My brother’s highest praise for a book is that it “impacted his sleep”, meaning it was so good he couldn’t put it down to go to bed. Page Turner Books is my list that fits this criteria.

Latest Addition (August 7, 2021)

Bluebird BluebirdBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
Fiction – Mystery / Police Procedural (Release Date: September 10, 2017)
320 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: When a black lawyer and a white local girl are murdered in Lark, Texas (rural East Texas), Darren Matthews (a black Texas Ranger) is called in to investigate amid racial tensions.

My Thoughts: Bluebird, Bluebird is a police procedural with depth…covering more issues than just who did it. It deals with racial tensions in East Texas, racial inequality in law enforcement, and small-town secrets. It’s super atmospheric…you can feel the heat, dustiness, isolation, and danger of East Texas. Perfect for fans of literary police procedurals! 

FallingFalling by T.J. Newman
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: July 6, 2021)
304 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: A pilot is informed his family was kidnapped 30 minutes before his flight takes off and the kidnappers say that they’ll kill the pilot’s entire family unless he crashes the plane.

My Thoughts: This debut, heart-stopping thriller had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The author is an ex-flight attendant who wrote her novel while working cross-country red-eyes. The pilot is forced to make an impossible choice…and a million other impossible choices along the way to his big decision. Books like this usually aren’t known for their character development, but there is a memorable flight attendant who was a total badass (also, it gave me a whole new appreciation for flight attendants)! This book got me out of my reading slump and will spike your adrenaline.  

Northern SpyNorthern Spy by Flynn Berry
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: April 6, 2021)
288 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: Two sisters (Tessa and Marian) live in Belfast, Ireland during the IRA conflict. Tessa is a producer at the BBC when she sees security footage of an IRA robbery, featuring her sister Marian.

My Thoughts: This Reese’s Book Club pick was marketed as a thriller, but I think it’s more of a slow burn suspense family story. It’s about what happens when you discover someone you love isn’t who you thought they were, and what you would do to protect your family. Berry painted a vivid portrait of what it’s like for civilians to live through a violent conflict happening in their backyards and many measures Ireland took during this time reminded me of post-9/11 America.

The DamageThe Damage by Caitlin Wahrer
Fiction – Legal / Crime Drama (Release Date: June 15, 2021)
400 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: A college student named Nick is violently sexually assaulted when he goes home from a bar with a man. His protective older brother (Tony) and his brother’s lawyer wife (Julia) help him navigate the aftermath of the crime.

My Thoughts: This debut legal / crime drama about the aftermath of a violent male on male rape does not read like the thriller you might expect. The author was a lawyer in the domestic / child violence unit and her background shines through in her exploration of how navigating the U.S. legal system can be incredibly traumatic for already traumatized rape victims. This is also a story about the bonds of family and what family will do to protect one of their own. While this is not an #ownvoices novel, #ownvoices reviewers said she handled the male on male rape with care and seemed to have done her research. And, the publisher’s blurb gives away a lot…I recommend going in blind (but knowing this will not be for the faint of heart).

Nothing ManThe Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Fiction – Crime Thriller (Release Date: August 4, 2020)
288 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: Eve Black, the sole survivor of serial killer The Nothing Man’s final crime (he murdered her parents and younger sister while she hid in a bathroom) publishes a book about her experience and The Nothing Man’s other crimes in an effort to finally catch him…only The Nothing Man reads the book and decides to come after her.

My Thoughts: This crime thriller reads like true crime…because there’s a book within a book that is actually a true crime story.  The true crime story reads like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (and is scary in the same way) and you get to hear The Nothing Man’s perspective as well. I loved this creative structure and how Eve reclaimed her power by writing this book and hunt him. In the book within a book, Howard plays with memory and masterfully maps out crime scene details. I also loved the serial killer psychology sprinkled throughout and the absolutely brilliant ending. I read this one in 2 days on the beach!

The PushThe Push by Ashley Audrain
Literary Fiction (Release Date: January 5, 2021)
320 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: Blythe, who comes from an extremely dysfunctional childhood with a mostly absent mother, has her own daughter and finds she’s lacking a connection. She fears Violet is not like other children. After having her second child, something drastic happens with her family.

My Thoughts: This debut novel (which is one of my favorite books of the year so far!) is being marketed as a “page-turning psychological drama,”, which I interpreted to mean psychological thriller…but, it’s NOT that. It’s a dark, emotionally intense, dysfunctional family story focused on motherhood. It’s deeply unsettling and emotionally taut. It’s not a book for everyone and it will be divisive, but I loved it. 5 stars! Full Review.

