I KILLED ZOE SPANOS: Kit Frick’s Highly Anticipated Novel Is Set To Blow YA Mystery Readers’ Minds

”But there are some secrets—my secrets—that Windermere will hold forever, trapped beneath the ash like spilled blood.”

This was a creatively-crafted mystery about a girl who moves to the Hamptons in order to start a nannying job, only to find out that the town is on edge over the disappearance of another girl who looks exactly like her.

What’s going on?

Just the fact that the author had thought of such a unique premise is mind-blowing. And all throughout the book, you can sense author’s confidence as she lulls you into this world of lies and secrets, where two girls’ lives become entangled in the most sinister way.

Something happened to Zoe Spanos when she went missing on New Years Eve, and Anna – our main character – has to find out what happened. As the days pass by, she starts developing an obsession for a podcast dedicated to the missing girl, called “Missing Zoe”.

What was most spine-chilling about the storyline are the dreams/nightmares that our main character was having about the victim – I couldn’t get enough of those parts. They were written beautifully and in a way that will make you shiver.

In a nutshell, I can describe I Killed Zoe Spanos as a modern, podcast-inspired YA adult version of Du Maurier’s Rebecca, taking place in a captivating setting that makes the story even more appealing to follow. Mark your calendars, fellow readers: June 2nd. I Killed Zoe Spanos is a must-read for admirers of YA mysteries.

5 Slasher Thrillers To Read Before You See Them On Screen

THE SHINING GIRLSLauren Beukes

In The Shining Girls, Beuke’s powerful storytelling easily sucks the reader into final girl Kirby’s story and the chilling killings of Harper Curtis who can spot perfection or ‘Shining‘ beauty in his female victims.

Image source: Esquire

MRC and talented actor/producer Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way have acquired the rights to this book and are therefore teaming up to adapt it into a TV series.

Get The Book: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Add to your TBR: The Shining Girls: Goodreads

INTENSITY – Dean Koontz

Intensity is the perfect slasher thriller for fans of the Final Girl trope.

Chyna Shepherd decides to spend the weekend with her best friend Laura in the Napa Valley home that her family owns. On the first night there, Chyna hears a scream…and that’s when the cat-and-mouse game between her and sociopathic killer Vess Edgler begins.

It’s incredible how Koontz maintains increased suspense in every. single. page. We follow both of Chyna and Vess’ narratives and the author crafted each of their traits and personalities so well. Will Chyna Shepherd survive?

This film has, in fact, already been turned into a brilliant two-episode mini-series, starring Molly Parker as Chyna and John C. McGinley as Vess Edgler. The mini-series was produced by author Dean Koontz himself.

Get The Book: Intensity by Dean Koontz

Add to your TBR: Intensity: Goodreads

FINAL GIRLS – Riley Sager

Years ago, Quincy survived a brutal massacre that occured in a cabin where she went to vacation with some of her friends. Now, when another girl who’d survived the same savagery is found dead, Quincy receives an unexpected visit and her world instantly turns upside down. The killer might be just around the corner.

It is not just the impressive writing and meticulously-plotted creation of the story’s characters that draw the reader in, but it’s also the way the author drops bombshells throughout the book when you least expect them. The ending was a clever, unforgettable one.

Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to adapt Final Girls into a movie, which will be produced by Ashley Zalta (known for her work on The OA), Michael Sugar (13 Reasons Why) and Nicole Clemens.

Get The Book: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Add to your TBR: Final Girls: Goodreads

THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSEStephanie Perkins

This is a YA slasher revolving around “The Osborne Killer” – as dubbed by the media- who brutally kills college students as he/she follows a certain pattern. The beginning vividly reminded me of Scream, so if you’re a fan of the Scream franchise, you’ll most likely enjoy this one as well.

Image Source: Getty / Paul Archuleta

This one will star Sydney Park, who also starred in Pretty Little Liar’s: The Perfectionists, alongside some of Boy Erased‘s excellent cast – Jesse LaTourette and Theodore Pellerin.

Get The Book: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Add To Your TBR: There’s Someone Inside Your House: Goodreads

LOCK EVERY DOOR – Riley Sager

What would you do if you were offered twelve thousand dollars to stay at an apartment for three months?

With Lock Every Door, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. So many twists and turns. And I applaud the author for adding in the creep factor with a pinch of gothic suspense. I felt fully addicted to and invested in Jules’ journey as she endeavored to unravel the Bartholomew’s dark past, and the suspense does not let up when we’re given occasional snippets from the present day – where the protagonist is at the hospital, recovering from a horrible accident.

