10 Riveting Thriller Novels to Read in 2021

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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

This year will bring no shortage of riveting thrillers to add to your TBR list. Whether you prefer a locked-room mystery or a family crime saga, these propulsive new reads are guaranteed to keep you engrossed until the twisty end. Here are ten captivating suspense novels you won’t want to miss out on in 2021.

shiver book cover

Shiver by Allie Reynolds (January 19)

Set in the French Alps, this compelling locked-room thriller centers on five friends who reunite at a remote mountaintop ski resort after more than ten years apart. Once they arrive, they quickly realize the resort is deserted. What awaits is a game meant to remind them of the sixth member of their group, who vanished years ago. Alternating between the present and a decade prior, this buzzy debut is filled with suspense and thrills that will keep you reading long into the night. 

do no harm

Do No Harm by Christina McDonald (February 16)

This gripping and timely thriller follows a mother who turns to selling opioids in a desperate attempt to raise money for her son’s cancer treatment. But when one of her clients end up dead, she’s forced into a dangerous game of cat and mouse — with her own police detective husband at the other end of the chase. 

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (March 9)

This chilling and twisty thriller centers on two former best friends who return to their alma mater for a college reunion. Once there, they quickly realize someone is targeting them for revenge for what they did ten years ago. Devastatingly dark and thrumming with tension, The Girls Are all So Nice Here offers a juicy, unflinching portrait of the complexities of friendship and social ambition. 

when the stars go dark

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain (April 13)

In this stunning and atmospheric crime novel, a seasoned missing persons detective returns to her hometown after a personal tragedy. When she arrives, she learns a local teen girl has gone missing in a case eerily reminiscent of one from her childhood. As her past and present collide, she finds herself further entangled in a complex mystery that will have you glued to the page. 

while justice sleeps

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams (May 11)

In between battling voter suppression and playing an instrumental role in Georgia politics,  Stacey Abrams has written several wildly popular romance novels — and now she’s conquering the world of legal thrillers. Set against the backdrop of the Supreme Court, Abrams’s electrifying novel follows a talented young law clerk who unexpectedly becomes the legal guardian for a justice after he slips into a coma under suspicious circumstances.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (June 1)

As the only Black employee at her esteemed publishing imprint, Nella Rogers is thrilled when another Black woman starts working in the cubicle beside hers. But her excitement quickly turns to trepidation when her new co-worker becomes increasingly competitive — and threatening notes start appearing on her desk warning her to leave the company. Inspired by the author’s own experience in publishing, this electrifying thriller is an excellent observation of the microaggressions that can make a workplace toxic.

the maidens

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (June 15)

This captivating thriller centers a charismatic professor at Cambridge University who gets enmeshed in a series of murders on campus. Mixing Greek mythology with psychological suspense, this intriguing twisty tale is the perfect antidote to your summer reading ennui — and yes, it’s already been optioned for a TV series adaptation. 

dark roads

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens (August 3)

Chevy Stevens makes her highly anticipated return with this propulsive thriller about two women who unknowingly put themselves on a collision course with a killer when they return to Cold Creek, a dark stretch of highway long known for being the site of mysterious disappearances. Gripping, unsettling, and brimming with suspense, Dark Roads is another worthy entry from the accomplished mystery storyteller. 

a slow fire burning

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins (August 31)

Four years after her last novel, Paula Hawkins is back with a riveting new mystery, set on a London houseboat. After a young man is found murdered, police investigate three women with separate connections to the victim and equal motives for revenge. Filled with unpredictable twists and turns, this compulsively readable thriller will keep you guessing until the final page. 

harlem shuffle

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (September 14)

Set in 1960s Harlem, Colson Whitehead’s latest work centers a furniture salesman who finds himself living a double life after getting drawn into a heist gone wrong. Part family saga, part crime novel, Harlem Shuffle provides a gloriously entertaining adventure that only further solidifies Whitehead as one of the most versatile authors today. 

For more mystery and thriller goodness, check out these mysteries you may have missed in 2020. If cozy mysteries are more your jam, these cozies are hitting shelves in the first half of 2021.