Summer Thriller Book Recommendations List 🏖️

summer beach photo with stack of books on a wood table and sunglasses on top. Photo from Unsplash user Link Hoang.
Photo by Link Hoang on Unsplash

Hi, friends! Warm, beautiful summer days are finally upon us! Today I’m excited to recommend some seasonal summer fantasy reads keeping with that fun warm weather mood. Many of these books take place in summer, are set on beaches, or feature a warm vacationing theme. Each one will have a quick blurb why I think they’re perfect for summer.

So grab a chilled beverage and let’s head for the beach. Enjoy!

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins 

reckless girls by rachel hawkins book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? This book is set in beautiful Hawaii, features a spirited boating trip, and brings readers to a remote beachy island. Invokes the feel of warm ocean breezes, sand between your toes, and a cool drink your hand.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

From Goodreads

The Wedding Night by Harriet Walker

the wedding night by harriet walker book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? A cancelled destination wedding to a picturesque villa in Southern France becomes a friends trip. Gorgeous warm weather and a private villa make this an excellent escape.

What do you do when the wedding of your dreams turns into a nightmare?

When a destination wedding is cancelled, a group of university friends travel to a luxurious villa in the South of France, determined to cheer up the bride-that-was and make the best of a pre-paid holiday.

But after a wild night of drunken revelry, the friends awake to find themselves with no memory of the last twelve hours – and surrounded by the traces of a wedding that wasn’t supposed to have happened . . .

As last night’s hangover wears off, the guests find themselves with more questions than answers.

Did a wedding take place?
Who is responsible for an ominous message in the guest book, congratulating the happy couple?
Why does the would-be bride seem so afraid?
And who is the mysterious, shadowy figure who seems to be watching the villa?

Each guest is hiding something. But what? And can they piece together the events of the wedding night before it is too late?

From Goodreads

The Survivors by Jane Harper 

the survivors by jane harper book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? Coastal Australian community setting and heavy sea / beach themes.

Coming home dredges up deeply buried secrets…

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

From Goodreads

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

the last house guest by megan miranda book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? Small-town summer destination by the sea hosts a dark history.

The summer after a wealthy young summer guest dies under suspicious circumstances, her best friend lives under a cloud of grief and suspicion.
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.
The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read that brilliantly explores the elusive nature of memory and the complexities of female friendships.

From Goodreads

The Guest List by Lucy Foley 

the guest list by lucy foley book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? This one features a remote island with a luxurious destination wedding, but the weather isn’t what you’d expect from a summer read. Take this recommendation with a grain of salt..

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

From Goodreads

The Island by Adrian McKinty

the island by adrian mckinty book cover from goodreads

Link: Goodreads

🏖️ Summer Inspiration? A work-vacation in warm and beautiful Australia goes terribly wrong when the family chances a visit to a local island in hopes of seeing more native wildlife. This is a widely-hyped summer thriller for the year!

It was just supposed to be a family vacation.
A terrible accident changed everything.
You don’t know what you’re capable of until they come for your family.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

From Goodreads

Let me know if there are any other summer thriller recommendations you have! Happy reading!

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