The best suspense novels in a suburban setting

Who am I?

I was born in the suburbs to the east of London and moved to California for adventure, only to end up living in the suburbs to the east of Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s because life is ultimately cyclical, or maybe I’m fated to live life inside a white picket fence. I suspect the real reason I’m here is because I secretly love it. Renegade sprinkler settings, trash day meltdowns, neighbor drama. For a writer, it’s all rich pickings. So far, the burbs have been where I’ve set all my novels and it’s also been fertile soil for the authors below.


I wrote...

Half Sisters

By Virginia Franken,

Book cover of Half Sisters

What is my book about?

After being gone for two decades, Maddy’s half-sister, Emily, is back in town to settle their late father’s estate. It can’t possibly matter anymore that Maddy married Emily’s first love, but the pictures Maddy finds on her husband’s phone tell a different story. Suspicions of an affair are hard to ignore.

Then again, Maddy hasn’t been herself lately. She’s increasingly confused. She’s losing items that are precious to her. The line between what’s real and unreal has become a blur. Though her state of mind starts to become everyone’s cause for concern, Maddy refuses to believe she’s losing her grip on reality. But the one thing she can’t deny is the secret from the past that rewrote all their lives―a secret that’s ready to come out.

The books I picked & why

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The Husbands

By Chandler Baker,

Book cover of The Husbands

Why this book?

My neighbor passed this book over the fence to me with a knowing nod and a couple of pages in, I knew why. Our heroine, Nora Spangler, is a strung-out attorney married to a loveable blue-eyed bear of a man who is entirely incapable when it comes to any of the parenting details that keep the show on the road. The story’s basically a whip-smart Stepford Wives rewire but what I love about this novel is that Baker seems to be one of the few writers out there to detail exactly how women are held back by their domestic burdens before showing us what might just be possible if we could magically transfer the load onto our male counterparts.

The Husbands

By Chandler Baker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Husbands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A howl of feminist rage, but also one that is pure fun' Stylist

The wives here are different. They are living proof that women can have it all: successful careers, loving families, beautiful homes.
Their husbands are different too. They are living proof that men can do just as much as women. They can remember the kids' schedules, use an iron and notice when the house needs dusting.
Nora thinks she's found the perfect new home for her family. But when she agrees to get involved in a wrongful death case in the neighbourhood, Nora becomes convinced that there's a…


The Couple Next Door

By Shari Lapena,

Book cover of The Couple Next Door

Why this book?

Shari Lapena’s debut thriller is an intense, multi-layered kidnap plot packed with twists that keep the reader completely off balance until Lapena’s ready for you to see what’s really going on. It’s a brilliant novel but what hit home for me is that the catalyst for everything that goes wrong is a decision to leave a baby home alone while a couple goes next door for dinner with neighbors. Sure, there’s a monitor and the parents diligently check on the baby every half-hour, but even so, it’s not enough to keep their daughter safe. As a mother, this one forced me to think about the seemingly small parenting choices we make and what they might lead to. 

The Couple Next Door

By Shari Lapena,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Couple Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Not a Happy Family

"The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages." -People

"I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!" -Sue Grafton

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors-a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it…

The House We Grew Up in

By Lisa Jewell,

Book cover of The House We Grew Up in

Why this book?

In England, we have the Queen who opens Parliament and then we have the Queen of Domestic Suspense and that is Lisa Jewell. Lisa has written a slew of phenomenal novels but The House We Grew Up In always comes first to mind whenever I think of her work. The quality of descriptive detail in this book means that years after I first read it, I can still picture every room inside the Bird house and recall every twist and turn in Lorelei Bird’s journey as she transitions from a normal mother in a messy home to a toothless hoarder living out of a depilated den. A fascinating read packed around secrets and lies and an examination of family dynamics. All that glitters isn’t foil-wrapped gold in this one.

The House We Grew Up in

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House We Grew Up in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 bestselling author of The Night She Disappeared, The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone

AN UNFORGETTABLE STORY ABOUT A FAMILY WITH A TERRIBLE SECRET

When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.

But one Easter weekend, something happens - something so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can bring themselves to talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for good.

Until, years later, they are forced to return to the house they grew…


Truly Madly Guilty

By Liane Moriarty,

Book cover of Truly Madly Guilty

Why this book?

On to the suburbs of Sydney where three families gather for a backyard barbeque that culminates in epic disaster. Liane Moriarty’s books each have their own flavor but what always makes her writing for me, is the utterly relatable characters. In this story, I felt completely ‘known’ by mother of two, Clementine. Selfish when she knows she shouldn’t be, wracked with guilt over things that simultaneously are and aren’t her fault, letting herself embrace her sexuality only to come up against dire consequences. Liane Moriarty’s famed novel is Big Little Lies but if you’re looking for more of the same best pal characters and unthinkable moral dilemmas, put this one on your list. 

Truly Madly Guilty

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Truly Madly Guilty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Read the addictive bestseller now a major Amazon Prime TV series starring Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Regina Hall, Manny Jacinto, Bobby Cannavale and Luke Evans**

PERFECT LIVES OR PERFECT LIES? THE UNPUTDOWNABLE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER AND RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK, FROM THE AUTHOR OF HBO'S AWARD WINNING BIG LITTLE LIES

'A super-suspenseful page-turner' Mail on Sunday
_____________

Nine perfect strangers, each hiding an imperfect life.

A luxury retreat cut off from the outside world.

Ten days that promise to change your life.

But some promises - like some lives - are perfect lies . . .…


Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng,

Book cover of Little Fires Everywhere

Why this book?

I made the mistake of taking Little Fires Everywhere with me on a rare trip to Mexico with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I really did want to catch up but kept finding myself sneaking out of happy hour to huddle by the pool alone with this novel which I tore through in two days. In this novel, Mrs. Richardson, a third-generation resident of picture-perfect Cleveland Heights, comes head-to-head with boho single mom, Mia Warren, who is new in town. What unfolds is an unexpected story about control versus chaos and the unpredictable consequences both can wreak. You will gobble this whole.

Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Little Fires Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller!

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." -Reese Witherspoon

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Our Missing Hearts comes a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family secrets, neighbourhoods, and couples?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about family secrets, neighbourhoods, and couples.

Family Secrets Explore 96 books about family secrets
Neighbourhoods Explore 16 books about neighbourhoods
Couples Explore 11 books about couples

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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