· How to Read 21 Books in a Year, Part 2 of 3

How I read 21 books in a year + THRILLERS book review

-> Also check out: Part 1

Part 2 is all about thrillers!
(To be fair, this category includes thrillers, crime novels and suspense stories.)

MY FAVE!!! It seems I get TOTALLY wrapped in these (sometimes unrealistic) stories, to the point of having to battle with myself as to what I'm supposed to be doing instead of reading. It's a struggle, I tell ya! lol!

Also, I think it would be important to say that these do not help shorten the duration of my "nighttime routine", as I talked about previously. But... Ah! I enjoy them SO DAMN MUCH that I seldom care, honestly. :D

Below, my short reviews of 9 books from 7 authors!

The Thrillers

9 thrillers book review

Defending Jacob, William Landay

I'm beginning with my favorite of them all, and the only court procedural in the bunch. I'm pretty sure it's the first of this genre I've read. Ever. It could have been complicated or laborious to read, but it truly was written smoothly. It is a couple hundred pages of "did he or did he not" — "he" being Jacob, the son of father Andy, also an attorney — but it goes deep in the psychological point of view of both parents and the son, which was perfect for my taste. Give me a suspenseful plot + psychology and I'm there!

I'm unsure why precisely, but I still think about this book over 6 months later. No spoilers, don't worry, but perhaps it was the ending, which I found really satisfying (in a non cheesy way) as far a tying loose ends goes. I don't mind a little unknown at the end, but too much and I feel tricked by the author somehow. Perhaps it was also the right/wrong dilemmas in this books that made it very compelling... As you can guess, I REALLY recommend it! :D (I read somewhere that a movie from this book is supposed to come out in 2018. I might have to see it!)

Mission Flats, William Landay

After reading Defending Jacob, I had to check out Landay's other books. He did write two others before that, and so I read Mission Flats soon after. This one is more a classic police investigation taking place in Boston and Maine. You can tell Landay truly loves Boston (same as his other book, The Strangler). It took me about 100 pages to really get into it, map out all the characters in my head like on a map, but when I got attached to the plot, I was hooked! And it did keep me guessing.

Since this "year of reading", I have also read The Strangler, which was my least favorite of the three. Landay is apparently working on a new novel, and I hope the new one will go in the general direction of Defending Jacob, his latest, in which I think he found the "it" he was most likely looking for in the two previous ones. ;)

Dark Places, Gillian Flynn

OH MY GAWD, this was delicious! Like a creamy cheese cake with a wonderfully fruity coulis on top....... haha! It was my first read of Flynn (can you believe it?), altho I've since read Gone Girl as well. And I REALLY want to read Sharp Objects soon. I think this tells a lot in very few words, right? I don't want to say much for fear of spoiling you, but I can say that to me, the characters were believable (in the way that they have qualities but also a lot of flaws, like pretty much actual people) and I didn't end up precisely predicting the outcome of the plot. What a fast paced exhilarating read! If you like imperfect main characters, this book is perfect for you! I think I need to see the movie version (with Charlize Theron) too!

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

This one truly needs no presentation, I'm sure. The movie was released recently, so you probably have an idea of the story line thru the preview.

I've read quite a few negative comments on the web about the main voice of the book, Rachel, mostly because she is not a very likeable one. Which is overall true, I guess: she drinks a lot, she blacks out, she lies, and her life is pretty much a mess. But then again, unreliable and flawed characters are kinda endearing to me. Am I weird? lol

So anyway, it is a very fast paced one, told from 3 female voices within the time frame of about a year, from a bit of a "dear diary" perspective. The mystery grabbed me instantly and I never let go until the end! I didn't precisely guess the ending, altho I also kinda did. Isn't that what the fun is about in thrillers and mysteries? You guess, and guess again, and change your mind, and stick to your instinct, or not... For me, that's what it's about, and not necessarily about if I've guessed right or not. And so, once again, I LOVED this one! (Yeah, I know, I'm a totally easy-to-please reader. And I'm okay with that. lol)

The Widow, Fiona Barton

I read this one right after The Girl on the Train. I chose it because I wanted to read another with a mystery vibe, but in a more relaxed version. The main character is Jean, and you've guessed it, she is the actual widow. The widow of a man suspected of a crime long ago, but who was never convicted of anything. She basically adjusted her personality to stand by him, hiding her true self. But after her husband dies, she's a bit torn between her real self and the persona she's put on over the years. I really enjoyed the main character, with her imperfections and repressed anger, battling internally with who she was and who she really is.

