ThrillerFest announced the International Thriller Awards for 2020, and some top-notch books were nominated for the best first novels of 2020. We have My Lovely Wife, about a murderous couple; Miracle Creek, about a mysterious explosion at a clinic; The Good Detective, about a detective who may have killed his suspect; The Silent Patient, about a woman who kills her husband and never speaks again; and American Spy, about a woman who must seduce a man in order to protect her country. The winners will be announced on Saturday, July 11, during a virtual ThrillerFest.
In American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, intelligence officer Marie is treading water in a career that's stalling out. She's a young black woman working on an old boys' club of the FBI. She's often overlooked for high-profile jobs, so when an intriguing one is offered to her, she can't resist. The job is on a task force to undermine Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary president of Burkina Faso who's made himself a target for American intervention. Marie is struggling with the death of her sister, and the thoughts that maybe she was only offered this job because of her looks, but she does it anyway. She will observe Thomas, seduce him, and have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. She will also learn what it truly means to be a spy, a sister, an American, and a lover.
In Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, we meet a group of people who only know each other because of the special treatment center they all use in their small town in Virginia. The hyperbaric chamber could hold the cure for a wide range of conditions, from infertility to autism. But one day, the chamber explodes and two people die. And it's clear that the explosion wasn't an accident. Each person in this group tells their side of the story, and they're all hiding secrets and betrayals. From the owners trying to cash out on insurance to a protestor who believes the treatment center isn't safe, anyone is a suspect in this crime.
After fifteen years, this couple's marriage is finding new forms of excitement. They look like normal people with a normal story. They met, they fell in love, they made babies, they moved to the suburbs. They told each other their darkest secrets. Now, they hold a secret together: getting away with murder. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is their story.
Detective P.T. Marsh is the star of John McMahon's The Good Detective. He was the good detective. He was a rising talent in the police force of his Georgia town until his wife and son were killed in an accident. He's been in a spiral of grieving and drinking since that night, and with all those emotions comes disaster. Like the night he confronts the abusive boyfriend of an exotic dancer, and gets a call the next morning to head to his next murder case, and the dead guy is that guy he confronted the night before. But it turns out that this dead guy may be connected to a local arson and lynching. Marsh has to face the reality that he may have killed the top suspect in this crime he has to solve.
Related: Not Your Grandmother's Detectives
Alicia Berenson lives a perfect little life. Alicia is the silent patient in Alex Michaelides's The Silent Patient. She's a famous painter and married to a fashion photographer. They live in a lovely house with huge windows overlooking a park in London. One night when her husband gets home from work, she shoots him five times in the face and never speaks another word again. Her story becomes a grand mystery that the public can't get enough of, and the price of her art skyrockets. She's locked away in a forensic unit, where a criminal psychotherapist is on the edge of his seat waiting to work with Alicia and get her to talk.
What to Read Next
Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them and writing about them for Book Riot. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color.