Tangerine by Christine Mangan

It starts out as a nice story. A woman moves to Tangier with her new husband. Suddenly a friend from her past appears, and the perfect exotic-ness of Morocco begins to fall apart. In her debut, Christine Mangan has created a thrilling, page-turning read. Her characters are rich and she takes an interesting look at the psychology of friendship. This book leads you to believe that it is just going to be a traditional piece of historical fiction, from the opening chapter to the cover design.  But boy does it take a turn and become so much more than that.  This book is straight up terrifying at times.  (Not like spooky monster terrifying but a reminder of how messed up people can be.)  I look forward to what Mangan has in store for us next.

4-stars

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is the kind of thriller I like.  Told in three parts, Alice Feeney has created an engaging mystery that kept my interest without being over the top and unbelievable.  At heart, Sometimes I Lie is the story of a woman dealing with problems of love, work, and family.  From the outside it looks like she has the perfect life but nothing is ever perfect.  I listened to this as an audiobook and it was beautiful.  The narrator is perfect.  Now don’t let my review confuse you.  This book has shocking twists and turns.  It kept me on my toes.  I wish every thriller I read were as well written and as intriguing as this one.

4-stars

The Devil In Silver by Victor LaValle

Since I read The Changeling last year (and had it immediately become one of my favorite books of all time) and now I find myself buying any book of Victor LaValle’s that comes through the store.  (Well, I made my parents buy this one from the bookstore I work at as a Christmas present for me when they came to visit.)  LaValle is the master of magical realism.  Each of his books that I have read so far start out as a completely normal novel of realistic fiction until it suddenly isn’t.  And this book was no exception.

The Devil in Silver follows Pepper, a man who ends up in the mental ward of a hospital one night because the police don’t feel like doing paperwork.  From there, LaValle shows a crossroads of America, showing us all different kinds of people who call this hospital their home. From the quite old to the quite young, he gives lives and full backstories to characters who, in other literature, tend to just become flat characters.  Added to all that is the man with a bison head who climbs through the ceiling and attacks people.

LaValle questions what it means to be “sane” as well as looking at the good and bad sides of mental illness treatment.  On top of that, he has created a crazy mystery plot that never stops moving (even when the characters themselves are having a hard time moving due to being drugged and/or tied down).  Out of the three LaValle books I have read, this is my number two.

4-stars

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

I have to admit, I am usually a little skeptical when a thriller is getting a lot of press because I have been burned too many times before.  But The Perfect Nanny was showing up on so many lists and there was a galley taunting me in the back so I decided to give it a try.  I finished it in less than 24 hours and it only took that long because I had to go to sleep and work.  Otherwise I don’t think I would have moved until I had finished it.

This book is more of a character study than a stereotypical thriller, which is why I think it worked for me.  There isn’t anything surprising that happens, really.  You are told on the first couple of pages what happens and the rest of the book goes back in time.  Even though I knew what was going to happen, I kept hoping that something might change.  The mystery and intrigue was happening more in my own head than in the actual book.

Slimani has created such interesting characters.  They all felt so incredibly real and it hurt my heart knowing what was going to happen to them.  There is something insanely fascinating in watching a person completely fall apart and Slimani shows us that like a wizard.  If you are looking for a lot of action and intrigue, this isn’t the book for you.  But if you want a well written book with great characters, you need to read this.

4-stars

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

My feelings about this book fluctuated a lot.  I had not read any Mary Kubica books before (but boy is she a doll in real life) and so I read this before I hosted her event.  Kubica is a skilled storyteller and this book definitely took me for a ride.  Flipping between the husband’s past and the wife’s present, the story picks up details from both and makes you realize that they are both unreliable narrators that you want to believe!  It’s incredibly frustrating in a good way.

I have to say that I found the end to be anti-climatic and was actually incredibly disappointed for a few days.  But now I think that it was such a cool choice, a very unique storytelling choice.  So it won me over in the end.  But goodness, it just helped to prove to me that I don’t want kids for a long time.  Also, psychological thrillers are still not my genre.

3-stars

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Why did I wait so long to read this book? It was one of the first things I picked up when I started working at the bookstore I work at and I just never got around to it. I kept it on my shelf through many clean-outs and a move because it kept appearing on lists and I kept reading that it was great for fans of Veronica Mars. So I finally decided to pull it off the shelf and give it a try and boy am I glad that I did! Within the first 20 pages, there was a Veronica Mars reference and then, just 20 pages later, there was a reference to Jane Eyre! Gahh!

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is a fun mystery filled with twists and turns and a lot silly antics. I sped through this book and slammed it shut when I finished it yelling, “What? WHAT?!” I then went to the bookstore I work at on my day off to buy the second book in the series. That’s how much I enjoyed this. I have so many other things I should be reading for work but Tromly has stolen my heart and pushed her way in front of everything else.

4-stars

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

This was the year of celebrity fiction and I haven’t been let down.  I’ve been a Krysten Ritter fan for a while (V Mars!) and was really excited to hear that she had a book coming out.  It was made even more exciting by our Random House rep saying that it was actually really great.

I’m going to start by saying that I am not a huge fan of psychological thrillers.  I always want to know what happens so I have read a lot of them but the genre just doesn’t work for me. I don’t know why.  That said, I think that this one was really well done.  It was really down to Earth with realistic characters.  The mystery grew and changed in fun and interesting ways.  And I actually cared about what happened to these characters!

I look forward to what more Ritter has in store for us.

4-stars