Top 5 Scary Suspense or Thriller Books

Since Halloween is nearing, why not read a suspense book guaranteed to make you check the locks on the doors numerous times before you go to bed.

  1. The Surgeon, by Tess Gerritsen

This is an older book, 2001, the first of the Rizzoli-Isles series, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. I’ve read it more than once! It was obviously Gerritsen’s break-out novel and you’ll see why it made her career take off. It’s chilling, but there’s a great romance woven in too.

  1. The Survivor’s Club, by Lisa Gardner

This is a standalone book that was made into a movie that was pretty good. But the book was excellent and it’s a great way to try out Lisa Gardner, one of my all-time favorite writers. After you read this, and love Gardner’s style, read The Third Victim, the first book in the Quincy/Rainie series. Then get ready to devour all the rest of her suspense books. I don’t even read the summary when she releases a new book—I don’t care what it’s about—I know it’ll be great.

  1. Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King

Stephen King is an amazing writer, but these days I have a hard time getting into his horror books. Salem’s Lot was my favorite vampire book back in the day, though. Mr. Mercedes is the first in a new thriller series King is writing—Book 2, Finders Keepers, is out too. You’ll love the quirky main characters in this read and will keep turning pages to make sure they’re going to be okay.

  1. Help for the Haunted, John Searles

This book is simply haunting from the first page. Having the orphaned teenage daughter narrating the story is perfect because teenagers usually consider their parents nut cases. Sylvie has a strong case for it being true. Searles is great at creating the feeling that something horrifying is going to be revealed in the next page.

  1. One Kick, by Chelsea Cain

I discovered this author recently when I read the first of her Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell thrillers. I liked that book—Sweetheart—but loved One Kick even better. Beware, the subject is very disturbing—child abduction. Kick is my kind of tough heroine and her first scene with Bishop is unforgettable. If you have time to read Sweetheart too, go for it. Very, very frightening.

Book Review: Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton

First I have to say that I HATE Sharon Bolton. She is so good! Damn, she’s good. I haven’t read any of her other books, but if they’re as good as Little Black Lies then I’m in big trouble because I’m not going to have time to do my own writing.

I got sucked into this story from page 1—and there was plenty to keep me turning pages throughout. This isn’t a typical suspense or mystery—it’s more of a combination of women’s fiction and suspense.

The Falkland Islands setting was beautifully written. If you’re one of those people who skim descriptions, you won’t in this story. The islands were a character, sometimes soothing, sometimes mysterious, sometimes horrifying.

Bolton’s choice of when to change the point of view was genius at each point. Her characters and their flaws—despicable, yet very human flaws—came alive on the pages, but I still loved them and wanted the best for each. She’s great with secondary characters too.

I had tears in my eyes when I finished and will remember the story of Catrin, Callum and Rachel for years to come.

Top 5 Under-the-radar Books

These are my favorite books to recommend because most people haven’t read them and they’re absolutely amazing.

  1. Darkling, I listen, Katherine Sutcliffe

This book is my all-time favorite suspense. It’s the reason why I believe in writing sexy love scenes rather than closing the door, and the reason why I’m not shy about adding a completely diabolic scene where appropriate. Sutcliffe taught me to make my villains terrifying and my bad-ass heroes vulnerable. Another thing I love about this book is that the Brandon is the one being stalked and Alyson is the one with the shady career. So good!

  1. Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult

Although I loved My Sister’s Keeper, this is my favorite Picoult book, and it’s surprising that many of her readers haven’t heard of it. This story has more romantic elements than most of her books. The hero is a cynical reporter who is supposed be objective, which makes the push and pull of their relationship exciting. I really related to Mariah, who doesn’t practice any religion, although her mother is Jewish and truly believes God is speaking to her granddaughter. In interviews, Jodi Picoult has said that she grew up in a “non-practicing Jewish” household, which is how I describe mine. My mother was Jewish, but my father was a Catholic who converted to Judaism. They sent me to Sunday school each week without them, but that was the extent of our worship. I didn’t really feel like I fit in with Jewish kids or Christian kids. But, all types of religions are explored in this book in a way that many authors wouldn’t dare to attempt. Picoult makes me think, and that’s why I love her writing so much.

  1. Commitments, Barbara Delinsky

I absolutely loved Derek, the hero, in this book. He was so gentle with Sabrina’s handicapped son in their first scene together, that he won me over immediately. If you’re into Daya and Bennett’s romance in Orange is the New Black, wait until you read the scenes where Sabrina visits Derek in prison. Covertly touching the man you love with prison guards watching is challenging, yet extremely sexy.

  1. Crossroads Café, Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith has written many of my favorite books, but this one stands out because the heroin’s face is so beautiful, then scarred so horribly on one side. If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books with screwed-up heroines who have a lot of growing to do, this will be right up your alley. The hero has a bunch of issues as well, for good reason, but with the backdrop of Southern cooking that will make your mouth water, they help each other overcome. It’s an uplifting read!

  1. Blind Curve, Annie Solomon

The premise of this suspense is perfect. The big, strong detective has to completely rely on a woman who believes she is unappealing to any man, especially Danny, the guy she crushed over in high school. He’s mean and verbally abusive to her because he’s afraid for both of them. But, he falls in love with her touch, her voice and her strength. Helping him become a man again makes Martha feel as beautiful as she’s always been. Wow, that was sappier than I intended, but that’s how the book made me feel. I met Annie Solomon right after this book came out, at a book fair, and she generously let me store all the books I bought under her table. Of course, that meant I felt compelled to buy hers, and I was so happy I did!