Favorite Thriller/Mystery Books: The First Half Of 2019

Okay so this is exactly the same as the Scifi and fantasy lists, but with Mystery and Thrilers lol, I know, I know, I’m a creative genius. So this only includes books that I’d read up until June, so some may have come out earlier but I didn’t read them cause I was lazy or whatever, who knows.

[Reminder: These are 2019 releases only. At the end of the year I’ll compile lists of my overall favorites, no matter the year of publication]

These aren’t in any particular order than rating, and sometimes I enjoy a book that has a lower rating, idk, my rating system is very complicated. [ie: I don’t really know what I’m doing]

Clicking on the headline will take you to my review, and I’ve included GoodReads links!

 

6. Black Water

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GoodReads:
I killed the boy…
Jig loves football and his dog, hates school, misses his granda and knows to lie low when his ma’s blitzed on the vodka and tablets.
He’s just an ordinary boy on the mean streets alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Streets that are ruled by Ghost and his crew. And now Ghost- inked, vicious, unprincipled- has a job for Jig.
A job that no one can afford to go wrong- not the gangs, the police, the locals, and least of all not Jig.

 

 

5. In Search Of A Witch’s Soul

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GoodReads:
Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.
When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.
As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

 

 

4. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

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GoodReads:
‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’
So begins Tikka Molloy’s recount of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.
Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.
Brilliantly observed, sharp, lively, funny and entirely endearing, this novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – and quintessentially Australian. Think ‘The Virgin Suicides’ meets ‘Jasper Jones’ meets ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’

 

 

3. Without Out A Trace

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GoodReads:
Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…
A little girl has gone missing.
Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.
Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?
At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…
Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

 

 

2. The Favorite Daughter

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GoodReads:
From the author of the page-turning domestic suspense Best Day Ever, comes another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.
The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.
It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?
The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

 

 

1. Miracle Creek

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GoodReads:
The “gripping… page-turner” (Time) hitting all the best of summer reading lists, Miracle Creek is perfect for book clubs and fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng
How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?
In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.
A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?
“A stunning debut about parents, children and the unwavering hope of a better life, even when all hope seems lost” (Washington Post), Miracle Creek uncovers the worst prejudice and best intentions, tense rivalries and the challenges of parenting a child with special needs. It’s “a quick-paced murder mystery that plumbs the power and perils of community” (O Magazine) as it carefully pieces together the tense atmosphere of a courtroom drama and the complexities of life as an immigrant family. Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a Korean-American, former trial lawyer, and mother of a “miracle submarine” patient, this is a novel steeped in suspense and igniting discussion. Recommended by Erin Morgenstern, Jean Kwok, Jennifer Weiner, Scott Turow, Laura Lippman, and more– Miracle Creek is a brave, moving debut from an unforgettable new voice.

 

[To be honest, Miracle Creek will probably be my ultimately favorite mystery/courtroom drama read of 2019, so, putting it at number one was no coincidence on this list lol.]

 

What are some of your mystery/thriller faves of 2019 so far? Anything you recommend?

 

Thriller Thursday

 

 

Hey Guys! So, I’ve decided that with all the thrillers I’ve been reading lately I will use Thursdays when I feel like it to highlight and recap/review some of my favorite thriller reads.

That being said, I am going to do TWO this week. Why? Because I can. It’s my blog. I do what I want.

 

 

Also I read both of these ARCs and LOVED them, and since they came out this month, I want to share them both.

**Thank you to the publishers, Point Blank – OneWorld Publications for the ARC of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone and to Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of The Starter Wife. I received these in exchange for my honest review(s).**

First up?

 

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Blurb: ‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’ 

Tikka Molloy was eleven years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert. 

Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved. 

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot. 

Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – a perfect summer chiller with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart. 

My Review

 

Want an amazing summer thriller read?? This is pretty much it, I read this in a night, I couldn’t put it down and it was brilliant.

Three girls have gone missing, and in their wake they leave unanswered questions and one friend struggles I accept their disappearance. Going home again, will she unravel the mystery, will anything change after so long?

