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18 Campus Thrillers for Fans of Dark Academia

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Colleges and universities are home to murder and mayhem in these campus-set thrillers that will keep you up all night.

Never Saw Me Coming

Never Saw Me Coming

Books

Edgar Award Nominee for Best First NovelNamed a New York Times Best Thriller of 2021"I devoured this riveting book through a day of travel...My desire to rush to the end clashed with my desire to savor every word. Who would be the last psychopath standing?” — New York Times Book Review"Fresh, fast-paced and fiendishly clever! If you love watching true crime and wonder about the psychopaths among us, this is the book for you!" — Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling authorYou should never trust a psychopath. But what if you had no choice?It would be easy to underestimate Chloe Sevre… She’s a freshman honor student, a legging-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. She spends her time on yogalates, frat parties and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her. Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study of psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan for revenge into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here

The Girls Are All So Nice Here

Books

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this “propulsive” (Megan Miranda, bestselling author of The Girl from Widow Hills) psychological thriller.A lot has changed since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads, “We need to talk about what we did that night.” It seems Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thoughts she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else and the girl who paid the price. Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a “chilling and twisty” (Book Riot) “page-turner” (Entertainment Weekly) about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

The Maidens

The Maidens

Books

We all keep secrets. Even from ourselves. 'A thrilling, heart-in-throat ride' STEPHEN FRY'An absolute jaw-dropper' LUCY FOLEY'Elegant, sinister, stylish' CHRIS WHITAKER'Grips from start to finish' HARRIET TYCE* * * * *YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE MAIDENS.The Maidens are Cambridge University's most exclusive society, whose members are selected by the charismatic professor of Greek tragedy, Edward Fosca.A SECRETIVE SET OF THE BRIGHTEST, MOST CAPTIVATING STUDENTS.When one of the Maidens is murdered, grieving young therapist Mariana Andros is drawn back to the idyllic campus where she was once herself a student.THE GROUP FROM WHICH EACH VICTIM WILL BE CHOSEN.Because beneath the university's ancient traditions and beauty is a web of secrets, jealousy and lies. And when the killer threatens the person she loves most, Mariana will give anything to stop them - even her own life... From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession... * * * * *'There's definitely a flavour of The Secret History to Alex Michaelides's second novel ... The Maidens is a compelling read, and delivers its Hellenic thrills in style.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH'A book which screams 'make me into a TV series' ... his writing, especially his characterisation, possesses a unique sparkle and more promise than most other writers.' DAILY MAIL'Nothing short of genius.' WOMAN & HOME'How do you go about following one of the biggest thrillers of the past decade? You write something even better.' CHRIS WHITAKER, bestselling author of WE BEGIN AT THE END'Grips from intriguing start to horrifying finish ... A brilliant achievement.'HARRIET TYCE'A page-turner of the first order'DAVID BALDACCI'The greatest campus novel since The Secret History by Donna Tartt ... with a climatic twist that you will NEVER see coming.'TONY PARSONS'A stunning psychological thriller ... Michaelides is on a roll.'PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

The Truants

The Truants

Books

One of the New York Times Book Review's Top Ten Best Crime Novels of 2020One of USA Today's Best Books 2020"[A] hypnotic debut. . . .[An] uncommonly clever whodunit."--New York Times Book ReviewPerfect for lovers of Agatha Christie and The Secret History, The Truants is a seductive, unsettling, and beautifully written debut novel of literary suspense--a thrilling exploration of deceit, first love, and the depths to which obsession can drive us.People disappear when they most want to be seen.Jess Walker has come to a concrete campus under the flat gray skies of East Anglia for one reason: to be taught by the mesmerizing and rebellious Dr. Lorna Clay, whose seminars soon transform Jess's thinking on life, love, and Agatha Christie. Swept up in Lorna's thrall, Jess falls in with a tightly knit group of rule-breakers--Alec, a courageous South African journalist with a nihilistic streak; Georgie, a seductive, pill-popping aristocrat; and Nick, a handsome geologist with layers of his own.But the dynamic between the friends begins to darken, until a tragedy shatters their friendships and love affairs, and reveals a terrible secret. Soon Jess must face the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of JanuaryA USA Today Must-Read Book of WinterAn Observer Book of the Year (UK)A Marie Claire Top 5 Christmas Read (UK)A Times Best New Crime Novel (UK)A Guardian Top 10 Golden Age Detective NovelAn Irish Times Best Debut of 2019An Apple Books Pick for January

These Violent Delights

These Violent Delights

Books

A Literary Hub Best Book of Year • A Crime Reads Best Debut of the Year • A Newsweek 25 Best Fall Books • A Philadelphia Inquirer 10 Big Books for the Fall • An O Magazine.com LGBTQ Books That Are Changing the Literary Landscape in 2020 Selection • An Electric Lit Most Anticipated Debut of the Second Half of 2020 • A Paperback Paris Best New LGBTQ+ Books To Read This Year Selection • A Passport Best Book of the MonthThe Secret History meets Lie with Me in Micah Nemerever's compulsively readable debut novel—a feverishly taut Hitchcockian story about two college students, each with his own troubled past, whose escalating obsession with one another leads to an act of unspeakable violence.When Paul enters university in early 1970s Pittsburgh, it’s with the hope of moving past the recent death of his father. Sensitive, insecure, and incomprehensible to his grieving family, Paul feels isolated and alone. When he meets the worldly Julian in his freshman ethics class, Paul is immediately drawn to his classmate’s effortless charm.Paul sees Julian as his sole intellectual equal—an ally against the conventional world he finds so suffocating. Paul will stop at nothing to prove himself worthy of their friendship, because with Julian life is more invigorating than Paul could ever have imagined. But as charismatic as he can choose to be, Julian is also volatile and capriciously cruel, and Paul becomes increasingly afraid that he can never live up to what Julian expects of him.As their friendship spirals into all-consuming intimacy, they each learn the lengths to which the other will go in order to stay together, their obsession ultimately hurtling them toward an act of irrevocable violence.Unfolding with a propulsive ferocity, These Violent Delights is an exquisitely plotted excavation of the depths of human desire and the darkness it can bring forth in us.

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