Maybe it's the heat, but this summer all I've wanted to read are thrillers. I want books so jaw-dropping, the pages practically turn themselves. I want sordid secrets and shocking indiscretions. I want people behaving badly, and then I want to witness the fallout of their sins and transgressions. All while I sit in a comfortable chair, fan turning lazily overhead, an Arnold Palmer sweating in a glass at my elbow.

Summer is in its waning days around here, the kids are already trudging back to school, but we're far enough south that the heat promises to hang around well into September. Make the most of the dregs of summertime with these three thrillers, guaranteed to keep you guessing.

You might have to remind yourself to lower your eyebrows as you read these juicy delights.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive nearly did the impossible. I almost stayed up past my bedtime on a weeknight to finish a book. I resisted the siren song, putting it regretfully aside with about 50 pages remaining. Like Ron Swanson, if I don’t get a solid five, it kills my sunny disposition. (Except for me, it’s more like eight or nine, but who’s counting?)

I was repulsed in pretty much every way by this story of spoiled Manhattan-dwelling magazine editor Ani FaNelli, first by her bitchy interior monologue criticizing everyone around her, then by the cringeworthy details of trauma she suffered as a fourteen-year-old student in a fancy-schmany private school for the upper crust of Philly (no, apparently that’s not an oxy moron). But I sure had a hard time finding a good stopping place.

I can honestly say that no book has ever made me more grateful to be living my comfortably wide-hipped Midwestern life. I tremble at the thought of a label-conscious, skinny-obsessed existence like Ani’s. New York can keep its brand names and expensive real estate. This girl needs carbs and a yard big enough for a medium-sized dog.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

What would you do if a school friend you hadn’t been in touch with for years invited you to her bachelorette party (or “hen do,” as they’re called in Britain)? Would you decline, implying you're far too busy with your own fabulous life to be bothered? Or would you go, out of simple curiosity, or in hopes you can snap a few incriminating photos of the bride-to-be with a male stripper?

Nora, an introverted crime writer living in London, decides to RSVP “yes” to her old friend Clare’s hen do, mainly out of solidarity with their mutual friend Nina. Nora and Nina don’t expect the party to be much fun—it’s a weekend in the woods, with no cell reception and a handful of strangers, how much fun could it be?

But painful memories from Nora’s past are shoved to the surface by a shocking admission from Clare, and before long the party spins out of control in the deadliest of deadly ways. Nora wakes up in a hospital, with only fuzzy, disjointed recollections of what happened out in the woods. Is someone dead? If so, who? And could Nora possibly be to blame?

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

I had such a hard time putting Disclaimer down, it might as well have been glued to my hands. Catherine Ravenscroft, a middle-aged mom and wife, starts reading a book from the pile on her nightstand, with the slow-dawning realization that the book is about her. Specifically, an event in her past she has kept secret for years. Now, someone is taunting her with the story, threatening to upend her marriage, her career—everything she's worked so hard to build.

I thought I knew where the book was going, and I was a little uncomfortable with how close it came to slut-shaming territory—but, trying not to be too spoilery here, my predictions were wrong. Disclaimer analyzes how our perception of the truth and the truth itself don’t always line up, and how secrets have a way of festering over the years if they’re tamped down under a layer of shame.

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AuthorTaryn Pierson