I was definitely in the mood for a dark thriller, when Netgalley sent me an email with this audiobook ARC. What Lies in the Woods follows Naomi when she returns to her childhood town where she was the victim of an attempted murder that put a serial killer behind bars.
The tension and dark atmosphere is thick right from the beginning and definitely drew me in with the obvious mysteries lurking in Naomi’s story. However, I didn’t really find Naomi to be a compelling character – she’s super self-destructive and honestly just frustrating sometimes – and I had trouble to connecting to her. Mostly I got annoyed when she kept actually saying out loud “I know I should go to the police BUT…” or “I know I should do the logical thing BUT…”
However, I found the mysteries here to be really satisfying, and there were definitely some twists and turns along the way that I didn’t expect (and some I did). I wish the ending had been a touch more uplifting and less open-ended, but overall I enjoyed the read (and the narration was fantastic) and would recommend to those looking for a dark thriller with few gratifying surprises.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! What Lies in the Woods comes out today!
So Netgalley dropped two thrillers in my inbox on the same happy day, and while I was certainly in the mood for a thriller, this wasn’t my favorite of the two. All the Dangerous Things follows a sleep-deprived mother a year after her son has gone missing as she (understandably) is still obsessing over the very-cold case. The narrative is also interspliced with relevant scenes from Isabelle’s childhood as well as how she and her estranged husband first came together.
First, I found this novel to be rather slow (though disclaimer: I prefer a breakneck pace, so please keep that in mind). With no leads and not a whole lot of urgency, I found the tension hard to feel for most of this book. Not to mention, Isabelle is NOT a good person, so I found her hard to relate to as a character. Even as the story took some interesting twists and turns, I feel like she had a very detached reaction to them. While the books ends on a nice up-note, it still felt like some very messy things were put away a little too cleanly, and I wish we’d gotten some more depth from the supporting characters.
However, if you like psychological thrillers that take their time, this book is well-written and well-narrated with plenty of dark atmosphere and a karmic ending. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! All the Dangerous Things comes out today!
Beneath her Skin by C.S. Porter follows Kes Morris, a hardened homicide detective called to a small seaside town to investigate a disturbing murder. This a fast-paced murder mystery that hits all the right beats. It’s a gripping story, tugging you along as the time clicks down on the clock with an underlying sense of creepiness laced in with every scene.
Kes’s take on getting into the killer’s head is really interesting, and the intensity increases right up to a satisfyingly finale. Although the murders are definitely disturbing, I wouldn’t classify them as exceedingly gory or gritty, which is about right on my level. The descriptions, setting, and atmosphere of a small town living in the shadow of killer were vivid and drew me right in to the scenes. While I couldn’t predict the plot twists, they felt really natural and were well-executed. . Kes is a smart and no-nonsense character, but I wish I’d gotten to see a little more of the side characters.
Overall, this was a quick read that I definitely enjoyed, and would totally recommend to crime thriller fans! (Content Warning: Child Abuse.) Thanks so much to the publisher for the free review copy.
Okay, you got me. I was totally prepared for a twist, but I still didn’t guess it! Love it when that happens. Still, this book leaves a strange aftertaste. The premise follows a couple with a strained relationship that’s won a free vacation in a creepy, restored chapel in the Scottish highlands and are using the getaway to try to put their relationship back together before it ends in divorce.
Meanwhile, we get their history through a series of letters written on every anniversary. We also get the POV of a third player at work here, who has unknown intentions for the couple.
It is really hard to review this one without giving anything away, but suffice to say, all the characters have secrets, and at the end, I’m pretty sure I don’t like any of them. 😂 Still, I enjoyed the ride, and would recommend to anyone looking for a fast-paced suspense. However, I will say, if you already know the twist, I don’t think it would be nearly as fun.
Picked this audiobook kind of randomly since it was available at the library, so I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. Don’t Look for Me takes the reader step-by-step through Molly Clark’s abduction, and then, simultaneously lets us into the POV of Molly’s 22ish-year-old daughter, Nicole, as she searches for her two weeks after her disappearance and the case has already been deemed a walk-away.
Molly’s abduction is terrifying in its gradualness, planning behind it, and the plausible deniability up until the moment when it’s too late to get away.
Similarly, as Nicole follows the clues (and the false ones) closer to her mother, the impending dread as she gets sucked into the creepy little town, ever nearing danger, is super intense and so well done.
Along the way, Molly and Nicole reflect on what led them to this moment and the parts they played in the breaking of their family.
The climax was a little weird to me, but this dark thriller still manages to leave its characters better off than where we left them, which I always appreciate!
With believable characters, a (mostly) satisfying resolution, and a growing sense of dread that will keep you turning pages, I highly recommend this tense thriller. (And the audiobook is especially good!)
