EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell
Orenda Books; 6/15/17 (UK) & 10/1/17 (US)
Summer Reading Preview
Listen up, psychological thriller readers: I have a must-read book recommendation for you.
Yesterday I finished reading EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell, and I'm still reeling from it. This blend of Fatal Attraction-meets-twisty thriller must be one of the most entertaining books I've read all year, and today I'm sharing 3 reasons why this book belongs on your TBR! I'll be sharing my full review of this book as part of its blog tour in June (my tour date is June 17th. to be specific!!) but in the meantime, here's a preview of why EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell is a must-read.
But first things first: plot summary!
Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops. Or does it? Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
3 Reasons to Add EXQUISITE to your TBR
1. It's a thriller about writers. There's something perennially appealing about books that explore the literary world. EXQUISITE sets a psychological suspense plot within the world of writers, as it traces the progression of attraction to deadly obsession between a bestselling author and an aspiring author. Books are central to this thriller—and honestly, who could ask for a better combination?
2. It's tense and sexy. I'm not one for romance novels, and EXQUISITE definitely isn't a romance—but it is laced with sexual tension between its two main characters. I couldn't help but love the way the author illustrates the affection and obsession between these two. It's dark, taut, and sensual. Don't think of this as a romantic suspense novel - it's NOT that; think of it as a Fatal Attraction-like story where forbidden romance turns deadly.
3. It's mind-bending, twisty fun. This book is surprising and entertaining in all the right ways. With twists a plenty and genuine surprises in store, EXQUISITE kept me questioning everything until the very last page. (And even after the last page, let's be honest.) Readers looking for escapist, addictive psychological thriller reading will find their perfect match in EXQUISITE.
EXQUISITE will release in the U.K. on June 15th, and in the US on October 1st. (American readers, remember: you can always use our friend BookDepository to snag a copy before October!)
And make sure to follow along with the upcoming EXQUISITE blog tour for reviews, author interviews, and more!
You know that feeling when you pick up a book by a new-to-you author, and realize that it’s so perfectly up your alley, you just can’t believe you haven’t read the author’s work sooner? That was me in 2018, when I picked up Simone St. James’ chilling suspense novel The Broken Girls. I was completely swept up in the novel’s rich atmosphere, spine-tingling thrills, and compelling dual-timeline mystery - and I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for a new Simone St. James novel ever since. If you, like me, are one of the thousands of readers who fell in love with The Broken Girls, you’re in luck: Simone St. James has a new suspense novel on sale in February 2020! THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James releases February 18th, 2020, and thanks to her publisher, CBTB readers can read an exclusive excerpt from the book right here!
I’m thrilled to welcome Søren Sveistrup to Crime by the Book today to give CBTB readers an inside glimpse into one of the season’s hottest thrillers: THE CHESTNUT MAN. Søren’s debut novel is garnering incredible buzz, and the read lives up to the hype. In THE CHESTNUT MAN, an unlikely duo of police officers in Copenhagen, Denmark must track down a brutal killer with a chilling calling card - “chestnut men,” dolls crafted out of chestnuts and matchsticks. THE CHESTNUT MAN is a big, layered, intricate crime novel—the kind of story that Nordic Noir dreams are made of. With harrowing, clever plotting and made-for-television tension and drama, THE CHESTNUT MAN will thrill fans of Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson. Søren Sveistrup is the creator of the hit television show The Killing, and THE CHESTNUT MAN is his debut novel. Read on for the inside scoop on THE CHESTNUT MAN, including plot details, a snippet from my full review, and my conversation with the author.
