VERITY – Colleen Hoover

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Dear Colleen Hoover,
Feel free to write more thrillers in the future.

“Somewhere up there is the house, and somewhere inside of that house lies Verity Crawford.”

What. Did. I. Just. Read?!!

If you’d told me last year that one day I’d be reading a Colleen Hoover novel, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

The book more or less starts off with a bang. Our protagonist had witnessed something awful happen right in front of her. And from that moment on, you’ll find yourself hooked and beyond drawn to the pages.

Lowen Ashleigh, who’s portrayed as such a badass woman in this book, gets more and more interesting as we watch her character being peeled away progressively.

She’s given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to continue a series written by incredibly successful author Verity Crawford. But she – us readers too – can already get the feeling that this job offer isn’t such a good idea, considering the mysterious history of tragedies that Verity’s family has known, the elusiveness of why Lowen was really picked for the job, and the coincidental horrifying occurrence that she had to witness at the beginning of the book.

Lowen moves into Verity’s home, and it’s not until she stumbles upon one of her manuscripts that Lowen finds herself thrusting into this author’s elusive mind.

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Inexplicable things start happening at the house. And 1/3 into the book, you’ll realize how Verity’s character is the most strangely captivating one – one that’ll keep you wondering, “Do I really want to know more about this peculiar-minded woman?”

The dialogue kept me on edge. And the things that are about to be revealed about this woman will just leave you breathless.
As you read more about the things that’ve happened to Verity and her children, you’ll feel as if you’re spying on this strange family – a voyeuristic effect that adds an extra dose of liveliness and suspense.

The author challenges everything we think we know about the characters, while our main character Lowen is torn between her attempt to leave this house where she feels she’s going completely crazy, and finding out the truths it hides.

Verity is going to trigger you, disturb you, challenge your sanity and provide you with the most overwhelming experience.

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FLAMINGO LANE – Tim Applegate

Flamingo Lane – being the 2nd book in a series, does offer essentials elements from the first book, Fever Tree. Therefore, this can absolutely be read as a standalone. Which was a relief because I was SO in the mood for a light, atmospheric thriller such as this one. Southern noir, as it turns out, is the perfect comfort read to unwind with.

Overwhelmed by her family’s attempts to restore her to her “old self”, Faye Lindstrom – having encountered a harrowing past life in Quintana Roo, Mexico – takes solace inside an isolated farmhouse owned by novelist William Dieter. But that safe haven may not be as idyllic as it seems as it seems.

Yep, that’s it! What I love about this particular synopsis of FLAMINGO LANE by Tim Applegate (out Dec. 11) is that it doesn’t give TOO much away about the plot and, along with the cover, remains mysterious and gives out a feel of moodiness (which you guys know I’m all about!).

Now in the back cover, it also says that this book is for Southern noir fans (my first time reading the sub-genre!) and then it proceeded to mention that it’s a “cat-and-mouse pursuit” kind of read!! Which I think is so Patricia Highsmith/ Peter Swanson.

So, moving from Quintana Roo, Mexico to Florida, Faye Lindstrom decides to start a new life, far away from the chaos of the place that holds some of her darkest, most traumatizing memories: a flawed female protagonist (you guys know this is a total plus for me! but what she isn’t aware of is that her ex seeks revenge and is going on a mission to kill her as she resides in novelist William Dieter’s house.

This is one of those entertaining “past comes back to bite you” kind of reads, if that makes sense. There might’ve been no twists throughout the book, but there was definitely an element of suspense which, once it began, it didn’t let up! And I felt truly invested in Faye’s character as she endeavors to combat her demons. Out of all other characters, hers was the one that stood out the most for m, so the chapters where she narrates the events were the ones I kept looking forward to!

Do you guys have any thoughts on this book? Let’s discuss in the comments, fellow readers!!

Travel Scandinavia Through These Chilly Thrillers

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Now that Fall is here, don’t you just want to cuddle up with an icy murder mystery, a mug of tea, warm socks and maybe a few lit scented candles – or simply what the Danish community likes to call “hygge“?
I say we thriller-aholics should immediately go for it! But today, we’re going to dive into a whole new realm of this genre: Scandinavian thrillers.
Scandi-noir, as you might know, has left its mark everywhere in the crime fiction world, from domestic thrillers to small-town serial killers. And I’m here to tell you which picks are the most deserving of your time!

