Category Archives: Thriller

Defender, G.X. Todd – Book Review

I received Defender in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to read this debut as the author lives quite local to me, something I don’t come across often. But, in the end, I took a while to get round to it and when I finally did, it didn’t blow me away. Maybe someone from Birmingham in the UK just wasn’t able to conjure the dry, empty landscape of a post-apocalyptic Texas which I wanted. Or maybe, it’s to do with the plot. Either way, I know this book worked for a lot of people, but I struggled to connect with it the way I’d hoped to.

Defender, G.X. Todd

The premise of this novel is great – a blend of your typical post-apocalyptic theme with a touch of some more supernatural science fiction thrown in. It’s an ambitious tale, touching on themes of sanity, grief and survival. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Drama, Dystopia, Thriller

You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott – Book Review

I received You Will Know Me in exchange for an honest review

This was my first experience with Megan Abbott, and I’m now keen to go back and tackle her back catalogue. You will know me is a well-crafted, slow-burning contemporary thriller packed with secrets, lies and paranoia.

youwillknowme

Katie and Eric Knox are dedicated parents: they’ve committed everything they can into ensuring that their talented gymnast daughter Devon succeeds. Their lives are built around spending hours ferrying Devon to and from practice, supporting her in any way they can, but, when a sudden death rocks their small community, everything – and crucially Devon’s future prospects – is thrown into the balance. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Dear Amy, Helen Callaghan – Book Review

I received Dear Amy in exchange for an honest review

I received this ARC a couple of months ago, and I have to admit I’d been dragging my heels and prioritising other novels ahead of this due to the distinctly average rating it has received so far on Goodreads. But, I finally got around to reading and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I raced through this book; it’s a fun, fast-paced psychological thriller packed with unexpected twists that had me glued to the pages.

dearamy

The protagonist is Margot, a schoolteacher who also doubles as ‘Amy’, an agony aunt for the local newspaper. Aside from an impending divorce, her life is pretty humdrum until she starts receiving some mysterious letters from Bethan Avery, a girl who was abducted over a decade before. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Thriller

The Last One, Alexandra Oliva – Book Review

I received The Last One in exchange for an honest review

I’ve had my eye on this book for months; the plot alone sounds so intriguing, so different and such an amalgamation of things I love, I had to give it a try.
The Last One

Based around a reality TV show called ‘Into The Woods’, the novel follows ‘Zoo’ (a nickname given to the main character by the producers due to the fact that she works with animals) and eleven other contestants as they journey across woods and countryside. The contestant have to complete challenges and overcome obstacles, living off the land, building shelters and skinning animals in order to eat. But there’s a twist to this survival game, and it takes on a dark reality when, unbeknownst to the contestants, a real-life pandemic breaks out wiping out a large amount of the population and leaving every citizen fighting for survival. It’s a clever, original concepts which acts as a spring-board, allowing the author to explore both the staged drama of reality TV shows and the fear-inducing landscape of a post-pandemic world. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Drama, Dystopia, Thriller

The Fireman, Joe Hill – Book Review

I received The Fireman in exchange for an honest review.

My first experience with Joe Hill was when I read NOS4A2 late last year. I thought that was great, and gave it five stars. The Fireman is on another level. This bold, emotional, epic read sees Hill firmly stepping out of his father’s shadow (if he was even in it before?) and into the limelight, cementing himself as a sheer genius in creative writing.

The Fireman

First things first, this book is long. I didn’t realise when I blithely requested it on Netgalley and immediately started reading upon acceptance, but it’s almost 800 pages. But I actually think it benefited from that. The length gives the reader the chance to become fully immersed in the post-pandemic world and – most importantly – in Harper, an incredibly well-drawn and authentic character, one of my favourite protagonists in a long time. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Drama, Dystopia, Thriller

The Girl In The Ice, Robert Bryndza – Book Review

I almost didn’t buy The Girl In The Ice as the basic premise sounds like many other crime thrillers out there, and I read so much of the genre a few years ago that I put myself off the genre to some extent. But, since its release in January, this one has received and lot of hype, so I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. This gripping tale really stands out – it’s one of the best of its genre that I’ve read in years.

The Girl In The Ice

So, back to the premise for a moment. Andrea Douglas-Brown, a beautiful young socialite, is found murdered, frozen in the winter ice. The police step with DCI Erika Foster leading the case, and soon uncover links to a string of prostitutes who were murdered years before. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Thriller

The Girl You Lost, Kathryn Croft – Book Review

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

View on Amazon

Kathryn Croft’s The Girl With No Past was one of my stand-out psychological thriller reads of last year, so I was very excited to get my hands on her new novel, The Girl You Lost. And it didn’t disappoint – she’s done it again; The Girl You Lost is a tense, addictive and dark psychological thriller with believable characters and emotional depth.

