Book List: Best New Thrillers and Mysteries

Book List: Best New Thrillers and Mysteries

As written in September 2022, anyways. I was recently shopping for books for my fabulous boss’ birthday, and we both tend to read these thrillers and mysteries – so it struck me to put together a book list! I got her many of the ones on here and I highly recommend them!

Without further ado:

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

This was like an unexpected new favorite for me. My friend from the library kept telling me to read it and I should’ve prioritized it…I loved this one. Even in spite of the weird Jess/Nick Miller name stealing from New Girl (yes, Foley I caught that! How did an editor not?!). There was tons of twists and turns in this one, though I must admit it wasn’t entirely unpredictable. I would’ve loved a great big twist, but instead it was peppered with them at the end of each chapter. I did a lot of gasps while reading! Get a copy here.

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

This one started so slow, and then the second half hit and I got whiplash from the craziness! That’s a Riley Sager staple, I think… everything seems normal until it really, really isn’t. I loved the setting of this one, though; the rural Vermont backdrop, and specifically the fact that most of the book unfolds on a single lake of six homes, is kind of wild. It keeps your suspect list short, so things have to get really crazy to make some sense. Pick up a copy here!

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

The second installment of Finlay Donovan still hit that perfect mark. While these mysteries absolutely rock, the humor is also top notch and part of the reason I love it so much. The sequel is just as good as the original, and the plot totally thickens here. I think these books would make a great television series – they really remind me of Only Murders in the Building. It’s a good mystery, with good laughs too, in the form of Finlay and Vero’s antics. Check out my review of book one here and get a copy of your very own from Gibson’s here.

The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay

The Pallbearers Club is a weird one, and I don’t even know if it should qualify for this “thrillers and mysteries” list. It really isn’t either, but the sense of suspense it creates definitely qualifies it for something. And I suppose, if you don’t really know what’s happening the whole time, it kind of is a mystery? I’m really not selling it right now, but I did actually like The Pallbearers Club. It was what I imagined Paul Tremblay would write well when I read Survivor Song and didn’t love it earlier this year. It’s weird, but it’s good weird. Get your very own here.

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Last but certainly not least, The Woman in the Library! I got this gem as a galley earlier this year, and wasn’t even 100% sure I wanted to read it at the time…but I’m so glad I did. What a cool book inside a book inside a book. It has a good and creepy twist I think any fans of the mystery genre will enjoy. The creativity was just off the charts on this one, and I really enjoyed it. See my full review of the book here and get your own copy from good ‘ol Gibson’s here.

These are some “can’t miss”es from this year! With even more to come…I’ve got tons of galleys vying for my attention right now. It was a good summer for some thrillers!

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 38. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Other Possible Prompts: 29. Over 500 pages long (some versions), 41. Involves a second chance

Okay so, I was very skeptical of this one at first, but I’m super glad I read it. And honestly, as the prompt implies, I probably would’ve been more likely to pick it up if it had the cover to the right and not the old, paperback version I had in my hands. This one looks more thriller-like, which is sort of how I would describe this novel, versus the more literary fiction style cover of my copy.

This novel is hard to explain without ruining it! I’m going to keep it as general as possible, but just trust me when I say the intrigue and the twists are what will keep you reading! I think even the Amazon description of the book goes too far.

When CeeCee Wilkes was sixteen, she met a boy: Timothy Gleason, who captivated her and convinced her to do something that would haunt her forever. Now, thirty years later, Tim is being charged with the murder of Genevieve Russell, the woman he kidnapped, and her unborn child. But what CeeCee knows has the power to exonerate him, because no one killed Genevieve…and no one killed her daugther.

My boss and I frequently discuss books because we’re both readers, and we’re regularly trading novels. She said I absolutely had to read this one…and normally, these aren’t my style. I just had a feeling I wasn’t going to like Diane Chamberlain’s writing. And while I’m not sure I’d read another of hers, I am glad I read this one. It wasn’t what I expected from her and I didn’t find it preachy or even bad, and I definitely jibed with it – so it wasn’t that bad. This novel falls into more of a thriller crossed with a family drama, as opposed to the purely family drama I was expecting from Chamberlain.

My boss also told me not to read the description of the book, and not to read the first chapter until you finish the book. This is kind of why I’m hesitant to tell you much about the novel in the description, and I’d have to agree with her advice after having done it this way. She said it unfolds more like a winding mystery if you don’t. While it bothered my OCD a tad, I did give this a try (sort of). I just didn’t pay as much attention in the first chapter, so it didn’t actually make a big difference. I was more shocked and awed by the twists and turns of this book for having done this!

This one was just unexpectedly enjoyable for me. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be; while I thought it would be a family drama, the thriller aspect was a surprise. Even the family drama, which I would never pick up on my own, was captivating and interesting as it was told across many years, and you got to see each and every character grow up throughout the story.

And I actually loved all the characters. Except for the obviously awful ones, like Ken, most of them had redeeming qualities but were extremely human, so while they erred or did things I disapproved of, I couldn’t help but love them and want the best for them by the conclusion of the story. They’re by no means perfect, but they’re all likeable. They’re all people, written really, really well.

