Newest Thrillers Reviews

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The Prancing Jacana by Steven Jon Halasz

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Mabel Pembrose's latest novel The Prancing Jacana has been on the New York Times bestseller list for a couple of weeks: her husband, Robert Bersley, isn't doing anything like as well. He writes children's books and his editor is adamant that as he's writing about Snake and Mouse, then Mouse has to be eaten by Snake, because that's how it works. Mabel's not completely free from problems though: her novel, set in Senegal, features Police Detective Salif Bampoky and he's gay in a country where same-sex sexual acts are outlawed and in consequence her book has been banned in the country. The fact that it's banned isn't harming her sales in the US at all, but Mabel - or rather Caroline Parker, as Mabel Pembrose is her pen name - isn't content with this. She's been to Senegal, loves the country and she'd like the book to be a bestseller there too. Full review...

The Visitors by Catherine Burns

5star.jpg Thrillers

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John, in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar. Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden. As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side. Full review...

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

4star.jpg Thrillers

Caleb Zelic has just found his colleague and lifelong friend murdered. The two – and a female police officer – were working as a private investigative group, tracking security flaws that led to a hugely costly warehouse robbery, and all have training in the industry, so they should have seen anything coming. Caleb won't have heard it coming, however – he's pretty much deaf, getting a cadence of speech and noise from hearing aids but needing to lipread or sign. The first signs that this murder is connected to the case are impossible to ignore – as indeed are hints that something really serious is going on, when Caleb finds he can't even trust the police looking into the murder. The case will cause him to go a lot further than he would ever want – which includes to the door of his errant brother, and into the home of his recently-made-ex wife… Full review...

Strange Sight: An Essex Witch Museum Mystery (Essex Witches Mystery 2) by Syd Moore

5star.jpg Paranormal

Rosie Strange is back - recovering after her last escapade with curator Sam Stone, and figuring out what on earth to do with the Essex Witch Museum she's recently inherited. If Rosie had her way she'd be selling the museum and heading back to her flat in London - but when her Auntie Babs recommends Rosie and Sam to a local businessman, they find themselves embroiled in dark events once again. Something is wrong at Le Fleur Restaurant - blood leaking from chandeliers, scrawled messages on the walls and apparitions walking through the walls. Before Rosie and Sam can start to look into these possibly supernatural occurrences though, events take an even darker turn when a very real body is found in the restaurant - and the owner's daughter swears that a ghost was to blame... Full review...

When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi

4star.jpg Thrillers

Anna is in a coma. Only two people know who inflicted the severe injuries that lead to her lying there unmoving in the hospital bed, the culprit who won’t talk, and Anna who can’t. If, and it’s a big if, she wakes up, she may remember what happened, but of course there’s a chance she quite literally did not know what hit her. For her husband Erik, it’s an agonising wait. The police don’t seem that interested, but he has to know who was responsible, and so he wonders whether he should do a bit of investigating himself. He shouldn’t, of course, because in a story like this there are secrets just waiting to be uncovered, and he may find that these are things he would rather have never known. Full review...

The Winter's Child by Cassandra Parkin

5star.jpg Paranormal

A modern Gothic tale of twisted love, secrets and hauntings it says on the cover. I'll go along with that. Suzannah Harper doesn't believe in life after death or gypsies being able to tell the future, but that hasn't stopped her spending a fortune on psychics and fortune tellers in the desperate hunt for her son. Joel has been missing for five years. He skipped out of school one day after an argument at home and has not been seen since. Full review...

The Cossack by K J Lawrence

5star.jpg Thrillers

Daniel Brooking is not what you'd think of as hero material: he's a photographer of some merit and in his fifties he has a settled life. It was the disappearance of his assistant, Ivan Shevchenko, which disrupted everything. It wasn't unknown for him to disappear occasionally, but missing an exhibition was a first for him. He'd been distracted for a few days - and then there were the strange papers which arrived, to be kept safe. The authorities, in the form of a shadowy senior member of the security services, confirmed the view that Ivan was probably dead, because of some supposed connections with organised crime and drug dealing. Full review...

