1. EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker

Wendy Walker gives readers a terrifying, intimate look at true narcissism and a totally dysfunctional family in this twisted psychological thriller set partially on a rugged, nearly-vacant island off the coast of Maine. Two sisters disappear but when, three years later, only one comes back, a forensic psychologist must get to the bottom of this mystery and decipher the truth from the lies.

  1. THE RIVER AT NIGHT by Erica Ferencik

Four adult female friends head out on a whitewater rafting trip deep into the Maine wilderness. But when a freak accident leads to a casualty among their group, the women find themselves poorly equipped to handle the wilderness and fighting to survive. Unfortunately, the elements and the terrain soon become the least of their concerns; just when they think they’re saved, things take a turn for the worse. This book is absolutely terrifying.


Any one of Stephen King’s books could easily make this list, but I personally have a soft spot for THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON. When a young girl hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail with family gets separated from her group, she has only baseball commentary on a portable radio and her active imagination to keep her company. With supernatural elements in the mix, this is a brilliant story of worst fears, hope and survival.

  1. THE LAST HOUSE GUEST by Megan Miranda

There’s a divide in Littleport, Maine, between the wealthy summer tourists, and those who live there year-round. But for best friends Avery and Sadie, a summer girl and a local girl, there’s not – until one of them winds up dead. THE LAST HOUSE GUEST is a page-turning mystery set in an idyllic beachfront community, showing the deep-seated friction between the haves and the have nots.

  1. THE WEIGHT OF WATER by Anita Shreve

This novel, set on Smuttynose Island on the Isles of Shoals, a group of islands split between Maine and New Hampshire, depicts a century-old barbaric mystery based on the real life 1873 ax murder of two women. In the present day, a photographer is sent for research purposes, but upon arriving on Smuttynose Island, she finds herself immersed in a mystery of her own. One of my favorite Shreve reads.

  1. THE KIND WORTH KILLING by Peter Swanson

Two strangers, Ted and Lilly, meet at an airport bar and soon make plans to kill Ted’s wife, who’s been cheating on him. Set in both Boston, where Ted, his wife, and Lilly all live, and Maine, where the wife, Miranda, is currently working, this is the type of book where you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor more than once. Incredibly plotted with twist after twist after mind blowing twist.

  1. HOW IT HAPPENED by Michael Koryta

I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Michael Koryta and was completely gripped (as was the entire audience) by his real life inspiration behind this novel: the disappearance and murder of a 19 -year-old woman from Indiana in 2000, with a horrific confession that was retracted when the body was later found under completely different circumstances. In HOW IT HAPPENED, Koryta moves his version of this story to rural Maine, but some of the details remain the same: a barbaric murder, a potentially bogus confession. Chilling and affecting, this is a must read.

  1. THE TENTH CIRCLE by Jodi Picoult

I find every one of Picoult’s books to be poignant and propulsive, and THE TENTH CIRCLE is no different. This one centers on the sexual assault of a teenage girl by an ex-boyfriend, and the physical and emotional fallout of the violence. With settings split between Maine and Alaska, this novel shows the length a father will go to get to the truth and protect his family.

  1. THE GOLDEN HOUR by T. Greenwood

Looking for an escape from her dark past and a break from reality, Wyn Davies agrees to be the temporary caretaker of a home on a remote Maine island. But when she discovers undeveloped film in the basement of the home and takes it upon herself to have the film developed, she finds herself at the center of a decades-old mystery. In typical Greenwood fashion, this book is stirring, eloquently written and propulsive.

  1. THE OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight

In her young adult series, THE OUTLIERS, McCreight takes a break from her typical psychological thriller ways to present something part-sci fi, part-conspiracy theory, and entirely thrilling. In the first installment (named for the series itself) when one friend – Cassie – disappears, leaving behind only a cryptic text, another – Wylie – finds herself racing deep into the remote Maine wilderness, in a race against time, to find her. This book isn’t just for teens; adults will be equally as consumed.


Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six psychological suspense novels, including her latest release, THE OTHER MRS. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller,” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times). Visit her at www.MaryKubica.com.

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