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My Top 10 Favorite Thrillers

My favorite thrillers - book review

If you know me, you know that I am an avid reader…it even says so on my Instagram profile! Ever since I could read, I have been devouring books like they were going out of style. From The Babysitters Club to Nancy Drew to Mary Higgins Clark, I just can’t get enough. I particularly love mysteries. I think that is partially why I became a lawyer…because I love looking at a problem from various angles and figuring out a solution. A few years back, my sister-in-law told me that I just HAD to read this book called Gone Girl. I read it and loved it and that got me hooked on thrillers. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of suspense…I just can’t seem to get enough. I wanted to put together some brief reviews of the books that I have been reading lately (without spoilers) for those of you who are looking for a good book to read on an airplane, curled up next to the fire or on a beach somewhere!

Once I read Gone Girl, I began looking for similar thrillers that had the same look and feel as Gillian Flynn’s bestseller. That led me to her other books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, both of which I liked as well.

My booklist - thrillers

Gone Girl is a dark story about the sudden disappearance of a wife, Amy, from her home in Missouri. Her husband, Nick, quickly becomes the main suspect in her disappearance. The book is unique in that it is told from three points of view, Nick’s, Amy’s diary and then, in the second half, from Amy herself. I enjoyed this book and enjoyed the mid-story twist. Since this was the first thriller I had ever read, I was not familiar with the “unreliable narrator”, so for me, the mid-story twist was unexpected and very exciting for me. I also liked that the story left you hanging at the end. Overall, I enjoyed this book enough to read Gillian Flynn’s next two, reviewed below.

Sharp Objects is a story about a journalist, Camille, who has been sent back to her hometown to report on a recent series of murders and disappearances of preteen girls. Along with the drama on being back in her hometown with her mother and half-sister, Camille has her own personal problems. This book has a series of twists of its own that are on par with Gone Girl. I enjoyed this book and I liked that nothing was tied up in a neat little bow at the end. Overall, this was another great thriller that I would definitely recommend.

Dark Places is a story about a girl, Libby, who is the sole survivor of the mass murder of her family, in which her brother was arrested and convicted for. The book takes place many years later. Libby is broke and desperate and begins looking into the murder further, in the hope of making some money. This story is heart wrenching and the ending was unexpected and complex. Overall, I am pretty happy with Gillian Flynn’s trio of thrillers.

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, Dark Places

These next four books are some of my all time favorite thrillers!

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel is about a girl, Ani, who has been plagued by the ghosts of her past her whole life. In order to overcome and escape her past, Ani created an entirely new persona, from her clothes to her job to her accent to getting engaged to a wealthy and handsome man. For me, this book was Devil Wears Prada meets Gone Girl. I was, however, waiting for a big twist that never really happened. I think that I hyped up the ending into something that it really wasn’t. I don’t know if that made the ending more unexpected or more predictable, but the story from beginning to end was exciting and thrilling and the ghosts of Ani’s past were completely brought out into the open. I definitely could not put this book down and I ended up finishing it in less than a day!

In a Dark, Dark Wood is a story about a group of girl friends who go on a bachelorette party that does not end well. All of these ladies have secrets, especially Nora and Clare, who also have a long history between them. I loved the setting of this book, which takes place in a creepy, secluded mansion up in the mountains. The whole setting gave off a Clue-like vibe that just set the tone for this book. I also liked that the real twist didn’t happen until about half-way through the book. The twist was totally unexpected, although I did think that the ultimate ending was a little bit predictable (but maybe that is just because I have read so many thrillers and mysteries at this point). Ultimately, this book is a must-read!

The Good Girl is a story about a woman, Mia, who is kidnapped and held hostage in a secluded cabin by an unknown man, Colin. Mia’s family will stop at nothing to find her, but nothing is as it seems. This book slowly unravels the complicated relationships between families, friends and lovers. The unexpected twists in this book and the heart wrenching ending made this another thriller that I couldn’t put down!

Pretty Baby follows two women, Heidi and Willow, as their lives become intertwined around a 4-month-old baby. Heidi, a wife and mother of one, takes in Willow, a 16-year old homeless girl and her baby, Ruby. The book mixes flash backs and flash forwards to tell the story, which caused me to not be able to turn the pages fast enough! This is a sad and riveting story that wasn’t quite a thriller, but was a page turning nonetheless.

