Just after well-known British mystery writer Ruth Rendell died in May of this year, at the age of 85, her life and talents were described in the media with words like “brilliant,” “discomfiting” and “challenging.” Readers who’ve long been gripped by Rendell’s imaginative crime fiction, however, knew that already. From her popular Chief Inspector Wexford series with such hallmarks as the top-notch An Unkindness of Ravens and Not in the Flesh, to standalone classics like A Dark Adapted Eye (as Barbara Vine) and A Judgment in Stone, right up to her last, Dark Corners, the author’s unsettling prose has always attracted legions of readers.
In 1952, Barcelona trembles beneath the oppressive, tyrannical regime of Franco’s fascist party. Ana Marti, a young journalist sick of detailing debutantes’ fashions and high-society scandals, gets her big break when socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is brutally murdered in the exclusive upper part of the city. Ana’s shocked to be assigned such an important case, but she holds her ground while working with Barcelona’s finest detective, Isidro Castro, despite his misogynistic grumblings about working with a woman.
Several years ago, after researching his true crime book The Serial Killer’s Apprentice, James Renner was diagnosed with PTSD. It’s not uncommon for journalists to suffer such effects after witnessing trauma for a story, and Renner’s 10 years of hunting serial killers and writing about unsolved murders caught up with him. Fiction provided an unexpected safe haven, and his genre-bending time-travel thriller, The Man from Primrose Lane (2012), was a crime he could finally solve. His latest thriller, The Great Forgetting, digs at a much larger mystery, one with more questions, no generic answers and therefore plenty of room for an imaginative author to play. The result is a mix of conspiracy theorist paranoia, alternate history and cross-country adventure.
Violinist Julia Ansdell is the troubled heroine of Playing with Fire, a haunting new literary suspense novel by Tess Gerritsen, the best-selling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series and a number of standalone thrillers such as The Bone Garden and Harvest.
For nine months The Girl on the Train has been lauded as the best thriller of 2015, but it has some real competition with the arrival of The Killing Lessons, a dark, violent novel from British author Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf) writing under the pseudonym Saul Black.
Imagine a world in which the Nazis were victorious in World War II. Guy Saville takes that perilous route in his new thriller, The Madagaskar Plan, a sequel to his first novel, The Afrika Reich, with a third to follow in the author’s alternate history trilogy.
For some college is about fresh starts, new friends and big adventures. When Chad wants to make the most of his time abroad at Oxford, he befriends Jolyon, a jovial, well-liked first-year student. The two share great camaraderie, and together they design an innocent game meant to mimic the inherent risks and consequences of life. Needing six to realize the game, they invite four others to participate with an enticing reward.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is every adult’s worst nightmare. In her debut novel, Ware rips off the Band-Aids binding her characters’ adolescent scars in order to reopen unforgettable, unforgivable wounds.
There are plenty of ugly childhoods, traumas and bad starts to go around in Mary Kubica’s Pretty Baby, a new psychological thriller that comes hard on the heels of the author’s debut novel, The Good Girl, which hit a number of “best” lists in 2014.
An older woman's keen interest in a young mother who recently moved in across the lake slowly morphs into a dark, dangerous fascination that could destroy both of their lives in Leah Stewart's latest novel, The New Neighbor, set in the small college town of Sewanee, Tennessee.