What a time to be alive! Why? So we can read amazing crime novels like the three listed below, that’s why! We were absolutely hooked by new novels from Michelle Sacks, Alex Reeve and Jessica Knoll… read on for our reviews.
Reviews by Sarah McDuling
You Were Made For This is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller told from multiple viewpoints. Full of really unlikable yet totally fascinating characters, the story takes a deep dive into the darker side of marriage, friendship and motherhood.
Packed full of shocking secrets and toxic relationships, this is the kind of book that is so morbid and shocking you won’t be able to put it down. In fact, I got some major Gone Girl vibes while I was reading – probably because all the characters are so messed up and twisted! Everyone is horrible and it’s their horribleness that makes them so intriguing.
This is the story of Sam and Merry, a seemingly happy couple raising their son Connor and living a picture perfect life. And then Merry’s best friend Frank comes to visit and suddenly that picture perfect life is revealed to be not quite so perfect after all. The sinister undercurrents and threatening atmosphere in this book are so intense. It’s a menacing and unsettling read which will plunge readers into the heads of some very disturbed minds.
You Were Made For This is set in Sweden, which was actually part of the reason I really enjoyed it. It made me really want to go to Sweden and live in a cute cottage and make berry pies and frolic by the lakeside and basically live my best Swedish life! But I’d prefer my best Swedish life not to include any psychotic mind games, thanks all the same!
This book is a darkly addictive read about despicable people battling each other in a tense and hateful power struggle – which is especially twisted and creepy when when juxtaposed against the idyllic setting.
Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and S.J. Watson. Learn more.
This is such a gorgeous gem of a historical mystery – deeply absorbing and refreshingly original, with one of the most engaging main characters I’ve come across in a while. I’m so glad to know this is the beginning of a series because I will definitely want to read more about Leo Stanhope!
The House on Half Moon Street is a compelling historical crime mystery set in Victorian London and starring Leo Stanhope, a transgender coroner’s assistant. Born as Charlotte Pritchard, Leo knew he was supposed to be a man and so left home as a teenager. Only a few people know the whole truth of his identity, and Leo lives with the constant stress of keeping his secret.
Leo is in love with Maria, a woman who works in one of London’s brothels. When Maria is found dead, Leo is utterly devastated and soon finds himself a suspect in the murder investigation. Determined to find out what happened to Maria, and in constant danger of discovery, Leo sets out to on a dangerous hunt for answers.
Rich in atmosphere and psychology, this is a thought provoking and deeply satisfying historical mystery and the first in what I hope will be a long series! Learn more.
Review by Tanaya Lowden
The Favourite Sister had me intrigued from the premise and completely hooked by the first page.
Blending reality TV with a dash of murder, The Favourite Sister follows a group of women who star in a reality television show. Vicious backstabbing, scathing social media attacks and finely-tuned scripting draw in the viewing public every week, all orchestrated by the show’s omnipotent producers. But even they don’t know that season 4 will end in murder…
I found this book to be bit of a slow burn but in the best way possible. So much of this book is spent setting up the characters’ lives, and as a result the world building is incredibly detailed. Knoll’s descriptions are so vivid and realistic that you feel like you are watching a reality TV show as opposed to reading about one. The characters’ behaviours and relationships with one another are so spot on with what we’re used to from this form of show and had me curious about the lies they were all keeping from one another and how they would all come into play.
I really liked the format this book was told in. I don’t reach for crime/thrillers all that often, but when I do it always seems as if the story takes place after the murder with a central character trying to piece together the puzzle pieces. In The Favourite Sister, Knoll uses three perspectives to cleverly unfold the drama. We start the book knowing Brett is dead, but then we return to the beginning of her story, months before her death, and continuously follow until we no longer can. Spliced between this every once and awhile is an interview with her sister Kelly in the present day (after her death) ensuring that slight details of the murder are dropped here and there. There’s also Stephanie’s – Brett’s “best friend” – perspective which helps add to the drama. I found this to be an incredibly refreshing format, and would definitely be interested in reading more thrillers that use this kind of timeline to tell their story!
I always feel incredibly clever when I solve the crime before the revelation in a thriller novel. And whilst I did indeed guess correctly, the way Knoll has woven her story means that you can’t solve the mystery early on in the book – you have to get to almost the end to be able to get it right. This made the book all the more engaging, because I was trying to be watchful for any odd behaviours that may have given away the killer throughout the pages.
I was so enthralled by The Favourite Sister that I will definitely be going back and reading Knoll’s previous novel, The Luckiest Girl Alive. This is the perfect thriller if you too like the idea of reality TV with a dash of murder. Learn more.
About the Contributor
Sarah studied Journalism and worked as a freelance copy writer before joining Booktopia, where she now enjoys unleashing the full capacity of her book obsession as Booktopia's Senior Content Producer. Sarah enjoys sword-fighting, time-travel, rare jewel collecting and competitive yodeling. She also leads a very rich fantasy life. An avid reader and book reviewer, Sarah is filled with a burning passion and boundless enthusiasm for the written word! She also has a slight tendency to overuse exclamation points!!!!!
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