ThirteenThirteen by Steve Cavanagh
Fiction – Legal Thriller (Released January 25, 2018)
368 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: When Eddie Flynn agrees to defend superstar actor Bobby Solomon for the double murder of his wife and bodyguard, he doesn’t realize he’s up against a killer who’s on the jury.

My Thoughts: Thirteen is one of the best fast-paced thrillers I’ve read this year! I love the unique premise of having the killer sitting on the jury for the crime he committed and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in a legal thriller (not to say it hasn’t been done at some point). The entire story and all the suspense that goes with it come from the how and the why of it all. If The Holdout by Graham Moore made you skeptical of the impartiality of juries, Thirteen might take you to the point of no return.

Too Good to Be TrueToo Good to Be True by Carola Lovering
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: March 2, 2021)
352 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: A woman (Skye) with severe OCD has had trouble finding a lasting relationship…until she finally finds love with an older man (Burke). However, Burke is not what he seems.

My Thoughts: I loved Lovering’s debut novel, Tell Me Lies, and Too Good to Be True is a bit different, but almost as addictive. The premise of this story isn’t new, but Lovering had me turning the pages quickly to find out how this tangled web would resolve itself! I loved that each character had shades of gray and that there was some exploration of class and privilege, cloaked in the guise of domestic suspense. 

When the Stars Go DarkWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
Fiction – Literary Mystery (Release Date: April 13, 2021)
384 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: After a tragedy in her personal life, missing persons detective Anna Hart flees to her hometown of Mendocino, CA where the adopted daughter of a famous, but reclusive actress (Cameron Curtis) has gone missing. She, of course, is compelled to help in the search for her.

My Thoughts: Paula McLain is known for her historical fiction, but she tackles a literary / police procedural in her most personal book yet (like her protagonist, McLain grew up in foster care and is a sexual abuse survivor)…and, my favorite book of hers (5 stars and one of my favorite books of this year so far)! It’s incredibly atmospheric and leads with the stories of the victims. McLain goes deep into the psychological impact of childhood trauma and works real life missing persons cases (including Polly Klaas) into her narrative. 

Your House Will PayYour House Will Pay by Steph Cha
Fiction – Literary / Crime (Release Date: October 15, 2019)
320 Pages
Buy from: Amazon |

Plot Summary: The story of two families (one black and one Korean) tied together by a decades old shooting in LA soon after the Rodney King riots (and another shooting 30 years later that brings old wounds to the surface) is based on the 1991 real-life shooting of 15 year old Latasha Harlins was shot by a Korean store owner in an altercation over the accused shoplifting of a bottle of orange juice.

My Thoughts: It’s a heart-breaking story from all angles with many shades of gray. It explores the multi-generational impact on both families on either side of the shooting and the clash of two different marginalized communities. It’s a book that’s begging to be discussed and is one of the best literary crime novels I’ve read recently.

The List

A Good MarriageA Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
Fiction – Mystery (Release Date: May 5, 2020)
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When corporate attorney Lizzie Kitsakis gets a call from an old law school friend who is being held at Rikers after his wife is found dead in their home, she gets enmeshed in the tony Park Slope parents’ scene and finds her own life in turmoil.

My Thoughts: Kimberly McCreight is one of my go-to mystery / thriller authors (I also loved Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her). A Good Marriage is heavy on the legal angle and McCreight went to law school at Penn. If you’re a fan of Alafair Burke or Angie Kim, Kimberly McCreight needs to be next on your list! 4.25 stars! Full Review.

Nearly Normal FamilyA Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Release Date: June 25, 2019)
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When fifteen year-old Stella Sandell is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman in his thirties, her lawyer mother and pastor father must decide what they’re will to do to save her.

My Thoughts: Told from three perspectives in three sections (Stella’s Dad’s, Stella’s, and Stella’s Mom’s), it reminded me of a cross between Miracle Creek (my review) and Reconstructing Amelia (my review). The evidence tells a different story depending on whose perspective you’re viewing it from, which kept me turning the pages. Full Review.

After the Crash, Michel BussiAfter the Crash by Michel Bussi
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released January 5, 2016)
377 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: On December 23, 1980, a plane crashed in the French Alps killing all its passengers and crew except a baby girl, whose survival sets off a war between two families, one rich and one poor.
My Thoughts: After the Crash is a compelling and intricately spun thriller that hooked me from page one…despite the fact that I’m pretty burned out of twisty thrillers. I highly recommend you go in as blind as possible.This book hooked me immediately. I thought I’d “take a peek” at the beginning before moving on to a shorter book, but I’d sped through 40 pages before I knew it. Continue Reading…

All is Not Forgotten, Wendy WalkerAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Fiction – Mystery/Thriller (Released July 12, 2016)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: After Jenny Kramer is raped in the woods behind a high school party, she is given a controversial drug treatment to erase her memory of the attack.

