Whether you use it or not, social media is an undeniable part of 21st-century culture. And it’s not all cat videos and harmless memes, either. There’s a dark side to social media, and a growing number of mystery suspense novels are exploring it. Mystery books and suspense novels are uniquely suited to tackle all the nuances of social media: the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s so much rich potential for creative twists and turns in a mystery that incorporates Twitter, or a novel that blurs the lines between what happens online and what happens in real life. These six books explore social media, and its presence in our lives, in many different ways. Whether you’re looking for a dark thriller about an online-stalker-turned-real-life-stalker, suspense books with plots that revolve around security cameras, cell phone tracker apps, and other tech, or mysteries that explore how social media changes friendships, these books are just the tip of the iceberg.
These novels are sure to keep you turning pages—just be prepared to rethink your social media presence and technology as a whole after you finish reading them.
by Cate Holahan
Psychological thriller meets family drama meets high-tech high-stakes in Cate Holahan's newest suspense novel, Her Three Lives. Jade Thompson has the perfect life: a career as a social media influencer, an architect fiancé, and a gorgeous new home. But it all comes crashing down when Jade and her husband-to-be, Greg, are the victims of a brutal home robbery. The crime leaves Greg with a brain injury, laid up on the couch watching the live feeds from the security cameras. Jade begins to wonder what he knows about the attackers that he's not telling her. And Greg begins to wonder where Jade is spending her days—and if she's keeping secrets from him.
In Follow Me, Kathleen Barber explores the dark and dangerous side of social media. Audrey Miller has just moved to DC, where she continues to provide her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers with a carefully curated version of her new life: her new at the Smithsonian, her Pilates routines, the quirks of her new apartment. What she doesn't know is that she's just moved to the same region as a man who's followed her obsessively online for years—and is now determined to make Audrey his in real life.
Laura Marshall uses the culture and quirks of Facebook to great effect in Friend Request, a propulsive thriller about old friends and long-buried secrets. In 1989, as seniors in high school, Louise and Maria became best friends. But one fateful night changed their lives forever, and Louise never expected to see Maria again. Years later, in 2016, Louise receives a friend request from Maria—or someone pretending to be Maria. Suddenly everything Louise has worked so hard for—her job, her son, her whole life—is in jeopardy. Because if anyone finds out what really happened to Maria back then, Louise could lose everything, including her own freedom.
In Real World, Japanese author Natsuo Kirino is at the peak of her considerable talents. It's a dark, feminist horror novel that explores the complicated lives of four teenage girls who get caught up with a murder. Set in a suburb of Tokyo, the story follows Toshi and her three friends over the course of one summer. Bored of their endless study sessions, the girls are seeking new entertainment when Toshi's neighbor is brutally murdered. They assume the killer is the neighbor's son, a boy nicknamed Worm. But when Worm runs away, stealing Toshi's cell phone, the four girls are suddenly caught in a web of unexpected dangers.
The cutthroat side of social media and online life is front and center in this dark satire about what it takes to be the best. Anya St. Clair is a fashion editor with almost everything she wants: an on-point social media presence, an impeccable wardrobe, and her dream job. If she's left a few bodies (literal ones) in her wake, well, that's just the nature of the business. But despite her almost-perfect life, Anya can't help obsessing over her glamorous colleague, Sarah Taft. Anya doesn't just want to be Sarah's best friend; she wants to be Sarah's whole world. When they're up for the same promotion, Anya realizes that in order to win, she might have to fall back on her psychopath ways—and things might get fatal, fast.
by A.E. Osworth
In this thrilling story of survival and anger, a woman has her whole life turned upside down after speaking out against workplace hostility–and inadvertently becomes the leader of a cultural movement.
Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture"? It depends on who you ask…