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Book Cover for: Hot Springs Drive, Lindsay Hunter

Hot Springs Drive

Lindsay Hunter

Reader Score


81% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews


Based on 4 reviews on

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The third title in Roxane Gay Books' inaugural list, Hot Springs Drive is an urgent, vicious blade of a novel about a shocking betrayal and its aftermath, asking just how far you'll go to have everything you want

Jackie Stinson's best friend is dead, and everyone knows who killed her.

Jackie wants to be many things, but a martyr has never been one of them. She is an ex-emotional eater and mother of four, who has finally lost the weight she long yearned to be free of. In her new, sharp-edged body, she goes by Jacqueline. But leaving her old self behind proves harder than she ever imagined. And while she believes she should be happier, misery still chases her, and motherhood threatens to subsume what little is left of her.

Jacqueline's only salve is her best friend Theresa, whose seemingly perfect life she desperately covets. Since they met in the maternity ward fifteen years earlier, the two have survived the trials of motherhood side by side--Theresa with her quiet, cherubic daughter, and Jacqueline with her rambunctious, unruly boys. Their bond is tight, but it is not enough to keep Jacqueline, finally moving through the world in the body she has always wanted, from stealing a bit of Theresa's perfect life.

Hot Springs Drive is a dark, heart-pounding exploration of one woman's deepest desires, and how the consequences of betrayal can ripple outward beyond the initial strike point.

In her third and fiercest novel, acclaimed literary voice Lindsay Hunter deftly peels back the fragile veneer of two suburban families and the secrets roiling between them.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Roxane Gay Books
  • Publish Date: Nov 7th, 2023
  • Pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.30in - 5.50in - 1.30in - 0.80lb
  • EAN: 9780802161451
  • Categories: LiteraryFamily Life - GeneralCrime

About the Author

Lindsay Hunter received her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of two story collections and three novels. Her story collection Don't Kiss Me was named one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of the Year: Short Stories. Her novel Eat Only When You're Hungry was a Book of the Month Club selection, a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award, and an NPR Great Read. She lives in Chicago with her family.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

Praise for Hot Springs Drive:

A Washington Post Best Thriller of 2023

A Bookseller (UK) Editor's Choice

"The 'Gone Girl'-style thriller you were waiting for is here . . . [Hot Springs Drive] is a gripping psychological thriller that is both a character study and a twisting combination of lust and tension. Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl' was far from being the first psychological thriller, but it . . . [widened] the door for outstanding writers including Megan Abbott, Angie Kim, Kathleen Barber, Jennifer Hillier and Tara Laskowski. Lindsay Hunter should be considered in those lofty ranks . . . [Hot Springs Drive] is filled with memorable prose and fascinating characters -- men and women desperately searching for happiness in their lives and in each other -- penned by a fearless writer with an enviable eye for detail."--Washington Post

"This gulp-in-one slice of suburban noir . . . a psychologically acute tale."--Bookseller (UK)

"A taut, psychological story of friendship and betrayal."--Book Riot

"Hot Springs Drive is where literary fiction meets mystery, and the marriage of the two is unlike anything I've ever read before."--Sara Cutaia, Electric Literature

"Viciously insightful . . . This is sure to be considered one of the best psychological thrillers of the year."--CrimeReads

"Hot Springs Drive is an explosive cocktail of lust, loneliness, and indulgence, all suppressed in a domestic suburban lifestyle . . . With the salaciousness of Caroline Kepnes' You and the competitiveness of Death Becomes Her, Hot Springs Drive offers a sardonic examination of the American Dream, of the fantasies and hedonism we hide beneath a pure façade, and the darkest crevices of the human soul that are inevitably brought to light . . . The thrills and horrors of being a woman are dissected in this titillating and disturbing journey of self-discovery."--Readings

"Enthralling . . . Tightly paced . . . An urgent novel that is a searing study of banality and monstrosity, desire and control--and a story about women, their families, [and] breaking points."--Kristen Coates, Shelf Awareness

"Hunter's lyrical writing performs the miracles here . . . [capturing] complex humanity in stirring and gorgeous prose . . . Tragic to the core --and yet, there is beauty in the telling."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"[A] thrilling and addictive story . . . Hunter's masterwork hits all the right notes."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Hunter has always written with a sort of ruthless courage that takes us to the bitter edge. And she's done it again . . . [Hot Springs Drive is] a devastating portrait of two damaged families and one monstrous woman you won't soon forget . . . Hunter keeps readers guessing in a book that's both thriller-taut and an immersive study of human behavior."--Library Journal, starred review

"In this darkly truthful novel of the dangerous power of desire, both one's own and that of others, Hunter's writing burns like a candle in the wind and readers will race to collect each cascading drip."--Booklist

"Hot Springs Drive is Lindsay Hunter at her finest. Suburbia is rendered here in all its bleakness and not-so-hidden dysfunction, the rot secreted inside the picture-perfect shell of a home. Hunter is a deft hand at writing the mysterious inner workings of the family: everyone shares a story, but who holds onto the truth? Hot Springs Drive is gritty and propulsive, a true page-turner; I couldn't put this book down."--Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth and Mostly Dead Things

