Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Are you the traveling type? Do you prefer planes, trains, or automobiles? Maybe the answer should be "None of the above" because once you read these thrillers you just might want to stay home. I'm kidding!  But read on, if you dare...

It all begins...

The Kind Worth Killing an airport bar.

Two strangers. A chance encounter. A devious plan.

Delayed in London, on his way back to Boston, Ted meets Lily in the lounge of Heathrow Airport. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched. And that plan kill his wife! Why? Because he saw her with another man...

Lily has a dark history and sees murder differently than most people. Miranda, Ted's wife, is indeed fooling around with Brad, who is supposed to be overseeing the construction of the couple's dream home in Maine. Throw a Detective Kimball in the mix and you have the makings of a sensational thriller/crime novel packed with suspense and filled with many twists and turns.

Told from multiple perspectives, Swanson involves us in a plot full of surprises. It explores many issues such as relationships, infidelity, murder, betrayal, lies, revenge---I could go on, but you get the idea. The characterizations of Lily and Miranda are exceptionally well done. Both are cold, callous, and manipulative. Both know what they want... And as this tale of passion and murder progresses, we find that not everything will go as planned.

Clever and sophisticated, this is a complex and difficult read, but well worth it.

You should never talk to strangers...

The Girl on the Train

...on a commute to work.

The same old routine. A shocking sight. A woman's disappearance.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every day to London. The train always stops at a red signal where she observes a seemingly perfect couple, who she names Jess and Jason, in their house which is coincidentally a few doors down from where she used to live with her ex-husband, Tom. Except one day Rachel sees something shocking from the train and becomes more closely entwined with their lives when "Jess" suddenly disappears.

As Rachel sticks herself more and more into a terrifying situation, she will find out that maybe she should have kept her distance, realizing that everyone has secrets and people keep secrets for a reason.

Told from multiple perspectives, this tightly written and cleverly structured psychological thriller has secrets and lies, obsession and paranoia, and, best of all, unreliable narrators. Hawkins nailed it with this accomplished debut!

I know there's a movie, but I prefer the book!

What you see can hurt you...

The Breakdown

...with a shortcut through the woods.

A rainy night. A stalled car. A brutal murder.

Cass didn't stop to help the woman in the car, and now that woman is dead. Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing her and she's sure someone is watching her. Consumed with guilt, she's also starting to forget things...

With Cass as the narrator, Paris allows us to step inside her head and get a sense of the anxiety she is overwhelmed by. Her life is turned upside down by this one event and she struggles to get through the days that follow with no help from her husband or her best friend. With her fear of early-onset dementia (her mother suffered from it), her paranoia and forgetfulness only ratchet up her anxiety levels.

Paris has created a psychological thriller full of twists and turns with a personal viewpoint in the form of diary entries. I felt sympathy toward Cass but also frustration at her increasing symptoms of possible dementia. I knew she was stronger than that...

If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

So have you decided to stay home yet? I don't do planes and I don't drive, so what are my options? Commuting by train. On the MBTA's Red Line!!!! I travel past people's homes on a daily basis and sometimes wonder about the folks who live there, but not to the point of obsession. To be honest, I would prefer staying home. Then I could read more thrillers...

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