February was a slower reading month for me than I would’ve liked—work kept me busy in a big way! (Thankfully, I absolutely love my job, so you won’t hear any complaints from me.)
This month, I’m trying something new with my wrap-up: along with recapping my reads, I’m going to be selecting my “book of the month." Just look for the starred (★) title at the top of my list, and consider that my top recommendation for you from the crime books I read this month.
CBTB’s February 2017 Wrap Up
★ Book of the Month: THE UNDESIRED by Yrsa Sigurdardottir ★
Minotaur Books; 2/14/17
CBTB Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: taught, spine-tingling suspense
Read my full review here
Yrsa’s THE UNDESIRED completely blew me away. This Icelandic thriller is unnerving and atmospheric—a story of psychological suspense infused with hints of the supernatural. There was just so much to love about this book, from its masterful plotting to its chilling, quasi horror story plot to its vivid atmosphere. It’s important for readers to note that this book is definitely a slow-burn of a mystery: it’s completely addictive, but it does develop at a measured, deliberate pace. It might not a super fast-paced read, but it will completely absorb you and get under your skin. Pick this one up if you’re looking for a masterful mystery as chilling as the Icelandic winter.
THE SWITCH by Joseph Finder
Dutton; On sale 6/13/17
This book was a work read for me, so I won’t be providing a rating or review. It’s beyond a pleasure to get to work with such great thriller writers—keep your eye on Dutton’s socials for more on THE SWITCH in the coming months!
HE SAID/SHE SAID by Erin Kelly
Minotaur Books; On sale 6/6/17
CBTB Rating: 4/5
This book is one of my most highly-anticipated summer thrillers—and it wasn’t at all what I expected! This story follows a pair of eclipse chasers who witness a horrible crime, and gives the reader a front-row seat for the fallout when the apparent victim of that crime turns out to be much more than anyone could anticipate. I expected this book to be full of twists and turns, but that's really not where this book shines. It does have twists, but it turns out, this book is best when it delves into interpersonal relationships and the weight of lies. It has a killer ending and takes a very intriguing dive into its characters' minds—I truly enjoyed it, but it’s important to go into it with the right expectations. Full review to come!
THE FOURTH MONKEY by J.D. Barker
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; On sale 6/27/17
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
This book is billed as a cross between the movie Se7en and the infamous THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS—and let me say, those comparisons are spot on. THE FOURTH MONKEY is a twisted, in-your-face violent story about a detective who must put himself in the mind of a serial killer. The twist in this book? The serial killer dies at the beginning of the book, and the detective follows clues left behind by the killer in a race against time to save the last girl he kidnapped. The killer is kept “alive” in the book by a diary that the detective finds on his body—a diary that reveals the disturbing childhood of this killer. One note: I did guess the big “reveal” of this book, but I was so swept up in the story that it didn’t really bother me much. If you’re looking for a twisted, fast-paced serial killer read, THE FOURTH MONKEY belongs on your list. Full review to come!
THE FIRE CHILD by S.K. Tremayne
Grand Central; On sale 3/28/17
CBTB Rating: 3/5
S.K. Tremayne’s first thriller, THE ICE TWINS, is one of my most-recommended, so I’ve been very eager to pick this one up. Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to my hopes for it—but at the same time, I did find it a pretty solid, atmospheric suspense novel. This book follows a young woman (Rachel) who marries a handsome, slightly older man (David) and moves to his family estate, where she becomes stepmom to David’s young son, Jamie. But Jamie’s behavior becomes disturbing, and the specter of Jamie’s deceased mother seems to hang over the family… This book definitely has a spooky, chilling atmosphere to it, but it took too long for the suspense to really kick in for my taste. The ending of the book did keep me hooked, but you have to be willing to muddle through some convoluted prose and “fluffiness” to get there. This might be one to get from the library, rather than to purchase. Full review to come!
Are any of these books on your radar? I'd love to hear which catch your eye! Comment below with the books that interest you most.