Always nice to have some new ideas for a quick read. After all, you don’t already have a stack of TBR (to be read) books, do you? Or maybe multiple stacks?
22 Fast-Paced Books to Binge This Weekend
By Melissa Flandreau•Updated: March 25, 2021•7 min read
Escaping into a good book is our favorite form of distraction. If you’re looking for a totally engrossing read to pass the time, we have just the list for you. From pulse-pounding thrillers to addictive romantic comedies to page-turning contemporary fiction, these fast-paced books will pull you in and keep you captivated until the last page. Read on to discover which quick read you should pick up this weekend.
When Dr. Evelyn Caldwell discovers that her husband, Nathan, is having an affair with her clone, she’s shocked and disturbed — even more so because he used her award-winning research to make Martine. But when Nathan ends up dead, Evelyn and Martine must work together to cover up the crime. Described by Publishers Weekly as both “creepy” and “exhilarating,” The Echo Wife is a science fiction thriller with a unique premise that will pull you in from the very first page.
The first in a new series, this riveting read stars Detective Samantha Jazz as she tracks down a ruthless killer known as “The Poet” — a moniker based on the cryptic words he leaves behind at his crime scenes. A plot packed with murder and mystery makes this one a page-turner.
Can’t help but fall for rom-coms that feature fake relationships? The Dating Plan is a charming novel that Publishers Weekly says offers a “funny, convincing take” on this beloved trope. Under familial pressure to settle down, Daisy Patel conspires with her brother’s best friend, Liam Murphy, to solve both of their problems. Since Liam can’t inherit his family’s distillery unless he ties the knot, a marriage of convenience is the perfect solution. Of course, when it comes to love, things are never quite that simple.
In her compelling and vulnerable memoir, Academy Award–nominated actress Sharon Stone relays her brushes with fame and fortune, shares more about her childhood, and details her journey back to health after suffering a massive stroke. A story of strength and healing, The Beauty of Living Twice is a memorable, honest read.
Prepare to be hooked from the start: Pulitzer Prize–winning author Colson Whitehead says, “Askaripour closes the deal on the first page of this mesmerizing novel.” Black Buck follows 22-year-old Darren, who joins the sales team of a New York startup and is the only Black person at the company. This sharp, satirical debut explores racism, class, and the dark underbelly of corporate America.
If you love unreliable narrators and twists and turns that keep you guessing, then The Wife Stalker deserves a spot on your to-be-read list. When Piper Reynard moves to Westport, Connecticut, she opens a rehab and wellness center — while also quickly setting her sights on married lawyer Leo Drakos. When Leo returns her affections, his wife, Joanna, is determined to dig up Piper’s past.
Frese’s debut follows Evie Austin — a self-proclaimed “bad girl” — as she navigates life’s ups and downs on the North Carolina coast. Filled with humor, heart, and insight, The Baddest Girl on the Planet is an absorbing read, and as the story flips between Evie’s past and present, readers will quickly find themselves rooting for her.
Who doesn’t love a delicious con story? When a cunning grifter and a privileged heiress cross paths, it soon becomes impossible to know who’s conning who in this twisty tale. Told through alternating perspectives, the plot builds and bends in intricate and surprising ways. Kirkus Reviews calls Pretty Things “fiendishly clever.”
The Vanishing Half begins with twin sisters who run away from their small Black community at the age of 16. Years later, one sister returns to her hometown with her daughter. The other lives in California, hiding her past from her friends, husband, and family. When their daughters’ lives unexpectedly collide, the twins must choose whether to reconcile their distance. Expertly paced and plotted, The Vanishing Half keeps you hungry to learn more about each woman’s story and choices.
Ten years after Maya Seale convinces her fellow jurors to acquit a teacher accused of murder, a crew arrives to film a true crime documentary series about the case. But when one of the jurors is mysteriously killed, Maya becomes the lead suspect. True crime lovers will race through this suspenseful novel from the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game, which Publishers Weekly said “set[s] a new standard for legal thrillers.”
When Claire swaps plane tickets at the airport with another woman — whose flight goes down — Claire takes on the new identity. Author Aimee Molloy says The Last Flight offers “everything you want in a book.” Pulse-pounding and irresistible, Clark’s latest thriller will you have guessing all the way up until the explosive end.
Fair warning: You’ll think twice about checking social media after reading this one. Complex and thought-provoking, the novel uses dual timelines and a dystopian future to dig into the dark side of social media and how it’s fundamentally changed the way we connect with others. Kirkus Reviews not only gave Followers a starred review, but it also named Angelo’s chilling debut one of the “most buzzed-about books right now.” You’ll have no trouble speeding through it to join in on the conversation.
