Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel loves to ride the commuter train into the city each day. She loves to look out the windows and see the backyards of the houses which back up to the tracks. She makes up stories about the people who live in the homes, especially the young married couple in one home in particular…so in love, so beautiful, so “together”… Not like her, and her messy life.

But one day Rachel is looking out the window and she sees the lovely blond woman kiss another man in the backyard-a man who isn’t her husband. The next day, the woman is in the news. She has gone missing. Rachel tries to tell the police she saw the woman with another man, but they don’t believe her. They think she’s just a bored, sick woman who wants attention. But Rachel can’t let go. She knows something terrible has happened to the woman and she sets out to find out what happened that night…Because Rachel was in the neighborhood that night, but she can’t remember what happened. She was inebriated and only remembers patched, blotchy memories. Did she see the missing woman that night? Or is she losing her mind?

Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, is a psychological thriller set in England, in the vein of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Everything She Forgot (Lisa Ballantyne), The Lace Reader (Brunonia Barry), and You Should Have Known (Jean Hanff Korelitz).

If you love edge-of-your-seat reads with unreliable narrators (I sure do) then Girl on the Train should absolutely be on your t0-read list.

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

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Margaret Holloway gets in a terrible pileup on the highway and finds herself pulled from her vehicle by a strange man with terrible burn scars. When she comes back into everyday life she finds herself haunted by his face…Not because of the scars but because something about him was triggering a memory inside her and it won’t let go. Margaret begins to feel like she will never recover from the accident unless she can find out who her rescuer was, and why she is having strange flashbacks from her childhood.

A little girl disappeared on her way to school one day…What happened to sweet, quiet, plain Moll? Who would kidnap a young girl? Is a mafia member somehow involved? But why? Worlds collide as Margaret tries to put together the pieces of the mystery…Hopefully before it’s too late.

If you are a sensitive, delicate person, the harsh reality of Everything She Forgot may not appeal to your sensibilities. This novel is brutal and detailed and for readers who can handle crime at it’s more gory end. Readers, you know who you are…

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

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Nicki Clements is a housewife with a lot of secrets. When she isn’t buzzing her kids around and running errands, she likes to have a secret life…It seems harmless at first, but when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder investigation, she realizes that she may be in much more trouble than she ever imagined. But how could her innocent cyber activities have caused a murder? And how did it relate to her?

The police have more than enough suspects-the crowd of enemies surrounding Damon Blundy, the murder victim, was vast and full of colorful and eccentric personalities. Nicki may not be the only person of interest, but the way the murder took place, its odd details planned out perfectly…Something is nagging at the back of Nicki’s mind…Something oddly familiar. She can’t tell the police everything, for risk of exposure, but she knows she must try to find out the truth, and how it might be connected to her.

Woman with a Secret, by Sophie Hannah, is a psychological thriller from the Spilling CID series-but I’ve never read the series before this book and I felt like I was reading a stand-alone novel the whole time. I may try to hunt down some more of the series, because this was a page-turner! I read it every chance I got because I couldn’t wait to see what Nicki Clements has been up to that could land her in so much trouble.

If you like psychological thrillers, Woman with a  Secret is impeccable! Get it today!

The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

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Dana Catrell wakes up after a night of drinking with her neighbor friend, only to find that in the night, the woman has been brutally murdered. She was the last known person to see Celia alive, and the police are highly suspicious that she can’t seem to remember clearly what happened the night before. With the pressure of her friend’s death and the suspicion that her husband is having an affair hanging over her, she begins to unravel, losing a little bit of her sanity around every corner. What is real, and what is imagined? Does she really remember her neighbor showing her a picture of her husband with another woman, or is her subconscious just trying to tell her that her husband is a cheater?

The lives of several broken people cross paths in this psychological thriller that will have you reading late into the night. Did Dana kill her friend? Or has she been framed? Can she figure out what happened before she is wrongfully arrested for the crime? Can she trace her own steps? Can she hold on to her sanity long enough to find the truth?

The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford, is a psychological thriller in the vein of The Silent Wife or Dark Rooms. The suspense will keep you guessing until the end, and wading through the main character’s unreliable narrative will leave you dying to find out the solution to the mystery. If you like psychological thrillers, The Pocket Wife is for you.

