9 Thrillers That Will Take You to the Beach

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Michelle Regalado

Staff Writer

Michelle Regalado is a New York-based digital writer and editor. When she's not hunting down her next must-read book (recommendations are welcome!) or writing about all things pop culture, you can probably find her drinking iced coffee and hanging out with her dog, Lola. Follow her on Twitter: @mar8289

Summer is in full swing, and there’s no better way to while the blazing hot days away than by spending time outdoors with a great book in hand. Though everyone has their own definition of a beach read, there’s nothing I personally love more than getting lost in a gripping thriller. And if you really want to amp up the summer vibes, there are plenty of beach-themed page-turners to keep you hooked while you’re laying on a hammock or by the pool.

These incredible beach thrillers deliver all the compelling twists and turns you want from a summer read — not to mention, the memorable atmosphere. Each of these engrossing reads takes place in a tropical or coastal location that will make you feel like you are on your own beachside getaway, even when you’re reading from the comfort of your own couch or backyard.

From a brand-new book about a bachelorette trip gone wrong in Greece to a clever 2019 send-up to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, these riveting novels are all worth picking up this summer. Ahead, check out nine thriller books that will take you to the beach this season.

the guest list book cover

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A wedding celebration turns sinister in Lucy Foley’s latest thriller. Set on an island off the coast of Ireland, the atmospheric novel follows the exclusive nuptials of a rising TV star and an ambitious magazine publisher. Though every glittery detail of the luxe party has been planned to perfection, it doesn’t take long before the festivities start to go off the rails — and someone turns up dead.

cover of They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall: image of a blue scarf floating in water

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

In this clever 2019 beach thriller, seven strangers are invited to a luxe private island off the coast of Mexico. But what seems like an idyllic paradise quickly turns foreboding as a series of accidents begin to take down each visitor. Fans of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None are sure to love this modern read-alike.

Something in the Water cover

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Newlyweds Erin and Mark embark on their dream two-week honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora. While setting out on a scuba diving excursion in the crystal blue ocean, they discover something floating in the water that will forever change the course of their lives. The couple is then left to decide whether to tell people about their findings or leave the secret between themselves.

the last house guest book cover

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Littleport, Maine is a picturesque coastal town frequented by the wealthy in the summer. Sadie Loman used to spend summers there with her family during her childhood, becoming fast friends with townie Avery Greer. When Sadie is found dead of an apparent suicide, suspicion quickly falls on Avery, who must work quickly to clear her name — even if it means dredging up buried secrets.

one little secret book cover

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Susan invites her new neighbors for a much-needed week-long retreat at a beach house with her and her husband. Over the course of the first evening, liquor flows and secrets begin to spill out. When one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach the next morning, local detective Gabby Watkins sets out on an investigation in which she quickly realizes that each of the five survivors had a motive in the woman’s death.

stranger on the beach book cover

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

While Caroline Stark’s life seems perfect on the outside, she and her husband are constantly fighting within the walls of their luxe beach house. When the couple’s drama becomes public, Caroline finds herself turning to Aidan, the eponymous stranger on the beach, for comfort. But Aidan’s involvement with Caroline and her family soon becomes an obsession, leading to potentially deadly consequences.

the birthday girl book cover

The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz

Ellie is celebrating her 40th birthday with a huge party at her Palm Springs house. As her family and friends gather for a night of revelry, the dark secrets of Ellie’s past begin to come to light, and the facade of her seemingly perfect life begins to crumble.

the perfect ruin book cover

The Perfect Ruin by Shanora Williams

In this 2021 thriller, Ivy Hill, a young woman in her twenties, uncovers the name of the woman responsible for destroying her happy childhood: Lola Maxwell. Lola is a mega-wealthy socialite and a prominent figure in Miami’s charity circle. Determined to get revenge, Ivy infiltrates Lola’s seemingly perfect life and deceives her way into becoming Lola’s new best friend. Things go awry when someone catches on to her plan.

one of the girls book cover

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

When six women arrive to a sun-soaked Greek island for a bachelorette trip to celebrate Lexi’s upcoming wedding, the vacation seems too good to be true. But behind every sunset swim or late night cocktail, tension simmers. It soon becomes clear each women is hiding a secret — and one of them is on a mission to make sure Lexi’s marriage never happens.

Looking for more summer reads? Check out 40 of the buzziest new books of the season here.