"Poignant, luscious, brutal, gorgeous, heartbreaking, and totally unique--this stunning book destroyed me, and I didn't want it to end."--Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of The Spare Room

"Hot Springs Drive is a bold, unflinching exploration of female friendship, motherhood, and desire, with an unforgettable anti-heroine as its bloody, beating heart. I've read nothing like it."--Kirstin Chen, New York Times bestselling author of Counterfeit

"Lindsay Hunter's Hot Springs Drive left me absolutely gutted, devastated. We often lament how long it takes us to see our parents as people, but we don't talk enough about what it feels like, what it does to us, when our parents are terrible people. With fearless, pitch-perfect prose, Hunter mines the treacherous territory of loving one's parents despite their brokenness, and of the interior lives of children who are left to pick up the pieces. This is truly brilliant, sexy, and sly storytelling."--Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

"Hot Springs Drive is a sneak attack. It has everything you could want in a book, delivered when you least expect it. Truly ugly and beautiful humanity. Electrifying chemistry in heartbreaking places. Hope when it seems all hope is lost. And mystery that goes way beyond a simple whodunnit. I'm in awe of the lives that Hunter has conjured in these pages. I mourn their lost innocence, and I ache for them now that I've reached the last page. The only balm is to read it again."--Diane Cook, author of The New Wilderness

"Hot Springs Drive is a haunting meditation on human desire and the monstrosity that can emerge out of ordinary hearts, on ordinary suburban streets--though in Hunter's hands, no character is ever truly ordinary. I couldn't stop turning the pages even as I wanted to slow down and savor Hunter's gorgeous sentences. A stunning achievement by a writer with a keen eye for capturing humanity in all its beautiful, wretched fullness."--Ashley Winstead, author of The Last Housewife

"I f**ing loved this. Thrilling and gorgeously observed, Hot Springs Drive surprises with both what the characters do and what they don't do, all with sentences as tightly spring-loaded as an over-tuned guitar string. Lindsay Hunter resists the call of murder-obsessed crime fiction vibes by subverting what we think of as the dramatic aspects of violence, death and punishment. She should be proud as hell and I can't wait for her next book."--A.E. Osworth, author of We Are Watching Eliza Bright

"In Hot Springs Drive, Hunter mixes a perfect cocktail: precise and gritty writing, achingly and terrifyingly real characters, with a dash of mystery and darkness. Intoxicating."--Claire Fuller, author of The Memory of Animals

Praise for Lindsay Hunter:

"A novel of staggering vision and tremendous heart. On full display here are Hunter's nonpareil technique, her skillful excavation of her characters' interior landscapes -- a digging done both ruthlessly and yet with abundant mercy -- and her inspired inventiveness at the level of language."--Los Angeles Review of Books on Eat Only When You're Hungry

"This novel takes us on a road trip with an American Everyman into the heart of American hunger--for freedom, for connection, for junk food, for love. Hunter has a brilliant sense for the perfectly telling image, and her humor is so biting and smart it was almost a surprise, at the end of this engrossing book, to realize how thoroughly she had broken my heart."--Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You on Eat Only When You're Hungry

"Hunter's magical prose is the sort of thing that might happen if George Saunders and Gertrude Stein co-edited Raymond Carver. The stories vary wildly in pace and procedure, but each has its own visceral language that goes straight to the gut."--Nylon on Don't Kiss Me

"Mesmerizing . . . visceral . . . exquisite. Hunter's portraits are heartbreaking. She cares about characters we don't want to think about, issues we would rather not face. These are not lovable characters; they make you sad and sometimes sick . . . They kind of make you feel like your heart could kick the windows out."--Chicago Tribune on Don't Kiss Me

"These 26 stories, deeply internalized in neurotic lyricism, are hilarious and fully realized portraits of the disavowed . . . And in the uproarious title story, a woman obsesses over a female coworker she envies and despises. Miranda July and George Saunders come to mind, but Hunter's crass yet tender characters are unprecedented, relating fart jokes and impossible sentiment in stylized prose that mirrors their threadbare souls and ineffectual optimism."--Jonathan Fullmer, Booklist on Don't Kiss Me

"Lindsay Hunter is a dazzling talent, and with Ugly Girls she has written what will surely go down as a new American classic. Every character is complex, every scene is dense as a bullet, and every sentence pulses with electricity. Magnificent."--Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans on Ugly Girls

''I am in awe of Lindsay Hunter. Her debut novel is a canny examination of American girlhood under pressure - gritty, terrifying, and funny as hell. As Perry and Baby Girl, bound together by a friendship that is at once tender and toxic, hurtle through their world of trailer parks and stolen cars and lies, the dangerous secrets they uncover are matched only by the darkness simmering within. Ugly Girls is spiky, electric, unforgettable.''--Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth on Ugly Girls