One of the season’s most hotly-anticipated new thrillers is finally here. From the mind that created the sensational television show The Killing now comes an equally-gripping - and equally-chilling - Nordic thriller: THE CHESTNUT MAN. In his debut crime novel, Søren Sveistrup instantly establishes himself as a must-read author for fans of Nordic Noir legends Jo Nesbø and Lars Kepler—and, for that matter, as a must-read for any reader who just wants a gripping thriller to sink their teeth into this fall. THE CHESTNUT MAN is good, old-fashioned Scandinavian crime fiction; it’s a hefty book, clocking in at 528 pages in the American hardcover edition, and immerses the reader in an intricate plot moving from the mundane details of police work to the cinematic (and gruesome) crimes of a twisted killer. If the plot of THE CHESTNUT MAN seems a bit familiar at first glance, don’t worry; Sveistrup sets up his debut novel in well-tread territory, but it quickly separates itself from the pack with richly-drawn characters, made-for-TV pacing, and, naturally, a killer with a modus operandi so sinister, you’ll want to read this book with all the lights on. The buzz surrounding the publication of THE CHESTNUT MAN has been significant; it’s earned incredible pre-publication praise, is a September Book of the Month Club selection, and is soon to be a Netflix original series. The buzz is warranted here; Sveistrup’s debut is a must-read for the crime reader looking for a big, bold, spend-all-day-reading thriller.
Summer might be winding down, but this season’s fantastic lineup of new crime fiction releases shows no sign of letting up. Whether you’re in the mood for a new psychological thriller, a serial killer novel set in Denmark, or a spine-tingling suspense novel with horror undertones, the end of summer 2019 has the book for you - and I’m rounding them up for you in this post! Here you’ll find three must-read late-summer thrillers from established masters of the genre and newcomers alike. Read on for book recommendations for your end-of-summer TBR!
Every summer, there’s one thing I look forward to arguably more than anything else: the newest novel by Ruth Ware. And every summer, without fail, Ruth Ware outdoes whatever brilliant novel she delivered the year prior. Ware’s 2019 release is no exception - THE TURN OF THE KEY is Ware’s best novel yet. Equal parts old-school gothic suspense and modern psychological thriller, THE TURN OF THE KEY seamlessly blends an homage to Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with a page-turning story of surveillance, paranoia, and domestic drama. Following a young woman who accepts a nannying position at a state-of-the-art smart house in the Scottish Highlands, only to wind up imprisoned for the death of one of the children in her care, THE TURN OF THE KEY is one of the most binge-worthy, genuinely addictive suspense novels you will read this summer. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if Ruth Ware writes a suspense novel, yours truly will read it and love it, but THE TURN OF THE KEY blew even this die-hard Ruth Ware fan away. If you haven’t already picked up Ruth Ware’s newest, add it to your TBR immediately. I’m calling it right now: this is one of my favorite books of 2019.
If you’ve been a crime fiction fan for even a short while, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard of Lisa Unger—and if you haven’t heard of her yet, not to worry, today’s post will serve as the perfect introduction to this prolific author’s work. Lisa Unger is the New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels, including her forthcoming release THE STRANGER INSIDE. Lisa Unger’s novels have been published in twenty-six languages, and Lisa has received multiple Edgar Award nominations, among numerous other accolades. Her books have been selected as “Best of the Year” picks by the Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, IndieBound, and many, many more. I could go on, but you get the picture: Lisa Unger is a master of the suspense genre with a huge readership around the world. And today on CBTB, I’m so thrilled to spotlight Lisa’s forthcoming release THE STRANGER INSIDE, available September 17th from Park Row.
What do you get when you cross Scandinavian sensibility with psychological suspense? Enter Alex Dahl’s unputdownable, wholly original brand of Nordic psychological thriller. On the heels of 2018’s excellent The Boy at the Door, Dahl’s 2019 release THE HEART KEEPER delivers a story of motherhood and grief even more emotionally impactful and addictive than Dahl’s first US outing. In THE HEART KEEPER, tragedy strikes a Norwegian family, and their young daughter passes away. But somewhere else in Norway, another family’s life is changed for the better when their young girl receives the call that she’s been waiting for her whole life: a donor heart has been found for her, at long last. As the paths between the two families slowly but surely converge, a mother’s grief turns to dark obsession. THE HEART KEEPER is a slow-burn story, but don’t let its pacing fool you: this book is utterly riveting with just the right amount of juicy drama—the kind of novel you’ll find yourself turning off the TV just to keep reading. The visceral emotion on display in this story, and Dahl’s uncanny ability to write characters whose twisted actions do nothing to diminish our sympathy for them, make THE HEART KEEPER a Summer 2019 standout. Alex Dahl continues to distinguish herself for her compelling blend of Nordic and domestic noir, and THE HEART KEEPER is another feather in the cap of this up-and-coming crime fiction star.
