When the world feels upside down and my anxiety is through the roof, a fast-paced, tense roller-coaster of a psychological thriller through which I can funnel and filter that anxiety is often just the thing I need.
Forget a gentle, happy book. I need to work through my jitters and restlessness.
In this case, I have just the books for you. Set in London, both books have the kind of eye-opening endings that will make you look back at everything you read. Both will have you looking over your shoulder – but you’ll forget all your other concerns!
I See You
Pub Date 21 Feb 2017
The author of the smash bestseller, I Let You Go, propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com.
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.
And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…
THIS is a book that will have you double checking your doors and avoiding dark streets and altering your paths home. The book opens (and is interspersed) with very short chapters that provide a peek into the mind of the antagonist, serving well to give me the heebie-jeebies:
…I know all these things, because it’s never occurred to you that anyone is watching you.
Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine will make you feel safe.
Routine will kill you.
These insights into the antagonist’s thoughts are what will have you thinking you know who is behind it. You’ll be wrong. Mackintosh weaves a tight story, part thriller, part police procedural, with a not-implausible premise. How hard ARE we to track? We chart our lives electronically, security cameras are becoming more commonplace and technology is advancing as fast as people can hack into it.
There is a LOT going on in this novel, and Mackintosh balances it all brilliantly. Zoe’s character is harried, frustrated, and unnerved by the ad she’s found and her inability to get anyone to take her concerns seriously. Her home life is a bit chaotic, her job miserable, and her chapters raised my anxiety level a few notches.
PC Kelly Swift heads the second story thread that interweaves with Zoe’s as she pushes to piece together clues – and get her concerns heard. But she is clever and resourceful, and her storyline drives the police procedural portion of the book. It builds up steam until both story lines collide.
I think I changed my mind about the bad guy six times over. This book is full of twists and turns, and as we discover who the bad guy is, Mackintosh throws in a nifty little twist to keep you on the edge of your seat. And then she throws you under the bus with the finish.
If you read her debut novel, I Let You Go (which is REALLY a heart pounder), you won’t be disappointed by her sophomore release.
Author: JP Delaney
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Publication Date: 24 Jan 2017
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
Praise for The Girl Before
“Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning—a pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense.”—Lee Child
“Riveting! One of the most compelling page-turners I’ve read in years. Twisty, turny, and with an ending not to be missed!”—Lisa Gardner
“The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don’t miss it.”—Joseph Finder
“Riveting . . . Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed.”—Publishers Weekly
“Superior psychological suspense . . . a cleverly constructed thriller.”—The Bookseller
If I was reviewing this one as a stand-alone, I might have titled the post “He doesn’t like books on the table.”
But let me back it up. Two women, in different timelines, are shown a beautiful, high-tech, sparse and modernist home for rent that comes with a few rules.
Fine, more like 200 or so, but who’s counting at that point, right?
The application process starts with the question: Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life. That in itself is enough to make me sit up and think “hmmm”. The architect has designed a house meant to be free of clutter and distraction, and in turn, offer serenity and peace of mind and literally transform the resident. The integrated technology in the house works with the user, monitoring biometrics, light, heat, even the controls to the shower as you enter. Are the rules completely freeing or unimaginable impossible to abide? You decide.
As for me? I’m a little paranoid and I don’t like anyone or anything having that much information on me, and the house seems rather soul-less, but the two tenants have reasons that make the sacrifices appealing. And then things start to get weird. (Surprised?)
The book alternates between Jane’s story and Emma’s story, which offers a sharp contrast to their personalities, all while their choices and paths follow a similar route. As the story progresses, Emma’s true nature is revealed bit by bit, as Jane, who resides there after she does, searches to learn more about the previous tenant.
You will think you know what’s going on – because Delaney deftly leads you there, only to pull the rug out from under you, and then while you are pondering this new twist, trips you up again. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, this is for you. It is dark and manipulative, paranoid and anxiety inducing – the definition of a page turner – and the perfect, nerve-wracking escape.
I confess – these books left me wrung out and served well to release a lot of stress I was holding in!
I can’t wait to read more from these authors. Let me know if YOU add them to your to-read list!