In Lock Every Door, Riley Sager created an addictive and gripping atmosphere that made his work stand out and succeeded to catch Paramount and Anonymous Content‘s attention…

The TV-series adaptation is set to be directed by Angela Robinson who’s known for her work on True Blood and How To Get Away With Murder, and adapted to script form by Brian Buckner, who’s also worked on True Blood.

Get The Book: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Add To Your TBR: Lock Every Door: Goodreads

So, which adaptation are you most excited about? Is there another title you think should be added to the list? Let me know, fellow readers!

THE FAMILIAR DARK: Amy Engel Returns With Another Chilling Thriller Full of Shocking Family Secrets

”You had fair warning.”

The Familiar Dark is one of the sharpest depictions of how a small town murder mystery should be written. Amy Engel’s flair to create a dark, close-to-reality environment and tie it to a world of infinitely flawed interpersonal relationships is evident as she maintains the same somber tone used in The Roanoke Girls, her previous standalone.

In this upcoming novel, a mother’s worst nightmare has come true, and Eve – the victim’s mother – won’t rest until her daughter’s killer is brought to justice. And she’ll be setting her own rules.

While The Roanoke Girls remains the book that left me emotionally scarred, this one stands out most through its rather startlingly rattling conclusion, bringing an unforgettable end to Eve’s challenging journey of hunting down the killer in Missouri’s cold and snowy “Barren Springs”.

Amy Engel is a special author, her atmospherically-moody stories seem to continuously contain protagonists with distinct voices that makes the reader want to get sucked into their world and become drawn to them and their journeys. The Familiar Dark is a perfect example.

DEAR CHILD by Romy Hausmann: The Thriller You Need To Drop Everything For and Read in 2020

“It’s not so bad, Mama. It was just a silly accident.”

This book snagged quite an unexpected reaction from me, and I think that was because the author was audacious enough to break all the rules, create her own and infuse her story with a creative, dark energy.

One of the most compelling scares readers encounter in this novel, is the exploration of the psychology of a clever young girl named Hannah, given the traumatic happenings taking place around her on a daily basis, in addition to the intricate, yet brilliantly-conveyed subject of maternal nurture.

Hausmann also discusses, through impeccable storytelling, the reason behind our perpetrator’s savagery. This character is capable of both unimaginable and realistic abusive behavior. I think that’s what’s most unsettling, how the story is so thinly connected to reality while still breaking the record for the number of twists and turns that even avid thriller readers might not ever guess. 

On the other hand, this is probably one of the most shocking stories about survival I’ve ever read. It’s well-plotted and the attention to detailis extremely precise that I doubt our protagonists Lena, Jasmin and Hannah’s story will ever leave my mind.

THE TENANT by Katrine Engberg: A Brilliant New Voice in The Scandi Noir Genre

Calling all Scandinavian Noir admirers!

It is August 8th, and Detective Jeppe must lead the investigation into a young woman’s horrifying murder.

Who would want to inflict such despicable harm on Esther’s 21-year-old tenant Julie?

Readers encounter their first horror scene upon the description of the girl’s body, which emphasizes how the killer has “a message” they’re trying to communicate and that their motive is greater that one could imagine. Paired with Detective Anette, the duo must put on their detective hats and bring our killer to light.

I love a Scandinavian (Danish, in this case) setting. This mystery might not have taken place in the captivating Norwegian or Icelandic countryside (as I usually love my noir mysteries to occur) but the author used clever locations in Copenhagen, Denmark to add in the right suspenseful and dramatic effect.

What also made my skin prickle is how the author lets us into the way the killer operates.The perpetrator’s killings are chilling and you’re compelled to want to know the “who” and the “why” behind these killings.

So far, Scandi Noir authors haven’t let me down; and besides Jo Nesbo and Ragnar Jo, I’m delighted to add Katrine Engberg as a new favorite author in the genre.

***Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of The Tenant through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

DEGREES OF GUILT: HS Chandler’s New Stand-alone Courtroom Thriller is Hitting US Shelves Today and It’s As Gripping As You’d Think

“One day at a time. That’s how I endured my marriage. That’s how I’ll get through this trial.”