My Thoughts: All Is Not Forgotten (Reese Witherspoon’s production company has already bought the film rights!) is a book I really don’t have much to say about without revealing spoilers. What I can say is that I could not put this book down. I wasn’t sure I actually liked it…and am still not sure to some extent, but I could. not. stop. reading. It’s incredibly twisty, dark, and deeply unsettling. And, I was fascinated by all the psychology/science about how the brain processes memory and trauma. If you’ve read the book, check out my spoiler discussion post.

An Anonymous GirlAn Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Release Date: January 8, 2019)
375 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Jessica Farris signs up for a supposedly anonymous study only to find that Dr. Shields (the psychiatrist conducting the study) seems to be able to get into her head in a much deeper way than she imagined.

My Thoughts: Psychological thrillers that are heavier on the psychological and lighter on the thriller tend to work for me…and An Anonymous Girl fits this bill. It’s less reliant on action and outlandish plot twists…the suspenseful question is not what will happen, but who can you trust? The beginning of the story sucked me in in a creepy, unsettling way. This book is a giant mindf*ck! Full Review.

Before the Fall, Noah HawleyBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
Fiction – Mystery/Thriller (Released May 31, 2016)
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A private plane carrying two important businessmen (one of whom is the Rupert Murdoch-like head of a 24 hour news network), their families, and a down-on-his-luck painter crashes off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, leaving two survivors. Buy from Amazon
My Thoughts: Before the Fall, written by the creator of the TV show Fargo, has been hyped as “the thriller of the year” by many and has appeared on a number of the traditional media’s Summer Reading Guides. While I don’t feel quite as strongly about it, it is one of only two thrillers I’ve enjoyed all year. As with some other books that worked for me lately (The Expatriates, Only Love Can Break Your Heart), the mystery (i.e. why the plane crashed) serves as a catalyst to explore human emotions and behavior. The crux of this story is more about the people on the plane and what today’s media can do to a tragic story than the crash itself. Continue Reading…

Black Chalk, Christopher J. Yates, thriller, fiction, Oxford UniversityBlack Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
Fiction (Released April, 2014)
352 Pages 

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Six best friends at Oxford University decide to play “a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares” (quote from Amazon), which devolves into humiliation and tragedy.

My Thoughts: Black Chalk joins The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress (my review) as one of my favorite books I’ve read this year…and was one of my favorite books of 2014Continue Reading…

Bull Mountain, Brian PanowichBull Mountain by Brian Panowich
Southern Fiction (
Released July 7, 2015)

304 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: North Georgia’s Bull Mountain has been run by one family of outlaws (the Burroughs) for generations, but when a federal ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) agent arrives to put a stop to the crime, Sheriff Clayton Burroughs’ family loyalty is tested.
My Thoughts: Brian Panowich’s debut novel is a jaw-dropping (yes, my jaw really did drop multiple times!) multi-generational family saga that feels like Southern “grit lit”, but reads like a thriller. It’s one of my favorite books of the summer and is a contender for my Favorite Books of 2015. Continue Reading…

Dead Letters, Caite Dolan-LeachDead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Fiction – Debut (Released February 21, 2017)
353 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Ava Antipova gets word that her wild twin sister (Zelda) is dead, she leaves her Paris graduate program to return to her family’s vineyard in upstate New York…only to find circumstances surrounding her sister’s death that are a bit off and a message from Zelda.
My Thoughts: This debut novel has absolutely everything and is one I’ll be recommending to just about everyone I know for a long time. It has a perfectly paced plot, a dysfunctional family, a mystery, great writing, snarky humor, and depth. And, it’s one of those rare books that I can comfortably categorize as “literary” AND “brain candy.” Continue Reading…

