9 Gripping New Summer Thrillers to Add to Your Beach Bag

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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

There’s nothing better than losing yourself in an action-packed suspense novel while sitting on a sunny beach. Luckily, there’s no shortage of new releases in the thriller genre this year. Whether you prefer a locked-room mystery or a small town drama, these engrossing new reads are guaranteed to keep you glued to the page until the final twist. Here are nine captivating new summer thrillers to add to your beach bag in 2021.  

cover image of The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The only Black employee at her esteemed publishing imprint, Nella Rogers is initially delighted when another Black woman starts working in the cubicle beside hers. But her excitement 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, The Other Black Girl is both an electrifying thriller and an excellent observation of the microaggressions that make a workplace toxic.

cover image of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, this engrossing YA novel centers Devon and Chiamaka, the only two Black students at the elite private school, Niveus Academy.  Shortly after being elected to the group of senior class prefects, the two find their secrets are being revealed to the entire school by an anonymous text message who goes by the name, Aces. Timely, thought-provoking, and brimming with suspense, Ace of Spades expertly tackles issues of marginalization and institutional racism while simultaneously delivering heart-pounding intrigue. 

cover image of The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman takes on the dark, cut-throat world of Hollywood in her third psychological thriller. Set during pilot season in Los Angeles, The Disappearing Act follows British actor Mia Eliot as she heads to Los Angles to compete for a spot on a new show. During the ruthless audition process, she finds a friendly face in Emily, another actress from out of town. But things go awry when Emily goes missing the next day, and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her.

cover image of Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh’s latest novel takes a wild ride through bumpy skies. Set over the course of 20 hours, Hostage follows flight attendant Mina as she gets ready to work the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney. Mina is looking forward to taking a break from the problems with her daughter and husband at home and getting away for a few days. But the plane has barely taken off before she receives a note from an anonymous passenger demanding her help in ensuring the flight never reaches its destination — or else her family will be in danger. Thrumming with suspense and heart-pounding tension, this locked room thriller is the twisty and entertaining read you’ll want in your beach bag this summer.

cover image of Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

The quiet and friendly neighborhood of Hollow’s Edge is rocked by the murder of two of its own residents. A year and a half later, the community is still reeling when Ruby, the woman they all implicated in the crime, moves back into town after her conviction is overturned. With her trademark slow-build pacing, Megan Miranda delivers another twisty and atmospheric read. 

cover image of We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz (August 3)

A hiking trip has deadly consequences in Andrea Bart’z latest page-turner. Friends since college, Kristen and Emily are on their annual backpacking excursion, this time in Chile. But their trip goes awry when Emily finds Kristen standing over a body — with a questionable story about a hookup gone wrong. Even more shockingly, this is the second year in a row their getaway has ended with blood on the floor. As Kristen tries to keep Emily close, Emily must confront the truth about her closest friend.  

cover image of Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens (August 3)

Chevy Stevens makes her highly anticipated return with this propulsive novel 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. 

cover image of Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (August 17)

Silvia Moreno-Garcia follows up her lauded 2020 novel Mexican Gothic with this riveting neo-noir thriller. In 1970s Mexico City, amid a period of social unrest, Maite is working as a secretary and passing her time reading romance novels and daydreaming of passionate adventures. When the art student living next door to her goes missing, Maite embarks on a search to find him — only to find herself in way over her head.

cover image of A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

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.