More than anything, this was a novel that surprised me. I'd be reading and enjoying what felt like a standard mystery when a clever turn of phrase or witty observation would shock me out of my book stupor. I'd have to stop and reread and appreciate. That, I think, is the best way to describe Evans' newest: a literary mystery with sharp moments of recognition. Uneasiness permeates every page until the unsettling end. It's a curious read and I highly recommend it! --Lauren P.
I’ve never read a book quite like this before. It’s a unique take on the horror genre, not so much a "scary story" as it is a dark and unsettling exploration of mysteries, secrets, and personal tragedies. Lauren Oliver has taken the classic theme of the haunted house and rejuvenated it with uncommon emotion and tenderness, creating a refreshingly original ghost story. With shifting perspectives, we see the house through the eyes of each of its inhabitants, some of them living and some of them dead, all of them searching for peace in their own ways. These characters are very real and very human, and their stories are as touching as they are chilling. This is horror with heart and soul. --Jason
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Take the psychological suspense of Gone Girl and add it to the dread of Strangers on a Train and you've got Girl on the Train! Hawkins' debut is poised to be one of the most talked about books of 2015 and with good reason: she's written a skilled thriller that we can all relate to (especially commuters!) All of us, at one time, have stared dully out of a moving vehicle, our gaze snagging on something and our imagination running wild. Rachel takes the same train every day, and every day she makes sure to look for the "perfect couple" that live in her old neighborhood. She thinks about them often, conjecturing that they live the kind of ideal life she dreamed about with her ex-husband. But then she sees something odd and is pulled into a murder case stranger than anything she could have imagined. I raced through the pages, eager to make it to the end, and I loved that I not only got Rachel's shaky point of view (I love a good unreliable narrator!), but that of the missing woman and her neighbor, the new wife of Rachel's ex. Pick this up for the great cover design and stay for the engrossing story! --Lauren P.
Catherine is just an average woman with all the trappings of a nice life: loving family, beautiful home, and a thriving career. Until one day she idly picks up a book she finds lying around the house and finds herself unable to put it down. At first she's transfixed by the story, but then she realizes with mounting horror that the book is about her. It's based on something that happened to her years ago, something only one person knew about--and he's dead. Her life implodes and readers have a front row seat. Disclaimer rotates between Catherine's point of view, her struggling son's, her bewildered husband's, and the righteously angry author with the poison pen. Knight writes movingly about the consequences of our choices and the way they can spread in our life like ripples in a pond. I couldn't put it down and I was truly surprised by the ending--this was an impressive debut and Renee Knight is an author to watch! --Lauren P
I'm not sure what would be scarier, vacationing with a group of young and naive worry free newlyweds for three weeks to mexico, or being eaten alive by a giant plant that shrouds an ancient Mayan temple off the beaten path? Both scenarios are frightfully weaved together in this contemporary horror novel. It's as simple as that, yet one of the few books to have actually made me cringe. It may be a quick read, but the author's choice of words illustrate both the characters and the setting hauntingly well. I now think twice about entering a garden or buying a ticket to Cabo after reading this book. --Jordan
Master of suspense writer Scott Smith (A Simple Plan) returns with this creepy novel of a tropical vacation gone horribly wrong. Pure terror interwoven with great characterization makes this book utterly enjoyable... but make sure and put it down before lunch! --Sarah B.
Styled after an Ikea catalog, this horror novel delighted my inner typesetting/design nerd. Then it played to my sympathies by starring a cast of characters that work for the great and powerful Orsk--an Ikea knock-off store. The eclectic group of "team partners" is drafted by the store's fearless leader to solve the reoccurring problems that keep cropping up in the off hours of the store. A couple of them suspect the property's shady past as a panopticon-style prison in the 19th century might play a role in the late-night shenanigans. The creep-factor in this frequently grotesque story had me continuing to keep my back to the wall to prevent being ambushed by an army of blank faced penitents wanting to "reform" me. --CHRIS
"R" is a zombie. He isn't like his fellow Dead. He may not have a heartbeat, he may eat brains, but R dreams too. When R meets the very much alive Julie, and decides to save her instead of eat her brain, things start to change. Something is happening to him, and every day he feels more…alive? This is the most unusual zombie book I've ever read. The writing is delicious and I just loved every bit of the story. You have to give Warm Bodies a try, even if you're not a big zombie-genre fan. I think most people, girls and boys alike, most ages, would get something out of it. Despite its humorous moments scattered throughout, in a way it's thought provoking and surprisingly deep; much more than I expected. I really look forward to more of this author's work. Isaac Marion definitely has a way with words, and I want more. --LEAH
On a New York night, Kitty Genovese was murdered just outside her apartment building while people in the surrounding buildings watched. For five decades since her murder, the infamous Kitty Genovese case has captured the attention of the American public, spurring what is known as the bystander effect. In his book, Kevin Cook examines this crime from perspectives such as Kitty's killer, Winston Moseley, to her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko, to residents of the buildings near where the crime was committed. Cook also debunks several myths that have come to be commonly associated with the case. A fantastic overview of the murder, investigation, and trial, Kitty Genovese is an excellent read for both true crime enthusiasts and those new to the genre. --HEATHER H.
Fear of the unknown has rarely been so potent or so moving. As a longtime horror fan, I've become somewhat jaded to the genre, and it has gotten increasingly difficult for ‘scary stories’ to actually scare me, but the bleak atmosphere and ominous dread of Bird Box made me genuinely uneasy. Josh Malerman is relentless. He had me by the throat from page one, and he just kept tightening his grip until I was helpless in his grasp, compelled to keep reading despite feeling a constant anxiety about what I might find waiting for me on the next page. The unseen menace haunting this book has a very real presence, nightmarish and unsettling, eerie and disquieting; I couldn't close my eyes, but I was afraid to keep them open. With ever-mounting tension and a deeply sinister edge,Bird Box is a masterpiece of modern literary horror. --JASON
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair starts slowly, but gathers steam at an exquisite pace. Reading this, I was never quite sure of my footing--who is Harry Quebert? Who is the bad guy in a town filled with bad guys? And who killed Nola Kellergan back in 1975? Throughout the twists and turns of this mesmerizing debut I was reminded both of Twin Peaks and Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. If you like unpredictable mysteries and books that explore the dark corners and seedy underbellies of small towns, then don't miss Joel Dicker's fantastic new book! --LAUREN
Joseph O'Loughlin, the psychologist at the heart of Robotham's absorbing mysteries, is the perfect character to carry a series. He's smart, observant, nuanced, and puts me in mind of Sherlock Holmes. I love reading about the way he gets into people's heads, the conclusions he draws from watching them, and the personal and health issues he struggles with. Watching You, the latest in the series is just as dark and full of twists and turns as all the previous! I'd recommend him to fans of Sophie Hannah and Mo Hayder. --Lauren