SWEDEN

Swedish thriller authors seem to be everywhere these days (not complaining here!), and debuts like You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks represent a perfect example of successfully written suspense novels. And here are a few picks based in this country…

You Were Made For This – Michelle Sacks

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You Were Made For This starts with a beautiful scenery that is a little red wooden house on a nature reserve bordering Sweden’s oldest town, Sigtuna, where a perfect family of three is living the perfect life.
And yet since the start, in the midst of all the perfection, you can’t help but feel like something’s not right within this family. This family’s secret, however, will soon threaten to come to light after the visit of a close friend, who will eventually overstay her welcome in a way that will trigger the family’s lifestyle in the most heart-thudding way.

This book will work perfectly for fans of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, and also for readers who enjoy unlikeable characters and families with dark secrets.

The Fifth Woman – Henning Mankell

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In an African convent, four nuns and a unidentified fifth woman are brutally murdered–the death of the unknown woman covered up by the local police. A year later in Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander is baffled and appalled by two murders. Holger Eriksson, a retired car dealer and bird watcher, is impaled on sharpened bamboo poles in a ditch behind his secluded home, and the body of a missing florist is discovered–strangled and tied to a tree. The only clues Wallander has to go on are a skull, a diary, and a photo of three men. What ensues is a case that will test Wallander’s strength and patience, because in order to discover the reason behind these murders, he will also need to uncover the elusive connection between these deaths and the earlier unsolved murder of the fifth woman.

The Silent Girl – Hjorth & Rosenfeldt

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An idyllic white, two-storey, beautiful house in Sweden. Inside, a family has been brutally murdered – mother, father and two young children all shot in broad daylight. And the killer has got away.

Sebastian Bergman has been brought in to solve the crime, but with no credible suspects, he is at a dead end.

Until he discovers that there was a witness to the crime. A young girl who saw it all happen, and she has disappeared.

Bergman has to track the young girl down before it’s too late. But the killer is chasing her too – and he is determined to finish what he started.

DENMARK

As I’ve mentioned before, the concept “hygge” might be familiar to you by now – it more or less consists of snuggling up to a good Scandinavian crime novel under super cozy conditions.

Mercy – Jussi Adler-Olsen

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At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. She vows not go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction. She will die first.
Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck’s been taken off homicide to run a newly created department for unsolved crimes. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead. Everyone says it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.
The voice in the dark is distorted, harsh and without mercy. It says the prisoner’s torture will only end when she answers one simple question. It is one she has asked herself a million times: WHY is this happening?

NORWAY

I’m sure you would’ve heard about Nordic-Noir by now, especially on bookstagram, where you can find numerous readers giving out the most entertaining recommendations of this genre.

The Boy At The Door – Alex Dahl

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Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life: a handsome husband, two beautiful daughters and a luxurious house in the picture-postcard town of Sandefjord – a peaceful summer town in Norway. But Cecilia also has a dark secret that is so damaging it can never be brought to light. Then Tobias – a friendless eight-year-old boy who wants to find a home – comes into her life. Tobias, though, is threatening to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down.

This book immediately draws you in from the very first page. The story is told from three main points of views – Cecilia’s, Tobias’ and Annika’s, and I personally felt a sudden urge to get to know these characters the moment they began to divulge their sides of the story.
Author Alex Dahl has the most stunning imagination I’ve ever encountered. Each event, character and action is deliciously structured and completely unpredictable.
Tobias is an 8-year-old who might make you feel nervous at first, but once his part of the story begins, you can’t help but want to find out more about his background and how his mind works!

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This seems to be the year of deeply unlikeable characters (try books such as YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS, LYING IN WAIT and OUR KIND OF CRUELTY), and this is an essential element which thriller readers (me included!) seem to be strongly striving for lately.

The twists and turns in this book will make you sit up in your reading spot and stay alert until the ultimate big reveal!

