Psychological thriller

How to Kill Your Best Friend

How to Kill Your Best Friend

Author: Lexie Elliott Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

How to Kill Your Best Friend is a taut psychological thriller. Featuring a small group of friends in a luxury hotel at its core, it's also an engaging lockdown mystery. Each main character has plenty of secrets to hide, resulting in a tangled web of lies that's desperate to be unravelled. And the two main narrators view key events very differently, adding to the intrigue. The book is beautifully written, with a slowburning narrative that reveals the dynamics of the group, amid vibrant descriptions of the beautiful island setting. The tension ramps up as the plot gains pace, with a sense of danger lurking in every corner and unease hovering below the surface. The book's twisty journey kept me guessing until its dramatic action-packed ending. As an aside, if you ARE thinking of killing your best friend, this book has plenty of suggestions, though read the pros and cons very carefully first.

A Slow Fire Burning

A Slow Fire Burning

Author: Paula Hawkins Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/08/2021

Subtle and smart yet intense and thrilling, this story builds with each turn revealing another set of steps in front of you. Within a corner of London a murder sets questions hunting through secrets and the past. I was caught sleeping at the start and was given a huge shove, from that moment on my attention didn’t waver. This is all about the characters, yet the beautifully intricate plot more than holds its own. What Paula Hawkins does so successfully, is to allow you to see the inner being of people, the shadows that dwell within, without ever losing connection with their humanity. Every person in this story feels authentic, relatable, and that dreaded word, normal. It made me question what I would do in the same circumstances, could this in fact, be me. Oh, and just as an aside, great map! A Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, A Slow Fire Burning wanders through the everyday, before reaching under the surface and pulling out darkness.

Star Books
Such a Quiet Place

Such a Quiet Place

Author: Megan Miranda Format: Audiobook Release Date: 19/08/2021

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest, a Reese's Book Club pick. We had no warning that she would come back... Welcome to Hollow's Edge - a picture-perfect neighbourhood where everyone has each other's backs. At least, that's how it used to be, until the night Brandon and Fiona Truett were found dead... Two years ago, branded a grifter, thief and sociopath by her friends and neighbours, Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murdering the Truetts. Now, freed by mistrial, Ruby has returned to Hollow's Edge. But why would she come back? No one wants her there, least of all her old housemate, Harper Nash. As Ruby's return sends shockwaves through the community, terrified residents turn on each other, and it soon becomes clear that not everyone was honest about the night the Truetts died. When Harper begins to receive threatening, anonymous notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else gets hurt... Someone like her.

Audiobooks of the Month
56 Days

56 Days

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2021

56 Days is entertaining and fast paced - a tale of two strangers who make a hasty decision at a time of extreme stress, fear and anxiety. Multi-layered, brimming with suspense and with well-portrayed characters, this book certainly kept me on my toes. Set in present times, it felt very familiar, occasionally too familiar - a reflection of the early days of the pandemic, when no one could have predicted what was to come. The book has a dual timeline, focusing on a murder investigation in the present day and an exciting new relationship in the past. Occasionally, the two main characters give their persepctive on the same scenes, leading to some repetition, but I found myself trying to read between the lines - what they weren't telling each other, the secrets they were hiding ... 56 Days was a brave book to write (who could have known we would still be living in a Covid-19-filled world on publication day), but it doesn't come across as gimmicky at all. An engaging, unsettling and surprising domestic noir thriller - Brief Encounter with a rampant virus and decomposing body. 

Books of the Month
The Ex-Husband

The Ex-Husband

Author: Karen Hamilton Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/08/2021

Charlotte and Sam were partners. In life, and in crime. They never stole from anyone who couldn't afford it. Wealthy clients, luxury cruise ships. It was easy money, and harmless. At least, that's what Charlotte told herself, until the world caved in on her. But now, years after she tried to put that past life behind her, it comes rushing back when her estranged ex-husband Sam suddenly goes missing - and someone threatens to expose what they did. Desperate to escape whoever is tormenting her, Charlotte takes a job as events planner for an engagement party onboard a superyacht in the Caribbean. For a while, her plan seems to have worked, nothing but open ocean and clear skies ahead. Until it becomes clear that she's no longer a thousand miles away from harm. Because whoever is behind it all is onboard too. And now there's nowhere left to run.

eBooks of the Month
Her New Best Friend

Her New Best Friend

Author: Penny Batchelor Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

Fans of Batchelor’s well-received debut will instantly recognise her ability to have you on the edge of your seat right from the very first page of this, her second foray into her trademark brand of domestic noir. With beautifully filmic opening scenes that play on the worst fears of every parent, this story segues smoothly into a world where the nature of friendships, the foundations of trust and the room for deception in friendships have terrifying potential consequences. Bachelor’s particular talent is for the excellent plotting of a gripping tale set in immediately recognisable situations, and then moulding her story to illustrate her uncanny ability to manipulate the emotions of readers. She does this so well and all with a profound understanding of the motivations, weaknesses and insecurities of her all-too-credible characters.  Where she really excels however is by really putting you in the heads of her protagonists, forcing you to ask yourself the question “What would I do?” as she ratchets up the tension to violin-string tautness. Her New Best Friend is a real blast of book, a gear change up from Batchelor’s debut, and a superb read for thrill seeking fans of unputdownable anxiety-inducing fiction.  It is so packed with well-crafted plot turns that this reviewer considers her to be the “Tsarina of Twists.”  If you have young children, you might want to make sure that the baby monitor is on and working before settling down of an evening to read it.