Crystal Falconer
LibraryCrystal
Book reviewer, Librarian, Tech geek wannabe
Crystal Falconer graduated with her B.A. from Western Oregon University, followed by her M.L.I.S. from University of Denver. She was born in Oregon but currently resides in Colorado with her husband, son and trusty canine counterpart.
Boulder, CO
USA
falconercrew@gmail.com

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

This book will creep you out. I mean seriously. I read Gone Girl a couple years back and when I saw that the movie was coming out this year, I decided to check out what else Gillian Flynn has been up to. Sharp Objects came onto my radar since it was available in audiobook from my library and I was in need of some new listening. So here it is:

Camille Preaker is a journalist who grew up in a small southern town. She is mostly estranged from her family, but her boss sends her home to cover story-girls keep going missing and when the bodies appear, they are missing teeth. Camille will stay with her overbearing, narcissistic mother and horribly spoiled half sister while she talks to community members and the police about the missing/dead girls.

Going home is never as simple as it seems to be, however. Things aren’t quite right in the small town, there are secrets and somehow Camille can’t help but feel they are somehow tied into her own past. And Camille may not be what she originally seemed, either. What is true and what is warped out of focus? Who is telling the truth and who is hiding something? Who would kill a young girl? Multiple young girls?

I like mysteries, and I LOVE unreliable narrators. If you liked The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry, or if you enjoyed Gone Girl as much as I did, let this book leave you sleepless and horrified. I’m pretty tough and I have to say, Gillian Flynn, you really know how to leave readers looking for psychopathic killers around every corner. If you think you can handle it, pick up Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn today.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Nick and Amy Dunne are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. The day starts out like every other anniversary day…But things go sour fast. Nick comes home to find Amy missing, the furniture in disarray. Amy has disappeared.

The police seem to feel like Nick is the prime suspect, and Nick is cooperating with them as best he can…But he can’t shake the feeling that he’s missing a clue somewhere about what really happened to Amy. Did Nick kill Amy? If not, who did? Or is she alive somewhere? Nick looks for clues as to who is wife really is all around…Who did she talk with recently? Who might have wanted to harm her or take her? What did she do before she disappeared? As Nick begins to examine the truth about his wife’s life, he realizes she may not even be the person he thought she was…An Nick has a few secrets of his own.

This novel is a psychological thriller with emphasis on male/female relationships that will give any reader the creeps. Difficult to find novels to compare with this one because psychological thrillers rarely delve into the minds of husbands and wives so deeply, creating a chilling atmosphere that will leave readers mortified. In other words, an excellent psychological thriller for those of you who enjoy the genre, but be prepared to find something unlike any novel you have ever read.

The Girl Below by Bianca Zander

Suki returns to London after living in New Zealand for a decade, and nothing is as it seems…Which is exactly how Suki remembers it. Shadows aren’t just shadows, statues move around in apartments, and something is hiding in the closets wherever she goes. Suki searches out her old friends, only to find that they have lives that don’t include her. The only truly friendly face is Peggy, who was once Suki’s babysitter and who generously offers her a place to stay, with her mother, Pippa, who is dying from the long-term effects of alcoholism and who needs company once in a while. Suki finds herself being included in the dysfunctional family, and even ends up spending a great deal of time with the very surly teenage son at Peggy’s request.

The past comes back to haunt her, however, and as she finds herself in the same building where her own family fell apart when her father disappeared to another continent to start a new family, she also finds herself remembering events that happened there. A party one night when she was just a girl, an air raid shelter where she nearly died, a locket holding a secret. She can’t seem to put the pieces together all at once, but she is assaulted by the tiniest details.

This novel cannot be placed in any one genre, which makes it remarkably difficult to describe. A touch of the supernatural, a touch of psychological thriller, a touch of women’s literature, all mixed together to keep you turning those pages and trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Is Suki crazy? Is there an explanation for the things that keep happening around her? Whatever happened to the creepy neighbor guy who disappeared? What happened the night of the party she keeps remembering?

If you love literature like Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader, you won’t want to miss The Girl Below by Bianca Zander.