There’s no denying that 2020 was a great year for books. And this year looks to be no exception — especially when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. Yes, there are a number of atmospheric whodunnits hitting shelves over the next 12 months that will have you absolutely hooked.
Whether you’re a fan of slow-burning psychological mysteries or gripping thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat, here are some of the new mystery and thriller books to check out in 2021.
1. Ask No Questions by Claire Allan | January 21, 2021
Ask No Questions is a twisty, slow-burning thriller about a journalist trying to get to the bottom of a tragic event that rocked a community to its core. The perfect read for fans of Adele Parks and C.J. Tudor.
Eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing 25 years ago, on Halloween. She had been out trick-or-treating with friends — but was discovered three days later, floating face down on the banks of the reservoir, by two of her young classmates.
In the present day, journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating the crime that rocked Derry to its core. But it soon becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her to discover the truth. Because as she digs, Ingrid finds out that the Doherty family aren’t quite what they seem — but will she be able to find out the truth of that night before its too late?
2. Shiver by Allie Reynolds | January 21, 2021
If locked room mysteries (or ones set in snowed-in resorts) are more to your preference, then definitely make sure you pick up Shiver. Long-buried secrets start to come to light when a group of former friends gets together, and their reunion takes a dark and twisted turn.
It all begins when Milla gets an invitation. There’s a reunion happening in the French Alps, at the resort that saw the height of her snowboarding career. And while she’d rather not remember what really happened that winter, the invitation is from Curtis — the one person she can’t seem to leave behind — and so she drops everything to go.
The group haven’t seen each other for a decade, back when the enigmatic Saskia disappeared. But when the game of ice breakers takes a dark turn, they start to realise that they don’t really know who brought them there — and how far this person is willing to go in search of the truth. It’s time for the secrets of that winter to finally come to light.
3. Black Widows by Cate Quinn | February 4, 2021
A bit of a whodunnit, a bit of a whydunnit, and a whole lot of twists, turns and secrets: fans of the genre won’t be able to put down this addictive domestic thriller.
Blake Nelson and his three wives moved into a stretch of land off the beaten track in the wilds of Utah. There was Rachel, the chief wife: obedient and doting to a fault. Tina, meanwhile, is everything that Rachel isn’t — and Emily, the youngest of them all, knows little else.
But when Blake is found dead one morning, the questions start to pile up. The three women don’t know who would want to kill a good man like Blake — at least, that’s what they decide to tell the cops.
4. The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson | February 18, 2021
If chilling cat-and-mouse games are your go-to kind of thriller, then you should definitely make sure to add The Jigsaw Man to your to-read pile this year.
After bodies start washing up on the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley is convinced it could be one person: Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But there’s a problem — he’s behind bars. She knows this, since she’s the one that put him there.
And while Henley had always hoped that she would never have to see his face again, she also knows Olivier may be the only way they have to stop the copycat killer. But when she tells him what’s going on, it turns out that helping Henley’s the last thing he’s got on his mind. Now, all bets are off: there’s a race to catch the killer, and the body count just keeps rising. But who’s going to get to the copycat first — Henley or the Jigsaw Killer?
5. Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay | March 2, 2021
A twist on the age-old saying, Every Last Fear is all about keeping your family close — because your enemies are closer. Told through a number of points-of-view — as well as alternating between the past and the present — it’s equal parts page-turning thriller and family drama.
Matt Pine is left devastated when he gets the news that almost his entire family have been found dead while on holiday in Mexico. The local police are claiming it was an accident, but the FBI aren’t so convinced — and they won’t tell Matt why. The tragedy also forces the family back into the spotlight again.
Matt’s brother, Danny, is serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend. He was also the subject of a viral true crime documentary, which claimed that Danny had been wrongfully convicted — but Matt’s never been entirely convinced of his brother’s innocence. Now, the family’s murder is starting to overlap with Danny’s case, and Matt is determined to uncover the truth of what happened to send Danny to prison — even if he has to confront his every last fear.