I think part of what makes that so interesting and important to note is that many of them have done horrible things. A lot of them have motives that make them do bad things, or they did bad things but they’re trying to move forward…the story forces you to grapple with the idea of what makes a person “a good person”, and just how much you’re willing to allow or forgive when they’re trying to move forward. I really liked this element and I think it’s the heart of what makes the story so captivating. What earns forgiveness?

So yeah, I definitely liked this more than expected. I never pick this stuff up so I was surprised I devoured it so quickly (I think this took me less than twenty four hours in total, even working a full day). I would definitely recommend it for a good mystery, but with some depth.

Have a wonderful week friends! 🙂

Book List: My Favorite Thrillers

Book List: My Favorite Thrillers

After the great month of thrillers I’ve had, and my strong desire to pick up more, I think it’s finally time to dive into some of my favorite thrillers I’ve read!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

As always, I don’t make money off these links, I just like to make it easier for you to order those that interest you. Don’t want to order from my local bookstore? Order from yours! Jeff Bezos doesn’t need your money!

Let’s jump in!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Whisper Man was my first Alex North, but certainly not my last. Sitting alone in the house at night reading this, I was convinced someone was standing behind me. Very few books can give me the shivers and that feeling of being watched quite like this one did…and I loved every second of it. Just like with some of the others on this list, The Whisper Man starts with a horror feel to it, so keep that in mind as you pick it up. Grab a copy of your very own here.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I love Riley Sager’s works. I first picked up Home Before Dark, though, so I think it will always have a special place in my heart! Sager is a master of the thriller and has written all kinds of different tropes into terrifying works of constant action. Home Before Dark hits on the haunted house…so it goes without saying it also seems to have ties to the horror genre. I loved this one, as it really reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House (in this case, the show, not the book!). Get a copy here. (On an unrelated note, I’ve never seen this cover before but I LOVE it!).

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Many thrillers give you that feeling on the back of your neck, the goosebumps, the stomach fluttering fear…but few books left me as hollow as The Broken Girls. I know that must sound like a bad thing, but I swear it wasn’t! I loved the characters, the setting, and this mystery is incredible. But the most profound part of the book, that helps it earn a spot on this list, is the atmosphere of it, the way I felt during and after reading it. St. James sets an incredible stage, and there was just something ghastly and vast about The Broken Girls. Get your own copy of it here.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

One of my go-to book recommendations for thriller readers at the library was always The Roanoke Girls. I admittedly felt like I knew how it was going to end before we really got into it, but I don’t know if that was just me, or a general audience thing. Regardless, I love the vibe, the setting, and the action of Roanoke Girls, and everyone I recommended it to would come back and say “…it was creepy, but a little weird.” Yeah, pretty much. And this also brings up the question, where the heck did Amy Engel go??? Has she written anything new?? Get The Roanoke Girls for yourself here.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Might as well throw a little YA in here too! Though I don’t know as if I would classify this as YA…no matter who the author is. Don’t let the classification deceive you, this one is chilling down to the bone. The twist in this story just had me so SHOOK. I don’t care if that’s cheesy, I said it and I meant it. I read this in high school, but I think a re-read might be overdue. This one is creepy and bizarre, and much more fit to an adult brain, in my opinion. Get your copy here.

And since I’m in such a thriller mood…I want to hear your recommendations!! I’ve picked up some things I never would have a year ago, and just loved them. What book gave you the creeps??

Have an awesome weekend friends!

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Riley Sager writes the perfect summer read: chilling, thrilling, and twisty as hell. Survive the Night was no different. I was still guessing and gasping until the last fifty pages or so.

Charlie lost her best friend to the Campus Killer. Maddy, a bright, eclectic character was the third victim of a serial killer that haunts Charlie’s campus, and it was just one too many losses for her already chaotic mind. She decides to cut her losses and share a ride home with a stranger, despite her boyfriend’s protests.

But things are not as simple as they seem. Despite Charlie’s efforts to be careful, she may just be driving home with a murderer…and it’s all she can do to just survive the night.

Like I said, the twists? Incredible. About halfway through I had my first “Oh my God!”, about three quarters of the way I was saying “Whaaaa-“, and within those last fifty pages I was saying “NOOOOO!!”. So it’s been a ride.

My only complaint – and it’s my usual complaint with Sager – is that some things just never add up. At first glance it’s a great story, but then you’re driving to work over thinking it and wondering why x happened when y eventually came to be. It happened with the last book I read of his, and the one before that. I actually spent an hour reading reviews and questions from Home Before Dark on Goodreads, lamenting with other readers the utter confusion but fascination with the book.

But, if you’re only here for a good time, I can’t recommend Sager enough. Clearly he’s good enough that I’ve picked up book after book of his, and they have that perfect summer vibe.

Charlie is an awesome character. I have a few issues with her, primarily derived from the fact that she was written by a male and her storyline is male centered and revolving around violence perpetrated on women. However, she’s still a badass. I think her emotions and what she feels in regards to her safety, her friend’s death, and her survival, are very raw and real, and make the story more enjoyable.

All in all, I highly recommend Survive the Night. It’s a great act to follow Home Before Dark, and I think Sager just keeps getting better. I’ll be watching for his next release.

Have a great week, fellow readers!