Prepping your holiday book list? Summer 2016 is all about taut thrillers from talented female authors. Gone Girl fans will love the Liz Nugent's Lying in Wait while those who can't get enough of BBC 3's drama Thirteen will be hooked by Hollie Overton’s Baby Doll.
You don't want to miss The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, already one of this year's most talked about reads and Shannon Kirk's refreshing tome, The Method, has her earmarked as a name to watch.
Words: Francesca Brown
Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent
We defy you not to want to read a book with the opening line: “My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.” It twists, it turns, its characters are utterly despicable and it is a compulsive pulp triumph. (We also recommend Nugent’s 2014 book – the great Unravelling Oliver.)
Black Water by Louise Doughty
Following up 2013’s massive hit Apple Tree Yard, Doughty’s latest moves through some of the world’s darkest political moments via the life of one man (twisted Forrest Gump, anyone?). Beautifully written but at times disconcertingly dark, it’s a good one for sitting out flight delays.
The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Ruth Ware’s 2015 book, In A Dark Dark Wood, has been optioned by Reese Witherspoon, so there’s a lot of expectation riding on The Woman In Cabin 10. Happily, it delivers with a rollicking page turner that reads like Agatha Christie got together with Paula Hawkins to crowdsource a really fun thriller.
Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
Similar to the BBC3 drama Thirteen, Hollie Overton’s Baby Doll follows the story of a woman kidnapped in her teens only to find freedom after eight years. It’s cathartic, clever and with a nice take on family relationships – Stylist picked it up before bedtime and read it in one sitting till 3.23am.
The Method by Shannon Kirk
In a deft turning of tables, Kirk's kidnapped 16 year old pregnant heroine turns out to be possibly more dangerous than the child traffickers who took her. It’s a refreshing take and one that singles out author Shannon Kirk – who’s also a practising attorney and law professor in the US – as a name to watch.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
One of this year’s most hyped titles, The Couple Next Door hits all those thriller sweet spots, with its characters acting in the worst ways possible and a plot that speeds through to a hell of a climax. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but you can’t not read it this summer.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
No-one does the dark side of girlhood like Megan Abbott (Dare Me, The Fever) but her new one revels in the worst backdrop imaginable – competitive gymnastics. We jest, but this new book, which mixes mother-daughter relationships with an atmosphere of seeping dread, is something very special.
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
Warning: this book will leave you emotionally sucker-punched. Stripping away the dark undertow of teenage obsessions and adult regrets, Watching Edie is as if The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith grew up in Nineties smalltown Britain. As our editor Lisa commented: “It’s totally gripping.”