There’s nothing better when you’re on a sun lounger or sitting on a long haul flight than a book that just races through; a gripping read that you simply can’t put down. With the holiday season on the horizon, we’ve rounded up a few new titles that offer exactly that.

A novel entitled Suicide Club might not sound like a beach read, but Rachel Heng’s debut (Sceptre, 10th July) is cheerier than the title suggests. Lea is 100 years old – we meet her at her birthday party – but instead of nearing the end of her life, she’s only just beginning it. In a futuristic New York, immortality is within the grasp of the most privileged men and women, who live an entirely separate existence from the have-nots who age as humans have always done. But after a series of events turn Lea’s perfect existence upside down, and she finds herself learning more about the mysterious suicide club, she starts to question whether life is worth living without its corollary. Heng’s far-fetched premise is elevated by her imagination of Lea’s world, which perfectly sends up the clean eating and wellness industries of today.

The Death of Mrs Westaway (Harvill Secker, 28th June) is Ruth Ware’s fourth book and arguably her best yet. As the Agatha Christie-esque title suggests, this is an old-fashioned mystery, set in a creepy country house with an eccentric family and a malevolent housekeeper. Hal, a young woman with absolutely no safety net and no family to speak of, is initially baffled when she receives a letter telling her she has been named in her wealthy grandmother’s will. She knows a mistake has been made, but with debt collectors on her tail, she decides to put her skills as a tarot card reader to good use and pose as the bereaved granddaughter. But someone is determined to keep her away and keep some old secrets buried. Hal is an underdog you can’t help to root for, and The Death of Mrs Westaway is a deliciously-told tale that unfolds with a series of shocks and shivers.

If you prefer historical fiction to thrillers, Kat Gordon’s The Hunters (The Borough Press, out now) will keep you hooked. Dramatising the lives of the so-called ‘Happy Valley’ set of expats in pre-war colonial Kenya, Gordon’s book follows British teenager Theo as he falls headfirst into this seemingly glamorous world, and head over heels for the alluring heiress Sylvie and her magnetic partner Freddie. From the outset, Theo yearns to be part of their crowd – a group of bedhopping men and women for whom money is plentiful, morals irrelevant and consequences be damned – but when he reaches the inner circle he realises there is a poison within it. The Hunters opens with a gunshot; the question that will have you racing to the end is who the victim is, who killed her, and why.

Moving from Kenya to America’s deep south in the same era, Elizabeth Winthrop’s The Mercy Seat (Sceptre, out now) is a beautifully crafted, heart-rending story of racism and brutality, set over the course of just one day. Will Jones is on death row, to be executed that night over the rape of a white woman who has since killed herself. We know – although in the twisted justice system of 1940s Louisiana it makes no difference – that he is innocent, but Will can do nothing; nor can his father, determined against all odds to be there for the end of his son’s life. Winthrop introduces us to a sprawling cast of characters all linked by Will’s sentence; the priest, the prosecuting lawyer’s wife and son, the convict driving the electric chair to its destination, and weaves their stories together to show the ripple effect of tragedy.

Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers (Fleet, out now) is your tearjerker for summer; an ambitious novel that flits between 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris. In 1985, with homophobia rampant and no hope of any end to the crisis, Yale Tishman is watching too many of his friends die from AIDS, among them talented artist Nico. Thirty years later Nico’s sister Fiona is in France to find her daughter, who has fallen in with a cult. A brilliant character study that shines a light on a horrendous period, The Great Believers is beautiful and compelling all at once.

Lastly, Beck Dorey-Stein’s memoir From the Corner of the Oval Office (Bantam Press, 12th July) is an utterly fascinating insight into the Obama White House, provided by a young woman who essentially fell into a job there. As one of Obama’s typists – tasked with writing up his speeches, statements or interviews for the press – Dorey-Stein spent several years in the room where it happened. Travelling on Air Force One, spending Christmas with the First Family in Hawaii, pacing on the treadmill next to the president himself and meeting world leaders and dignitaries; she had a bird’s eye view on history. But this isn’t a political memoir, it’s first and foremost a personal one, and the likeable, candid Dorey-Stein takes us through the relationship dramas and friendships that coloured her time at the White House. From the Corner of the Oval Office is gossipy, relatable and gripping; the perfect book for summer.