I only recently bought into the whole thriller/suspense craze that seems to be sweeping through casual readers at the moment. With the popularity of Gone Girl, the Girl on a Train and You, I thought it might be appropriate to recommend some of my favorite thrillers that I have read in the last year or so.
Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen have recently emerged and firmly inserted themselves at the elite table of thriller/suspense novelists. This duo, perhaps most famous for their smash hit The Wife Between Us, recently released another novel together that was twisty and suspenseful in all the ways you could hope. They tend to write psychological thrillers from duel perspectives that just weave well together. I am very much looking forward to future books from this duo.
Described as incredibly twisty, this story ends up being nothing that you predicted it would be. It had elements of creepy without dipping into paranormal, and was just predictable enough to let you believe you knew what was going on.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Again, told in two perspectives, we unravel the complex ways in which these two characters have woven their lives together. It explores feelings of doubt, and trust, something I know personally hit a nerve. Their second outing together was another success!
Touch of Paranormal
Behind Her Eyes was one of the first books I read in the Suspense/Thriller genre. It was a BOTM choice and I was obsessed. It does have elements of abnormal things but in the context of the story, was totally believable. With an ending sure to shock you, Behind Her Eyes is a must read for thrill seekers. Pinborough recently released another book, Cross Her Heart, which I am anxiously waiting to get into.
Another duel perspective, and another love triangle, this story gets seriously complicated. Average mom Louise has a drunken one-night stand only to find out that the man she slept with is her new, married boss David. While claiming the night was a big mistake, they keep seeing each other, even after Louise meets and befriends her boss’s wife Adele.
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
Second Time’s the Charm
Riley Sager has written two thrillers in the last few years, the first of which had some serious buzz. The premise behind the Final Girls was so juicy and interesting it was almost an instant read for me. Unfortunately I really disliked much of what was there. Skeptical to try his writing again, I picked up his newest novel The Last Time I Lied and enjoyed it significantly more. THAT ENDING THOUGH. Sager is supposed to release another novel this year, and I think I might try it. If the projection so far holds, that one will be even better than The Last Time I Lied.
A perfect creepy summer read, this story takes place in the haunted summer camp from Emma’s nightmares.
When Emma was a teenager, she went to Camp Nightingale where she lived with three older girls. Their favorite game to play was Two Truths and a Lie, which is only revealing if you know the truth. One night Emma sleepily witnesses her cabin mates sneak out, never to be seen again.
Now an adult, Emma is projecting her guilt from that night onto canvas. When the owner of the camp contacts her to let her know she is opening it up again, and wants Emma to return as an art teacher, Emma is reluctant but accepts anyway because she simply must get to the bottom of what happened that summer.
When I think thriller, I don’t reach for YA typically. But these two books are game changers, and definitely outshine even some adult fiction. Sadie is the newer title on this list, and has been everywhere this year. Everyone is raving about the audiobook, but I only thought it was ok. Still, Sadie is a force to be reckoned with, and a great dive into the thriller/suspense field from a YA novel. We Were Liars is much older but still oh so good. It was another one that truly shocked me the first time I read it, and thought about for a while afterwards.
Not her first rodeo, somehow Sadie has made Courtney Summers a breakout author.
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie’s younger sister, whom she raised when their mother left them one day, has turned up murdered. Sadie had dropped out of school to raise her sister, and now feels no purpose in her life, other than killing the man who did this. She will stop at nothing – even saying to herself “I could die.”
This was a dark story told in two perspectives, one from Sadie who is walking us through her mission to find this murderer, and the other is in a podcast format, hosted by named West who always a few steps behind Sadie’s actions. West hosts a serial on missing girls, and has been recruited to tell Sadie’s story, and hopefully find her.
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
John Green calls it “utterly unforgettable” and he is so right.
I can’t say too much about this without giving it away but unraveling this story became an obsession and the ending completely blew me away. We Were Liars is a mess of things, a summer story, a story of love, a story of loss, friendship and most importantly an accident. Lockhart’s writing style isn’t for everyone, but this story certainly makes it worth a try.
A Diamond in the Rough
I feel like most of these other picks have been fairly buzzed about, but these, these have flown under the radar. The Good Girl has some really mixed reviews on Goodreads but I happen to really enjoy it. And Not That I Could Tell was a random BOTM choice that ended up being pretty good. Not my favorite, but more along the lines of what I was expecting from Truly Madly Guilty (Liane Moriarty).
I won’t lie to you guys, I don’t really remember this one. I read it back when I wasn’t reviewing the books I read, and all I have to show for it is a 4/5 star rating. I vaguely remember some of it; the main character being kidnapped and kept in a cabin secluded in the woods. I vaguely remember the multi-perspectives people talk about in their own reviews. But I don’t remember the big twist at the end that I so eloquently put “Very interesting. I can actually say that I did not see that ending coming.” THAT IS LITERALLY ALL I WROTE! I almost want to re-read it to remind myself what happened. Why you ask, am I recommending it then? I liked it enough to give it 4 stars, and it is one of the highest rated thrillers on my read shelf. I’m sure I liked it in some capacity.
When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
To me, this sounded an awful lot like Truly Madly Guilty (Liane Moriarty), which I was devastatingly disappointed by. I LOVE me a good quirky small town gossip/drama and this sounded like it may be exactly what I was missing in the other book. It was the much more tame sister of stories like Big Little Lies, taking it’s time, and not really relying on the shock factor of numerous twists and turns.
After a “wild” bonfire with some neighborhood moms, the next morning the women in the neighborhood are shocked to find that one of them has gone missing. A media frenzy turns into a cold case, and leaves this neighborhood reeling, wondering what really goes on past their perfectly manicured lawns. Do they really know each other at all?
It was compelling and interesting and while it may not have been as twisty as other thrillers, it still held your interest, and sent shivers down your spine.
Like I said, I have only just recently bought into the whole suspense/thriller craze so my reference points are limited. These are some of the ones that I happen to enjoy.
If you’d like to see some of my full reviews for these books, you may click below:
What are some thrillers you would recommend? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?