Some books stick with you long after you’ve turned their final page. For me, Alex Dahl’s newest suspense novel THE HEART KEEPER was such a book—and I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Alex to CBTB today to discuss her intense, emotionally-resonant new release with us! If you’re not yet familiar with Alex Dahl’s work, consider this the perfect opportunity to dip into her world. Dahl is a Norwegian author whose books bridge the gap between Scandinavian sensibility and modern, razor-sharp psychological suspense. Dahl’s writing is easy to devour, but it’s got very sharp teeth; her books put womanhood under the microscope, wrapping resonant social commentary up in binge-worthy suspense plots. Dahl’s debut novel THE BOY AT THE DOOR released in the U.S. last year, and this week, she’s back. In THE HEART KEEPER, Dahl explores the powerful force of a mother’s love in the face of tragedy—and considers what happens when that tragedy drives an ordinary person to do unthinkable things. THE HEART KEEPER is in many ways a quiet novel - it’s not a story of rip-roaring action or shocking violence - but its underlying intensity and emotional charge make it utterly unputdownable. I loved Dahl’s newest novel, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her a few of my most pressing questions about it!
Still on the hunt for the perfect domestic thriller to bring on your next vacation? Look no further: Sandie Jones’ THE FIRST MISTAKE is the book for you. Twisty and shocking, THE FIRST MISTAKE takes a relatively familiar suspense setup - a wife who fears her spouse is being unfaithful - and pushes it in addictive, jaw-dropping new directions. Sandie Jones made a splash with her debut novel The Other Woman, which was a selection for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and a New York Times bestseller… but I actually loved THE FIRST MISTAKE even more. This book is a perfect example of what I like to call “popcorn reading”: an utterly entertaining story that you’ll want to binge-read in one or two sittings. Fans of B.A. Paris, J.P. Delaney, and Shari Lapena will absolutely love the domestic drama, plot twists, and chilling suspense Sandie Jones serves up in THE FIRST MISTAKE. I’m thrilled to welcome Sandie Jones to CBTB today to talk all things THE FIRST MISTAKE! In this blog post, you’ll find all the details on Sandie’s newest release, an excerpt from my review of this deliciously addictive suspense read, and, of course, my conversation with Sandie.
I never re-read crime books… unless it’s a novel by Jo Nesbø, and then all bets are off. As I write this review, I’ve already read Nesbø’s newest - and arguably best - crime novel KNIFE twice, and between me and you, I’ll probably read it again before the year is out. A new Nesbø novel is always a cause for celebration (bonus when it’s released right after my birthday, as KNIFE was this year!), but KNIFE is something really special. It’s got everything Nesbø readers have come to expect from Scandinavia’s reigning crime fiction king: a layered plot, a gritty atmosphere, immersive pacing, plenty of very convincing red herrings, and, of course, our beloved troubled detective Harry Hole. But KNIFE is a departure from its immediate series predecessors, too, and it’s here that KNIFE really shines. By dialing back on the overt gore that defined 2017’s The Thirst, Nesbø gives his razor-sharp prose and superb character development room to shine in KNIFE. This is undoubtedly Nesbø’s darkest story yet, and it’s also his most emotionally affecting - a potent combination that will get under your skin as much as it will keep you turning pages. Nesbø is at his best when putting Norwegian detective Harry Hole through his worst, and KNIFE might just be the best installment yet in this exceptional crime series. Nothing will be the same for Harry - or Harry’s loyal readers - after KNIFE.