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
Fiction – Thriller (Released January 31, 2012)
421 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy From Amazon
Summary: Jacob Barber, the 14 year old son of the local Assistant District Attorney, is accused of murdering a classmate, causing his parents to face family secrets and cracks in their marriage.
My Thoughts:
At first I thought this book was a typical legal thriller – entertaining and suspenseful, but nothing special. However, I was pleasantly proven wrong by some unexpected elements. This is a fairly easy read that goes quickly, but there are some psychological twists that definitely make you think. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, so all I will say is stick with this one, even if it seems like many other courtroom dramas early on. Defending Jacob is not as good as Gone Girl, but definitely worth reading.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile MeloyDo Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy
Fiction (
Released June 6, 2017)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: While on a holiday cruise through Central America, cousins Liv and Nora’s children (along with two friends) disappear during a shore excursion.
My Thoughts: Though the plot requires the reader to suspend belief a few times, I flew through this novel. The story is told from the perspectives of the different sets of parents (who have their own dynamics and are experiencing cracks in their relationships with each other as a result of the children’s disappearances) and the missing children. It’s a “shit hits the fan on an International vacation” story in the vein of Siracusa (my review) and would be a perfect vacation read…as long as you’re not traveling with young children through Central America! Continue Reading…

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker by Wendy Walker
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released August 8, 2017)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Three years after teenage sisters Emma and Cass disappeared from their home, Cass returns home without Emma and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winters returns to help Cass find Emma.
My Thoughts: Emma in the Night‘s ending has the rare perfect balance between being surprising, yet still fitting with the story and it’s the first 5 star thriller I’ve read since Gone Girl. I could not put this book down! And, I liked it so much better than All is Not Forgotten! If I had the kind of life where I could devote a whole day to reading, I could’ve read this book in one day. Continue Reading…

Five Days at Memorial, Sheri FinkFive Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
Nonfiction (Released September 10, 2013)
558 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: An investigative report into what happened during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans’ Memorial Medical Center…including allegations that doctors intentionally sped up death for some of the hospital’s sickest patients that they thought wouldn’t survive an evacuation.
My Thoughts: Part portrait of a hospital trying to survive in the wake of disaster and part exploration of end-of-life care and euthanasia in the U.S., Five Days at Memorial reads like a thriller and is the first nonfiction book I’ve included on this list. Continue Reading…

Foe iain reidFoe by Iain Reid
Fiction – Literary / Science Fiction (Release Date: September 4, 2018)
272 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: Set in the near future, Junior is selected to participate in a partially government-run endeavor that requires him to leave his wife (Hen) on their isolated farm for a long time…but, the powers that be will make sure Hen is not alone in Junior’s absence.
My Thoughts: Part literary fiction, part page turner, part Sci-Fi (and definitely creepy), Foe is a genre mash-ups that dip their toes into Sci-Fi (e.g. Dark MatterThe Beautiful Bureaucrat). From the moment the book opened (and, really, well into the second half), I had no idea what was going on. It was clear that some omnipresent higher power had control over regular citizens and something wasn’t quite right with Junior’s wife, Hen. Outside of that, Foe had that “WTF is going on” vibe that permeated The Beautiful Bureaucrat. Full Review.

Girls Like Us Girls Like Usby Cristina Alger
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Release Date: July 2, 2019)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Putnam)

Plot Summary: When FBI agent Nell Flynn goes home to Long Island to close out her father’s estate, she’s pulled into a possible serial murder case that her father seems to have been heavily involved in.

My Thoughts: I loved Alger’s 2018 mystery The Banker’s Wife (my review) and I love that she writes mysteries with strong female protagonists, bucking the recent thriller trend of the women being victims. And, while I didn’t love Girls Like Us quite as much as The Banker’s Wife, it’s still a stellar mystery in an interesting setting. Girls Like Us is more police procedural than thriller and the ending isn’t outlandish at all, but did have some twists I wasn’t expecting. Full Review.

Give Me Your HandGive Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: July 17, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Diane and Kit become lab partners in high school, Diane shares an explosive secret. And, when the two women meet again as star lab scientists, the secret comes back to haunt them both.
My Thoughts: Megan Abbott is one of my go-to authors for intense summer reads…generally about demented high school girls (The Fever and You Will Know Me are my favorites). She’s kept her streak alive with Give Me Your Hand…her most grown-up novel yet. This story is set in the world of science and Abbott’s writing makes the lab, the competition for limited positions on important studies, and the researchers’ dedication seem like the pressure cauldron of an Olympic Trials. Grab this one if you like dark and twisty with some substance! Full Review.

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Fiction – Thriller (Released May 24, 2012)
399 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Following the disappearance of his wife, Amy, Nick Dunne faces questions about his marriage from the police, the public, the media, and, most importantly, from himself.
My Thoughts: This book is a psychological thriller that reads like chick lit (in a good way). The story is utterly horrifying and I couldn’t put it down. The main characters are smart, witty, and clever – for better and for worse. The story turns on its head at multiple points – I said “holy sh*t” out loud more than once because I was caught completely off guard. But similar to the scene with the coffee mug at the end of The Usual Suspects, once the truth reveals itself, all the little details fall into place. I don’t want to say too much more about it because enjoying the unexpected twists are key to this book.

