What Is Your Damage, Heather?: 9 Thrillers About Friendships Gone South

Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

Amazon Publishing

Good friends, great wine, old grudges — what could go wrong? Don’t miss the darkly funny new murder mystery by Sheila Yasmin Marikar, the author of The Goddess Effect, and Mindy Kaling’s Book Studio. When six old college friends get together for a celebratory weekend in Napa Valley, the college vibes come rushing back. So do old resentments and animosities. Soon enough, the illusion of friendship shatters like a wine glass, and one of the guests ends up dead. Everyone has their motivations. Everyone has something to hide. Here’s to a weekend in the valley. Drink up and watch your back.

There is a famous saying that goes something like, “Good friends help you move, but true friends help you move bodies.” But what happens if you stop being friends and they still know where the bodies are buried? That just opens you up to blackmail. Then the expression “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead” is better suited. (Or, in Billy Shakespeare’s case, “Two may keep counsel, putting one away.”) When your relationship with your bestie goes bust, that can be a very sad occasion — or even a deadly one, like the friendships in the books on this list of thrillers about friendships gone south!

There is a terrible secret that tears two friends apart, only to find themselves working together years later; a group of old friends and festering resentments snowed in at a chalet; a group of teenagers who get drawn into a neighbor’s murder; a young girl who thinks she wants the life her friend has; a woman whose BFF is murdered and isn’t sure that she isn’t the killer; and more! Some of these friendships were tried and true, and some…well, were they ever really friends to begin with, or was it all an act? You’ll have to read them to find out!

cover of Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott; close up of young blonde woman's blue eye

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Kit and Diane were as close as two friends could be when they were teenagers — or so they thought. But then Diane confessed something that ripped their friendship apart. Years later, Kit is striving to be the best in her field as a scientist. But it turns out that when a position opens up to work on groundbreaking research, Diane is her competition for the job. How far will Kit go to get the job she wants? How far will Diane go to keep Kit from sharing what she knows?

cover of We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz; rainbow colors over a photo of a shadow of a person in a tropical location

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Emily is really looking forward to her annual vacation with her BFF Kristen. When a dead backpacker turns up in their room, Kristen says it was self-defense, and Emily wants to believe her. But there was that dead body that turned up during vacation last year as well…Emily doesn’t want to think the worst of her best friend, so she decides some time away from Kristen might do her good. But when Kristen shows up unannounced, is she there as a friend, or to make sure Emily doesn’t tell her secret?

cover of The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley; photo of a chalet far away surrounded by heaps of snow

The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley

This is another thriller about a group of old friends reuniting each year as a tradition. This time it’s friends from Oxford, who visit an isolated Scottish estate for the winter holidays. Their reunion soon turns sour when old secrets rear their ugly heads, and a snowstorm traps them in the house. By the time help arrives and they are shoveled out, one of them is dead. But which one did it?

cover of Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier; image of a woman in shadow, with rose petals breaking away from her back

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

For 14 years, everyone thought Geo was mourning her friend, Angela, who disappeared without a trace. They thought Angela was another victim of the local serial killer Calvin James. How devastating for Geo to lose her best friend that way. But for 14 years, Geo has kept a terrible secret. And now Angela’s remains have been found, and the truth will no longer stay silent.

cover of Real World by Natsuo Kirino; photo of an Asian woman's face, wearing white lipstick with a pink stripe in the middle of her lip

Real World by Natsuo Kirino

Four bored teenage girls are spending a hot summer in a Tokyo suburb. When the neighbor of one of the girls is murdered, and her teenage son is suspected, suddenly, things are more interesting for them. A murder next door, how exciting! And they know the killer! While the suspected killer is on the run, the girls speculate about events, and keep secrets, and get closer and closer to danger as the days go on.

cover of Summer's Edge by Dana Mele; illustration of a young woman in a red lake

Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele

This is a YA thriller about a group of friends who reunite at the site where one of them died the year before. Emily’s death in a fire on the lake drove a wedge between the once-close friend group. But in honor of her memory, they decide to gather together a year later. Only it’s seeming more and more possible that, somehow, Emily has joined them as well. What really happened to Emily last summer, and who was responsible? Inquiring ghosts want to know.

cover of Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow, cover photo of two Black women in bathing suits sitting on teal tile beside a pool

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow

Farrah is very close with her best friend, Cherish. Cherish and Farrah are the only two Black girls in their community. But Cherish has wealthy white parents, which makes Farrah jealous since her family is in dire financial straits. So she comes up with a scheme to ingratiate herself in Cherish’s home and hopefully live in the lap of luxury. But — you know what comes next — be careful what you wish for! Weird things happen in Cherish’s home, alarming and upsetting things, and Farrah realizes that maybe things aren’t what they seem.

book cover of I'm Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

I’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

When Jane and Thalia, two aspiring writers, were BFFs at Oxford, it was the happiest Jane had ever been. But then a horrible event shattered their friendship, and Jane lost Thalia for what she thought was forever. But many years later, Jane recognizes a famous author appearing at a mystery convention. It’s Thalia, writing under a pseudonym. So Jane buys a ticket to the convention. She’s going to reunite with her bestie, and this time, she’s never going to let her go.

cover of Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera; red with a long cord to a microphone winding around and around on the front

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

Everyone was devastated when golden girl Savvy was murdered in a small Texas town, and they were shocked when her BFF Lucy was suspected of the crime. But no one was more shocked than Lucy, because she’s not sure she didn’t kill Savvy. Lucy can’t remember anything from that night, and with no evidence, she’s never charged with murder. Still, she leaves town, because no one wants a probable murderer around. But when a popular podcast decides to do an episode on the murder of Savvy, Lucy agrees to return to town and talk to the host to get to the bottom of what happened on that summer night. Even if it means the story ends with her behind bars.

For more books on friendships, check out these books about obsessive friendships. And if you enjoy thrillers, be sure to sign up for our mystery newsletter, Unusual Suspects, and listen to our mystery podcast, Read or Dead!