Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaître; translated by Frank WynnePsychological Suspense. Sophie Duguet is a depressed young Parisian with a sad past and blank spots in her memory. First she can't remember where she parked her car, then she can't remember shoplifting, and now she can't remember killing the six-year-old boy she was babysitting -- though he's clearly been strangled with her own shoelace. Knowing what's in store for her, she goes on the run, creating a new identity and trying to figure out why so many bad things happen to the people around her. But about half way through Blood Wedding, another character takes over narrating, and the story gets creepier, more claustrophobic, and more depraved in a way that fans of seasoned French author Pierre Lemaître will appreciate.
The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacmillanPsychological Suspense. When English piano prodigy Zoe was 14, she was involved in an accident that killed three classmates. Trying to start over after she serves time, she gets a second chance at 17 when she and her mother, Maria, move to Bristol and Maria remarries. But when Zoe's past comes to light in a very public manner, Maria ends up dead. Unfolding over the course of 24 hours, The Perfect Girl is told from multiple perspectives, including Zoe, her stepbrother, and her stepdad -- both of whom have secrets of their own -- as well as the lawyer who originally defended Zoe. While "who killed Maria?" is definitely the center of the story, it's also a twisty contemplation of justice.
The Darkest Secret: A Novel by Alex MarwoodPsychological Suspense. When real estate mogul Sean Jackson turned 50, he threw himself a lavish party -- at which one of his three-year-old twin girls disappeared. Twelve years later, at Sean's funeral, some of the same guests attend, including the surviving twin, who is escorted by a half-sister, an estranged daughter from one of Sean's previous marriages. Filled with detestable people (including the much-married, narcissistic Sean and his equally selfish friends), the story bounces between the two events -- party and funeral -- as secrets are exposed and the two sisters come to terms with each other, with their father, and with what happened that weekend.
The Kept Woman
by Karin Slaughter
Thriller. A long-awaited latest entry in the best-selling series pits Georgia detective Will Trent against the dark forces of a case that threatens to destroy him. By the author of Pretty Girls.
If You Like: Jack Reacher
The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John ConnollyThriller. John Connolly is a hard author to categorize: his Charlie "Bird" Parker novels are part mystery, part thriller, and part horror, thanks to a few supernatural elements. They're also moody and intelligently plotted, with a complex and tortured main character. Like the Jack Reacher novels, the writing here is absorbing -- and The Wolf in Winter (like some of the Reacher books) is set in a small town whose citizens are keeping dark and dangerous secrets. If you're looking for a strong, compassionate central character but a slightly different atmosphere, try this long running series. Purists can start at the beginning, with Every Dead Thing.
The Sentry by Robert CraisThriller. Former cop Joe Pike is at a gas station when he notices two suspicious men entering a sandwich shop. When he follows them in, he's just in time to stop an assault on the owner; over the course of the next several days, the owner's pretty niece, Dru, catches Pike's eye as he works with L.A.'s underground to prevent another attack -- until she and her uncle vanish. Each willing to do whatever it takes to bring about justice, even if the means aren't entirely legal, Reacher and Pike star in similarly suspenseful, often violent, and testosterone-driven series. The Sentry is the 3rd book to star Joe Pike, though he also appears in the author's Elvis Cole novels.
Unmanned by Dan FespermanTechno-Thriller. Though less violent than the Jack Reacher novels, Unmanned also stars a man hunting for justice. Racked by guilt over the last drone mission he flew as a career pilot for the Air Force, Darwin Cole is now slowly self-destructing in an isolated trailer in Nevada. When three journalists ask for his help investigating fatal drone misuse, he sees a chance for atonement and is soon deeply involved in a dangerous hunt for the truth. Action-packed and with plenty of technological details, plus a side of moral ambiguity, this is a "paranoia-inducing page-turner" (Library Journal).
Runner by Patrick LeeSuspense Fiction. In this series opener starring retired special forces soldier Sam Dryden, our hero is out for a 3 A.M. run when he encounters a young girl being chased by a group of armed men. Of course he helps her, putting himself in immediate danger. The girl -- who can remember only her first name and the last two months of her life -- appears to have been imprisoned for most of her 11 years, and has a skill that makes her extremely dangerous to a lot of powerful people. The action begins on page five, and doesn't let up in this high-tech take on the Jack Reacher novels.
The Drifter by Nicholas PetrieSuspense Fiction. Like Jack Reacher, Marine Corps veteran Peter Ash stays constantly on the move. In Ash's case, however, PTSD prevents him from settling down -- or even staying indoors. When a close friend and fellow Marine commits suicide, Ash heads to Milwaukee to look after his family however he can. This includes home repair, which is when he finds a suitcase packed full of money -- and explosives. Figuring out his friend's last few days leads Ash straight into a complex situation that allows both a pulse-pounding plot and a sympathetic look at the challenges veterans face at home. This entertaining debut will be joined in January by a 2nd Peter Ash novel, Burning Bright.
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