The ending to this is really what struck me the most. I won’t give anything away but it was not at all expected and Felicity McLean really impressed me. The story she weaves for us is quite the tangled web and in the end, there’s no black and white, just the facts as they are. I really love things that delve into the morally gray and better yet they have no clear answers. The point of this book wasn’t as much to solve a mystery as it was for Tikka to face her past.

The Van Apfel girls are all different and though they may all have blond hair, the similarities stop there. They are sisters and have to rely on each other more than their parents who are too embedded in their church and religion and only care about the daughters also becoming as ‘holy’ as they are. Except for the fact that our middle Van Apfel girl Cordelia who seems to attract her Father’s special attention.

Cordelia is complex, mature for her age and yet still ver much a young teenager (really a child at 13) and when you delve more into her own particulars you understand her more. I thought she was brilliantly written.

Even Ruth, the youngest, is so well fleshed out and McLean gives amazing descriptions for her (and the others). In fact as you read this, it’s hard not to imagine Australia, she paints a picture of the landscape and the suburbia perfectly.

McLean does a great job presenting all of the characters and describing what makes them all different, there are no hollow characters, even the side characters are given depth and everyone plays their part in this unsolved mystery.

Great debut novel and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Content/Trigger Warning: Child Molestation/Rape (though not detailed, very very strongly hinted at), Child Abuse, death of a child.

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About the Author

FELICITY MCLEAN was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her debut novel. 

 

Next…

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Blurb:

Can you ever really know what goes on between a husband and wife? 

Claire Westcott tries to be the perfect wife to Byron but fears she will never measure up to his ex, Colleen. After all, it’s hard to compete with the dead. 

Colleen went missing eight years ago. Her body was never found but the police ruled it a suicide. So when Claire receives a phone call from a woman she believes is Colleen, it opens up a million terrifying questions. 

Claire discovers the couple weren’t as happy as they would have people believe. And now she’s worried Byron hasn’t been completely honest with her. 

There are secrets in every marriage, but Claire is about to find out that sometimes those secrets are deadly. 

My Review

I love creepy reads, and this, this was a brilliant and creepy read.

A true thriller with a fabulously well done antagonist. So, be prepared. There was a nice twist that slowly worked its way in, you may be able to spot it early on but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Laurin also doesn’t give too much away, at the end you’re still left wondering with a couple of questions and I absolutely love that, though, all the important things are answered so don’t worry about having an unsatisfying ending.

There’s something about having a character that you just can’t quite tell if they’re the hero or the villain that just makes it great, and Laurin gives you more than one character to wonder about! The little ‘cut’ scenes are brilliant as Laurin uses them for her own benefit, and continually manipulates the reader and I absolutely love that! I think it speaks for a writer, especially a thriller writer if they can twist and turn a story to their liking and throw a reader off track, even if it’s only for a moment. For those who read this sort of book more often it may be an easy guess for you, but I think you’ll still enjoy the read. I know I really did.

This was another book I consumed in a night, I actually tried to put it down too! I saw it was getting late, set the book to the side and turned off the light. 30 minutes later, I was still awake and wondering what in the world was going to happen next, so I made my way to the living room to finish the book without disturbing the husband with the light, and it was completely worth it!

I love that even the ‘good’ characters aren’t even that good, like McLean, Laurin is giving us this sort of gray area, and you’re left wondering ‘what could this person have done to make things better.’ Honestly, I enjoyed Claire as a character, and thought Laurin did a great job hashing her out.

Content/Trigger Warning: Violence, deaths, psychological manipulation, drugged drinks, stalking.

About the Author

 

Nina Laurin studied creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal, where she currently lives. She arrived in Montreal when she was just twelve years old, speaks and reads in Russian, French, and English but writes her novels in English. 
Nina is fascinated by the darker side of mundane things, and she’s always on the lookout for her next twisted book idea.

 

Alright there we have it! My first thriller Thursday! Both of these books are out now, so go check out your local bookstore/book depository/amazon/whatever you cool cats use these days!

Toodles!