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J YatesGrist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates
Fiction (Released January 9, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: Two and a half decades after Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew were involved in a childhood crime in their hometown of Roseborn, NY, they meet again in New York City and have to grapple with what happened years ago.
My Thoughts: Though Grist Mill Road wasn’t perfect and I didn’t love it as much as Black Chalk, I couldn’t put it down. It’s the kind of book I could’ve read in one sitting if I had the time. It’s part coming of age story (reminiscent of My Sunshine Away) and part psychological thriller, while managing to remain literary (well…until the overly thriller-y ending). Continue Reading…

Long Bright RiverLong Bright Riverby Liz Moore
Fiction – Mystery (Release Date: January 7, 2020)
496 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: The story of two Philadelphia sisters; Kacey, an opioid addict living mostly on the streets, and Mickey, a cop whose beat is Kacey’s hang-out area.

My Thoughts: This book was marketed as “the next Girl on the Train” and was blurbed by Paula Hawkins. Forget about that right now…Long Bright River is not like The Girl on the Train (it’s much better!). It’s feels like a literary police procedural with some character-driven family drama thrown in and I’d say it’s much more mystery than thriller. It’s long, but I flew through it. Full Review.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan
Fiction (Released October 2, 2012)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
 Clay Jannon’s new job at a bookstore with a mysterious collection of books and clientele leads him to try to solve the mystery of a centuries old secret society.

My Thoughts: This book is about much more than a bookstore – it touches on code breaking, Google (the company), computer capabilities, ancient books and fonts, and incredibly odd people. I am not really interested in any of those things, but loved this book. I think a writer is special if he/she is able to make me love a book about something I’m not interested in (i.e. Michael Lewis’ Moneyball – I couldn’t care less about baseball) and Sloan does that here. This book is wonderfully quirky with a weird concoction of ancient and futuristic mixed in with hints of Dan Brown. And, the writing style is catchy and modern. I have no clue how Sloan ever came up with a plot like this and made it remotely believable, but my hats off to him.

Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter
Fiction – Thriller (Released July 8, 2008)
512 Pages
Affiliate Link:
 Buy from Amazon

Summary: Palace Council is a political thriller about a powerful group plotting to use the US President as a puppet.
My Thoughts: Carter is known for writing complex thrillers against the backdrop of Harlem elite society and Palace Council is my favorite of his books so far.  Carter weaves real people (Nixon, Langston Hughes) into his fiction – causing me to wonder if something like this could actually happen.

QuicksandQuicksand by Malin Persson Giolito by Malin Persson Giolito
Fiction (Released March 7, 2017)
513 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: In a nutshell, Quicksand is the movie Cruel Intentions (elite prep school, lots of money, partying, drugs, neglected high schoolers, and an intense love affair), if Sebastian (PS – Quicksand‘s main character is also named Sebastian…it’s almost too perfect!) had shot up his school and Annette had gone to trial for helping him.

My Thoughts: I “5 star adored” this Swedish “courtroom thriller” and am amazed it hasn’t gotten more buzz in the U.S. since its March release! This story is about far more than just a school shooting…it’s about friendship, family, a wealthy community, the complicated entanglement of young love, the law, and a slight bit of politics. I couldn’t put it down. If you like dark, twisty high school books, this is one of the best I’ve ever read! Continue Reading…

Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight, audiobook, thrillerReconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Fiction – Thriller (Released April, 2013)
405 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: 
After the studious and athletic Amelia jumps to her death from the roof of her exclusive Brooklyn girls’ school, her mother (Kate) sets out to learn more about the events surrounding her daughter’s death.

My Thoughts:
I was looking for something more fast paced and Reconstructing Amelia was just the ticket! It’s hard not to get hooked quickly when there is a dead body in the first few chapters. The beginning of Reconstructing Amelia is basically a riff on the beginning of “Gossip Girl” (the TV show)…except with a dead body instead of a missing Serena Van Der Woodson. It even has a “Gossip Girl”-esque blog called “Gracefully Yours”. Continue Reading…

Since We Fell by Dennis LehaneSince We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Fiction – Thriller (
Released May 9, 2017)
432 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: After a traumatic experience as a broadcast journalist covering the earthquake in Haiti, Rachel becomes a recluse despite her happy marriage…until she begins to question everything about her life and is sucked into something far bigger than she ever imagined.
My Thoughts: Since We Fell is the first psychological thriller I’ve enjoyed in ages! Maybe that’s because it reads more like character-driven fiction, especially in the first half. The twists do hit like an avalanche eventually…there’s just a solid set-up to make you care about the characters first. Continue Reading…