Behind Closed Doors follows Grace in her picture perfect marriage as she recounts how she got in predicament in the first place, through detailed flashbacks.
I was excited to pick up another fast-paced thriller audiobook from the library, and while this book was an easy enough listen, I came away a little disappointed. I really enjoy those thrillers that keep you bouncing around from suspect to suspect, always keeping you guessing, never really knowing what’s coming next, and… that’s not this book.
This book is definitely more slow, methodical kind of thriller. Most of Grace’s attempts of escape are shown via flashback, so since we already know the outcome, I felt like the tension wasn’t as intense as it could’ve been, and the premise kind of required me to suspend my disbelief in kind of strange ways. Jack comes off as a little one-dimensional, and if you’re waiting for a twist… well there isn’t really one.
Behind Closed Doors is an easy read though, a well-narrated audiobook, and has a mostly satisfying conclusion. Overall: a solid thriller that takes it time. (3.5/5)
Another solid thriller that takes its time with some surprises in store as well. The story follows Chloe two decades after her father was found guilty of murdering six teenage girls. Chloe is an unreliable narrator with some unhealthy coping mechanisms, so when a fresh series of murders crops up, she understandably starts on a downward spiral.
This book is chock full of tension, and sells its red herrings hard, but ultimately I thought the ending was kind of a downer. Chloe makes some choices that are a little hard to stomach, and it makes me feel bad for one character in particular as it rips all of their lives apart.
The audiobook was well narrated and the writing style feels rich and full even if it does slow down after the halfway point. Overall a solid listen I’d recommend to fans of dark thrillers. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC! A Flicker in the Dark launches on 11 Jan!
This book is Brutal. And it makes it a little tough to review.
Usually I shy away from super long books, but I was tired of having to pick out a new audiobook every few days, so I settled on the first thriller that caught my eye.
The story follows two sisters who, as children, survive a violent and horrific home invasion. In the first chapter we experience this visceral and gut-wrenching event right along with them, and it is HARD to read.
Then we fast forward three decades to where another violent school shooting shakes the survivors and the town they live in once again, unearthing unsolved mysteries from the past and present.
The Quinn family of lawyers is easy to root for, the banter between the sisters feels real, and the personalities of all the characters seem to pop off the page. Although this audiobook was 19 hours long, it felt like it passed quickly.
There are plenty of red herrings in this complicated mystery, and while some of the reveals were certainly unexpected there was at least one in there that didn’t feel quite right to me. But the real thing that I just couldn’t stomach was the brutality of the violence scenes. This book does not hold back, and it really comes off as disturbing. They actually tell the account of the original home invasion three times, and every time the details get worse.
Honestly, if I’d known there was… (*Spoilery Trigger Warning*)
…violent, onscreen child rape I would’ve passed this book by. (That’s what I get for picking it up books at random I guess.) But if extreme, realistic violence doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably enjoy this tense, complicated thriller. I really enjoyed the style of writing, and would probably pick up another book from this author (but you can bet I’ll check out the trigger warnings first!)
Fatal Obsession starts off with the assault of a star college football player, Deke, and then follows his fiancé, Sloan, as she tries to unravel the aftermath. This is a short, fast-paced mystery/mild thriller with a hook that’ll keep you turning pages and an interesting reveal. However, although we get the perspectives of Deke, Sloan, and the assailant, I thought the characters could’ve used a little more development, and the ending didn’t quite work for me (I thought it was a bit too happily ever after considering the circumstances.) Also, this could’ve just been the ARC format I received, but there were quite a few instances where words were missing between pages.
Thanks so much to BookSirens and the publisher for the free ARC!
So I started reading Split Therapy by EP Stavs after my last two book had endings that kind of left me unsatisfied, and I was a little worried about an impending reading slump. But this book was such a breath of fresh air!
I really enjoyed EP Stavs’ Shendri Series, so when I saw the chance to get an ARC of her thriller novella, I just couldn’t help myself! Split Therapy follows sweet college student Jane as she tries to carry on with life after a traumatic incident. Meanwhile, her vigilante alter ego, Jae, roams the night finding a different way to come to terms with the incident.
First of all, I just love EP Stavs’ writing style. It is sharp and snappy but still paints the clearest picture of the action. Her banter is always on point, and she always manages to paint the most loveable characters that are so easy to connect with. I read this book in one enjoyable evening, totally drinking in the building tension and the sweet love interest, and I put it down feeling ready for another!
I totally recommend to anyone looking for a fun thriller to get lost in (that doesn’t mind adult themes and language) and can’t wait to see what Stavs writes next! Thanks so much to EP Stavs for the ARC; Split Therapy comes out on 4 Nov!