The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz
A tapped-out novelist “borrows” a plot from a former student (now dead) and uses it to write a best-seller. He assumes he’ll never be found out, but Korelitz has other plans for the hapless appropriator.
Northern Spy, by Flynn Berry
Two very different sisters play a dangerous game with the I.R.A. in Northern Ireland in 2019. Berry explores the fierceness of the family bond in this taut story of a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything for her double-agent sister.
Summerwater, by Sarah Moss
This gorgeously written book about a random bunch of vacationers enduring endless rain at a Scottish lakeside resort is animated by a thread of menace that hums quietly beneath the din of their voices until it becomes a roar of anguish at the devastating conclusion.
The Guide, by Peter Heller
A young fishing guide stumbles onto sinister post-pandemic doings at the high-end lodge where he works in Colorado. Heller displays impressive versatility as exquisitely written fly-fishing idylls give way to explosive action.
1979, by Val McDermid
The Queen of Scottish Crime pours her affection for the bygone days of tabloid newspapering into the adventures of two talented outsiders who team up to push the boundaries of journalism in Glasgow circa 1979.
The Turnout, by Megan Abbott
A family-run ballet school’s preparations for The Nutcracker are disrupted when a big bad wolf invades their high-strung, insular world and threatens to blow the house down. Abbott writes with gothic intensity about how the discipline required by ballet can lead to a kind of madness.
A Line to Kill, by Anthony Horowitz
Horowitz delivers pure Agatha Christie–style, murder-on-an-island enjoyment tweaked by a mischievous meta-narrative device.
Find You First, by Linwood Barclay
The prize for best setup goes to this nimble, highly entertaining thriller: a tech billionaire diagnosed with a rare disease tries to track down the offspring who resulted from long-ago sperm donations to tell them they may carry the gene. Can he get to them before they disappear, one by one?
Lisa Henricksson reviews mystery books for AIR MAIL. She lives in New York City