, and a few twists will keep you guessing. The audiobook is read by Steven Mackintosh (Simon & Schuster Audio).

Sleeping Bear by Connor Sullivan (Atria): Grieving after her husband’s unexpected death, Cassie, an army veteran, takes her dog on a weekend camping trip in Alaska but fails to return home. Kidnapped with no clear way of escape, Cassie draws on all her skills and training to survive, while back home her father will stop at nothing to find out what happened. The audiobook is read by Hillary Huber (Simon & Schuster).

Are You Ever Really Safe?

What to read in July 2021

Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
(Berkley): Five women who were the sole survivors of separate bouts of murder and mayhem meet during group therapy. When one of them fails to show up for an appointment, the other four are pulled back into danger, fighting for their lives. The audiobook is read by Adrienne King (Penguin Audio)

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron (Ballantine): When Cassie, a lonely temp worker, mistakenly discovers the intimate email correspondence between one of her bosses and his wife, she can’t stop reading. Eventually, curiosity turns to obsession, and Cassie plans a way to be part of the couple’s life. The audiobook is read by Annie Q (Random House Audio).

The Lost Girls by Jessica Chiarella (Putnam): A true-crime podcaster lucks out on finding a lead that may help her learn what happened to her sister, who disappeared 20 years earlier. She and one of her subscribers start down a dangerous path, each looking for her own answers. The audiobook is read by Stacey Glemboski (Penguin Audio).

Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan (Flatiron): Part Gothic, part police procedural, this thriller, set in England, starts with the discovery of 16 horses’ heads, buried in a seemingly ritualistic manner. Detective Alec and veterinary forensic specialist Cooper together investigate this crime and several other criminal incidents that threaten to panic the seaside town. The audiobook is read by Louise Brealey (Macmillan Audio).


Kathy Martin 7/26/21, 10:03 AM  

So many of these sound really good. I am becoming a big fan of audiobooks and will be adding to my wishlist. Come see my week here.Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 7/26/21, 10:12 AM  

I loved The Therapist and I'm eagerly awaiting Not a Happy Family. Enjoy, and thanks for visiting my blog.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 7/26/21, 11:25 AM  

Thanks for sharing these, quite a few interest me

Wishing you a great reading week

Yvonne 7/26/21, 1:21 PM  

I loved the Diane Kelly and Gabby Allan books. All of your books look so good. I'll have to check them out.

Have a great week!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 7/26/21, 3:06 PM  

I've read a few of these: The Therapist, Temple House Vanishing and Such a Quiet Place. I have a few more of my list: Kill Your Darlings, The Falling, The Other Passenger and Not a Happy Family - this genre is definitely a favorite but, I like to mix things up with some NF, historical or lighter fiction in between.

Great post.

Greg 7/26/21, 8:06 PM  

I love th sheer volume of suspense books these days. Much Ado looks good, and I like shari Lapena.

I'm really interested in that BA PAris one too.

Les in Oregon 7/27/21, 2:08 PM  

The Falling has received a lot of high praise, so I downloaded the audio just yesterday and am looking forward to listening. I'm going to wait a little while, though, since I'm currently listening to Dear Edward, which also deals with a plane crash.

Great selection of books! Thank you.

Daryl 7/29/21, 1:02 PM  

so many intriguing books .. thanks as always for the reviews

Martha Eskuchen 8/1/21, 12:03 AM  

Lots of interesting titles for July. I have been eyeing David Bell. ANd Sixteen Horses caught my eye too.
Enjoy all of your reading!

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