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.
Noir fans will find plenty to like in The Devil’s Share, the fourth book in Wallace Stroby’s series featuring professional thief Crissa Stone. It’s a classic of the genre and a perfect example of just how badly things can go wrong for anyone, even an obsessive planner like Crissa, who picks up on any tiny deviation from her carefully organized heists.
Great psychological thrillers work on two levels: as action-based mysteries and as emotionally resonant personal stories. Jenny Milchman balances both in As Night Falls, as slightly anxious counselor Sandy Tremont faces murderers on her doorstep and secrets from her past with equal intensity.
K.T. Medina’s debut novel, White Crocodile, is a harrowing venture into the deadly fields of Cambodia, a Southeast Asian nation of volatile politics, poverty and danger. The author is a former member of the British armed forces, well qualified to describe the conditions in that small country where, during three decades in the 1970s, hostile political groups planted thousands of land mines that have victimized the native population to the present day.
Most readers probably imagine their favorite author as thoughtful and deep—someone bursting with insight into life and empathy for all creation. From the outside, that’s what Henry Hayden appears to be. Modest despite the five-and-counting bestsellers that bear his name, he seems to be devoted to his wife, loyal to his friends and eager to sign books for the fans who travel to his remote village just to meet him. But he’s a fraud: Every word of his novels was written by his publicity-shy wife, Martha.
Does a spy thriller written by a former CIA officer offer an unbiased view of the world of espionage? Who knows, but it seems the answer may be both yes and no.