I love a thriller. Recently I would say they have become one of my favourite genres, and aside from ‘coffee table books’, the ones I’m most likely to hunt out in Waterstones. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’ve just purchased The Couple Next Door to sink my teeth into next. The first thriller I really came into contact with was The Girl On The Train – and well, that opened up a bit of an obsession for a fast-paced and confusing read.
The Girl On The Train was captivating and I finished it one night because I needed to know what had happened. I was completely compelled by it and eagerly devoured all the knowledge Paula Hawkins fed me throughout. Since completion, I’ve been hunting for the perfect successor and I think I’ve found five very worthy competitors in the thriller category.
Black Eyed Susans
One of my favourite books to read in 2017, Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin has to be in your to be read pile if you like a good thriller. It is a haunting story that follows Tessa, the surviving victim of a serial killer. She was left in a grave with his other victims and Tessa comes to realisation the man convicted might not actually be the man responsible.
Tessa has moved on since the traumatic experience happened to her, now with a daughter of her own, but so many questions seem unanswered as the man who was put behind bars for the crime thanks to her testimony is brought forward on death row. The situation is worsened by the fact someone is leaving black eyed Susans at her house – the signature of the serial killer from her past.
This is a complicated and delicate story weaving between the aftermath of attack on Tessa and the awakenings in Tessa’s present – I love a good timeline flick as it adds to the suspense and complication of the story.
Sweet Little Lies
I picked up Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear on a whim in Waverly Station in August 2017 when I was a bit drunk and had over an hour to wait for my train home. I liked the bright cover and intriguing name but didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. This is a thriller blended in with a police detective story as it follows the main character (our police detective) questioning her own father’s involvement in a murder.
This book ended up in a totally different place to how I envisioned it finishing when I began reading and that is what I loved about it, I clearly had no clue what was going on throughout and that is what a thriller is supposed to do, addle you. It also has a timeline flick, between the main characters childhood holiday in Ireland where a tragedy occurred and the present investigation into the death of a young woman.
Lie With Me
Both of my favourites raved about this novel by Sabine Durrant and after completing it, I could understand why. It is a really complex story focussing on the relationship between a compulsive liar and a bit of a dick, Paul and his new girlfriend, Alice. Paul is continuously a bit of a shit person – lying, cheating and manipulating to get what he wants.
Alice is the opposite but a stay in a villa on a Greek island with Alice’s friends brings older secrets to the surface and the disappearance of a teenager from years ago, a time when Paul was also at the island. The story moves at quite a slow pace but Durrant draws you in – continuously making you ask more questions. The final 5% of this book are worth waiting for – the truth of the matter comes to light and will only leave you wanting more.
Last Seen Alive
Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas truly gave me the chills the first time I read it – alone in an empty flat. It has a real creepy atmosphere, especially in the first few chapters which are based in Devon, and again, ended up in a completely different place to where I had envisioned it.
There is another time element to this book, switching between the protagonist’s adventures and then misfortune in Thailand and the present day. It had a real horror element to begin with but thankfully for the scaredy cat inside me this subsided and became more psychological as the book processed. It starts with Libby questioning the past of her husband James when strange goings-on begin to occur but the situation soon reverses and you’ll find yourself asking – who is Libby?
My dad gave this book by Karen Perry very high praise due to the psychological element of it. It is unputdownable due to the seductive nature of the narrative and simplicity of the plot. Ordinary family the Connolly’s have their lives disrupted by Zoe Barry, claiming to be the biological daughter of David Connolly.
Her true motives are a constant source of mystery within the book and Girl Unknown tells a terrifying story of what happens when you let a stranger enter your home – as the family turn upon each other in the event of a faceless and unidentifiable enemy. I was gripped by this book due to the craziness yet simplicity of the plot and found the ending extremely satisfying yet heartbreaking.
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