Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

A Reading List of Thrillers with Strong Female Leads

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

This installment of Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?


Earlier this week, we asked you to share your favorite thrillers with strong female leads, whatever you take “strong” to mean, and however it manifests itself in the characters. Here’s a collection of your suggestions from Facebook, Twitter, and the comments section. Enjoy!

Feed by Mira Grant

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

anything by Chelsea Cain

Slow River by Nicola Griffith

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larrson

The Likeness by Tana French

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg

No Good Deed by Manda Scott

Wired by Douglas Richards

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

Carol O’Connell’s Mallory novels

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson books

Out by Natsuo Kirino

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Money Shot by Christa Faust

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Mary Stewart’s suspense novels


What did we miss?