3 Late-Summer Must-Read Thrillers
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!
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1. THE TURN OF THE KEY By Ruth Ware
Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Quick Thoughts: 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.
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
2. THE CHESTNUT MAN by Soren Sveistrup
Genre: Nordic Noir
My Quick Thoughts: Soren Sveistrup is best known as the creator of the hit TV show “The Killing,” but on September 3rd, his debut novel releases in the US - and it’s an absolute must-read for any fan of Scandinavian crime fiction. This layered, intricate novel follows a pair of detectives on the trail of a vicious psychopath terrorizing Copenhagen. This killer has a chilling calling card: a “chestnut man,” a handmade doll made of chestnuts and matchsticks, a favorite craft for Danish children, now repurposed and left behind at each of the killer’s bloody crime scenes. This is a classic cop vs. killer story, delivering all the spine-tingling tension, gritty atmosphere, and rich character development of the best Nordic Noir. Sveistrup’s background in television shines through in The Chestnut Man; this book is effortlessly readable, its plotting taut and wickedly clever, its atmosphere steeped in sinister tension. On his very first outing, Sveistrup establishes himself as a can’t-miss author for any crime fiction reader, particularly those who love gritty serial killer thrillers and Scandinavian crime fiction. (Fans of Lars Kepler and/or Jo Nesbø, this one’s for you!) I’m already counting down the days until Sveistrup’s next novel.
IF YOU FIND ONE,
HE’S ALREADY FOUND YOU
The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.
A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.
His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.
Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.
A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?
To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.
Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.
And no one is safe.
3. THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North
Genre: Procedural / Horror-inspired suspense
My Quick Thoughts: Pseudonymous author Alex North has crafted in The Whisper Man a superb crime novel that blends horror-inspired scares with meticulous procedural plotting and a big, beating heart at its core. In The Whisper Man, a father and son move to the small, charming town of Featherbank, hoping for a fresh start in the wake of a family tragedy. But little could they know, they’ve just stepped into a nightmare. The town of Featherbank has a dark history, one involving a serial killer known as “The Whisper Man” - an individual who lures his victims out of their homes by whispering at their windows at night. Author Alex North deftly combines pastoral charm with spine-tingling scares in The Whisper Man, crafting a villain worthy of the local lore that surrounds him. The Whisper Man isn’t a horror novel (important to note if you’re worried it will be too scary!), but it’s got serious spine-tingling clout, and is sure to satisfy readers looking for a crime novel that’s both soundly-plotted and genuinely creepy. As an added bonus, The Whisper Man has an unexpected - and yet totally affecting - focus on father-son relationships at its core.
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window...
Are any of these titles on your TBR? Which looks most up your alley? I’d love to hear from you! Happy reading! xx A