Rain Falls On Everyone by Clar Ni Chonghaile

5star.jpg Literary Fiction

It's a cliché that the Irish have a picturesque turn of phrase, but clichés only exist because they're true. Roddy Doyle put it differently in a recent interview with Writing magazine, when he said that With Irish, there's another language bubbling under the English. However you express it, that art of expression is woven into every other line of Clár's prose. Pick a page at random and you'll find something like the sickness that had come to roost in her home like a cursed owl or like he was God, Jesus and Justin Timberlake rolled into one or a low sobbing, slow and inevitable as rain on a Sunday: expressions that catch your smile unawares, or tear at your heart in their mundane sadness. Or sometimes both. Full review...

From The Shadows by Neil White

4.5star.jpg Crime

I'm a bit old-fashioned and therefore not a great fan of stories that can't keep their timeline straight. I'll go with a prologue – even if it's becoming a bit of clichéd way of creating a mystery at the beginning of a story – but switching between 'now' and 'a fortnight ago' – just feels a little lazy, a way of creating tension when all else fails. That, however, is my only little gripe about From The Shadows and I admit, whether I like it or not, it does more or less work. Full review...

My Name is Sam by Wes Stuart

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Who is the real enemy? This is the question which confronts Sam, the champion of the Sereia in their cosmos-spanning war with the Gibbus, and the main character in this story. Sam is an unimposing boy who has no past and no memory of who he is, yet he possesses extraordinary abilities. He is also Earth's last hope for salvation from the Gibbus who, in seven days, will destroy the planet and everyone on it. This is not his choice however: that is the decision of the alien Sereia, his mentors and guides, as he is forced to confront this hazardous task. They have their own reasons for wanting Earth to be saved, but are too weak to challenge the Gibbus themselves. In their search for a human champion they find the unlikely and ill-prepared young boy, Sam – but this child is not quite as he appears… Full review...

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

What would life be like if you just packed up your things and left? This is a thought that the main protagonist Caitlyn has been mulling over for a while now but has never had the guts to do, until she reaches the final straw when her father fails at sobriety once again. After throwing her phone in a river, Caitlyn takes herself to the airport where she ends up getting a plane to New York. From there her life completely changes as she meets Jake who seems to be just what she needs. As they grow closer she is invited to meet his family, but, in a house surrounded by forest that is miles away from civilisation, family takes on a whole new meaning. There you live by the motto we are here for each other, and we are nothing without each other. Full review...

Broadcast by Liam Brown

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

When David Callow is offered the lead role in a revolutionary new online show, he snatches at the opportunity. Rapidly becoming a viral sensation, David is propelled to stratospheric levels of celebrity. However, he soon realises the downside of sharing every secret with the world. A prisoner to both his fame and his own thoughts, David seeks to have the chip removed, only to discover the chilling secret lurking at the heart of MindCast, and the terrifying ambition the show's creator has for him. Full review...

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Clara is mother to pre-schooler Maisie and newborn Felix, but now she has a new label: widow. Her husband Nick is dead, killed in an awful car crash that thankfully spared his daughter's life when Felix is just a few days old. For Clara, that's not the end of the nightmare. As she works her way through grief and struggles to carry on for the children, she is faced with some new worries. Maisie isn't talking much about the accident, but she's having nightmares that make Clara question the police story of events. There are things in Nick's personal possessions that are odd, things she has never seen before. What's more, it turns out a lot was going on at Nick's work that he hadn't shared with his wife. And, the more she starts to look, the more she wishes she could un-see and go back to how things were. Full review...

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

4star.jpg Crime

In the small town of Grace, fifteen-year-old Summer Ryan suddenly goes missing. A model student with exceptional musical talent and beloved by all that know her, the incident rocks the entire town. It is even more terrifying set against the backdrop of recent crimes; for over the course of the year, five young church-attending girls have gone missing from all corners of Briar County. The kidnapper and murderer responsible for the disappearance of these girls is nicknamed Bird by law enforcement, and has so far evaded capture. Whilst he roams the streets, no one is safe. Full review...

