When it comes to suspenseful thrillers, girls rule, at least as far as book titles go. Even before the Gone Girl on the Train juggernaut of 2012–2016 (which began with the hardcover publication of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and ran hard through the 2016 release of the movie version of The Girl on the Train), Lisbeth Salander was playing head games with readers, starting with 2008’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The years since have brought Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, and an entire sorority’s worth of bestselling female characters who are threatening, under threat, or both. The coming spring and summer bring a new pledge class—mostly “girls,” plus the odd sister, mother, or daughter.
Dead Girl Running
Christina Dodd. HQN, May
When a former employee of the remote resort where Kellen Adams works is found murdered, she gets tangled up in the investigation while trying to keep her own past a secret.
Graeme Cameron. Park Row, June
Detective Alisha Green is on the hunt for a serial killer who’s responsible for the deaths of numerous local girls—and who also attacked her and left her for dead.
The Favorite Sister
Jessica Knoll. Simon & Schuster, May
Two siblings join the cast of a reality TV show called Goal Diggers—that soon turns deadly—in this sophomore thriller from the author of 2015’s Luckiest Girl Alive.
The Girl in the Woods
Patricia MacDonald. Severn, May
Blair Butler’s sister makes a deathbed confession, prompting Blair to seek out the answer to who really killed her best friend 15 years before.
Girls’ Night Out
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Lake Union, July
Three estranged friends attempt to heal old wounds on a getaway to Tulum, and then one of them disappears.
Last Girl Gone
J.G. Hetherton. Crooked Lane, June
In this series starter, a disgraced investigative journalist dives into a cold case in her hometown—that of the disappearances of numerous children 10 years earlier.
Isabel Ashdown. Kensington, Aug.
Estranged siblings Jessica and Emily reconcile after 16 years apart and move in together—and then Emily’s baby disappears while under Jessica’s care.
Not Her Daughter
Rea Frey. St. Martin’s, Aug.
Nonfiction author Frey makes her fiction debut with the story of three women whose paths collide when one kidnaps the child of another. Complication: the mother isn’t sure she wants her daughter back.
The Other Woman
Sandie Jones. Minotaur, Aug.
In this debut, Emily thinks she’s found the perfect man in Adam, but she has a rival for his affection—his mother, who will do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.
The Perfect Mother
Aimee Molloy. Harper, May
The lives of a group of women become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing. Kerry Washington is set to star in and produce a forthcoming movie adaptation.
David Bell. Berkley, July
Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep and tells him her 10-year-old daughter is missing—and Michael is the father. Michael and Angela, his current wife, get entangled in a mystery that imperils the whole family.
Watch the Girls
Jennifer Wolfe. Grand Central, July
Onetime teen celeb Liv Hendricks, who quit acting when her younger sister vanished under mysterious circumstances, is tasked with investigating another series of disappearances.
The Woman in the Woods
John Connolly. Atria/Bestler, June
When the body of a woman, who apparently died in childbirth, is discovered, PI Charlie Parker is hired to find both her identity and her missing child.