Sunburn by Laura LippmanSunburn by Laura Lippman
Mystery / Thriller (Released: February 20, 2018)
384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Polly and Adam meet at a bar in tiny Belleville, Delaware in the 1990’s each is merely passing through. As they become more enamored with each other, they discover both are keeping secrets.
My Thoughts: I’ve had a dicey track record with thrillers lately, but Sunburn is a thriller that I actually liked a lot! But, I was more confident than usual because it was recommended by Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast (one of my Go-To Recommendation Sourcesand Megan Abbott, one of my few trusted thriller authors. Sunburn is an unconventional love story where essentially everyone is messing with everyone else. There’s not a single character who is 100% likable or trustworthy (take note if dislikable characters tend to bother you!). Continue Reading…

The Accident, Chris Pavone, publishingThe Accident by Chris Pavone
Fiction – Thriller (Released March 11, 2014)
381 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: When the manuscript of an unauthorized biography about a famous media mogul (titled The Accident), lands on literary agent Isabel Reed’s desk, it kicks off a frantic day of battles between those trying to get it published and those trying to bury it, putting everyone’s lives in danger.

My Thoughts: The Accident is, quite literally, a literary page turner (I’m not actually sure if this is a legit “genre”, but I like the sound of it!). A thriller about the book publishing business? I wasn’t sure something like this could keep me on the edge of my seat, but The Accident absolutely did. Continue Reading…

Banker's WifeThe Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
Fiction – Thriller (Released July 3, 2018)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When a private plane carrying a Swiss banker and his wealthy client goes off the radar, his wife is left to piece together the shady dealings Swiss United Bank was involved in.
My Thoughts: Despite it’s unfortunately domestic sounding title (really…can publishers try for at least one thriller without “Wife” or “Girl” in the title?!!), The Banker’s Wife is more of a conspiracy / financial thriller. It’s purely plot driven (so much so that I forgot to highlight passages to share in this post!) and will keep you turning the pages. Plus, there are characters who resemble real life people enough to make you wonder! Full Review.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat, Helen PhillipsThe Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Fiction (Released August 11, 2015)
192 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: When Josephine moves to a new city with her husband and takes a job at a data processing facility, strange things begin to happen, leading her to further investigate the company she works for.
My Thoughts: Helen Phillips’ debut novel is a tiny ball of weirdness…reminiscent of a demented “Office Space”…that had me on the edge of my seat. I was on the edge of my seat virtually the entire time I was reading. I just had to know…what the heck is going on here?! The entire book feels like a riddle that the reader needs to unravel. And, once the the riddle of Josephine’s company has been solved, you’re left with much broader questions to ponder. Continue Reading…

The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
Fiction – Thriller (Released April 1, 1988)
533 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: A spy thriller about a secret KGB operation (The Charm School) in the era of Glasnost and the implications for US/Russian relations of revealing it to the world.

My Thoughts: DeMille is my favorite “page turner” author and The Charm School is one of my favorite DeMille books.  You’ll love the characters’ witty banter, the portrait of Russian life, and the thrill of the investigation into The Charm School.  Best of all, this is one of those “what if” books that left me wondering if something like the Charm School could really exist.

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
Fiction – Thriller (Released June 4, 2002)
657 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Following the death of his father (a Justice whose Supreme Court nomination ended in scandal), Talcott Garland tries to unravel the mystery behind “the arrangements”, a series of clues his father left him.

My Thoughts:  Previously known for his nonfiction writing, The Emperor of Ocean Park is Carter’s first novel. It’s fast-paced, intricate, and covers what will become Carter’s signature themes of elite Harlem society, Ivy League academia, race, conspiracy, and politics. Continue Reading…

Family UpstairsThe Family Upstairsby Lisa Jewell
Fiction – Mystery (Released: November 5, 2019)
340 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: When she turns 25, Libby Jones learns who her biological parents are and that she’s inherited their multi-million dollar London home (Cheyne Walk), which was the site of three decades-old unsolved deaths.

My Thoughts: I’ve been loving mystery/ family drama mash-ups lately and this one reminded me a bit of Tana French’s The Witch Elm (more readable and faster moving, although not quite as good). A great choice if you like your page turners with a bit more depth to the story. 

The Gold Coast (John Sutter) by Nelson DeMille
Fiction – Thriller (Released April 1, 1990)
500 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: A mafia don invades the remnants of Long Island’s aristocratic Gold Coast society and turns his neighbors’ lives upside down.

