Oh happy days, the thrill hasn’t gone
The best thrillers of 2018 so far
Thrillers seem to be the book craving of 2018. It’s only February and the bookstores are laden with them: domestic dramas, courtroom thrillers, a few detective plodders, some hard krimi, lots of stories where women disappear, and those twisty psychological thrillers. Here are our top five so far:
The Woman in the Window by AJ FinnThe most anticipated thriller of 2018. It’s being hyped as the new domestic thriller. Gillian Flynn gives it a cover shout: “Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” It has an unreliable narrator: Anna Fox is a recluse, living an isolated life in a New York home. She drinks and she has severe agoraphobia and is on some serious meds so there’s always a question mark when it comes to what has actually happened. Lonely, separated from her husband and daughter, she keeps herself occupied by watching the new neighbours who have just moved in. And then she sees something awful. Dun dun dun.
Don’t Wake Me Up by Liz LawlerDespite it sharing a title with a Chris Brown song (eish), this is a fun soapy thriller with a slightly preposterous plot on the hysterical woman motif. Dr Alex is kidnapped, anaesthetised, stirruped and violated by someone posing as a doctor. She is found hours later with nothing obviously wrong. Her fellow hospital staff, friends, fiancé, police and family struggle to believe that something that bad has happened to her. But then, the same thing is happening to other women and it seems up to her to find out who it is.
The Night Market by Jonathan MooreMoore’s novel is a noir literary thriller, taking on a gumshoe plodder and mixing it with a dystopian San Francisco that is all dank mist and rain. The city’s streets are littered with glass from broken LED screens that are tossed away after a few purchases are made; the citizens are broken with a disturbing addiction to easy online shopping. Detective Ross Carver is called to a murder scene in which the victim is covered with a grey moss that is visible in the air. Before he can do anything else, he is taken away by the FBI. Sterilised and given a shot of something metallic in taste, he wakes up not remembering anything of the last few days. Trying to fill in the blanks he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy, one that could have dire consequences for the world.
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah VaughanThose naughty boys clubs in Oxford. Tut Tut. You know the ones like the Bullingdon Club (which Boris Johnson and David Cameron belonged to). This fake one is called the Libertines. And like those, it’s a gathering of sinister privilege. James is a junior minister and best friend to the prime minister as they go way back – to Eton and then Oxford. The newspapers have found out that James has been having an affair with his aide, Olivia. It’s a mess but one that can be dealt with. The PM doesn’t ask for his resignation. But then Olivia accuses James of rape. Kate, the barrister prosecuting the case, is certain he is guilty. His wife Sophie is not so sure. She stood by him when they dated in Oxford and held on to his dark secret. It’s partly a nailbiting courtroom drama and partly a domestic thriller.
Fear by Dirk KurbjuweitSet in Berlin, Randolph is an architect whose father is in jail because he killed the man who was harassing Randolph’s wife and two children. Dieter Tiberus lived in the basement flat. He wrote them letters and poems about how much he loved Rebecca, Randolph’s wife. Then it became even more dark and horrible – he accused them of sexually molesting their children. Randolph and Rebecca have tried every legal possible way to stop him from stalking them, but the law is not on their side. It’s a first-person narrative that feels claustrophobic and dull at times, but this could well be the intention of the author.