Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa JewellThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 17th 2018
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 368
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This was a fairly average experience for me. It’s a very quick read – I read it in a single day – and it goes down smoothly and easily, but it is so easy to predict everything that will happen. I was always several chapters ahead of the characters and it sapped a lot of tension out of the story.

One StarOne StarOne Star

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

The Perfect Mother by Aimee MolloyThe Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
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I enjoyed this quite a lot.

The Perfect Mother definitely has something of a Moriarty vibe (Liane, not Jim) but I personally found it better paced. I struggled with the slowness and tame domesticity of Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret and Truly Madly Guilty, though I enjoyed the HBO adaptation of Big Little Lies. I would say that this book is more like the latter. It’s predominantly about women and the relationships between them, with the thriller aspect of a missing baby providing the stage on which these complex friendships and loyalties play out.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter by Karin SlaughterThe Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Published by HarperCollins on August 8th 2017
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 528
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Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…
Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

This is the second thriller I’ve read lately that opens with a shitstorm of drama. In the best kind of way, of course. But The Good Daughter is, in some ways, much darker than Stillhouse Lake, and in other ways slower and more character-driven.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula HawkinsInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on 2017
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 400
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The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.   Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from--a place to which she vowed she'd never return.   With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.   Beware a calm surface--you never know what lies beneath.

I’m going straight down the middle with a 3-star rating but, in truth, my thoughts are all over with this book. I think the only way I can make sense of it is to break it down into points.

One StarOne StarOne Star

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreightThe Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.
This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.
But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

I made a real effort to convince myself this book was worth more than one teacup. After all, I really enjoyed the author’s adult novel – Reconstructing Amelia – and the beginning was more cliche than outright awful.
But this book is nuts. Abso-freaking-lutely nuts. And it just kept getting worse. Like, laughably bad.
As I said, we didn’t start out on the best terms. I’ve seen variations of these YA crime/mystery stories many times and I’ve lost count of how many involve a missing/dead best friend, a hot guy who was involved with said best friend (a douche who turns out to be not so much a douche), a mysterious text, and two teens deciding to solve a mystery without telling any parents or police – and, seriously, they never have a good reason for doing this!
In this book, Wylie’s friend – Cassie – has gone missing. While her dad goes to help Cassie’s mom, Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend) turns up at the door with a strange text from Cassie. They must go driving across state lines to find her! And they must tell no one! OTT, unbelievable thing #1 .
Despite suffering from agoraphobia since her mom died, Wylie takes a deep breath, grabs her coat and leaves her house for the first time in forever. As easy as clicking her heels together! OTT, unbelievable thing #2.
Then they set out on this long road trip, which is a) boring, and b) when not boring, absolutely ludicrous. Near-death experiences, chases through the woods, and (view spoiler). OTT, unbelievable thing #3. Plus, I started to hate Wylie for ignoring her poor dad’s concerned texts for so long.
Also – are these two TSTL or what? Cassie sends another mysterious text saying the people she’s with are “not who I thought they were” and Wylie is worried. Oh, worried are you, Wylie? How’s about calling the police instead of tootling along to where your friend is in trouble with an unknown number of people? There could be fifty of them with guns, for all you know. OTT, unbelievable thing #4.
And then we get to the final stretch of the novel, which is so ridiculous it is actually funny. One twist after another after another. But they’re not good twists. I promise not to give away any spoilers, but the only way it could be more insane is if Wylie was actually an alien with a mission to destroy earth and she’d been lying to us all this time (I’m only slightly exaggerating).
It’s also possible – though still undetermined – that the author may be taking us towards a complete genre change by the end. Who knows, though? It was so messy, I think I might have got lost.
The novel jolts to a close with a melodramatic cliffhanger that made me snort with laughter. Everything about this book is so farfetched to the point of being farcical. I mean, let me just tell you the last word, just the single last word of the book (spoiler-tagged, of course, even though it doesn’t give away anything): View Spoiler »
Sorry, I need to go laugh some more.

One Star

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve TucholkeWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Penguin on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 256
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Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying.
For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Virgin Suicides, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

“We were like the three Fates, weaving the story together, threads of gold, red, and midnight blue. There would be wolves and tricks and lies and cunning and vengeance in our story. I would make sure of it.”

One StarOne Star

After the Woods by Kim Savage

After the Woods by Kim SavageAfter the Woods by Kim Savage
on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can't fully remember. Now it's one year later, and a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving Julia in a stupor at awkward moments-in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example.
At least Julia's not alone. Her best friend, Liv, was in the woods, too. When Julia got caught, Liv ran away. Is Liv's guilt over leaving Julia the reason she's starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with an explosive temper, Liv's way of punishing herself for not having Julia's back? As the devastating truth about Liv becomes clear, Julia realizes the one person she thinks she knows best-Liv-is the person she knows least of all. And that after the woods was just the beginning.

I become very still, trying to make myself shapeless so he’ll forget I am a GIRL, because that feels the most dangerous of all.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca PodosThe Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
Published by HarperCollins on January 26th 2016
Genres: Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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The Mystery of Hollow Places is a gorgeously written, stunningly original novel of love, loss, and identity, from debut author Rebecca Podos.
All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist; she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed of a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as “troubled waters.”
Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

There’s a reason for everything, if you look hard enough. An answer for every mystery.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Darkest Before Dawn by Maya Banks

Darkest Before Dawn by Maya BanksDarkest Before Dawn (KGI, #10) by Maya Banks
Published by Berkley on October 27th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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THE ALL-NEW KGI NOVEL from the “incredibly awesome" (Jaci Burton) #1 New York Times bestselling author of When Day Breaks.
The Kelly Group International (KGI):
A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications:
High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission:
Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t...
The enigmatic Hancock has been both opponent and ally to the KGI teams for as long as they've known him. Always working a deep game, Hancock's true allegiance has never been apparent, but one thing is for certain—he never lets anything get in the way of duty.
But now, his absolute belief in the primacy of his ultimate goal is challenged by a captive he's been ordered to guard, no matter how much she suffers in her prison. She's the only woman who's ever managed to penetrate the rigid walls surrounding his icy heart, but will he allow his perplexing feelings for the beautiful victim to destroy a mission he's spent years working to complete or will he be forced to sacrifice her for “the greater good.”

Darkest Before Dawn has a strong premise, and since I’m a fan of military dramas I wish I could say it was enough to make this a winner for me. Sadly, however, the book falters under the weight of overwhelming excesses.

One StarOne Star

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian FlynnDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Published by Shaye Areheart Books on January 1st 2009
Genres: Mystery & Thriller, Adult, Death & Dying
Pages: 349
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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OFGONE GIRL
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

This book was insaaaaane. But so so good. Dark Places was my first Gillian Flynn book (though I have seen the Gone Girl movie) but I fully plan on picking up all her other books now.
It’s the kind of novel that makes you question what on earth we humans can come up with. I kept wondering what was going on in Gillian Flynn’s head. How does she think of these things?

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star