I personally love fall – in fact, there are very few things I love more than curling up in a cozy sweater with a book (and a warm cup of coffee!), and fall is the perfect time for doing just that. We normally pack our Octobers and Novembers with countryside getaways and lazy weekends at home to allow for lots of reading time. So, as usual, I’ve been reading and reading and adding books to my to-read list and then reading some more.
Recently, my reading list has been filled with suspense novels. This started after I read Stillhouse Lake (see below!) and escalated when I was reading about a book per day on our honeymoon in July. Now, I’m left with a huge list of thrillers to read and it feels like it just keeps growing. I think this is a genre I’m going to be loving for a long time!
Here are 9 thrillers to read this fall:
*TRIGGER WARNING* Below are six books that I’ve recently read, and three that I am hoping to read this fall. This is a genre that I personally enjoy and am not effected by in any way. However, I know that there are many people who are sensitive to these topics.
In general, there is some sort of trigger warning associated with each of these novels. After all, they are thrillers and many of them involve some sort of physical/sexual abuse or traumatic event. If you are sensitive to that sort of content, please proceed with caution when reading the descriptions below.
6 Thrillers I Recently Read (and Recommend!)
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.
At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.
Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…
Why you should read The Lying Game…
My best friend introduced me to Reese Witherspoon’s book club a couple of months ago, which is how I ended up reading The Lying Game. The friendship between these four girls reminded me of The Clique books, but with more ‘rebel’ girls and a bit of mystery involved. It was fascinating to analyze their relationship as I read, and how it changed from when they were in boarding school until the time they received the text message. It’s a great suspense read for those that don’t really like the super suspenseful, Girl on the Train type novels (a milder form, so to speak).
p.s. someone created a Goodreads group that follows along with Reese’s recommendations and I absolutely love being a member. Join me here!
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
Why you should read The Good Girl…
The Good Girl is definitely my least favorite out of the six books I am recommending here, but there is something about it (I don’t know what) that makes me think everyone should read it. So many of today’s suspense novels take a very similar approach, and this one had totally different twists. I loved and hated the characters and loved and hated the story, but ultimately couldn’t put it down!
I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.
A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.
Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.
Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.
Why you should read I Am Watching You…
I Am Watching You will leave you hyper aware of your surroundings when you are out and about…or it will leave you trying to be as oblivious as possible. If you were a bystander to an event that ended up with a girl’s disappearance, what would you do? Would you doubt yourself and think ‘it must be nothing’ or would you immediately report it? How would you feel if you reported it and got an innocent person in trouble? This book will leave you asking yourself all of these questions – and many more.
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.
Why you should read Stillhouse Lake…
Stillhouse Lake is the book that kickstarted my crazy suspense binge. I downloaded it for free as part of Amazon’s Kindle First program and breezed through it. The story is truly addicting and I found myself rooting for Gina throughout the entire novel. She is truly the ultimate warrior mom!
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…
Why you should read The Butterfly Garden…
Major *TRIGGER WARNING* for this book – it’s extremely disturbing but in a hauntingly good way. This is one of those books that I enjoyed so much I feel guilty about it due to the actual content. It’s a heavy read, but if you aren’t very sensitive to topics like rape, abuse, and servitude, I highly recommend it. Out of all the books in this list that I ‘couldn’t put down,’ this is 100% the one that I literally could not stop thinking about. Even when I did eventually put it down!
The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?
The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.
As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?
Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.
Why you should read The Missing Ones…
The Missing Ones was less psychological thriller and more crime fiction, which is what made me love it so much. After all, I can watch Law and Order: SVU for hours on end, so why wouldn’t I enjoy the book form? There is so much going on in this novel, including an event that happened during Lottie’s childhood that ties into the events of the book. This one was a bit harder for me to get into, but as the story began to unravel, I found that I couldn’t put it down. As a note, there are many graphic visualizations of child abuse and sexual abuse, which may be hard for some to read.
3 Thrillers to Read with me this Fall
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.
But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.
Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.
Why I want to read Bonfire…
I wouldn’t call (or not call) myself a fan of Krysten Ritter’s, but the idea of an actress gone suspense novelist is rather intriguing, so I definitely want to check this one out. The description also makes me think of the bonfires I used to have in high school and how, at any moment, someone could’ve suggested something like things and things would have taken an interesting turn!
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
Why I want to read Into the Water…
Pretty much every lifestyle blogger I follow talks about this book as one of the best when it comes to psychological thrillers, so I am shocked that I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Given that The Girl on the Train is one of the books that set the stage for modern psychological thrillers, I am so excited to read another book by Paula Hawkins.
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…
Why I want to read The Good Daughter…
Both The Good Daughter and Pretty Girls have been on my reading list for a couple of months now, and I’ve decided it’s time to get to one of them. I always enjoy stories like this that involve an intense family dynamic. Many of the novels I read are based on general family relationships, so I am interested to see what it’s like to read about a family with a shared tragedy such as this. I can’t wait to find out what happened!
What genre have you been loving recently? And what books are on your fall reading list? Let me know in the comments below, and follow me on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading!
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