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5 Debut Thrillers with Female Protagonists That’ll Get Your Pulse Racing

by  | February 28

We are delighted to welcome author Samantha M. Bailey to Get Lit to give us the scoop on which debut female-led thrillers everyone will be buzzing about this year. As the author of the riveting debut psychological thriller Woman on the Edge, available March 3rd, she certainly knows what she’s talking about. Thanks for joining us, Samantha!

2020 is gearing up to be an incredible year for female authors and female protagonists. There are so many thrillers releasing with brave, bold women at the center, and I can’t wait to read them all. From what I’ve read so far, here are five excellent debuts, in no particular order, by female writers who hold nothing back and are sure to make your heart pound. 

Framed

Framed

by S. L. McInnis

Canadian author S. L. McInnis’s debut, Framed, which released February 4, is crime noir at its best. Protagonists Beth Montgomery and Cassie Ogilvy were college roommates whose lives veered in very different directions. When a quadruple murder brings the two women back together, the story, a stunning blend of brilliant psychological suspense and hard-hitting police procedural, breathlessly unfolds page by page. With a taut plot, twists in every chapter, perfectly placed clues, and a shocking, fully satisfying ending, Framed should be on everyone’s to-read list.

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When I Was You

When I Was You

by Amber Garza

Imagine you’re a lonely mother with an empty nest and you find out there’s another mother in your town with your exact same first and last name, and an infant. For Kelly Medina, it’s the start of an obsessive friendship…until the other Kelly disappears. With an incredibly original premise and dark, complex characters, Amber Garza’s debut thriller, When I Was You, packs a wallop. I was completely enthralled by the unpredictable twists and turns, which culminate in an explosive ending. A definite must-read, it releases on August 25, and film rights have been sold to Focus Features and Will Packer Productions.

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No Bad Deed

No Bad Deed

by Heather Chavez

Cassie Larkin is just driving home in the rain when she sees a man and woman fighting on the side of the road. Instead of ignoring what is happening, the mother of two gets out to intervene. Her entire life implodes when the man tells her: “Let her die, and I’ll let you live.” But she does not let her die. The next day Cassie’s husband disappears. No Bad Deed is a chilling, expertly plotted suspense novel with a breakneck pace. It released February 18, and is going to be on everyone’s radar.

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The Lady Upstairs

The Lady Upstairs

by Halley Sutton

The Lady Upstairs is an astonishing and brilliant debut—a gripping, feminist crime noir that juxtaposes the glittering LA social scene with its gritty underbelly.

To pay off a debt, Jo has a unique job: corralling young ladies into seducing powerful, seedy men in Hollywood—then blackmailing them. When one of the men is murdered, Jo is a target of both her boss—the woman only known as the Lady Upstairs—and the LAPD. She has to pull off one more con in order to survive, but it could very well be her last, in this incredibly powerful story of a femme fatale out for revenge.

Sutton is a sensational writer, with one of the most intriguing protagonists I've ever come across. She is an author everyone will be talking about when The Lady Upstairs releases on July 14.

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Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold

by Stephanie Wrobel

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel is one of the most disturbing, chilling, uncomfortable books I’ve ever read—and I loved it. Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a frightening yet also fascinating psychological disorder, and Wrobel brilliantly employs it as the springboard for her story about two female characters: mother Patty and daughter Rose Gold. While neither is a protagonist I’d want to have dinner with, Patty’s and Rose Gold’s flaws and darkness captivated me. One is the perpetrator; one, the victim, yet Wrobel turns this thriller on its head by presenting each of them as both hero and villain. The writing is masterful, and the twists are outstanding. Darling Rose Goldout March 17, is one of the most anticipated reads of 2020 for good reason.

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Woman on the Edge

Woman on the Edge

by Samantha M. Bailey

Plus, want to learn more about Woman on the Edge? See why Get Lit's Kristin choose it as one of her Most Anticipated Releases for March:

Woman on the Edge, Samantha Bailey's debut novel, which publishes March 3, is a white-knuckle thrill ride from page one. Imagine you're standing on a subway platform, idly awaiting the train, and just as it barrels into the station a perfect stranger addresses you by name, tosses you her CHILD, and jumps. RIGHT?! That's where this story begins. Poor Morgan Kincaid—she was already just trying to make lemonade out of some serious life lemons, and now she’s embroiled in a nightmare that just keeps getting creepier. With every new chapter comes a new twist. How did that woman she'd never met know her name? And why did the stranger beg Morgan to take her baby, to "keep her safe"? Was she paranoid? Suffering from postpartum psychosis? I was myself a Woman on the Edge (of my seat), devouring this book to get all the answers. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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