The thriller genre is a favorite in our Lit Happens Book Club. Our very first pick in 2019 was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Which, I'm still scratching my head at how I didn't figure it out sooner, despite the path it led me on.
And now, look at us. Dragging ourselves into 2021. A little more deranged and a little more wild-eyed after reading books like Verity by Colleen Hoover, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing, and Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell.
Sometimes I'll spend an excruciating amount of time trying to pick our next 5-star read. After all, I have a book-picking reputation to uphold. But March 2021 turned very fruitful and gifted us with four spine-chilling reads.
Comment below with what book you picked!
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Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021: CNN• Newsweek • Vulture • PopSugar • Parade • BuzzFeed • E! Online • TimeOut • Woman's Day • Goodreads • She Reads • Good Housekeeping • CrimeReads • Frolic • Hello!• Mystery and Suspense
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.
Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.
But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.
Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?
With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?
The instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller!
Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.
Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he's not above using his staff to track Claire's every move, making sure she's living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.
A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets—Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it's no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva's identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden. For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women—both alone, both scared—and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.
Girl A: A Novel by Abigail Dean
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A stunning debut.” —Washington Post
“Haunting [and] powerful.” —The New York Times
“Fantastic, I loved it.” —Paula Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
She thought she had escaped her past. But there are some things you can’t outrun.
Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in her parents' House of Horrors. And she doesn't want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings. It's been easy enough to avoid her parents--her father never made it out of the House of Horrors he created, and her mother spent the rest of her life behind bars. But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the home into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings--and with the childhood they shared.
What begins as a propulsive tale of escape and survival becomes a gripping psychological family story about the shifting alliances and betrayals of sibling relationships--about the secrets our siblings keep, from themselves and each other. Who have each of these siblings become? How do their memories defy or galvanize Lex's own? As Lex pins each sibling down to agree to her family's final act, she discovers how potent the spell of their shared family mythology is, and who among them remains in its thrall and who has truly broken free.
For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, an absorbing and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity–but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life.
“Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining.” —Wall Street Journal
“Don’t trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman’s own laugh-out-loud whodunit.” —Parade
Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to... THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.
When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?