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The 10 best thrillers and mysteries of 2018

(Illustrations by Neiko Ng for The Washington Post; paper engineering by Simon Arizpe for The Washington Post; photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Dark Sacred Night

By Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

Connelly’s 32nd book brings together detectives from his previous books — Harry Bosch and Renee Ballard — who join forces over a cold case: the murder of 15-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway found dead on the streets of Hollywood. The result is ingenious, frantically suspenseful and very, very bleak. — Maureen Corrigan

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

By Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout)

Ware, author of “The Woman in Cabin 10,” delivers a perfectly executed suspense tale in the mode of Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” Among other Gothic delights, there’s a crumbling old mansion, a disputed inheritance, an orphaned heroine and a grim housekeeper, as our heroine, Hal, tries to figure out the story behind a misdirected letter that changes her life. — M.C.

The Flight Attendant

By Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)

In this fast-paced thriller, a flight attendant wakes up next to a dead man and with no clue about what, if anything, she had to do with his demise. This is the ultimate airplane book, and not just because of its name. Entertaining and filled with inside info on the less-glamorous aspects of flight crews’ lives, it may even make you more politely attentive the next time you’re asked to listen to that in-flight lecture on emergency water landings. — M.C.

The Fox

By Frederick Forsyth (Putnam)

In 1971, Forsyth, then a freelance reporter in need of cash, published his first novel, “The Day of the Jackal.” His tale of a plot to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle won international success and established Forsyth as one of the world’s premier spy novelists. Now, at 80, Forsyth has published his 17th novel, “The Fox,” an ingenious, expertly written and serious look at international conflicts that threaten the future of the world. — Patrick Anderson

Give Me Your Hand

By Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)

A rivalrous female relationship lies at the dark heart of Abbott’s 10th novel. Kit Owens and Diane Fleming, best friends in high school, are torn apart by a terrible secret. Ten years later, when Diane reappears in Kit’s life, Kit accuses her former friend of setting her up: “By telling me, you trapped me.” This is a baroque thriller where dead mice (and other things) suddenly drop out of ceilings and characters go missing in labyrinthine passageways. — M.C.

The Infinite Blacktop

By Sara Gran (Atria)

Gran’s heroine, Claire DeWitt, is one part Auguste Dupin, one part Jack Kerouac-type Dharma Bum and all-over nasty woman on a mission. The world she inhabits as a private eye is traditional (mean streets, duplicitous clients and an atmosphere of cosmic fatigue) and, yet, so weird that her cases seem as if they’re taking place on one of those old Anytown, USA, “Twilight Zone” sets. Gran ups the ante by concocting three stories that take place at three stages of her detective’s life, culminating in an ending that leads only to more questions. — M.C.

Our House

By Louise Candlish (Berkley)

At the start of Candlish’s superb thriller “Our House,” Fi Lawson, a 40-ish wife and mother, is returning to her comfortable home in South London when she is greeted by an alarming sight: Someone is moving into her house, never mind the forged signatures on the sales documents. Where is Fi to go? What can she tell her sons? The rest of this delicious literary thriller explains how this disaster came to pass. — P.A.

The Reckoning

By John Grisham (Doubleday)

In “The Reckoning,” Grisham returns to the mythical town of Clanton, Miss., the setting of his career-launching novel “A Time to Kill,” published 30 years ago. Set in 1946, the book centers on World War II hero Pete Banning, who returns home a changed man, packing his wife off to an insane asylum and shooting the town’s popular Methodist minister, refusing to explain either action. As the why-he-dunnit unwinds, the plot wades into a tangle of white and black family relationships, coming to rest in moral waters as muddy as the river that gives the place its name. — Neely Tucker


By Laura Lippman (William Morrow)

Lippman, whose novels have won numerous crime-fiction prizes, calls “Sunburn” her first venture into noir, in part inspired by her admiration for James M. Cain’s classic “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” It is indeed a dark tale with no shortage of sex and violence. It is also an impressive achievement, particularly in her creation of Polly Costello, a sometimes lethal woman who may or may not be more sinned against than sinning. — P.A.

The Woman in the Window

By A.J. Finn (William Morrow)

This year’s blockbuster thriller lives up to the hype: It’s a beautifully written, brilliantly plotted, richly enjoyable tale of love, loss and madness. The title character is an agoraphobic child psychologist named Anna Fox who lives alone and delights in spying on her neighbors — and drinking a lot of wine. When she witnesses a terrible crime, Anna becomes both an unreliable witness and an unreliable narrator. — P.A.

Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for the NPR program “Fresh Air,” teaches literature at Georgetown University

Patrick Anderson reviews thrillers and mysteries regularly for The Washington Post.

Neely Tucker is the director of Gum Branch Creative. His most recent novel is “Only the Hunted Run.”

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