It’s Thriller (rec) Night

Despite being the self proclaimed Vamp queen I do read other genres beside fantasy and supernatural! Thrillers and mysteries are my secondary go to and because a few of you asked; here are some of my recommendations.

If we’re being honest, thrillers have to be the most ‘hit or miss’ genre because it has to be smart enough to not be predictable but also not be too difficult to the point where it’s impossible to even guess. That doesn’t seem like the easiest of tasks so authors; I simply applaud you! My personal favourite from this genre is the younger contemporary protagonist as I find them more captivating to follow. For me, there’s something more interesting about reading that age range where they are still trying to find themselves and also the mystery that has just fell into their lap. I’m thinking both the Scooby Doo gang and Nancy Drew- esque thrillers. Now, don’t get me wrong I have dabbled in the likes of ‘Girl on the Train’ but if i’m being honest; sometimes its too much for me if the protagonist’s life is seemingly heavy and falling apart as well (in essence I need a bit of hope in there too).

A book that did that for me was Karen M. McManus’ Two Can Keep a Secret. The book is set in a small American town that has a bad history of Homecoming queen’s going missing. This year is no different because there’s a promise hanging in the air to make this one deadly. For the main character Ellery there is a personal element to this threat as her Aunt was the first girl to go missing years previously. What I loved about this book is that Ellery is a self confessed true crime nut and thinks that makes her qualified to start investigating but never quite getting it right. It was a fairly unique telling because the clues I thought I were picking up on were then shared by Ellery and therefore was the ultimate misdirection from McManus. Ellery seemed to be really struggling at the beginning of the book (her mum being in rehab) but ironically the town became good for her – a home with actual friends and family. This made me root for her and care about her survival throughout the story. The overall plot twist was by no means groundbreaking but it was unpredictable enough to still shock me. However, the true star of this book is the final line; the ending is chilling and unnerving and just ties everything together in a foreboding little bow.

The next book I want to talk about is rather old school. Its a book I have had on my shelf for years and I read it myself when I was a young teen. However, I think it is still worth a read today; perhaps if you are just getting started into the mystery/thrillers. The Dark Secrets series by Elizabeth Chandler encompass short stories that are unconnected except for their creepiness. I specifically want to talk about Don’t Tell which is the second story in the first volume. It follows Lauren as she returns to the town where her mother drowned seven years previously, but things start happening to her that mimic the days before her mother’s accident; and now Lauren isn’t so sure it was an accident after all. What I particularly loved about this book was the strangeness of it; in that the events that occurred felt supernatural. It truly felt like Lauren was being haunted and was the epitome of that ‘i’m being watched’ feeling. The final reveal was shocking to me mainly because it altered Lauren’s life so significantly rather than it being overly unexpected. I won’t lie this book definitely has that ‘teen’ feel and it is extremely naive at times; but considering their short length they are super easy to get through and are still enjoyable.

Moving on now to a book that felt like a real life game of Cluedo is Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest. I will preface this by saying that I also tried Lapena’s A Stranger in the House but unfortunately I could not finish this one as it was far too stiff for me and I guessed it’s outcome at the very beginning. So, if you have seen lots about this author’s work I would suggest you do some digging into which of hers would fit you as a reader, as I believe they are not of the same quality and An Unwanted Guest is the only one i’ve read that I would recommend. It’s set in a remote lodge in upstate New York that has been booked by a group of strangers and because of this is a multiple perspective telling. A blizzard strands the guests and cuts them off from the outside world before something (or someone) begins murdering them one by one. What I liked about this book is that despite its cliché setting it felt more like a homage to the work of Agatha Christie and a real ‘who done it’ tale. Every character was open to suspicion and I really enjoyed trying to guess which one was the murderer. If this does appeal to you, I will also say that it’s one of those books that deliver on the suspense it has created in that any of the characters could have been responsible and any could have been the next to die.

Lastly I want to talk about Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan. Margot Lewis is an advice columnist under the name Amy part-time from being a teacher. One of her own students goes missing but the surprises don’t end there. Margot receives a letter from a girl asking for help from being kidnapped, but the girl is not who is currently missing but Bethan Avery; who has been presumed dead for years. Margot tries to get the police to listen as surely there must be a connection between the two girls, but they believe the letters are a hoax, and so Margot begins her own investigation for the truth. I really loved the concept of this book particularly because every time Margot received a letter I got that knot of anticipation where I really wanted to know where this was going. The best part of this telling is the weaving of the cold case with the current abduction. I would say that the writing style left something to be desired for me personally, and the book as a whole wasn’t groundbreaking or anything overly new. But having said this, I did really want to know if the present girl abducted would make it out alive and the premise was intriguing enough for me to keep reading.

I also wanted to throw in some books that I have bought recently that I am looking forward to reading! If you want more info on these be sure to check out my Instagram account as i’ll most likely post current updates about them there.

  • See How They Lie by Sue Wellman
  • The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

I tend to enjoy thriller mysteries more so when its Autumn and I can wrap myself up in cosy blankets but I also find them a great palate cleanser between other genres (fellow mood readers am I right)? Another one that I would love to recommend to you is Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout but as I’ve mentioned this one before here I won’t go into detail. Please let me know your thoughts on any of these, if they interest you or if you’ve already read them! I’m excited to always talk books afterall.

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