When you pass through a small town, it might seem like not a lot is going on. At surface level, small towns can seem sleepy and slow. Everyone knows everyone and follows the same routines day in and day out. Simple enough, right? Well, if you’ve read any suspense, thrillers, or mysteries recently, you’ll know nothing is ever that simple. Small towns are often the perfect setting for hidden agendas, secrets, lies, crimes, and even murder. Don’t believe us? Just check out these new small-town suspense books for mystery and crime fiction just brimming with secrets and lies.
After discovering seven men murdered aboard their yacht – including two Senate rivals – Israel Pike is regarded as a prime suspect. A troubled man infamous on Salvation Point Island for killing his own father a decade before, Israel has few options, no friends, and a life-threatening secret.
Elsewhere on the island, 12-year-old Lyman Rankin seeks shelter from his alcoholic father in an abandoned house only to discover that he is not alone. A mysterious woman greets him with a hatchet and a promise: “Make a sound and I’ll kill you.” As the investigation barrels forward, Lyman, Israel, and the fate of the case collide in immutable ways.
What Have We Done is an edge-of-your-seat thriller and coming-of-age story about three friends who grew close after their shared traumas. Jenna, Donna, and Nico were all residents of Savior House, an abusive home for teens where several kids mysteriously went missing. Although all three have moved on to live successful lives, the horrifying memories of what they experienced at Savior House have never left them. Now, 25 years later, someone is trying to kill them, and the only way to save their lives is to confront the nightmares of their past.
Edgar award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale is back with The Donut Legion, a mystery set in a small East Texas town that's home to a potentially dangerous evangelist cult called "the Saucer People." The cult runs a local donut shop, which was where Charlie Garner's ex-wife Meg was last seen. Now she's been gone for over a week, and most people assume she's just running away from debt collectors. Charlier, on the other hand, suspects something more sinister is going on. What are "the Saucer People" hiding? And where is Meg now?
In the hurricane-ravaged bottomlands of South Mississippi, where stores are closing and jobs are few, a fierce zealot has gained a foothold, capitalizing on the vulnerability of a dwindling population and a burning need for hope. As she preaches and promises salvation from the light of the pulpit, in the shadows she sows the seeds of violence.
Elsewhere, Jessie and her toddler, Jace, are on the run across the Mississippi/Louisiana line, in a resentful return to her childhood home and her desolate father. Holt, Jace's father, is missing and hunted by a brutish crowd, and an old man witnesses the wrong thing in the depths of night. In only a matter of days, all of their lives will collide, and be altered, in the maelstrom of the changing world.
Twenty years ago, Naomi Shaw and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, sent a man to prison. He was a serial killer who was wanted for murdering six women. It was their testimony that put him behind bars. But their testimony was a lie, and now Naomi is ready to tell the truth. What Lies in the Woods is the story of a secret that might just be worth killing for.
The House in the Pines is a dark, atmospheric debut thriller that follows unreliable narrator Maya, who is dealing with withdrawals after turning to drugs to cope with trauma. Seven years ago, Maya witnessed her best friend Aubrey inexplicably drop dead in front of a man named Frank whom they'd been hanging out with all summer. Maya still suffers from gaps in her memory, but when she sees a YouTube video of a woman dying in the same strange way, all of her memories come rushing back to her. Especially when she sees Frank.
One early morning on a Norfolk beach in Virginia, a dead body is discovered by a man taking his daily swim—Arman Bajalan, formerly an interpreter in Iraq. After narrowly surviving an assassination attempt that killed his wife and child, Arman has been given lonely sanctuary in the US as a maintenance worker at the Sea Breeze Motel. Now, convinced that the body is connected to his past, he knows he is still not safe.
Seasoned detective Catherine Wheel and her newly minted partner have little to go on beyond a bus ticket in the dead man’s pocket. It leads them to Sally Ewell, a local journalist as grief-stricken as Arman is by the Iraq War, who is investigating a corporation on the cusp of landing a multi-billion-dollar government defense contract.
As victims mount around Arman, taking the team down wrong turns and towards startling evidence, they find themselves in a race, committed to unraveling the truth and keeping Arman alive—even if it costs them absolutely everything.
What spreads faster than anything else in a small town? Lies and rumors. In I Know What You Did, a bestselling novel by an anonymous author fictionalizes the death of Petal Woznewski's childhood best friend Megan. As Petal reads the novel, she's shocked to see the story is rooted in a secret she thought she'd buried 30 years ago. Looking for answers, Petal returns to her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. But the more Petal digs for the truth, the more questions she has.
A Madness of Sunshine is a suspenseful thriller set in the New Zealand town of Golden Cove. The town is small, but it has had more than its fair share of mysteries and murders. Eight years have passed since a string of disappearances left the town completely rattled, and the community has tried its best to bury the past. But then another woman goes missing, and everyone in Golden Cove worries that something dangerous is threatening their community.
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