Mystery/thrillers has never been my favourite genre, but I have been trying to figure out what works for me. I have really started to embrace the genre and I am even kind of falling in love with it. I have discovered that I lean toward mysteries over thrillers, and I like a slow burn with a lot of characters, twists, and something that makes it original. I have finally gathered enough favourites that I feel I can share them with you!
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
The Family Upstairs was my favourite mystery of 2019! I can’t quite put into words what made it so amazing without spoiling it. It is best to go into it completely blind. I equally enjoyed all of the narrators and seeing how their stories wove together. There was so much atmosphere and intrigue. I also loved that there were flashbacks. It is the book that confirmed to me that I love a mystery that involves a creepy house. It was compelling and I could not put this book down!
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
I Let You Go is by far my favourite mystery of all time! I feel like I can often see a twist coming, but this one caught me completing off guard. I often read these kind of books and as soon as I put it down I forget the twist- so not the case in I Let You Go. I will never forget this book! As you will see from this list of books, I do not usually enjoy when a story is told from the perspective of a police officer- this book is the exception. It is actually a dual narrative with one of them being a detective. What makes this one work is that fact that the author herself once was once police officer, and you can tell. I love when authors bring their own life experiences to their stories!
You by Caroline Kepnes
No book as ever messed with my head quite like You. I had to read it quickly because I could not live in Joe’s head for too long. The story is told in the second person, which could have gone terribly wrong, but it was worked. It messes with you because there are times you feel like you understand Joe and even sympathize with him, despite the fact that he is completed twisted!
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband’s Secret is my favourite of Liane Morairty’s novels. Moriarty creates characters who could be your friend or your neighbour and gives them a dark secret. It makes you look at the people in your life and wonder what they are hiding. So good! I also had so many different predictions, but I did not see the end coming. The epilogue is also incredible- I am always here for a memorable epilogue.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
This may be controversial, but I actually prefer Into the Water over Hawkin’s debut novel, The Girl of the Train. There are a lot of characters and they can be difficult to keep track of, but you will eventually get the hang of it. Hawkins knows how to create flawed characters who you can sympathize with. I also really liked the setting of this one!
Recursion by Blake Crouch
I also highly recommend Dark Matter, but Recursion is my favourite of the two. There is something so smart about this book and it handles time travel in a way that feels so real- this could be the future. It had me on the edge of my seat and my mind was working on overdrive trying to piece everything together. Also, the characters were memorable and I felt deeply connected to them- not something that happens often for me with thrillers.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I have come to the realization that I love books that are both mysteries and historical fiction. What makes The Thirteenth Tale even more incredible is that it is also Gothic and a book about books. I read it years ago, but it has stayed with me. It is also just so beautifully written. Setterfield is beyond talented. I have to share this quote from the novel with you:
“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
I posted my review of Darling Rose Gold yesterday, and it is the book that inspired me to finally make this post. It was original and takes the unreliable narrator trope to a whole new level. I need to read more thrillers that involve and mother and daughter. Any suggestions?
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has so many layers, twists, and characters that it can be difficult to get a handle on everything that is happening. Eventually it does all come together and the effort is worth it. If you are like me and usually avoid the “groundhog day” trope, please give this one a chance. The body swapping elements adds some excitement and interest to the trope! I love whodunits with a twist and that is how I would describe this book.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
There is something so special about the way that Ruth Ware writes- she is brilliant at creating atmosphere. There is nothing I love more in a mystery then a haunted or creeping mansion of some kind, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway definitely has that. I love that the house itself seems like a character. I also thought that the story was original and I love when a mystery involves a long- lost family in some way.
My Sister. the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, the Serial Killer is probably the most literary books on this list. It was even shortlisted for the Women’s Prize last year. This is not like a normal thriller because you know who the killer is right from the beginning. What I loved was that the book brought up a lot of ethical and moral questions- What would you do to protect your family? I didn’t always agree with choices the characters made, but I understood them! I still think about this one quite a bit.
What is your favourite thriller/mystery? Do you know of any that you think I would love?