15 crime thrillers that should be on your list: From psychological drama to sci-fi to classic whodunit.

All of us need that adrenaline rush once in a while. When your heart is pumping so fast, it’ll almost come out of your mouth. Thrillers are my got-to reads. I’ve been a sucker for psychological thrillers since the past year but I wouldn’t mind the classic cat and mouse chase either. If you’re looking for a read that’s immersive as much as it is ‘I-was-at-the-edge-of-my-seat-throughout’ kinda read, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve listed some of my favourite reads, some I read a few years ago, some I read last week. Please note I haven’t read every thriller out there and I’ve barely even scratched the surface, but hey, I’m getting there, one book at a time.

  1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: When the psychotherapist Theo, wants to treat Alicia, the woman who shot her husband five times, the entire spectacle becomes the talk of the town. Alex’s novel had me hooked right from the beginning. Alicia stopped talking right after the murder. No one knows why she did it. But Theo is hellbent on finding answers. I can’t believe this Alex’s debut novel. I thought I had all the answers but I was so wrong! I’ve written a detailed review here: https://www.instagram.com/p/ByaHuODg9OU/

2. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinka Braithwaite: The title is self-explanatory here. We have a killer, heck we even know who the killer is. We have a knife, we have the murder weapon. So how is this a thriller? At the heart of the novel, the author has highlighted how manipulative and toxic familial relationships can be, the abuse one tends to tolerate and accept under the guise of sibling love-the myriad ways in which we are ready to defend those close to us. It’s a unique take on a thriller and I absolutely love how the author has pulled it off.

You can read the review here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxXmNrvnaUt/

3. The Flower Girls by Alice Clark Platts: I read this book sometime last year and I was completely surprised by the twist. I was buddy reading it with a bunch of other readers & we spent hours discussing the ending. And it’s exactly the kind of book I live for. From the start, the author plays with your mind. When Laurel and Primrose kill and torture two-year old Kristie Swan, they become infamous. Mainly because they’re 10 and 6, respectively. Laurel is imprisoned but Primrose is considered too young for the crime and given a new identity. 19 years later, another child is goes missing in the very same place where one of the flower girls is staying. Secrets start tumbling out and the past resurfaces one again. I would highly recommend picking this one up.

You can read my review here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt_bqovHJUV/

4.) Lullaby by Leila Slimani: This book creeped the living insides out of me. It was unsettling on so many levels and is possibly my worst nightmare come true. Since I absolutely love torturing myself, I go out of my way to read books that keep me up all night. The book starts with the death of two children at the hands of their Nanny(not a spoiler). The rest of the story is a build-up of why and how.

You can read my review here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsVmh1uncJt/

5.) See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: Based on a real life event, this murder that took place in America of 1892, is regarded as one of the most notorious murders of all times and rightly so. Sarah’s novel is a reimagining of the brutal murders of the Borden family. It is said that Lizzie borden, daughter of Andrew & Abby Borden, axed her parents to death. Till date, no one has been able to identify the true killer. There are several theories and documentaries on the same. It’s a great mystery/murder thriller. I loved reading it.

You can read my review here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhLiSqylADu/

6.) The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: You know when you read the blurb for a book and you know you HAVE to read it? This is one such book. It’s a psychological thriller like never before. 11 year old Anna O’Donell is considered a miracle child because she hasn’t eaten anything in months but seems to be a healthy child. A young nurse, Lib Wright, is sent to the impoverished village to discover the truth. Tourists are thronging to take a look at the child, the media wants to sensationalise the news & her parents wouldn’t a thing. Read it because you’ll be blown away by the ending!

7.)Dark Matter by Blake Crounch: I have never read sci-fi before this & I didn’t know what to expect. But boy was I in for a surprise. Blake Crouch’s book takes you into the world of multiverses, quantum physics, alternate realities and so much more. He makes it so simple for you to understand without having to google every single thing you’re reading. Reading the book was almost like watching a movie; the descriptions were so vivid, the characters so well sketched and the plot hitting all the feels at all the right places. His next book Recursion is next on my list and I’m pumped.