The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror

Author: Rose Carlyle Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

A hugely entertaining and thrilling debut that feels as though a blockbuster film is playing out in front of you. Twin sisters Iris and Summer may look identical, but their personalities are a world apart. When Summer asks Iris for help sailing their yacht across the Indian Ocean, Iris has the opportunity to create the life she has always envied her sister. Oh my, where to start! Well, this would make the perfect summer read, as you gallop through, just remember to savour the journey. Rose Carlyle has created a thriller that sits right on the edge of unbelievable. She takes you into secrets and lies, and throws in a humdinger of a plot. As Iris revealed her story, as the tension increased, I found my feelings hesitating, then changing. Iris has the most distinct voice, she is brutally honest, and allows access to the thoughts most wouldn’t allow to surface. As such, she isn’t always likeable, but boy is she captivating. The setting is vibrant, the family drama is dramatic, in other words The Girl in the Mirror is a vivid and entirely stimulating read. 

Debut Books of the Month
Girls Who Lie

Girls Who Lie

Author: Eva Björg Ægisdottir Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

A chilling tone and unsettling plot is wrapped up inside this cracking police procedural and psychological thriller. West Iceland CID investigate the death of a woman who went missing seven months previously. While suicide was the initial assumption, it's only when Marianna’s body is found that they can establish murder. This is the second in the Forbidden Iceland series, I recommend starting with The Creak on the Stairs which was a bestseller in Iceland, winning the Blackbird Award. While a police procedural, the other characters share the stage which ensures there are some fascinating trails of information to follow. In this book Eva Björg Ægisdottir cements the characters of the policing team. The vivid descriptions and haunting quality of the writing, which is so well translated by Victoria Cribb, ensured I could see and feel Iceland. Two stories sit side by side, each twisting around the other and allowing tension and intrigue access while themes of child neglect and social issues are thoughtfully handled. Girls Who Lie slithers and suggests and coils towards its thought-provoking conclusion, and I will be following this series with interest.  

Books of the Month
Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole

Author: Mark Billingham Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/07/2021

Billingham is a master of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in many of this thrillers. While this book, his latest, is something of a departure for Billingham – it’s not part of a series and the entire novel takes place within a psychiatric facility, a kind of Jane Tennison meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – it still has an ending that will leave you reeling. You know how the first time you saw The Sixth Sense, you wanted to watch it again almost immediately to see how it could have all been there in front of you, but you missed it? It’s that kind of book. Selected by Linwood Barclay, Our Autumn 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece.

I Know What You've Done

I Know What You've Done

Author: Dorothy Koomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Hugely entertaining and addictive, this psychological thriller presses all the klaxon alert buttons from the get-go. The diary of a murdered woman who had been monitoring her neighbours in Brighton holds some very dangerous secrets. Dorothy Koomson is such a consistent writer, her books are oh-so readable, smart and stimulating, and range from family drama and relationship right through to suspense and thrillers. This read is full of suspense and intrigue as it explores family, friendship, and just how well we really know each other. Different characters, all neighbours, head chapters with relevant dates, each person speaking in their own very distinctive voice. These are people who slowly reveal their secrets, and as an added lure the diary secrets are also gradually revealed. I was as hooked as a hooked thing can be as the tension increased, and the explosive ending was just fabulous. This would make a perfect summer read, and though you can just throw yourself in and let go, there are also some thought-provoking themes too. I Know What You’ve Done is a proper page-turner, you may never look at your neighbours in the same way again! Dorothy Koomson is our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to learn more

Books of the Month
That Night

That Night

Author: Gillian McAllister Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

What would you do to protect your family? ANYTHING. During a family holiday in Italy, you get an urgent call from your sister. There's been an accident: she hit a man with her car and he's dead. She's overcome with terror - fearing years in a foreign jail away from her child. She asks for your help. It wasn't her fault, not really. She'd cover for you, so will you do the same for her? But when the police come calling, the lies start. And you each begin to doubt your trust in one another. What really happened that night? Who is lying to who? And who will be the first to crack? . . .

I Follow You

I Follow You

Author: Peter James Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/06/2021

From the number one bestselling author, Peter James, comes I Follow You, a nerve-shredding standalone thriller. To the outside world, suave, charming and confident doctor Marcus Valentine has it all. A loving wife, three kids, a great job. But there's something missing, there always has been. . . . or rather, someone . . . Driving to work one morning, his mind elsewhere and not on the road, he almost mows down a female jogger on a crossing. As she runs on, Marcus is transfixed. Infatuated. She is the spitting image of a girl he was crazy about in his teens. A girl he has never been able to get out of his mind. Lynette had dumped him harshly. For years he has fantasized about seeing her again and rekindling their flame. Might that jogger possibly be her all these years later? Could this be the most incredible coincidence? Despite all his attempts to resist, he is consumed by cravings for this woman. And when events take a tragically unexpected turn, his obsession threatens to destroy both their worlds. But still he won't stop. Can't stop.