We know y’all got Kindles and Nooks and iPads and Galaxys and Pixels—you get the point—as gifts this holiday season. And we also know that 2017 is going to be a long year, and you can’t spend all your screen time refreshing Twitter until your brains melt out of your head. We are all going to need some distractions right about now. And since you’ve found yourself here, on Glommable Dot Com, I know that you already know the best escape from this chaos is fiction. Specifically? Great thrillers.
As someone who works at an imprint that publishes a lot of thrillers, I also know it’s not just any thriller that can captivate you well enough to free your mind from the fresh horrors we’re facing on the daily. There must be a compelling voice, characters that make you care what happens to them, and a plot twisted enough to keep you up at night. These thrillers are no-brainer immediate downloads. Trust.
1. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
This was recommended to me by a marketing colleague of mine (obviously the most trustworthy of the publishing professionals) by her saying something along the lines of “It was f*cking insane!” And right she was. This book is great because it starts out with 1000% relatable characters—and then goes completely off the rails. Winifred Allen is recently divorced, bummed out by her job, just generally uninspired by her life, when her most adventurous girlfriend suggests a hiking and rafting weekend in Maine. Despite her misgivings, she goes along with it because let’s be honest, don’t we all have that one friend we’re always trying to impress? And what happens on the trip… I mean, I can’t. It’s so much more terrifying than you’re even thinking. Just read it.
2. Different Class by Joanne Harris
Switching gears a bit, this is a dark, suspenseful, slow-burn thriller by a true master of the genre: Joanne Harris. Yes, that Joanne Harris, who wrote the classic Chocolat and whom you probably follow on Twitter @joannechocolat. And yeah, she is good at everything.
The setting? St. Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, England, where Latin master Roy Straitley is coping with a new headmaster whom Straitley taught as a boy. The perspective shifts between present-day and a journal from the seventies by a young boy at St. Oswald’s who is..well..a sociopath. The writing is truly stunning, and as the pieces of the puzzle finally come together, you’ll just sit there in awe of what Joanne Harris was able to accomplish here.
3. The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner
The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner is has been a book baby of mine ever since I first read the manuscript back in June. Yes, June! It has finally been birthed unto the world, and as expected, I couldn’t be happier with the response. The Twilight Wife is the second book from #1 bestselling psychological suspense author A.J. Banner. Her first thriller, The Good Neighbor, totally blew up on Kindle and hit the top spot not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. And The Twilight Wife is even better.
The Twilight Wife follows marine biologist Kyra Winthrop, who is left with a complex form of memory less after a diving accident which she can remember nothing about. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob. I can’t give too much more away—all I’ll say is that I was gasping so much while reading this book (all in one sitting mind you) that my boyfriend was like, “Okay, that’s it. Tell me what’s going on here.” By the end, he was reading over my shoulder.
4. Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Meija
I will admit to you that I have not yet read this one, but it’s coming up on my list because everyone at S&S is raving about it. Actually I take that back—just flat-out everyone is raving about it. People, Instyle, Marie Claire, The Wall Street Journal, Bustle, BookBub, Shelf Awareness, hordes of early readers on Goodreads—everyone. And the story will hook you too.
Star pupil Hattie Hoffman is found stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play. The local sheriff in the small town, Del Goodman, is a family friend of the Hoffmans and vows to find Hattie’s killer, but as he starts digging, he finds that Hattie’s acting talents went far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.
5. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Okay okay, so this one isn’t super new, but it’s new in paperback this month, so it counts! I think Elle said it best in their review: “Are you paying attention? You’ll need to be; this thriller will test your brain with its reverse chronological structure, and it’s a page-turner to boot.” That’s right—All the Missing Girls is told in reverse, from Day 15 to Day 1. This is a thriller that will consume your entire brain for an entire day, so be ready to give it your undivided attention.
It’s been 10 years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Within days of returning to care for her ailing father, Nic’s ex-boyfriend Tyler’s girlfriend (you following?) Annaleise, disappears without a trace. As Nic works to unravel the truth about Annaleise’s disappearance, shocking truths are revealed about her friends, family, and what really happened to Corinne 10 years ago. Read it.
6. The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Kimberly Belle’s The Marriage Lie is another one I feel like I’ve been hearing about for months. And similar to The Twilight Wife (and of course, Gone Girl), it explores…shall we say…the dark side of marriage.
Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and they’re life is basically perfect. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: a plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board. According to the airline, Will was one of the passengers. Iris be like, huh?
Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? Yikes.
7. The Dry by Jane Harper
Janet Maslin’s New York Times review sold me hard on this one: “Ms. Harper throws out so many teasing possibilities that it’s hard to believe this is her first novel.” Well that and David Baldacci’s unreal blurb: “One of the most stunning debuts I’ve ever read…Every word is near perfect.” So basically, yes? Just yes.
There are definite parallels between The Dry and All the Missing Girls. In this book, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades (see??) to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. 20 years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. (But now we diverge…) Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.