I Am Missing: David Raker Missing Persons by Tim Weaver

5star.jpg Crime

David Raker is an investigator, specialising in missing persons cases. Over the course of his work, he's seen plenty of unusual things, but he’s never encountered a case quite like this one. A man, Richard Kite, has approached him for help, but explains that his request is quite unusual. You see, Richard Kite isn't trying to locate a missing person. He IS the missing person. Found unconscious at the mouth of Southampton Water 10 months previously, Richard is now suffering from dissociative amnesia, which means that he can't remember anything about his life. He's not even sure that his real name is Richard Kite. Richard is frustrated because he cannot move on with his life. Nobody seems to know who he is, despite news and press coverage of his case, and without a National Insurance number, he is basically 'off the grid,' unable to get a job, pay tax or own a home. This desperate and confused man needs Raker's help to discover the truth. But the truth can be a dangerous thing. Full review...

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

5star.jpg Thrillers

One day Ellie went to the library for some last minute GCSE study and she never returned. There are a lot of what ifs?: what if her sister hadn't had a noisy friend over, forcing her to seek out somewhere quieter to study? What if there had been more CCTV on the high street so her journey could have been traced? What if, taking it back a bit, she had never met Theo, never fallen for him, never drifted into competition against him and never felt the need for extra swotting? What if, what if, what if? And what if actually, none of this had made a difference, because what happened was always going to happen, one way or another? Full review...

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

In 1998 a girl called Maryanne disappears in Ireland. In 2017 a woman called Alice is found dead in London. In both cases, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella is coincidentally close by, but she's more worried by the fact her father is too. And he cannot be trusted. Full review...

She Be Damned by M J Tjia

4star.jpg Crime (Historical)

London, 1863: prostitutes in the Waterloo area are turning up dead, their sexual organs mutilated and removed. When another girl goes missing, fears grow that the killer may have claimed their latest victim. The police are at a loss and so it falls to courtesan and professional detective, Heloise Chancey, to investigate. With the assistance of her trusty Chinese maid, Amah Li Leen, Heloise inches closer to the truth. But when Amah is implicated in the brutal plot, Heloise must reconsider whom she can trust, before the killer strikes again. Full review...

Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre and Frank Wynne (translator)

4star.jpg Crime

Christmas week, 1999, and Antoine hasn't got the best of situations. Some of his friends have parted company with him because of the new-fangled Playstation, which his mother refuses to let him waste his time on. He's built a treehouse all by himself, and decided it was solely to woo the girl next door that he loves, but she's rejected it. And his best company, the dog from the other house next door, was injured in a hit and run, and shot to be put out of its misery. In the process of angrily demolishing the treehouse, he's visited by his very friendly and adorable neighbour, the dog's six-year-old owner, and Antoine's swung some of the wood at him – and killed him with one fell and very foul sweep. As the title suggests, there will be a very tense few days and nights while the guilt amasses with the lad – and/or a lifetime of living on a knife-edge, where any false move could lead to him being found out… Full review...

Final Girls by Riley Sager

4star.jpg Thrillers

A 'final girl' is the last girl alive at the end of a horror movie, a gruesome description which has defined the life of Quincy Carpenter, as much as she tries to persuade you differently. Quincy, the sole survivor of a teenage massacre, has spent her adult years trying to put the past behind her. But when another 'final girl' dies, the media, who have always been obsessed with the girls' dark glamour, swarm upon her. And to make matters worse for Quincy, the other 'final girl' a survivor from another massacre, who has been in hiding for years, appears on her doorstep. Suddenly, Quincy is not only able to move past her past, her past starts to intermingle with her present and she is drawn back in. Was the first 'final girl's death an accident? Why has the second 'final girl' come out of hiding? And what isn't Quincy telling us about her own massacre? Full review...

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

I was looking forward to reading Exquisite ever since I first heard about it, and it didn't disappoint. It's a murky, suggestive thriller about two very different women who find themselves fascinatingly connected; it's a compulsive, attention-grabbing read that had me hunched up in bed till 1am, desperate to finish it as soon as I could. It's clever, excellently-paced, and uncannily realistic. It's just a pity that I managed to figure out the ending about a quarter of the way in. Full review...