8.) The Devotion of Suspect X: Keigo Higashino is one of the finest Japanese authors when it comes to thriller & psychological drama. I can’t recommend this book enough mainly because it deals with emotions thriller’s usually don’t. At the heart of the novel, it’s a love story and the ultimate test of your faith and devotion to the one you love. The gripping plot alongside the twists will make you flip pages as if your life depends on it. While we’re at it, I would also recommend Malice and Newcomer by Keigo.

9) My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing: A married couple want to keep the spark alive in their relationship by indulging in habits that are quite unusual. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except their ‘habit’ involves murder. The ordinary suburban couple bond over a list of people they could possibly murder. Samantha downing’s delicious debut novel takes sinister crimes to another level. Her next book, He Started It, is coming out in April this year which is also a psychological thriller. I am super-excited.

10.) Call me Evie by J.P.Pomare: A young girl is kept hostage in a beach town in New Zealand by a man who calls himself Jim. In a disturbing premise, this girl has no memory of what happened in the past and her reason to be here. There’s a dark shadow looming around when it comes to the identity of this person keeping her captive. This girl has done something so terrible back in Melbourne that people are looking for her. She’s scared, sedated and kept in this remote place for her own safety. J.P.Pomare created a promising story, with several layers of suspicion, that I devoured the page in two days just to get to the bottom of all this mess. It’s unputdownable.

11.) Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall: This debut novel took me by surprise. With themes of obsession, loyalty, love, and desire, Araminta weaves a complicated story of Mike and Verity, two people insanely in love with each other or so we think so. Mike has moulded himself into an ideal man, someone who is worthy of being with Verity. He knows she’s in love with him, if he tries a little bit harder and understands all the signs. Except Verity is married and is not returning his calls. It’s a darkly twisted novel of love gone wrong.

12.) Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh: Anna is trying to come to terms with the death of both her parents. A year ago, Caroline Johnson, ended her life in a manner that was similar to that of her husband. Police say it is suicide but Anna is sure it’s murder. The answer is sinister at best & involves leaving behind everything Anna has believed so far. Just when you think you know where the story is going, Clare proves you wrong. I See You and I Let You Go are other stunning psychological novels by the author.

13.) Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh: Eileen is a young woman of 24 who suffers from extreme lack of self-esteem, spending most of her life in self-loathing. Stuck with an alcoholic father who forces his usual qualms on her, Eileen dreams of escaping into the unknown and start her life afresh. Eileen works at a juvenile prison where a girl named Rebecca arrives, changing her life forever. Without even realising Eileen is dragged into a crime, she has nothing to do with. Ottessa’s characters are unreliable, flawed and as real as humans can get. It’s a disturbing story accompanied by characters you will loathe but which will keep you turning the pages.

14.) The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: I had one of those moments where after finishing the last chapter, I had to take a few minutes to calm down. When Mia’s boyfriend doesn’t turn up at the bar, she decides to leave with a stranger, Colin. But things soon start to go terribly wrong when Colin keeps Mia secluded in a cabin instead of dropping her back safely. Detective Gabe and Mia’s mother leave no stone unturned to find their daughter but things seldom go as planned. When confronted with the truth, cracks appear in their relationship as a family, and things are not what they seem. Mary Kubica is a brilliant author whose books I always enjoy. You can also check out Every Last lie by the author which I equally loved.

15.) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo(Trilogy) by Steig Larsson, trans.Reg Keeland: My first tryst with thrillers was with TGWTDT. I was in high-school when I stumbled upon this literary goodness and devoured the series within a week. It’s your classic cat & mouse chase except it’s more gory, dark and twisted. My favourite bad-ass fictional character, Lisbath Salander together with journalist Mikael Bloomberg investigate the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families. This book is an embodiment of what a thriller should be like.

I hope you like these recommendations and I’ll be back with some more! Meanwhile, do drop in your favourite thrillers. I’d love to have a look.

Three Psychos by Yash Pawaskar

Three Psychos narrates three different stories from three different point of views. Each bizzare and unique.

