THE STRANGER INSIDE by Lisa Unger
I'm a fan of Lisa Unger's work, and especially of how she builds her characters. From the most innocent to the most evil, every one of them has depth that makes them come alive on the page. THE STRANGER INSIDE is no different -- a brilliant character study of victims who've survived a terrible event in their childhood and how they've found ways to cope with the aftermath. As always, this is more than a page turner, it is a complex psychological study and thrilling to boot. Her best yet.
THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware
I wanted to wait to read this book until I was in Scotland proper, since it takes place at a renovated smart home in the Highlands. I started reading on the plane over, and by the time I reached the Highlands myself a few days later... I was so damn freaked out I had to put it down and read nonfiction for the remainder of my stay. This is a stellar book, hand's down my favorite of her yet. Moody, atmospheric, and chilling, it's a tour de force from Ware, who has become one of my all-time favorites.
THE THIRD WIFE by Lisa Jewell
The Third Wife is my first book of Jewell's but it won't be the last. I love how she can take a story that could be banal in the hands of a lesser writer and make it suspenseful, touching, and complex all at once. I cared so much about the characters that I forgot I was reading a book and felt like I was catching up with distant friends. Super!
SAVE ME THE PLUMS by Ruth Reichl
What a lovely, fascinating book. I'm lately come to memoir, but each one I read builds on the last like layers in a cake. This slice of Reichl's life chronicles being named editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine to the magazine's eventual close a decade later made me laugh, and made me think. "Brand Ruth" is an excellent cautionary tale to us all, I think.
LOCK EVERY DOOR by Riley Sager
Riley Sager is doing a lot of great work lately, and LOCK EVERY DOOR fits well into his canon. Echoes of Ira Levin’s ROSEMARY’S BABY are clear, and The Bartholomew is a character unto itself. A satisfying thriller with a great twist.
THE NANNY by Gilly Macmillan
Gilly Macmillan is an outstanding writer, but The Nanny is a step above. Complex, intriguing, scary, devastating, and so lyrically written I got out my "I'm not worthy" kneepads, you are going to go ape for this one.
THE GOOD WIDOW by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
I've had this stellar suspense by Lisa and Liz on my TBR for ages. I have several of their books from Thrillerfest, but I wanted to go to the beginning of heir suspense journey, and boy am I glad I did. I totally missed the twist coming, which I attribute not to sloppy reading on my part but a subtle, insidious plot device on theirs. So bravo!
THE DARK ABOVE by Jeremy Finley
I’m always up for some aliens and government conspiracies, and THE DARK ABOVE is as intense as it is compulsively readable. Lyrically written and expertly plotted, moody and elegantly thrilling, it will hook you from page one all the way to the shocking end. This haunting follow-up to his stellar debut THE DARKEST TIME OF NIGHT firmly cements Finley in the who’s who of today’s thriller writers. It’s perfect for fans of Strange Things and The X-Files, but also has a much broader appeal, sensitively handling the tenuous relationships between Will and his grandmother Lynn, fifteen years after the incident that started it all. Perfect summer reading.
LABYRINTH by Catherine Coulter
When a Savich and Sherlock book comes out, people drop everything to read it. So clear your schedule for the weekend, friends. LABYRINTH is out and it’s amazing. So many congrats to CC for her great showing with this one!
RUSH by Lisa Patton
What a beautiful, haunting novel. In addition to being an engaging, lush portrait of the phenomenon known as sorority rush, RUSH tackles some of the most serious injustices in the south. Lisa Patton's work personifies "be the change". You have to read this book, and share it with everyone you know. Now available in paperback!
REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books. It’s a huge influence in my work, as I’m sure you can tell. This time around, I’m listening to the audio. It is even more disturbing and sinister. A genius at work.
LAYOVER by David Bell
There is something inherently sexy about meeting a stranger at an airport, especially one you connect with on every level. But what if that someone might be a missing person? It’s a great premise for a book, and David Bell’s latest, LAYOVER, captures all the excitement and terror of this exact situation. If you like Harlan Coben, you will love David Bell.
DEAR WIFE by Kimberly Belle
I loved this book so much! Subtle, insidious, clever...DEAR WIFE is spellbinding. I was hooked from the first page. You’re going to love Kimberly Belle’s latest outing. And you aren’t going to see it coming, which is the best kind of suspense!
WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey
I know you’ve heard about this book and it is worth the hype. Absolutely adorable, sharp and funny and self-aware, this is the book for anyone who likes romantic comedies, who likes stories about hope, who needs some cheer is their lives. A quick and satisfying read.
MAN OF THE YEAR by Caroline Louise Walker
Beautifully written and deviously plotted—the very best kind of story. MAN OF THE YEAR is a stellar literary suspense, exploring the chasm between truth and lies, identity, love, hate, and the pursuit of self, and how a moment’s decision can undo a perfect world. Caroline Louise Walker is a remarkable new voice to watch. Give me more!
