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Thrilling Thrillers: Home

A list of recommended titles that take the reader on a thrilling ride

Thrillers keep you on the edge of your seat, whether they are psychological or action-packed.  Here are some of the thriller titles that I found especially well-written and characterized.  These are books I cringed through, exclaimed over and thought about long after I finished them.  Many of these titles are also available in electronic book format and on audio CD.

My name is Darla Rance, and I'm the Assistant City Librarian of Public Services. I also am currently doing the purchasing of audiobooks for the Helen Hall Library, so please contact me at 281-554-1102 if you have an audiobook to recommend for purchase, or you can create a purchase request through our online catalog. I would also be glad to help you find books of any genre, or to give you a place to start in your book search, depending on your interests.  I hope you love the following titles as much as I do!

Barbed Wire Heart, by Tess Sharpe

Harley McKenna is the only child of North County's biggest criminal. Duke McKenna's run more guns, cooked more meth, and killed more men than anyone around. Harley's been working for him since she was sixteen, and dreading the day he'd pass on his drug empire. But her time's run out. The Springfields, her family's biggest rivals, are moving in. Years ago, they were responsible for her mother's death, and now they're coming for Duke's only weak spot: his daughter.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-Eyed Susans, by Julia Heaberlin

"As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution.

 

 

The Crazy School, by Cornelia Read

After escaping Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Maddie Dare, whose husband's job offer falls through, signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers, where students and teachers submit to a bizarre regimen.

 

 

 

 

 

* This title is part of a four-part series featuring Madeline Dare.

 

 

Descent, by Tim Johnston

"The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. Caitlin sees the mountains as the ultimate test of her runner's heart, while her parents see hope for their damaged marriage. But when Caitlin and her younger brother go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the family is suddenly living the kind of nightmare they've only read about in headlines.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Echo Killing, by Christi Daugherty

When a murder echoing a fifteen-year-old cold case rocks the Southern town of Savannah, crime reporter Harper McClain risks everything to find the identity of this calculated killer."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone to Dust, by Matt Goldman

Investigating a murder complicated by the killer's strategic approaches to confounding all possible DNA evidence, private detective Nils Shapiro is forced by FBI interference to secretly uncover the potentially shattering identity of a mysterious woman.”

Set in Minnesota, Gone to Dust is the debut private eye murder mystery from Emmy Award-winning Seinfeld writer Matt Goldman.

 

 

 

*This is the first of a series, and the second one--also available at the Helen Hall Library and also quite good, is Broken Ice.

 

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

But something goes wrong. Very wrong."

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Woods, by Tana French

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror...

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past..”

 

*This title is currently only available in electronic book format but the print version is on order.  This award-winning thriller is the first of a six-book series, the Dublin Murder Squad. I highly recommend all of the titles in this series.

 

Kill the Father, by Sandrone Dazieri

 When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre, both still recovering from personal catastrophes, team up to solve the series of killings and abductions that ensues. As they follow the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, one thing becomes clear: what's really going on is much darker than anyone imagined.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Film, by Marisha Pessl

When the daughter of a cult horror film director is found dead in an abandoned Manhattan warehouse, investigative journalist Scott McGrath, disbelieving the official suicide ruling, probes into the strange circumstances of the young woman's death.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redemption Road, by John Hart

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen...This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road. Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic

"Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can't do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead."

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own. 

 

 

 

 

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

"A time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace-- until one of his victims survives. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery"

 

 

 

 

 

Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta

"After witnessing a murder, a young teen is hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled kids while the killers embark on a methodical quest to reach him."

 

 

 

 

 

*This book received a starred recommendation on Kirkus Reviews, and a movie based on this story is currently in development.

 

 

Triptych, by Karin Slaughter

"From Atlanta's wealthiest suburbs to its stark inner-city housing projects, a killer has crossed the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries, too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread--and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael's lover before she became his enemy. But unbeknownst to both of them, another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer's trail in the most coincidental of ways--and who may be the key to breaking the case wide open."

Assistant City Librarian for Public Services