6. The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn | April 1, 2021
A dark and twisted story about female friendship and obsession, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is perfect for fans of My Dark Vanessa and Mean Girls.
Since graduating college, Ambrosia Wellington’s worked hard to create a brand new life for herself. But then, she gets an invite to their ten-year reunion — as well as an anonymous note that says, ‘we need to talk about what we did tonight’. It looks like the secrets from her past may not be buried as well as she had once thought.
Amb starts to fixate on what it exactly it was that she did, as well as who she did it with: her former best-friend, the larger-than-life Sloan ‘Sully’ Sullivan, who could make Amb do anything. At the reunion, the pair start to receive menacing messages and it soon becomes clear that someone wants revenge for what happened a decade ago — and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.
7. The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain | May 13, 2021
The Perfect Lie is an intense thriller that explores how well we really know the ones we love and what they may be capable of — and one that will have you hooked from the end of the very first chapter.
Five years ago, Erin Kennedy left Ireland for New York following a family tragedy. Now, she and her detective husband are living happily in the scenic season town of Newport, Long Island. But everything is shattered when, one morning, Erin answers the door to one of Danny’s police colleagues. Behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.
A year and a half later, Erin’s in court and charged with the murder of her husband. Through the course of those eighteen months, Erin’s learned things about Danny that she never thought possible. She thought they had the picture-perfect life — but it turns out it was all built on the perfect lie.
8. The Murder of Graham Catton by Katie Lowe | June 10, 2021
Perfect for fans of true crime podcasts and thrillers, The Murder of Graham Catton will keep you guessing — delivering twist after gripping twist, and packing plenty of emotional punches.
A decade ago, Hannah’s husband was brutally murdered in their home and she — conveniently — doesn’t remember a single thing about that night. Someone else was charged for the crime, and the police put him away for life. And Hannah and her six-year-old daughter soon left London behind. But now, their peace is threatened when viral true crime podcast Conviction is doing a series on the murder of Hannah’s husband.
They claim that police framed the man who was found guilty; and that Hannah’s got plenty more suspicious secrets than the fact that she can’t remember that night — like her history of volatility, to citations at the clinic where she worked as a psychiatrist. The only person she feels she can confide in is her former colleague, Darcy, who has suddenly come back into her life —but who may have motives of her own. But Hannah can’t tell even Darcy her deepest secret: that she’s still tormented by the memory of her husband and the giant hole he carved into her life.
9. For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing | August 5, 2021
Another highly-anticipated thriller to add to your to-read list this year, fans of Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware and Tarryn Fisher will be absolutely hooked by For Your Own Good.
Teddy Crutcher has won the Teacher of the Year award at the prestigious Belmont Academy, the home to the best and brightest students. And he says his wife couldn’t be prouder — although, nobody’s seen her in a little while. Teddy can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent (which is looking more and more like murder), or even the student who is digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. He’s just got one focus: pushing these kids to their full academic potential.
He’s committed to improving his students, and knows which of them needs it the most. He just wants for his colleagues (and the always-meddlesome parents) to stay out of his way. But while everybody agrees that Teddy has their best interests at heart, it’s just too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.
10. A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins | August 31, 2021
Calling all fans of The Girl On The Train: you won’t want to miss A Slow Fire Burning. Hawkins’ latest novel explores the way that “no tragedy happens in isolation” and how “trusting the wrong person at the wrong time can derail a life completely.”
Laura’s spent most of her life being judged. Some people see her as hot-tempered, while others think she’s a loner — and some even call her dangerous. But Miriam knows that just because Laura’s seen leaving the scene of a horrifying crime with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t make her a killer. Because experience has taught her that it’s really easy to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla, meanwhile, is left reeling after the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts absolutely nobody — because even good people are capable of terrible, terrible deeds. But how far is she really willing to go to find peace? Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
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