As a new stream of thrillers suggests, audiences aren’t interested unless they are glued to either the screen or the page by totally terrifying, compelling storylines. Celadon’s forthcoming thriller The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides—a twisting story about a woman who shoots her husband five times and then never speaks again—has itself appeared on a few “Most Anticipated” and “Best of” lists for 2019.
We spoke to writers, editors, readers and other book obsessives to find out what their most anticipated thrillers of 2019 are. Whether it’s books from masters of the genre like John Le Carré and Kate Atkinson or startling debuts by young writers, 2019 is sure to be a banner year for thrilling novels.
“Lauren Acampora’s work is sharp and dark, and I can’t wait to read The Paper Wasp, the story of Abby, a young woman with the secret ability to predict the future in her dreams, who follows her former best friend Elise’s life as a Hollywood star, while working at a grocery store in their Michigan hometown. Abby is a dreamer suspended far from the world of which she longs to be a part, and when a meeting with Elise offers her the opportunity to penetrate the veil, her long dormant ambition and desire come rushing to the fore.” —Lisa Locascio, author of Open Me
“John le Carré, the old master, never lets the world’s political horrors streak on without him. His publisher has described his next novel, Agent Running in the Field, his 25th, as centering on a ‘solitary’ young man who amidst our contemporary political chaos, ‘makes connections that will take him down a very dangerous path.’ White nationalists? Incels? WikiLeaks and InfoWars style propagandists? Whatever the darkness of the day, le Carré compels readers like no one else can.” —writer and journalist Evan McGarvey
“I’ve always enjoyed Amy Gentry’s book reviews in the Chicago Tribune, often on works by overlooked women writers, and her domestic thriller series in The Paris Review Daily demonstrated that she has not only a deep knowledge of the modern noir but can keep a critical distance from it. I am eagerly anticipating her second novel, Last Woman Standing, about a stand-up comedian and a computer programmer who vow to get revenge on their abusers. I’ve heard some criticism that the book is too angry. But many of my favorite books have also had that label slapped on them, so this only provides further enticement.” —Sara Kramer, Managing Editor, New York Review Books
“There are no books as thrilling to me as Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series. They dazzle with their wit and energy and toe the line between plot-y and thoughtful. After a nine-year hiatus from the series (during which Atkinson published Life After Life, A God in Ruins, and Transcription), Brodie will be back. Big Sky, the fifth to feature my favorite detective, comes out in June.” —Lauren Mechling, writer and author of How Could She, also out in June.
“I’m excited to read Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus, publishing this January. Her last book One of Us is Lying was one of the most fun YA thrillers I’ve read in a long time, and I can’t wait to see what she follows that up with.”—Rachel Krupitsky, Director of Social Media Strategy, Penguin Random House
“My pick is Looker by Laura Sims. I’m a sucker for a good psychological thriller, particularly one that’s billed as Hitchcockian, and Sims’s debut novel, about a woman’s mounting obsession with her actress neighbor, is poised to deliver. I haven’t even read it yet, and I’m already casting the inevitable adaptation in my head.”—Nicole Passage, Managing Editor, Open Road Media
“From South Korea’s Un-su Kim comes a wondrously strange crime novel, The Plotters, set in shadowy Seoul about a bookish contract killer, the market rate of murder, and a library ‘crawling with assassins, hired guns and bounty hunters.’ What’s not to love?”—Matthew Thompson, Contributing Editor, Open Road Media
“A secret school for the children of the world’s most elite strategists that train for becoming assassins and spies; an eye for an eye punishment system; a murder; and a new girl that everyone seems to blame . . . or want to kill. Those are the elements of Killing November by Adriana Mather that have me on the edge of my seat and drowning in anticipation. If there’s something better than a young adult thriller, it’s one set in an elite boarding school for spies.”—The Bibliotheque, bookstagrammer