If you’re anything like me, you love thrillers and you love the beach. So why not combine the two? I have compiled a list of 10 thrillers to read on the beach that will have you so enraptured in the book, you don’t even remember to put on the extra layer of tanning oil.
1. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
I originally watched the Netflix adaptation of this absolute masterpiece and was hooked. I was so invested in the show, I binge-watched it in one day and proceeded to Amazon the novel so I could read it as well. The novel follows Louise, a divorced single mother who is taking a new job as a receptionist at a psychiatric office. Following a one-night stand with a smart, handsome man named David, Louise shows up to work to find out David is her boss, and he is also married. Yet, Louise can’t stop seeing David no matter how hard he tries. In an interesting twist, Louise ends up befriending David’s wife Adele and begins to uncover the couple’s dark past. I didn’t put the book down once, and it had me captivated from the very beginning. Plot twist after plot twist, you’ll never be bored with one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while.
2. Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
Cassie and Sephie know they aren’t normal girls growing up in a small town in Minnesota. For one, they’re poor, so the other kids make fun of their handmade clothing. Their attractive family lives on a farm, where her parents host parties that involve lots of drug consumption and sex. While these things all make Cassie uncomfortable, they’ve gotten used to it. All of this changes when boys start to go missing for a night and returning differently than they had before. These boys come back to school afraid and experience extreme personality changes. Whispers around town point fingers at who could be the person behind these attacks, and Cassie is determined to find justice for them. When Sophie begins to show the same signs as the attacked boys, Cassie begins unraveling the truth behind what’s really going on. Thrillers inspired by true events are always full of suspense and heart-pumping moments, this is no exception.
3. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Evelyn Hardcastle is going to die every day until Aiden Bishop can figure out who murdered her. The twist? Bishop will wake up in the body of a different witness to the murder each day, all who know something related to the murder. With these clues, Aiden Bishop should be able to solve this murder easily. In his first host body, he finds himself only remembering one thing: the name Anna. With that being his only memory, Bishop begins to immerse himself in the lives of his hosts to try and figure out what he is to possibly do. When he runs into a Plague Doctor who is to serve as his guide throughout his journey, he learns that this murder is not as simple as he once thought. Up until the very end, you will question who to trust- if anyone.
4. Verity by Colleen Hoover
When struggling writer Lowen leaves her house for the first time in a week to go to an interview, she witnesses a fatal car crash. While that normally would have sent her into hiding again, she desperately needed a source of income. Covered in blood, Lowen meets handsome and charming Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Verity writes novels from the villain’s perspective, massively successful, with three unfinished novels in the series left. However, Verity Crawford was recently in an accident that has left her bedridden and unable to speak. Lowen accepts the job as the new ghost writer for Verity Crawford’s famous novels in her absence. When Lowen moves into the Crawford home, she begins to read one of Verity’s unpublished autobiographies and learns that there is much more to the horrid past of the Crawford family than she once thought. This is one of those thrillers that will leave you second-guessing everything you just read, and I loved it.
5. The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher
The Crouch family has tons of issues- Winnie and Nigel get into constant arguments, breaking things and screaming at each other. Juno, a retired therapist who has received the news that she has a life-ending disease, just wants to live the rest of her days out in comfort. But, as time goes on, Juno finds it extremely difficult to stay out of the lives of the Crouches, even forming a bond with Winnie’s son. As Juno looks further into it, it is beginning to look like Winnie is extremely dangerous and filled with secrets. But don’t make any judgements too fast, because Juno just might have a secret of her own.
6. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Ellie Mack went missing in 2005, the youngest and most perfect of Laurel’s children. Since her disappearance, Laurel has been distraught, unsure of how her perfect ray of sunshine could have just run away like the police claim she did. Ellie had the perfect boyfriend, good grades, and the promise of an amazing summer ahead before she disappeared. Ten years later, Laurel is finally ready to put her life back together when she meets a handsome Floyd in a cafe who seems to turn her life around. Even better is his daughter, Poppy, who reminds Laurel of her precious Ellie. With the similarities almost too uncanny to ignore, Laurel finds herself questioning who Floyd and Poppy really are and if they have any link to Ellie’s disappearance. One of my personal favorite thrillers, I could not put it down until I had devoured every page.
7. Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen
When wealthy Kiki Pew is found murdered, many questions are raised surrounding her death. Since it is during the peak of Palm Beach, Florida charity ball season, Pew would frequent socialite events accompanied by the rich and famous. Pew also was a founding member of the POTUSSIES, a group of women who fanatically support the President. The President declares Pew’s death as a result of immigrant rampaging, but a discovery on the highway that interrupts the First Lady’s motorcade leads everyone to believe this is not the case. Angie Armstrong is sent to a remote island to deal with an influx of pythons and subsequently comes to her own conclusions about the murder of Kiki Pew. This thriller is based on the dark side of politics, and if you like thrillers incorporating the rich and famous- this is for you.
8. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The wedding of the year, some would call it. When a handsome television star marries a magazine publisher, you would do anything to be on the guest list. A remote location off the coast of Ireland, luxury liquor, spotty service, and a whole lot of secrets, what more could you want? Everyone is a bit too invested in this wedding, and then someone turns up dead. The question is ultimately who would want to ruin this golden couple’s wedding… and more importantly, why?
9. The Girls by Emma Cline
If you’re a fan of cult documentaries or even just the 1960’s- look no further for your next beach read. Evie is spending her summer in Northern California when she meets Suzanne. Suzanne shows Evie a new world, she’s captivating and Evie is drawn to her and her lifestyle, maybe too much so. When Suzanne takes Evie to meet the leader of a soon to be infamous cult, Evie is hypnotized by their exotic life. The summer of Charles Manson is just around the corner–can she survive?
10. If You Tell by Gregg Olsen
When Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek think of their mother, they do not carry fond memories. Those memories are locked deep beneath the surface, covering a secret that is never to get out. Shelly, their mother, tortured the girls physically and emotionally until something finally stopped it. What that something is, no one is to know, not if the Knotek sisters don’t say anything. That fateful night they refuse to speak of resulted in multiple murders, with the sisters narrowly escaping their own personal hell. This story takes you on the journey of the Knotek sisters and makes you question just how far you’d go to escape misery.