When I read the blurb for this particular book, the stories seemed bizzare and completely out of the box. Three Psychos seemed too complicated and I wondered if the author would be able to engage its readers. A few pages in and I was quite impressed.

Three Psychos by Yash Pawaskar narrates three chilling stories, each unique and twisted on its own. The human mind has the habit of playing scenarios that are often a series of illusions. The protagonists in each story are living in their own bubble, often away from reality. Psychology is the study of human behaviour but how can one study such extreme behaviours? Is there one methodology or technique? That’s where we hit a dead end. Because believe it or not, humans are unpredictable and a tad bit crazy. And in the case of Three Psychos, completely crazy. I felt a series of emotions ranging from utter hate for the protagonists to empathy to denial.

The narrative technique of the writer is commendable as he was able to blend fantasy, psychological thriller and romance under one umbrella. Such qualities in a story is difficult and challenging. The writing style is easy flowing with the author giving philosophical and profound insights about life and death. Here’s one such quote:

Death teaches a lot about life. I don’t understand why people are afraid of death. It is just another part of life, albeit the last part of life as far as we know. It is just like any other phase of life: you are born, you grow up, go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids and..die. We are scared when we approach all these stages, and overcome the fear when someone who has faced it tells us that it is all right, that they have experienced it too and that you can sail through it.

However, no one has shared their after-death experience. Thus, the fear of unknown is what scares people. Who knows? Maybe it is not that bad, maybe it’s all sunshine and rainbows.

A naked man stuck in a white box, a hospitalized patient who talks to aliens and is apparently on a mission and a teenage boy who is on a killing spree make up for the three psychos in Yash Pawaskar’s novel. You will be hooked right from the beginning and will only stop when you have all the answers. If psychological thriller is your genre, then Three Psychos would be a great pick.

You can buy the book from here: Amazon


Author: Yash Pawaskar

Publisher: Dimple Publication

Rating: 3.8/5

Format: Paperback

Pages: 157

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Three Thrilling Stories, One Gripping Novel. In the first tale, a naked man is trapped inside a white box. His only company: ‘DE22912’. How long can he survive? The second story, ‘Patient Number 9’, is about a hospitalized patient who must save Earth from an alien attack by blue pig-like creatures. The countdown has just begun. In the third narrative, an angry sixteen-year-old gets hold of a loaded revolver and is determined to make use of all ‘Six Bullets’. And no, it’s not a toy. The three psychos are part of a connected universe, set in a novel with innovative storytelling, witty narration and an entertaining mix of thrill, humour and drama.

BOOKS THAT WENT OTT

images (1)OTT- Over the Top

Apart from the books that eat up your entire soul by its enriching storyline and charismatic characters, there are some books that eat up your brain due to a not-so-promising storyline and equally dull characters. I understand that writing a novel, figuring out the plot and carefully selecting the characters to fit the circumstances without making it over-dramatic and absolutely genuine is NOT easy (No offence, writers). So, I, like many others have stumbled upon some books that we didn’t quite really erm enjoy?  I have been a part of such a sad situation before and trust me when I say this; it is definitely not an experience worth looking forward to. I mean, come on, nothing is perfect. We mess things up and so do the writers (AHEM).  These books failed to make an impression as far as I’m concerned and my reviews, although brief, are solely based on my experience as a reader.  (I might sound a little too blunt but then it’s the disappointment talking).

  • 3 MISTAKES OF MY LIFE: The greatest mistake of my life, probably. If you’re a Chetan Bhagat fan and you’re reading this then please go hide your face somewhere and do not come back. If a movie has to be described in words then it’s a Chetan Bhagat novel.  The movie ‘Kai Po Che’ was quite a success at the box office and Chetan Bhagat’s script writing skill was brought to light. He should just stick to writing movie scripts and that is it. Equally nerve-wracking was his apparently national bestseller ‘One Night at the Call Center’ and ‘Five Point Someone’. He saved himself with his book ‘Two States’ which was without a doubt a Bollywood flick but not as horrendous as his earlier works.  ‘What Young India Wants’ is a book I haven’t read and neither am I planning on reading it. In other news, I’ve heard he is FINALLY writing scripts for Bollywood directors. WAY TO GO BHAGAT!