The Girl You Lost

Simone and Matt had their daughter Helena at a young age, while they were still in University. But that didn’t matter to them – for six months they lived as a happy family until one day Helena disappeared from their lives.

Eighteen years later, the couple are now married and have gone on to forge successful careers, working hard to fill the void made by their missing child. But their past is about to be dredged back to the surface as Simone is approached by a girl named Grace who believes she is her long-lost daughter Helena.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

The Poison Artist, Jonathan Moore – Book Review

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

View on Amazon

The Poison Artist is a dark, tense and disturbing psychological horror which had me captivated throughout.
The Poison ArtistIt’s about Caleb Maddox, a toxicologist working in San Francisco, studying the scientific effects of pain. His life is turned upside down after an argument with his girlfriend finds him staying in a hotel and meeting a mysterious woman whom he promptly becomes obsessed with, before quickly being sucked into a serial killer mystery.

There’s lots going on, and the author delves straight into the action with very little scene-setting prelude. Who is Caleb? Why did his long-term girlfriend throw a glass at him before throwing him out of the house? And why does he become obsessed with this chance meeting with a woman in a bar? It feels like we are thrown right into the heart of the story and the core of Caleb’s obsession, with the protagonist’s patchy background only gradually being revealed as the story continues. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Drama, Horror, Thriller

The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood – Book Review

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
View on Amazon

I’m ashamed to admit that this is the first Alex Marwood book I’ve read, even though I love a good psychological mystery. I bought her much-hyped debut The Wicked Girls back in 2012, but it’s still languishing away on my shelf waiting to be read. I’ll be rectifying that soon, because her latest book, The Darkest Secret, is a tense, engrossing and addictive read.

This book is all about secrets. It follows a group of family at friends, who at first seem a close-knit group; privileged and lucky, but scratch the surface and there’s a world of tension, lies and deceit bubbling away underneath. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The Girl With No Past, Kathryn Croft – Book Review

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
View on Amazon

This book, like many others released in the past 12 months, is recommended for ‘fans of Gone Girl’. Whilst most of the novels labeled as such don’t live up to this acclaim, I felt that this one did. It’s not particularly similar in plot or the writing style – but what both Gone Girl and this novel have in common is that they had me thinking about them while I wasn’t reading them. They both pose countless questions, teasing the reader with small nuggets of information, but holding back from revealing the full story.

The Girl With No Past
This book had me pondering over all of the characters, coming up with my own theories on the outcome when my mind should have been on other things. I had relatively average expectations going into it, but I’m glad I pressed request on this one. I would go as far as to say this is the best psychological thriller I’ve read this year.

Leah Mills leads a quiet, lonely existence. She works in a library, and surrounds herself with books both at work and at home which she uses to escape from her past. She has no real friends to speak of, and has always been happy that way.

“On the surface, perhaps the best years were ahead of me, but I couldn’t tell Maria, or anyone else, that my past had erased any chance of a future.”

But recently, her curiosity has been piqued by a dating website which she begins spending more and more time on. At first, she’s just watching other people’s conversations play out, but after a while she is drawn into one-on-one conversations with a user called Julian, and she starts to wonder if her life could change. But someone is watching Leah. Someone who thinks she doesn’t deserve a chance at happiness; someone who is determined not to let her forget her past.

From the first few pages, the writer deftly drew me into Leah’s world. With a mix of sympathy and intrigue, I pitied her existence, but was also desperate to know what had happened in her past to cause her to live her life this way. This information is revealed very gradually in a separately unfolding timeframe which follows Leah’s time in school. Croft takes the time to build up the characters in both Leah’s present-day life and her school days, offering the reader an insight into each of the characters’ personalities, but leaving you with no idea who to trust.

There were so many questions flying through my mind while reading this book – why does Leah live such a lonely life? What is she punishing herself for? What happened to her old school friends? Who is her present-day stalker and why are they so determined to take away everything good in her life? The stalker’s efforts start subtly and build to a crescendo, making for a deliciously dark, slow-burning, multilayered story as Croft builds layer upon layer of intrigue and then peels back the layers of Leah and the surrounding characters to reveal the brutal truth. I don’t want to give too much away on this book but the end destination is worth that tense, nail-biting journey to get there. I loved it.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Thriller