Luckiest Girl Alive, In a dark, dark wood, Pretty Baby

This next trio of books by Liane Mortiarty are also among some of my favorites!

The Husband’s Secret is a story about the perfect family, the Fitzpatrick’s. Imagine a life with a wonderful husband, a successful wife, three beautiful daughters…all brought to a screeching halt by a letter written by your husband, addressed to you to be opened upon his death. Imagine further, that this letter holds the deepest, darkest secret that a man can have. Cecilia finds this letter and struggles with what to do with the information it holds. Does she keep it to herself and move on with her life or does she attempt to right the wrongs outlined in the letter. What happens to this family if they have to deal with the consequences? This was a very compelling story. The secret is revealed pretty early in the story, however, the inner struggles that Cecilia and her whole family go through and then the unexpected and gut wrenching twist in the end make for another page turner. Do you think justice was served in the end?

Big Little Lies is a unique view into the life of a series of mothers, their families and the politics of elementary school. Each character has a series of secrets, all of which come out into the open. Some are even intertwined with each other in unexpected and murderous ways. This is one of my favorite books. For some reason, I loved the interactions between these characters, the differences between them, the growth they had during the book, and overall, I loved the twist at the end. This is a must-read for all of you out there!

What Alice Forgot is fun and frustrating story about a woman, Alice, who loses her memory in the midst of a divorce, a hectic life, three children who she can’t remember and family feuding for reasons that she doesn’t understand. I have to say that I really liked this book as well. There is something about an amnesia story that just gets me. It was an interesting point of view, however, it was also quite frustrating as well. All in all, I was impressed with all of Liane Mortiarty’s books and would recommend them all.

Liane Mortiarty, Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, The Husband's Secret Curl up with a great thriller, similar to Gone Girl Gillian Flynn, Liane Mortiarty, Mary Kubica, Jessica Knoll, Ruth Ware,

I hope you enjoyed my brief overviews and reviews of some of my favorite thrillers. If you have already read these, or if you are looking for more thrillers to read, you can also check out:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Last Anniversary: A Novel by Liane Mortiarty

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

I am also reading the In the Woods series right now and I am loving it! If you are looking for more reviews that include spoilers, check out my Goodreads account here.

Thank you so much for stopping by!!

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Ah definitely bookmarking this post. I love a good suspense! I’m actually in the middle of Luckiest Girl Alive right now. Can’t wait to check out the others next.

    • Reply
      Kristen
      January 7, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Jessica – Enjoy Luckiest Girl Alive!! Some of the others are just as good!

      xoxo, Kristen

  • Reply
    Ashley
    January 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Immediately bookmarking this post! After reading Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I now love a good thriller! I just recently read The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello and it sounds pretty similar to What Alice Forgot! I would definitely recommend it, it had so many plot twists throughout the whole story, I couldn’t put it down!

    • Reply
      Kristen
      January 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Ashley – Yes!! I can’t get enough either! I will have to add The Memory Box to my list! Thanks for the recommendation!

      xoxo, Kristen

  • Reply
    Kait Elizabeth
    January 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I’m looking for new books to read this year; I’m definitely adding some of these to my list! Thanks for sharing beautiful. Hugs, Kait

    • Reply
      Kristen
      January 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Kait – You are so welcome! You will not be disappointed!

      xoxo, Kristen

  • Reply
    Kavya
    January 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I am an avid reader as well and I absolutely adore thrillers! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reviews and overviews! Your recommendations are on my list next! Thank you for sharing. Have a great day, Kristen! 🙂

    • Reply
      Kristen
      January 7, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Kavya – Thank you for stopping by! I think you will really enjoy some of these books!

      xoxo, Kristen

  • Reply
    Rita
    January 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I just love to read thrillers! I need to check these books asap! Thanks you so much for sharing. 🙂

    Rita | http://www.styleroundtheclock.com

    • Reply
      Kristen
      January 19, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Rita – These are definitely some good ones!! Thank you for stopping by! Let me know what you think!

      xoxo, Kristen

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