STARRED REVIEW
July 2019

The Hold List: Thriller hangovers

As mystery and thriller fans know, there’s nothing quite like a book that gets under your skin and ruins any chance of a good night’s sleep. Here are our favorite twisty novels that shook us to the core.
STARRED REVIEW
July 2019

The Hold List: Thriller hangovers

As mystery and thriller fans know, there’s nothing quite like a book that gets under your skin and ruins any chance of a good night’s sleep. Here are our favorite twisty novels that shook us to the core.
July 2019

The Hold List: Thriller hangovers

As mystery and thriller fans know, there’s nothing quite like a book that gets under your skin and ruins any chance of a good night’s sleep. Here are our favorite twisty novels that shook us to the core.
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Private Eye July gives us so many opportunities to recommend our favorite thrilling, 100% entertaining, purely pleasurable reads. As mystery and thriller fans know, there’s nothing quite like a book that gets under your skin and ruins any chance of a good night’s sleep. Here are our favorite twisty novels that shook us to the core.

Behind Her Eyes

Single mom Louise meets a man, David, at a pub one night. They kiss, it’s great, what a night—but it turns out he’s her new boss. Then Louise meets a gorgeous woman named Adele while out for coffee. Adele is new in town, looking for a friend—and is married to David. Such drama! But what starts as an addicting love triangle thriller— the kind of domestic drama that seems a bit run-of-the-mill in this golden era of suspense fiction—becomes something completely different. It’s character-driven, flawlessly written, and it swept me along to an ending that made my brain into soup. In her 2017 interview with BookPage, Sarah Pinborough called her novel a “Marmite book,” as not everyone will love it. Color me obsessed.

—Cat, Deputy Editor


The Thirteenth Tale

If you love books (obviously you do, you’re reading BookPage) and haven’t yet read The Thirteenth Tale, I am legitimately jealous. This delightfully eerie tale of a reclusive author and her biographer is a love letter to bibliophiles and books, specifically the gothic masterpieces of the Brontë sisters and Daphne du Maurier. Echoes of Jane Eyre and Rebecca swirl in Diane Setterfield’s elegant, evocative prose as Margaret Lea, bookseller and biographer, listens to what Vida Winter says is the unvarnished truth of her life. I thought about this book whenever I wasn’t reading it and, upon reaching its moving conclusion and truly shocking final twist, felt as if I had been jolted out of a vivid dream.

—Savanna, Assistant Editor


Child 44

A serial killer in Stalinist Russia? If this premise sounds fresh to you, there’s a historical reason: Soviet propaganda. Stalin asserted that social problems like crime were a byproduct of capitalism. Therefore, in a socialist workers’ paradise, they couldn’t exist. Which puts MGB officer Leo Demidov in an awkward position, since he’s seen the files on dozens of children who died by similar, violent means. Though he’s sure one person is responsible, Demidov knows the consequences of questioning the state. In a society ruled by silence, fear and the inability to tell the truth, can a crime ever be solved? This tension gives the novel a depth that complements Tom Rob Smith’s talent for jaw-dropping twists. Child 44 is an attention-grabbing, one-sitting read.

—Trisha, Publisher


The Cat Who Saw Red

The last time I read a truly heart-stopping, hair-raising novel was . . . never. I’m a huge wuss, and when I settle in with a good book, my aim is to escape the horrors of the real world rather than to approach them. Cue Lilian Jackson Braun’s cozy, low-stakes murder mystery series starring reporter Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Full disclosure: My grandma recommended this series to me when I was in middle school, and my level of literary courage hasn’t increased even a little bit since then. So to my fellow scaredy-cats out there, I recommend The Cat Who Saw Red for a charming murder mystery that will raise your curiosity more than your blood pressure.

—Christy, Associate Editor


Security

Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I dislike about 90% of the horror novels out there. They often just don’t work as well as horror films can. One book that attempted to enter into the grand tradition of slasher movies—and in my opinion, pulled it off—is Security, Gina Wohlsdorf’s genre-rattling debut. It’s set in a luxe 20-story hotel in Santa Barbara 24 hours before its grand opening, and a masked killer is taking out members of the staff one by one. But the audacity of this thriller is that Wohlsdorf sometimes splits her narrative into columns, signifying different security cameras, allowing the reader to visualize different scenes at once. The stakes stay high, the horror never flags, and I have yet to come across another novel to surprise me in such a way.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield
Atria

ISBN 9780743298025

The Cat Who Saw Red
By Lilian Jackson Braun
Berkley

ISBN 9780515090161

Security
By Stephen Amidon
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

ISBN 9780374257118

Get the Books

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes

Flatiron
ISBN 9781250111173
The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale

By Diane Setterfield
Atria
ISBN 9780743298025
Child 44

Child 44

By Tom Rob Smith
Grand Central
ISBN 9780446402385
The Cat Who Saw Red

The Cat Who Saw Red

By Lilian Jackson Braun
Berkley
ISBN 9780515090161
Security

Security

By Stephen Amidon
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN 9780374257118

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