My Thoughts: A review describing The Gold Coast as The Bonfire of the Vanities crossed with The Godfather convinced me to give it a try.  John Sutter’s (the narrator) super salty observations of crumbling Gold Coast society are hilarious and do remind me of Tom Wolfe.

Golden CageThe Golden Cageby Camilla Lackberg
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: July 7, 2020)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Faye and Jack met at the London School of Economics and, though she’s smarter than he is and came up with some of the key components of his now-billion dollar company, she chose to stay at home to care for their daughter. When Jack begins treating her terribly, she vows to take him down with an epic revenge plot.

My Thoughts: I’d never read Camilla Lackberg before, but she is the author of a number of massive best-sellers…and The Golden Cage is apparently a departure for her. Like other European thrillers that have worked for me (i.e. A Nearly Normal FamilyQuicksandBased on a True Story), The Golden Cage is a bit more subtle than American thrillers, more of a slower burn, and more character driven…which I loved. It doesn’t read like a full-on thriller until the very end and, despite thinking I wasn’t going to like the ending, Lackberg didn’t let me down when all was said and done. Full Review.

The HoldoutThe Holdoutby Graham Moore
Fiction – Mystery (Release Date: February 18, 2020)
336 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Ten years ago, Maya was the lone juror who wanted to acquit Bobby Nock of murdering Jessica Silver…and she was able to convince her fellow jurors to come around to her side. Now, a true crime docu-series is reassembling those involved with the case, including the jurors.

My Thoughts: This courtroom drama was inspired by Moore’s (Academy Award-winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game) real-life experience serving on a jury in 2008 and sending that defendant to prison for murder. The Holdout does not have a particularly thriller-y vibe, but it’s easy to quickly turn the pages. It looks at the impact of a high profile trial on the jury (particularly one that is sequestered)…how it affects the jurors’ lives, families, and mental state…and how slippery the legal system is in the U.S. Full Review.

The Lion’s Game (John Corey) by Nelson DeMille
Fiction – Thriller (Released January 6, 2000)
677 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: John Corey, ex-NYPD homicide cop and the central character from Plum Island, teams with Kate Mayfield to track a Libyan terrorist (Asad Khalil aka The Lion, whose family was killed in the 1986 Qaddafi bombings) as he seeks revenge on the Libyan bombers.

My Thoughts:  The Lion’s Game is obviously suspenseful and fast-paced, but John Corey’s constant saltiness is what adds a different kind of entertainment to what could have been a run-of-the-mill thriller.  The romantic tension between John and Kate is somewhat predictable, but does provide the context for most of the witty dialogue in the book.

The Panther (John Corey) by Nelson DeMille
Fiction – Thriller (Released October 16, 2012)
629 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Anti-Terrorist Task Force Agents John Corey and his wife, Kate, are recruited to track down one of the masterminds of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen.
My Thoughts: 
If you’ve read any of Nelson DeMille’s other John Corey novels (i.e. Plum IslandNight FallWild FireThe Lion’s Game, or The Lion), you can expect more of the same from The Panther. John Corey’s sarcastic and politically incorrect commentary is on full display (despite sometimes overdoing it) and The Panther is packed with terrorist fighting action. The plot twists and turns make for an easy read that is hard to put down. Continue Reading…

Roanoke Girls by Amy EngelThe Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Fiction (Released March 7, 2017)
276 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Lane Roanoke hears her cousin (Allegra) is missing, she returns to the Kansas estate where she spent one fateful summer as a teenager and must face the dark truth about her family.
My Thoughts: The Roanoke Girls features quite possibly the most dysfunctional (although, supremely F’d up is probably more accurate) family I’ve ever encountered in fiction. It’s the kind of book that I was slightly embarrassed to be reading, but was completely unable to put down. The extent to which Engel pushed the premise of this book is preposterous (think The Flowers in the Attic on steroids mixed with a bit of Sweet Home Alabama). Continue Reading…

The Sleepwalker, Chris BohjalianThe Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
Fiction – Thriller (Released January 10, 2017)
304 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Annalee Ahlberg, a notorious sleepwalker, disappears from her home in the middle of the night, her husband and two daughters try to piece together what happened.
My Thoughts: Chris Bohjalian’s most recent books are giving him quite a reputation for coming up with mysteries…with more. They have the who-done-it/why-done-it elements of your run-of-the-mill mystery, but he layers on something deeper. In 2016’s The Guest Room, it was sex-trafficking, and in The Sleepwalker, it’s parasomnia. I found the parasomnia angle fascinating…it’s much more than the book’s title suggests. Continue Reading…

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
Nonfiction – Crime (Released September 17, 2000)
456 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Rule recounts her experience working alongside serial killer Ted Bundy at a suicide crisis hotline and her slow realization that he was not who he appeared to be.

