Traditionally, “troublesome” women in fiction were punished for daring to live outside the status quo. Today, they are much freer to express themselves and do what they feel is right. Readers celebrate them for their intelligence, ferocity, and determination—even when they aren’t following the letter of the law! The thrilling suspense books listed here feature women you can’t help but admire.
In these stories, you’ll meet women who have been forced to the very limits of their endurance. Some are trained investigators accustomed to confronting danger. Others were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and never expected to have to fight for their lives. Watch them rise to the occasion and raise a little hell in the nine suspense novels listed below.
by Sandra Brown
Fourteen years after her rapists went unpunished, Jade is finally ready to return to her hometown and get the revenge she deserves. Palmetto, South Carolina is a small, sleepy town under the thumb of one powerful family. Before, that family ensured Jade's attackers escaped justice. Now, she will do whatever it takes to bring them down. With Breath of Scandal, New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers a dark yet satisfying tale of vengeance.
Pope Paul VII has died of a heart attack. That's what the Vatican is telling the world, anyway. As veteran spy Gabriel Allon swiftly discovers, there is good reason to believe that the pope was murdered by the Order of St. Helena, a radical secret society that will stop at nothing to suppress long-hidden religious secrets and replace the pope with one of their own. One of Daniel Silva's "Gabriel Allon" suspense novels, The Order blends high-stakes action with a compelling mystery.
Lucinda has just escaped a brothel, and she will do anything it takes to keep her freedom. "Anything" includes joining her boyfriend in his search for a pirate's treasure. The hunt puts her on a collision course with Nate, a policeman who is on a very different kind of quest: he must track down a serial killer before he hurts anyone else. Lucinda's future depends on her ability to make fast, brutal decisions in The Outcasts, a suspense thriller set in the Old West.
by Maxine Paetro
James Patterson and Maxine Paetro present the latest in the hair-raising "Women's Murder Club" series. In 21st Birthday, three women—a reporter, an assistant district attorney, and a medical examiner—run down different theories about the disappearance of a young woman and her baby. The obvious suspect, the missing woman's abusive husband, claims that someone else—someone far more dangerous—is responsible for his wife's disappearance. Is he right? If so, how can the investigators hope to take down such a monster?
Eve Duncan has encountered her fair share of criminals, both as a forensic sculptor and as a mother whose own daughter was murdered. These tragedies drive her to do whatever it takes, even risk her own life, to secure justice for others. The Bullet, about a woman who threatens Eve's well-earned happily-ever-after, is Iris Johansen's latest addition to this long-running mystery suspense series.
by Lisa Regan
Detective Josie Quinn is assigned to look for a missing girl, and she finds one—but it's not the girl she was looking for. This unexpected discovery sets Josie on the path of a serial kidnapper that no one in town even suspected. The first in Lisa Regan's "Detective Josie Quinn" series of mystery books, Vanishing Girls is a riveting story about the types of heinous crimes that only a small town can hide.
The woman now known as Rachel lives a quiet life with her children and moonlights as a vigilante, meting out her own brand of justice against those the police can't or won't touch. But after the death of her new hometown's former mayor, Rachel's crime-fighting activities are thrust into the open, where they will endanger both her children and her new life. Hide Away is the first in a series about an ordinary woman pushed to dangerous extremes.
Caitlin did not become a Texas Ranger by being weak or flinching from danger. She must call on every ounce of her physical and mental strength as she investigates two massacres separated by over a quarter of a century. How are the cases connected? Can Caitlin get to the bottom of things before she and her lover pay the ultimate price? Strong as Steel is the tenth entry in Jon Land's "Caitlin Strong" series.
Another book on our list by Kathleen Kent, The Pledge is the latest Detective Betty novel. Things are looking up for Detective Betty Rhyzyk. She’s settled into a happy marriage and been promoted to Sergeant in the Dallas Police Department. But when a hostage stand-off puts her on the phone with legendary cartel leader The Knife, things take a turn. The Knife has heard a rival is making a play for the streets of Dallas—none other than Evangeline Roy. The matriarch of a ruthless cult, Evangeline also happens to hold a personal vendetta against Betty. So who better to draw Evangeline out of hiding? Betty’s got two weeks to catch her. Or else.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.