Legal/Domestic Thriller readers are in for a treat with Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler, which releases in the US today! If you’re into courtroom thrillers, or someone who enjoys watching those jaw-dropping courtroom scenes from How To Get Away With Murder, Degrees of Guilt is for you. The book starts off with the main event – what drove Maria to smash her husband’s head with a chair leg? The first chapter left me speechless. We follow this story through the perspective of a woman in the jury, through which we get to meet her other fellow jury members, and Maria – the defendant.

Maria is a character you can sympathize with and root for. It was both spine-chilling and infuriating watching her getting ripped apart in court by the prosecutor. However, the author uses that effect to discuss/educate us on a very serious subject matter. In Degrees of Guilt, H. S. Chandler emphasizes how domestic abuse (sexual and emotional) isn’t all black and white, and highlights the question, what is the truth behind feeling compelled to stay with one’s abuser? Can it only be justified by financial reasons, or does it extend to more complex ones (judgement, shame…). 

Will Maria find her strength after experiencing such trauma?

This was brilliant. The last pages though…oh boy. I wasn’t expecting that twist ending! And that title? Degrees of guilt; I can’t imagine a more perfect title for the story. Honestly, get this book and buckle up for an exhilarating journey!

6 Hidden Psychological Thriller Gems You Should Own

1. BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND by Heather Gudenkauf

I still believe that readers should be talking more about this book. I categorized this one as “one the most mindblowing, twistiest mysteries I’ve ever read” because I really was taken by a moment of vertigo the second I finished.

What happened that night when teenager Cora is discovered on the tracks of the abandoned train yard, bloody and clinging to life?

I had to read the entire final lines of the ending over and over again, then go back to re-read the prologue, completely struggling to wrap my head around what I’ve just read! Highly encouraging you to pick this one up, fellow readers!

2. KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. 18-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

Fellow readers, you have absolutely no idea what you’re in for with this one. I’m such a sucker for small town mysteries but it’s definitely been a while since I’ve read one with a creative spin on it. This book though has so many elements that keep it unique: we have a clever, well-developed gay protagonist, an appealing seaside setting, a beautiful M/M romance and a serial killer in the mix.

I loved the effortlessness of both the writing and chronology of events. The mystery felt gripping and believable. The author leads us down this path that’s filled with mystery and intrigue and then suddenly pulls the rug from underneath us with a final shocking discovery! This is an absolute must-read for YA thriller fans!!

3. ONE MORE LIE by Amy Lloyd

I loved both of this author’s books but One More Lie really blew my mind. It is a disturbing, sinister slow burn with deliciously increasing suspense that ends with a startling twist.

This book follows Charlotte, a woman who’s desperate to forget her past, forget prison and, most of all, forget Sean. Despite the ankle monitor she must wear as part of her parole agreement and frequent visits to her therapist, she’s already sliding back toward her old self. She’s also getting closer to the crime that put her in prison all those years ago. And that’s the one memory she can’t face. Until, one day, her worst nightmare comes true.

This book oozes so much talent. There was never a dull moment. The mystery and suspense remain perpetual and never let up.

4. DEGREES OF GUILT by HS Chandler

Oh, this one is coming in two days and it’s a surprising, powerful book written by the “Perfect” series author. I’m preparing an upcoming post for this one but for now, I recommend you pick this one up If you’re into legal thrillers (and especially loved Sarah Vaugh’s Anatomy of a Scandal), or someone who enjoys the show How To Get Away With Murder. The book starts off with the main event – what drove Maria to smash her husband’s head with a chair leg? The first chapter left me speechless. I’m not revealing any more than that so you can thoroughly enjoy it but I promise you, you’re in for a treat!

5. DATE NIGHT by Samantha Hayes

If you love murder domestic thrillers/mysteries where babysitters are involved, Date Night (out now) is for you.

Did Libby have something to do with 17-year-old Sasha Long’s disappearance? Why are we seeing her being transported in a police vehicle with blood under her fingernails?

I know I’ve posted about this read so to sum up my feelings about it I say, this was such a gem. The ending caught me off guard as I’d never seen it coming! I can’t stop recommending this one.

6. GOOD ME BAD ME by Ali Land

338 pages of page-turning goodness! This one was lyrical, daunting and skillfully written. We see the story through Milly, whose mother is a serial killer, and we’re kept on edge as she counts the days until her mother’s trial.

Milly doesn’t cease to astonish us. Her character is addictive. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a heroine that could easily put her mark on me like she did.

I, one hundred percent, recommend reading this book.

Are there any more titles you think should be added to the list? Let me know!

***more reviews and recommendations at @ludwigreads on Instagram***