 

  • THE ZAHIR: Quite carried away by Paulo Coelho’s ingenuity as a writer and his philosophical knowledge that was boldly displayed in his international bestseller ‘Alchemist’, I decided on reading this novel. Little did I know, I was going to be left puzzled and not very sure of where I was heading with the story or if at all I understood the story? This made me reach a conclusion that there was NO storyline. I couldn’t figure out what the whole book was about.  Was the protagonist searching for his wife? ERR. Oh and I haven’t finished reading ‘Veronica Decides to Die’ yet. No more Paulo for the time being.
  • THE ACCOMPLICE: I have no idea how and when I got hold of the book. I also have no idea what Eirrean Corrigan was thinking when she wrote the book. The plot was something that has been written and enacted in movies since time immemorial. Nothing new there. I guess it was more suited to the age group 16-17 since the story and the psyche of the characters was custom made to fall under the teenage years.
  • Oops I fell in love: Before you judge me, I got this book cause’ I really wanted to read a light-hearted story You know the kind of books you prefer reading when you’re taking a break and you want to just lie down and relax on your couch. Well, things never go as planned. It was just another failed Bollywood script. The author, Harsh Snehanshu, didn’t quite nail it. The other day I read a review on his book that said it was a cute love story and that the writing was fresh and humorous. Sorry to burst your bubble, it was anything but cute or humorous or even fresh.

(That’s it for today. I can’t recall any other novel falling under this category as of now)

“The worst memories stick with us, while the nice ones always seem to slip through our fingers”

 

On a brighter side, I’ll be posting a review on ‘The Fountainhead’ shortly which is one of the greatest books written in the history of writing books. Stay tuned!

Have you had any bad experience as a reader? Feel free to share and comment!

REVIEW: RAINWATER

Author: Sandra Brown

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

256 pages

Sometimes you read a book that completely changes the way you think, the way you would normally think. You come a cross a book which effortlessly describes every emotion, every situation in a way you had never imagined. Sandra Brown in her rather unusual novel has given her readers a taste of what it is like to survive in a time where economic depression, prejudice and racial discrimination have had people kill themselves. Rainwater is a book that teaches life lessons learnt the hard way. I have not read any of Sandra Brown’s novels and since it was my first, I was quite intrigued.

The year is 1934 and Ella who is a single mother works day in and out to take care of her ten year old son, Solly. Ella runs a boarding house, earning as much as she can to ensure her son, an autistic child, lives a hassle free life. The behavior and abnormality of Solly is misunderstood since the story is dated back to 1930s where handicaps and oddity were not known of. Solly’s demeanor becomes uncontrollable and there comes a point where you would want to reach out to Ella and help her in any way you can.

Mr.Rainwater is a boarder who comes to stay at Ella’s house. Much to the readers bewilderment, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and does not have enough time in his hands. It is amazing how Sandra Brown has pictured Mr.Rainwater’s impeccable character in her readers minds. His arrival also marks the beginning of an untold mystery. Even with an illness, he shows great courage and grandeur. In no time, he manages to develop an unnatural bond with Solly. A bond that only the two of them can understand. Ella, surprised by Solly’s show of affection towards Mr.Rainwater comes to realize that there is something about him that is very powerful. They start sharing an intimacy that is unknown to them. Solly, if I may say, unites the two. The other characters have an important part to play and add a sense of closure to the story.

Time does not favor them, situations backfire and you will see the characters struggling through circumstances. Although the ending is extremely shocking and uncalled for, I would definitely recommend reading this piece of fiction. It is not always that you pick up a book which keeps you glued till the very end. I, for once, enjoyed reading every page. It is a perfect blend of  a love story with captivating drama, life events illustrating hazards and cruel dispositions of the earlier time. Highly enthralling and equally devastating, Rainwater is a must read.Image