Putting a little of the chill into the thrill …

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Now I like a good old fashioned police procedural … oh yes I do. Love the whole camaraderie of a good team and having a fabulous protagonist, both good and bad, to follow and champion. And occasionally book crush on. As you do. I even like a good old fashioned shoot-em-up action thriller. Nothing like a good bit of espionage over your cornflakes. But there is another sub-genre in the old Crime world which also commands a serious amount of my time. The (any sub genre you can possibly think of) thriller.

I am not entirely sure that everything I lump in this category fits any kind of single mould. I sometimes feel like one of the folk at Amazon that arbitrarily dumps a book in a category that has no connection to the plot whatsoever. However, I believe these next books would fit in the broad category of thriller and if not, then they should just be applauded for being a little but fabulous whatever category they sit in. They are definitely a bit thriller ish. And they may have a psychological edge. Some are definitely domestically challenged, others are more chilling. They are all brilliant.

BSBad Sister – Sam Carrington

Then

When flames rip through their family home, only teenager Stephanie and her younger brother escape unhurt. Brett always liked to play with fire, but now their dad is dead and someone has to pay the price.

Now

Psychologist Connie Summers wants to help Stephanie rebuild her life. She has a new name, a young son and everything to live for. But when Stephanie receives a letter from someone she’d hoped would never find her, Connie is forced to question what really happened that night. But some truths are better left alone . . .

Loved this. Such a great blend of the mind games and murder that you will be guessing just what is what right until the end. This sits somewhere between genres I think as one of the central characters is a Police Officer who appears in a previous story, but there are no doubting the psychological credentials in play there either. My review is here.

HLSHer Last Secret – Barbara Copperthwaite

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?

A dark domestic noir, there are so many secrets being kept in this story there is no knowing where it may lead. Fantastic writing with a gripping story, this had me hooked from the off. My review is here.

TBSThe Binding Song – Elodie Harper

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…

Oh my. This book. So hauntingly chilling I raced through it in a day. There is something almost spellbinding and also very otherworldly about this story that I loved it. The characters and the situation are unsettling, and the setting is perfect. I will never look at Norfolk in the same way again. My review is here.

TOT coverThe Other Twin – Lucy V Hay

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets.

Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?

Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth…

With a very emotional back story and a chilling sense of being watched, this book is a great creeping menace threading through it along with a myriad of lies. My review is here.

HOSHouse of Spines – Michael J Malone

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up.

Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

A chilling gothic noir which has echoes of The Haunting of Hill House, this is more than a who dunnit. A haunted house or just a haunted past? My review is here.

TGSThe Good Samaritan – John Marrs

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

This book intrigued me from the very off. What do you do if the person you turn to for help has their own agenda? What would you do if someone you loved decided to take their own life? What do you get if you cross a killer with a good Samaritan and can their actions ever be forgiven? My review is here.

32321233Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

Don’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

Domestic noir with a twist. The best relationship drama/love triangle story I have read all year. And that ending. Magic. My review is here.

SSnare – Lilja Sigurdardottir

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world.

As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla.

Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

I’m not sure even where you classify this one, but I di know it’s good. Drug trafficking with a heart. Sort of. You really shouldn’t forgive any of the people in this story but I kind of understood the motivations of some. My review is here.

33232027Blink – KL Slater

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

A psychological thriller of the finest order, this one will have your brain all scrambled as you try to work out who dunnit. With a fabulously twisty story, this is revenge taken to its limits. My review is here.

SIX STORIES BF AW.inddSix Stories – Matt Wesolowski

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby. 2017.

Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame …

As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending. 

So fresh. So authentic. Such a slow building story with a growing sense of unease with every page turn and every new podcast. I thought I knew but I wasn’t prepared for that ending. And as for its follow up – Hydra … Super tidy. My review is here.

So there we have it. Just a few of my favourite thrillers from this year. Have I missed any? Any you think I absolutely should be reading?

Happy reading all

Jen

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