OUT EAST by John Glynn
I’ve always been obsessed with the northeastern beach scene, being a Florida beach girl myself. I went in expecting a light read about the Hamptons and WHOA. Glynn’s style is amazingly evocative. This is a wonderful coming-of-age memoir, beautiful, lovely, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I gobbled it up in two days. While John’s day job is editing for Graydon House, I really hope he writes a lot more. He’s a true talent. This was a perfect first read of the summer.
YOU by Caroline Kepnes
I started reading this so I could freely watch the TV show of the same name. Once I was well in, out of curiosity, I watched the first episode. Holy cow! I had to all-stop and wait for DH; I knew this was a show/story he'd dig. Crazy, twisty, ends-justify-the-means type of story. Highly recommended.
QUEEN OF SHADOWS (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Y'all know how much I love Sarah J. Maas. I finally allowed myself to read book four as a reward for all of my hard work the past several months and it did not disappoint. It's fascinating to see her growth as a writer and a storyteller. Maas's books showcase my favorite kind of story: extraordinary female lead who inspires loyalty and love and is fearless in the face of adversity. I can't wait for her Crescent City series to come out!
BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND by Heather Gudenkauf
Heather Gudenkauf writes intricate, emotional suspense, and her latest is hands down her best yet. Told through journals, police interviews, and a stellar narrative, this perfectly terrifying story is ripped from the headlines (there are parallels with the Slenderman case) and layered with Gudenkauf’s flair for small towns and intimate family portrayals. Heartbreaking. Devious. Intelligent. Misleading. Too familiar for comfort. I couldn’t put it down. Have you read Heather before? If not, add her to your list immediately!
DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you like music, you will LOVE this book about a tempestuous young singer and the band who launched her to stardom. The structure and multiple POVs give it the feel of a Rolling Stone interview. Very unique, very well written, and so good I immediately went to the store and grabbed THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO. Taylor Jenkins Reid is that good.
LAST SUMMER by Kerry Lonsdale
Last Summer is utterly captivating and impossible to put down, so strap yourself in for a ride. In addition to being a superb writer, Kerry Lonsdale has a talent for creating complex characters who wrestle with very real situations. Last Summer is her best yet, a sly suspense coupled with sizzling romance and unending twists. Lonsdale should be on every reader’s radar.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
There’s a reason this book has been burning up the bestseller lists. It’s lovely. So atmospheric, so gorgeously written. An environmental mysterious love story that will break your heart and keep you guessing, it has all the lushness of the marsh at its center. Go forth and read it now, because the movie is sure to be a massive hit.
THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides
THE SILENT PATIENT is absolutely superb. And honestly, to say much more will ruin it completely. I expect great things from Alex going forward...
EDUCATED by Tara Westover
This book spoke to me on a number of levels. I grew up in the mountains, well away from the nearest town, and understand the joy and pain of isolation. But… that’s where our similarities end. This is a fascinating look at the lengths some people have to go to in order to become educated. Beautifully written, Tara Westover has a lovely command of language. Heartbreaking, inspiring, and frighteningly real.
INHERITANCE by Dani Shapiro
This was not the easiest book for me to read, if only for the amount of time spent on the aspects of infertility, but the spirit of it was so beautiful and pure. That Dani was able to write about her experiences at this moment in time, when DNA and ancestry databases are helping to solve crimes and helping families find their truths, it’s true serendipity. I think it will help a lot of people who are searching for their own identities. A must-read.
AN ANONYMOUS GIRL by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
A solid entry in the domestic suspense genre. The structure is excellent, as is the use of second person POV, which is a very difficult thing. The ending will have you talking!
THE STRANGER INSIDE by Laura Benedict
What if you came home to find a stranger living inside your house? An outstanding, ever-twisting, surprise-filled" psychological drama (Publishers Weekly, starred review), in the tradition of Shari Lapena and Liane Moriarty, from an Edgar- and Thriller Award-nominated author.
Can you imagine the nightmare of a stranger taking over your house? The terror you would feel? Benedict turns her unique voice in suspense to this elegant scary mystery, where nothing is as it seems and one woman's truth is shattered by the hidden secrets of her past.
ONCE A LIAR by A.F. Brady
In this electrifying psychological thriller, a high-powered sociopath meets his reckoning when he’s accused of the brutal murder of his mistress. Sizzles with sinister madness and incessant tension right to the last page.
THE CREATIVE HABIT by Twyla Tharp
I’ve now both read and listened to this beautifully compiled work of art. Twyla Tharp takes an intellectual approach to building habits, with a deep dive into the history of art and its greatest creators. You must read it. Do the exercises. See what comes of your newfound enlightenment. Let your mind dance. You won’t regret it.