The Orphans by Annemarie Neary

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

Jess and Sparrow (Ro) are just children when they are playing on the beach one day and turn round to find their parents vanished and their whole life changed in an instant. It's the sort of childhood trauma that effects people in different ways. Jess goes to one extreme, studying hard, becoming a successful lawyer, building the kind of stability for her new family that she craved ever since that day. And Ro….doesn't. He does almost the opposite, never putting down roots, floating from place to place, woman to woman, free as the wind. The lives of the siblings don't cross much, but when an item belonging to their mother resurfaces, so does the case and the interest in her disappearance. Full review...

The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Maxie, Anaya, Hazel and Yvonne – four friends and school-gate-mums who meet for coffee, wine, gossip and momentary escape from their respective lives. Nothing unusual about that until Yvonne is found battered and half-dead in the playground. Three weeks later Cece moves into the area, her children starting that same school. Gradually she finds herself falling into the orbit of Maxie, Anaya and Hazel and hears what happened to the still comatose Yvonne. Two questions still hang in the air though: who did it and why? The police believe that the perpetrator is one of the three remaining friends and that Cece is in the perfect position to help them with their enquiries… a very dangerous position to be in. Full review...

Aurore by Graham Hurley

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

History has taught us that wars can be won or lost on the strength of a country's intelligence and on the subversives who put country before self and undertake to collect and control that intelligence in a myriad of game-changing ways. Who better then to drop into Nazi-occupied France as an agent than a thirty mission veteran of Bomber Command whose pre-war incarnation as actor and Quaker have shaped a man with guile enough to make believe and trust enough to see his mission through to the end? Enter stage left, Billy Angell. Soon to be injured airman stranded in the French countryside and tasked with befriending a local woman responsible for the safety of resistants and with necessary ties to the upper echelons of the occupying German force. What's left for us to find out is whether Billy has talent enough to succeed in his new role as agent Thesp and make it back alive. Full review...

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

5star.jpg Thrillers

Helena Pelletier was having a normal afternoon: making deliveries of jams and jellies to her sales outlets and taking her younger daughter Marigold to play at the side of the lake. It was on the journey back to meet her older daughter from the school bus that she heard the news: the notorious child abductor and rapist Jacob Holbrook, known as the Marsh King, had escaped from prison, killing two guards in the process. Helena knew that she was in danger: Jacob Holbrook was her father and she was the daughter of the woman he had abducted when she was fifteen years old. She'd been brought up until the age of twelve as a captive. There was another problem too: she'd never actually got around to telling her husband about her background. Full review...

A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas and Sian Reynolds (translator)

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

It takes just one policeman's iota of doubt, that an elderly woman found dead in her bath with her wrists slit was not actual suicide but murder instead, for Commissaire Adamsberg to become involved. The woman, known to be dying, had struggled to get a letter posted in the days before her death – and when the recipient is found out it immediately leads to another murder disguised as suicide, and more deaths are to come. All indications (or at least those that can be understood) point to a hushed-up murder and rape on a remote and isolated Icelandic island ten years previously, but Adamsberg and his team will soon be working on the thinking that the whole truth is much more peculiar, and harder to solve, than that… Full review...

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

4star.jpg Thrillers

Ava and Zelda are twins, their naming triggering a family joke about being opposite ends of the alphabet. That's all past tense now though as Zelda is dead. Ava is told the news via her mother's terse, dispassionate email before Ava can come home to the US from Paris. Zelda burnt to death in the family's barn where she sometimes slept… at least that's the story and human remains were indeed found in the barn. But then why is Ava still receiving emails from Zelda? Emails that taunt, emails that remind and emails that suggest Zelda is very much alive. To discover the truth all Ava needs to do is follow the clues and relive some painful memories. Full review...

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

It's Christmas, what could go wrong? More than that, it's Christmas on holiday, on a cruise down the Pacific coast of Latin America from near LA. Perfect, then, for two cousins – ladies both with their own husband and two kids each – to get away from what life's currently giving them, namely high-pressure work, and grief. But labours and worries and grief will only be exacerbated, when a trip ashore goes horrendously wrong, and practically the only six children on board go missing… Full review...