By now you may know that one of my favorite ways to spend my free time is reading psychological thrillers. (You can find my past reading recommendations here.)
This, of course, confuses and somewhat disturbs my significant other because, well, why do I like to read about murder and crime before bed? I know that it makes no sense, but somehow as a slightly anxious person, reading about creepy things makes me feel like everything else in my life is perfectly okay… after all, I’m not searching for a missing person or investigating a mysterious crime. At least, not yet… (knock on wood)
Anyway, below you’ll find my recent faves which are perfect as we ease into fall. And, since I’m a highly-sensitive person who has a hard time with disturbing images and stories involving violence (WHY am I into psychological thrillers again?!), if this is you too, you’ll find my notes below helpful as I try to warn about images of violence and abuse that others may be sensitive to. 😉
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
Alright, I’ll admit that this book had me a bit skeptical at first. It’s pretty clear right off the bat that the main character struggles with major anxiety so I found it a bit unbelievable that a few chapters in she confidently decides to go snooping around an apartment where a woman was recently murdered. Really? Uh, no, I don’t think so… Regardless, this book turned out to be creepy, amazing, and definitely a must-read.
The Lost Girls by Heather Young
This book started out a tad slow for me and apparently reading all these thrillers has me really messed up because halfway through, I kept asking myself, “okay, but where’s the murder?” 😉 However, The Lost Girls ended up being one of my favorites, especially with a plot twist that I never saw coming. Note: I can’t say much without giving a major spoiler, but there are some graphic sexual images that may be disturbing.
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
This book definitely wasn’t what I expected and it ended up reminding me a bit of Gone Girl (which I liked). The story centers on Lily, a lawyer who recently got married and is working hard on her first murder case. The story alternates between Lily and her next-door neighbor, nine-year old Carla. This book was definitely suspenseful and I loved all the twists along the way.
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
I always love/hate books about missing children because I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to be the parent of a missing child. This book is about Rachel Jenner, a single mother who is walking her eight-year-old son in the park on a Sunday afternoon when he disappears. The story alternates perspectives between Rachel and DI Clemo, the lead detective on her case. This one had a lot of plot twists that will keep you guessing.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Behind Her Eyes is so, so, so good! If you love creepy thrillers, put this on your reading list immediately! This story centers around a love triangle between Louise (a secretary and single mom), David (a man she meets at a bar who turns out to be her new boss), and Adele (David’s wife). I finished this book in two days because I couldn’t put it down and I cannot even tell you how completely creeped out I was when I finished reading this at 1 am in the dark!
The Girl Before by Rena Olsen
I really liked this book, but in order to talk about it, I have to give what may be considered a small spoiler to some. So, if you don’t want to know, just put this on your reading list and jump ahead.
The official book summary tells you that Clara Lawson is torn from her life by armed men, separated from her husband and daughters, and the last thing her husband tells her is to “say nothing.” Although I think the vague summary is intended to create suspense in the unknowing, I wish they told you that this book was actually about sex-trafficking because a) that’d be nice to know and b) I actually think that made the book far more interesting. I wouldn’t consider this book a thriller per se, but I found the story addictive and compelling. Given the nature of the topic, there are some disturbing images of the way girls and women are abused, but it’s thankfully not too graphic.
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Suspenseful and completely captivating. Here’s the synopsis:
“Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.
Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.”
Overall I really liked Right Behind You because it wasn’t predictable and I liked hearing the story through the various characters. Note: there are some pretty grotesque scenes so be prepared.
Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
Every Last Lie is the newest book by Mary Kubica and I was so excited to finally get my hands on it! The story centers around Clara Solberg, whose husband and daughter are in a car crash which kills her husband. Although the police rule the crash an accident, her daughter’s comments after the accident lead Clara to believe that her husband was murdered. My only slight complaint is I somehow found the ending a tad predictable, but the plot was solid the whole way through.
The Sleepwalker: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
Who would have thought that a book about sleepwalking could be so creepy? One night Annalee Ahlberg disappears, leaving behind her two daughters. Annalee had a history of sleepwalking which leaves her children and husband to believe she wandered off in the night while sleepwalking… but what really happened? You can expect a lot of plot twists with this one and a stellar ending!
The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
This book centers around Iris and Will who have been happily married for seven years. One morning Will leaves for a business trip to Florida… and somehow winds up in a plane crash on a flight heading to Seattle, leaving Iris to wonder what else Will lied about.
Let me give you a piece of advice: if your significant other is also a software engineer, don’t read this book during the week that they’re out of town at a conference. This book is amazing and might make you a tad paranoid… at least, that’s my excuse. 😉
The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
The Perfect Girl is a page-turner! Here’s the synopsis:
“Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.
Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.”
I loved hearing this story from the multiple perspectives and I was pleasantly surprised at the ending. This is the second Gilly Macmillian book I’ve read and I’m super excited to get my hands on her new one, Odd Child Out.
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
This one is chilling and is a wonderful reminder of why I prefer weekends in the city instead of camping in the wilderness. 😉 The River at Night is about four friends who take a hiking and rafting trip in the wilderness of Maine, only to become stranded without their supplies and fearing for their life. If you’re looking for a good weekend read, this one is it!
What’s on your reading list that I should know about? Please share in the comments below!