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.
In the chilling opening of Stephen King’s Finders Keepers, a sequel to his 2014 bestseller Mr. Mercedes, three words jolt elderly literary lion John Rothstein from a sound sleep, alerting him to the fact that he’s become the victim of a home invasion: “Wake up, genius.”
A powerful read from an impressive new voice, Freedom’s Child is an intricate portrait of a crass, swears-like-a-sailor woman who has lost everything and is fueled by an unabated fervor to find her daughter.
“I was too angry to take my own life,” muses the protagonist of Sharon Bolton’s Little Black Lies. “Unless, of course, I could take Rachel’s first.” Readers expecting a conventionally likable heroine may be taken aback by Catrin Quinn, a woman too consumed by grief to feel much empathy for anyone around her.
It’s difficult to imagine anything more traumatic than a child’s death. But when the deceased child is a twin, the living sibling can be a constant reminder of what’s lost.
More than 100 years have passed since the Autumn of the Knife, when the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper terrorized the streets of London. Amy Carol Reeves, author of the YA Ripper trilogy, says, “writers and readers are drawn to this story because it’s a case that will never be solved,” leaving plenty of space for imagination. Such is the case with two new Ripper-themed books by celebrated historical crime novelists Stephen Hunter (Hot Springs) and Alex Grecian (The Yard).
In his second novel, Christopher Bollen brings a fresh perspective to the tale of a small town that hides secrets beneath its sleepy facade. With Orient, Bollen takes a real place—the North Fork of Long Island—and weaves a mesmerizing fictional web of characters and mysteries into a story that is as viscerally thrilling as it is intellectually precise.