book blogger · mystery · mystery thriller · psychological thriller · Recommendations · thriller

Five mystery / thriller books you need to read!

Hey guys,

Hope you’re all doing well and staying safe! This week I wanted to do something a bit different and do a themed recommendation post. All of these books will be mystery / thrillers and as someone who has read a ton of these kind of books, it genuinely takes a lot to either freak me out and / or keep me guessing so I hope these do the same for you! I’ve tried my best to list books that you may not have come across before and steered away from the most hyped books like The Girl on the Train etc. I hope you find a new read or two!

1.) The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

The American South in the twenty-first century. A plantation owned for generations by a rich family. So much history. And a dead body.

Just after dawn, Caren walks the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house in Louisiana that she has managed for four years. Today she sees nothing unusual, apart from some ground that has been dug up by the fence bordering the sugar cane fields. Assuming an animal has been out after dark, she asks the gardener to tidy it up.

Not long afterwards, he calls her to say it’s something else. Something terrible. A dead body. At a distance, she missed her. The girl, the dirt and the blood. Now she has police on site, an investigation in progress, and a member of staff no one can track down. And Caren keeps uncovering things she will wish she didn’t know. As she’s drawn into the dead girl’s story, she makes shattering discoveries about the future of Belle Vie, the secrets of its past, and sees, more clearly than ever, that Belle Vie, its beauty, is not to be trusted.

Why you should read this book:

  • The writing style itself is incredible – Attica Locke knows exactly how to create the perfect level of suspense and foreboding all the while building up to explosive reveals.
  • The atmosphere and setting of the deep south is pivotal in this book and I thought the way Locke weaves together past and present was deft and clearly well researched. This historical element adds a lot more depth to the story and touches upon a multitude of issues, especially with the plantation setting, Locke never shies away from confronting the harsh realities of the past.
  • The twists and turns are so good, there are layers to the mystery here and I liked how everything was interlinked.

2.) Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

It starts as a game at a book group one night. Never Have I Ever…done something I shouldn’t.

But Amy Whey has done something she shouldn’t. And Roux, the glamorous newcomer to Amy’s suburban neighbourhood, knows exactly what that is. Roux promises she will go away. She will take herself and her son, who is already growing dangerously close to Amy’s teenage stepdaughter, and she will go. If Amy plays by her rules.

But Amy isn’t prepared to lose everything she’s built. She’s going to fight back, and in this escalating game of cat and mouse, there can be only one winner.

Why you should read this book:

  • The time jumps in this book, flashing back and forth in Amy’s past are used so effectively and I was so invested in finding out what she was hiding
  • The antagonist ie; Roux was very well written and I was genuinely creeped out by her and genuinely didn’t know what she would do next.
  • Has different layers and a lot more depth than I expected and touches upon the protagonists previous issues with body image and mental health struggles.

Check out my full review: Never Have I Ever Review

3.) Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective. The rest is just shuffling the sequence. Expanding the permutations. Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out – calculating the different orders and possibilities of a mystery into seven perfect detective stories he quietly published. But that was thirty years ago. Now Grant lives in seclusion on a remote Mediterranean island, counting the rest of his days.

Until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor knocks on his door. Julia wishes to republish his book, and together they must revisit those old stories: an author hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But there are things in the stories that don’t add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that a sharp-eyed editor begins to suspect are more than mistakes. They may be clues, and Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve.

Why you should read this book:

  • The ‘story within a story’ format works so well here and each of the stories was interesting in their own right and then reading how it ties in with the actual plot was so intriguing.
  • The twists in this novel are genuinely so smart and the story is so complex, so if you’re looking for a book to blow your mind a little then I would definitely recommend this one.
  • The ending !!! No spoilers of course but I was just blown away.

4.) Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1.It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2.There’s something not right about this town.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

Why you should read this book:

  • The horror / mystery element is so unique and fresh here, with the entire concept being so interesting and keeping a reader on their toes, the irony of a horror film directors daughter being stuck in the town where his masterpiece was filmed made it so great.
  • The atmosphere and setting is incredible in building the tension and furthering the sense of suspense. The small town feels like there’s danger around every corner and you have no idea whether it’s all in Lola’s head or whether the threat is real.

Check out my full review: Harrow Lake Review

5.) The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

When seventeen-year-old competitive diver Ingrid freezes up and sustains a head injury at a routine meet, her orderly life is turned upside down. Now housebound and sedentary on doctor’s orders, Ingrid can’t sleep and is haunted by the question of what triggered her uncharacteristic stage fright.

The only thing she remembers about the moment before the dive is seeing Van, her neighbor, former best friend, and forever crush, on the sidelines. Then one sleepless night, she sees Van outside her window…looking right back at her. They tentatively begin “not sleeping” together every night but still living separate lives by day.

Ingrid tells herself this is just temporary, but soon, she and Van are up every night together, increasingly intertwined in helping each other put pieces of memory together. As Van works through his own reasons for not being able to sleep, both of them are pulled into a mystery that threatens to turn their quiet neighbourhood into a darker place than they realized.

Why you should read this book:

  • I enjoyed the exploration of how Ingrid’s injury has affected her memory and uncovering the truth behind her accident as well as what’s going on in her neighbourhood. There was a lot of depth when it comes to her mental health and her past trauma surrounding her father as well.
  • The romance element was sweet and felt like a refreshing addition to the Y/A genre.
  • Again, there are several threads in the novel and while some captured my attention more than others, there’s something so quietly compelling about this novel.

Check out my full review: The Insomniacs Review

I hope you guys enjoyed reading and found some new recs to satisfy that mystery / thriller craving!

What are some of your favourite mystery / thrillers? Let me know, I’m always looking for recommendations!

Until next time,

Rums x

16 thoughts on “Five mystery / thriller books you need to read!

  1. When I was culling my TBR a couple months ago, I rediscovered Harrow Lake and now really want to read it. I’ll definitely have to look into your other recs, too 🙂

  2. I’m adding some of these to my TBR list! What an interesting lot of books you have here, and love the way you structure your reviews. Thanks!

  3. The Cutting Season and Harrow Lake both sound like books I would love to read! Mystery is my favorite genre to read, especially when the thrills jump right off the page into me.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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