The book is divided from the perspectives of the widow, the detective and the reporter, but it is also spread between the past and the present (as in, the dates are written before each new chapter). I love this kind of format! The pace was good and steady, but not frantic. I recommend!

The Life We Bury, Allen Eskens

It's been quite a while since I read this one. I got it because of all the rave reviews online, and I wasn't disappointed! In a jiff: for a school project, Joe Talbert meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran. However, the man is also a convicted rapist and murderer. I was a little worried the "war stories" parts of the book would not be my cup of tea (it's just not my thing), and altho they weren't my favorite, they still were reported in a way that kept me going, which is probably quite difficult to do well for mostly a crime novel audience. The pace is quick, especially half way in it, at which point I just couldn't put the book down at all. I was so very much under the spell! Eskens' writing is fluid, natural, and the story as a whole really glides along effortlessly. So much so that as soon as I finished it, I immediately purchased this author's second book, as you can see right below! ;)

The Guise of Another, Allen Eskens

And there I was, a couple weeks later, reading Eskens' second novel, also a crime one. Detective Max Rupert, from previous book The Life We Bury, is also in this one, but without much focus on him at all. The focus is actually on his brother James, which I found more likeable and enjoyable as company on a journey of 265 pages. Also a detective, James is, I guess you could say, being punished by the department by being reassigned to the Fraud Unit for an event that happened previously, and which we learn about slowly throughout the book. The main subject isn't about that tho: a man dies, but he had a false identity — why? The book is secondly told thru the eyes of Drago Basta, a ruthless Balkan wars veteran. I found this different point of view raw (in a good way) and it absolutely enhanced the overall story.

Overall, for me, it's a tied race between the two novels. Eskens' writing seems once again effortless. Which means I want to soon read his third novel called The Heavens May Fall (two of the characters from The Life We Bury are back), which was just launched this October. YAY! :D Eskens seems to be going the route of a series of stories... Let's see if I'll follow along the path! As for now, I'm on the right track! ;)

The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty

My first Moriarty read! The title says it, it's all about the husband's secret. It is told from a couple of character's point of views, past and present. As I wrote earlier, I really love this format, so I was happy when I started reading and discovered this. However, I found there were quite a lot of secondary characters, and it took me a while to mentally piece together who was what to whom — at first, I kept going back to check "did I actually read about his person yet"? Bare with me, I didn't read this in one sitting, not even in a week, as I was working a lot at the time, reading only before bed. Ayyway, the "going back to check" did not get me annoyed about the book, far from it! The story tangles up in many way, with many characters, and so it was sort of like a relational puzzle.

This is for sure a psychological thriller, and I truly enjoyed "being in the head of" the women who narrate. They were imperfect, and I can only conclude that I seem to find this important in most characters. In conclusion, I will definitely read more from Moriarty in the future! Probably Little Big Lies which has some rave reviews in it's favor. To be followed... ;)

I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh

Another psychological thriller! And another one told from different perspectives! Can you see a trend in my preferences? lol :D

The back of the (paperback) book qualifies it as "atmospheric", and I would have to agree. There's the city side, and then there's the sea coast country. About half way thru, there's a killer twist I didn't see coming, and even tho I was already into it previously, it really got me addicted. I enjoyed the characters, with their obvious flaws and strengths. Yes, many flaws, again. I can't seem to wrap my head around the interest in too-perfect-and-shiny people. In life just as in books. lol! Also, the sea side setting was like a character in itself, a nice change from most of the other thrillers I read that occur in the city.

Mackintosh has now written another novel called I See You, which has been released in the UK and the US since this summer, and was planned for Canada in February. But YAY, they pushed it forward to next week (Nov 29th 2016)! I'm sure it'll make my 2017 cut! ;)

·····

Well that's it for the thriller portion of this 3 part blog post! As you can now see, I LOVED THEM ALL, which is why it was quite easy to realize it's my favorite overall genre. -> Also check out: Part 1 "The Humorous".

• Did you read any of these yourself?
• Is there one in particular that you're itching to read now?
• Have any suggestions of crime/suspense/mystery/thrillers for me?

Please do tell!! I'll gladly read your input in the comments below! :)

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