ICELAND

I personally think that Ragnar Jonasson is one of the perfect go-to authors for all Iceland Noir enthusiasts!

Blackout – Ragnar Jonasson

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BLACKOUT starts with an atmospheric scene featuring an American tourist driving around the roads in the Northern Iceland area. He’d been enjoying the passing scenery with the captivating fjords and dark green hills , when he pulled at the side of one street to witness a brutally murdered man lying next to a building site, on the safe grounds of Skagafjordur.

This is an Ari Thor thriller, but from an entirely different angle, an intriguingly fascinating character of a woman named Isrun investigates the same crime, independently.

The cast of BLACKOUT is an easily relatable one – most of it at least. The reason behind this is that the author thoroughly divulges to the reader the background of each character – one that is anything but perfect.

Despite the somewhat brutality and violence of the crime in question, the book does have a kind of soft edge to it; a moody and comforting side that describes the Nordic Noir genre perfectly.

FINLAND

Finnish thrillers might be some of the lesser known novels where it comes to this genre, but they can also be all about detective stories and brutal murders.

The Mine – Antti Tuomainen

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In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life. A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results!

Do you guys have any exciting additions to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Escape Room – MEGAN GOLDIN

The book starts with a scream inside an office tower, heard by Miguel whose job was to guard the building during his night shift. After calling 911, the police are there, the lobby’s elevator is opened, fires are shot and a pool of blood is displayed!

Synopsis

When four people become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare.
Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

One of the many things that really piqued my interest in this book was the cleverly written narrative of Sara Hall – one of the firm’s employees, who eventually becomes frightened by and curious about the mysterious accidents and deaths happening around her and sets on uncovering the secrets of the firm, its elusive and deadly history. And more questions begin to surface: Who should she trust? Who should she not?

The book goes back and forth between the four characters who got stuck inside the elevator, and Sara Hall three months earlier. And in no time we begin to get acquainted with the connection between all five characters.
As time passes, new clues begin to show up in intriguingly various and increasingly challenging ways inside the elevator and Sylvie, Vincent, Jules and Sam have to put their rivalries aside and work together to solve them.
THE ESCAPE ROOM does in a way sound like THE GIRL BEFORE by J. P. Delaney in terms of one of the main characters being introduced to a new work place where – while numerous advantages are being offered to the employees – a highly unhealthy environment exists.
This book kept me entertained from start to finish. It was filled with anxiety-inducing moments, especially as we begin to realize how this terrifying experience really is bringing the worst in these characters.
It’s amazing how the way you feel about these characters might change momentarily. Do they deserve what’s happening to them? Are there secrets about their personal lives that are yet to be discovered?
It finally seems that all of them have a number of demands and feelings bottled up, and it’s under these circumstances that they’re about to re-surface.


However, there is someone other than these five people who holds the clue to everything that’s been happening from the start. So, who is this person? And what consequences will they face?
The author wraps up with a perfect ending, and I think that this book makes up for an absolutely entertaining weekend binge-read that’ll most definitely satisfy fans of psychological thrillers!
Is The Escape Room up your alley? Let me know in the comments, fellow readers!

INTO THE NIGHT – Sarah Bailey

“In my mind knives plunge into skin, opening wounds; faces are twisted in pain.”

INTO THE NIGHT (Out Nov. 8th) by Sarah Bailey is an Australian-based police procedural that has an incredibly unique plot, and is definitely one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long time.

After the shocking murder of a high-profile celebrity, Gemma Woodstock must pull back the layers of a gilded cage to discover who among the victim’s friends and family can be trusted–and who may be the killer.

This book contains a certain modern Agatha Christie vibe that I loved. As new characters begin to present themselves one by one, that is when the fun starts, because suddenly, they are all suspects and you find yourself flipping the pages backwards, looking for possible clues on who the perpetrator could be.

One of the main highlights in this book is protagonist Senior Detective Gemma Woodstock’s character: a flawed woman with an intriguingly dark past, and deals with daily unbearable guilt and never-ending anxiety over various aspects of her work and personal life. And I think readers will have the pleasure entering the mind of this fascinating protagonist.