If the out-there premise of Nothing to See Here doesn’t immediately draw you in, then Wilson’s witty writing and dark humor certainly will. When Lillian Breaker’s old roommate — who’s now married to a senator — asks if she’d be interested in becoming a governess for her twins, Lillian jumps at the chance. But there’s just one catch: The 10-year-olds occasionally burst into flames. Publishers Weekly calls Wilson’s quirky, poignant novel “exceptional and exceptionally hilarious” and praises its ability to capture “the wrenching emotions of caring for children.”
Creepy and delightfully atmospheric, St. James’s newest novel will have you on edge (and possibly looking over your shoulder) until the final page. Jumping between 1982 and 2017 in Upstate New York, The Sun Down Motel follows Viv Delaney, a night clerk at the Sun Down, and her niece, Carly Kirk, who — more than 30 years later — finds herself caught up in the same mysteries that led to her aunt’s disappearance. Unless you have nerves of steel, you might not want to pick this one up when you’re home alone.
Such a Fun Age stirred up an incredible amount of buzz before its publication, including a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, and the hype has held up. A recent pick for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, Reid’s debut tells the story of Emira Tucker, a Black woman falsely accused of kidnapping her babysitting charge, a young white child. Exploring the intersection of race, privilege, and family, its fast-moving plot will have you racing through to the final page.
Rose Gold Watts spent the first 18 years of her life believing she was sick, only to learn her mother was behind all her mysterious illnesses. When her mother is released from prison and claims she wants to reconcile, Rose Gold and her mother soon find themselves in a world of psychological manipulation and revenge. Publishers Weekly praised the novel, saying, “Propulsive pacing, a claustrophobic setting, and vividly sketched characters who are equal parts victim and villain conspire to create an anxious, unsettling narrative.”
This charming rom-com offers a heartwarming escape and, as NPR puts it, is “a laugh-out-loud love story full of poignant revelations about human nature.” After a brush with death, Chloe Brown is determined to do the things she never dared to try before. But there’s just one problem: She needs someone to help her. That’s where her neighbor comes in. They may not like each other, but motorcycle-riding artist Red is the ideal person to help Chloe cross items off her “Get a Life” list. Along with a great enemies-to-lovers romance between Chloe and Red, the novel offers a realistic look at chronic illness through Chloe’s fibromyalgia.
Thursday may know her husband has more than one wife, but that doesn’t mean she knows every secret Seth is hiding. Perfect for anyone who tore through Gone Girl, The Wives will enthrall readers with its fascinating characters and unique premise. In other words, you won’t be able to put down this fast-paced thriller until you figure out what’s really going on.
This latest fantasy from Jemisin, a three-time Hugo Award–winning and New York Times bestselling author, has received glowing praise from all corners. Kirkus Reviews hailed it as “fierce, poetic, uncompromising,” while The City of Brass author S. A. Chakraborty called it “one of the most brilliant books I have ever had the honor of reading.” In The City We Became, New York City comes alive, and when it faces an ancient, imposing threat, its people must come together to protect it. Jemisin’s vivid writing will transport readers to this alternate NYC — and have them falling in love with it.
Let yourself be whisked away to the Mediterranean in Ward’s latest, which follows a 71-year-old woman who wins a 10-day cruise that will take her and her three grown children from Athens to Barcelona. Along with sparking wanderlust in readers, The Jetsetters dives into family dynamics, new loves, and the amusing antics that can take place aboard cruise ships. New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand found herself “delighted anew in every port,” calling the novel “fun, sexy, and engrossing.”
We don’t recommend starting this one late in the day. If you do, you might find yourself up all night, tearing through the pages to see how the action-packed plot resolves itself. When a teenage girl goes missing, a mysterious man known as Wilde is pulled into the investigation at the request of Hester Crimstein, a TV lawyer. When a second teen disappears, it quickly becomes clear that nothing is as it seems… and in classic Coben style, the book gives readers layers of secrets to unpack.
In this engrossing thriller that Lee Child calls “sensationally good,” a former getaway driver is lured into one last heist that may prove more dangerous than he bargained for. Combining the best of movies like Ocean’s Eleven and Drive, Blacktop Wasteland is a powerful new addition to the thriller world — one that crime fiction legend Walter Mosley says is “an intoxicating thrill of a ride.”