My Thoughts: If you’re at all interested in Ted Bundy, then this is a must read.  SBM covers the facts of Bundy’s crimes, the investigation, and his capture.  But, Rule’s personal perspective from her time working with him and their correspondence while he was in prison are the real fascinating parts.  This one will definitely keep you up at night.

The Truth and Other Lies, Sascha ArangoThe Truth And Other Lies by Sascha Arango
Fiction (Released June 23, 2015)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: “Dark, witty, and suspenseful, this literary crime thriller reminiscent of The Dinner and The Silent Wife follows a famous author whose wife—the brains behind his success—meets an untimely death, leaving him to deal with the consequences.” – Amazon

My Thoughts: The Truth And Other Lies is the first summer book to blow my mind (and, it’s a translated debut)! It’s a tightly packed, demented thriller that kept me guessing from page one through the end. Continue Reading…

The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress, Ariel Lawhon, Tammany Hall, Joseph Crater disappearanceThe Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon
Historical Fiction (Released January 14, 2014)
304 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: Based on the actual 1930 disappearance of New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Crater, this novel tells the story of what could have happened to him from the perspectives of his wife, his mistress, and his maid.
Plot Summary: The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is the first book of 2014 that I absolutely loved and was one of my Best Books of 2014. The “true crime” angle reminded me of Sutton by J.R. Moehringer (my review), while the setting of 1930 NYC is reminiscent of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (my review). Both books that I loved! Continue Reading… 

The WildlandsThe Wildlands by Abby Geni
Fiction – Literary (Release Date: September 4, 2018)
368 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: After the McCloud children lose everything in a Category 5 tornado in their hometown of Mercy, Oklahoma (thus attracting considerable media attention), their brother (Tucker) runs away leaving the three McCloud sisters to fend for themselves. He returns three years later amid further tragedy and thrusts the family into the spotlight yet again.
My Thoughts: The publisher described The Wildlands as a literary thriller…and while I don’t think that’s quite accurate, it is a fast-paced story about children that have lost literally everything trying to find their way again. This story touches themes far and wide…humans’ place in the ecosystem, environmental terrorism, children surviving on their own, the media spotlight, Patti Hearst-esque Stockholm syndrome, and complicated sibling relationships. Full Review.

Up Country (Paul Brenner) by Nelson DeMille
Fiction – Thriller (Released January 29, 2002)
706 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Retired Army Officer Paul Brenner (the hero from The General’s Daughter) returns to Vietnam to find the one witness to a murder that occurred during the Tet Offensive.

My Thoughts: Up Country contains the suspense and the salty, sarcastic dialogue of a DeMille thriller.  But, the setting in Vietnam and Brenner’s flashbacks/memories of the war added an educational element for me that differentiated Up Country from his other books.

Where All Light Tends to Go, David JoyWhere All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
Fiction (Released March 3, 2015)
274 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Jacob McNeely, son of his small North Carolina mountain town’s biggest outlaw, struggles to separate himself from the life of crime he was born into and to fight for the girl he loves (Maggie).
My Thoughts: I’ve read some great “Grit Lit” this year (Bull MountainThe Shore, The Animals), so I knew I had to make time for David Joy’s debut novel. It’s a story about fathers and sons, loyalty, love, and trying to claw your way out of your given circumstances. Continue Reading…

You Are Not AloneYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Fiction – Thriller (Release Date: March 3, 2020)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: Shay Miller is living a lonely, unremarkable life in New York City when she witnesses a woman jump in front of a subway train. Horrified and intrigued, Shay seeks out the woman’s glamorous friends, who turn out to be interested in Shay too.

My Thoughts: When I started this book, I was in an epic reading slump (four DNFs in a row!). You Are Not Alone was just the book I needed, hooking me from page one and keeping me engrossed for the next two days. It’s a story about loneliness and the lengths people are willing to go for companionship. And, for once, a thriller where the women are in charge! My Review.

You Will Know Me, Megan AbbottYou Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Fiction (Released July 26, 2016)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A tragic accident throws fifteen year-old gymnastics prodigy Devon Knox and her family’s carefully constructed training plans into chaos. 
My Thoughts: If you’re looking for a book that you can fly through, this is it. Megan Abbott writes young girls in the most deliciously demented way (see The Fever and Dare Me) and what better world for characters like that to inhabit than elite gymnastics. Only this time Abbott throws in a pack of overly zealous parents to deepen the appeal. Continue Reading…

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