When Gemma is given the lead on one of Melbourne’s biggest cases, she finds herself overwhelmed, and desperate to prove herself. However, this case is slowly taking a toll on her…

The killer still isn’t caught, and Gemma eventually comes to terms with the fact that the answers might be lying closer than she thinks.

In INTO THE NIGHT, Sarah Bailey delivers a carefully-structured suspenseful ending, accompanied by a heart-thudding cinematic atmosphere that readers will certainly find entertaining.

Fellow readers, brace yourself for a police procedural ride that is filled with so many gasp-worthy moments.

Is this book up your alley? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, fellow readers!

LIES BETWEEN US – Ronnie Turner

Wow. This was an absolutely fantastic debut by Ronnie Turner.
If you love reading suspense novels about obsessive love, manipulation and murder, this read is definitely for you.
I was certainly amazed by the character development of all three protagonists, which was done exquisitely, and it all really gets interesting as we get acquainted with each of these characters’ point of views.

This is a psychological thriller that portrays the dark and disturbing elements so cleverly. It will leave you turning the pages quickly, right until a massive twist that you will not see coming.

I urge you to pick a copy of this novel, it’ll give you chills and keep you guessing until the very end!

Thrillers To Read On Halloween Night

Who doesn’t love to cuddle up with a good thriller on a chilly Halloween night?

Here are some spooky suggestions on what to read…
I ALWAYS FIND YOU – John Ajvide Lindqvist


I ALWAYS FIND YOU is a Swedish horror novel that I was completely intrigued by. It’s divided into three parts. The first third is mainly dedicated to the events and struggles leading up to the day where John Lindqvist (the author himself) got the urge to start writing horror stories; like getting a place of his own in a courtyard in Luntmakargatan 14 in Stockholm, endeavoring to win in the Nordic Championships and especially John’s desire to make his living as a magician.
But John knows that the only way the inspiration for his writing could begin was to reach out to his childhood demons.
Inside the book, the reader is given actual passages from the horror story that he’s writing.
What is most frightening in this read, among other scenes, were the consecutive mysterious phone calls. that John keeps getting from an elusive caller asking for a man he thinks he lives in John’s home. There’s also something both terrifying and beautiful in the way the author describes his emotions, thoughts and the heart-thudding events that are slowly haunting his life. Things get darker with every page and then you can’t help but wonder, ‘Is there a connection between the horror he’d witnessed in the shower room, the mysterious phone calls he keeps getting and the traumatic events he’d lived through during his childhood alongside the child in the forest?’
DEVIL’S DAY – ANDREW MICHAEL HURLEY


Like every other autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up in the Endlands only to find that his grandfather – The Gaffer – had died. Each year, in order to keep the sheep safe from the Devil, redraws the boundary lines of the village with pen and paper. But as the farmers bury the Gaffer, they begin to wonder whether they let the Devil in after all.
This is definitely one of those moody slow-paced reads that I love, where the suspense element is absolutely engaging.
JAR OF HEARTS – Jennifer Hillier


Jar of Hearts is about a girl named Geo who, for fourteen years, kept a horrible secret from the world: her high school boyfriend is the infamous serial killer (also known as The Sweetbay Strangler) who murdered her former best friend Angela in the most gruesome way.
Fourteen years later, while Geo was doing her time, she finds out The Sweetbay Strangler escaped from prison, and dead bodies start to show up, in the same frightening way Angela was found killed years ago.
This book has all kinds of dark and nasty bundled within its page and for some twisted reason, that’s just the kind of read I love being invested in, and that keeps me deeply engaged. It’s a brilliant work of fiction that perfectly portrays how one’s past can influence their future in the most unexpected way possible.
The ending was intensely action-packed, and the readers will find themselves feeling breathless leafing through the final pages – which is a highly sought-out effect when diving into a cleverly-written work of crime fiction such as this one.
BLOOD UPON THE SNOW – Hilda Lawrence

Mark East is a private detective who takes a job as secretary to an archeologist, Joseph Stoneman. But it’s his talent at detecting that is really needed. Mr. Stoneman’s estate is quite large and there are several people staying there. A snowstorm isolates them from any outside contact … and the occupants start dying.
Do you guys have any additions to this list? Please share them in the comments!