Summertime means more time for reading, and especially for reading thrillers, the kinds of books that keep you reading late into the night because you HAVE to know what happened. Fortunately we have a slew of new thrillers for you at the Field this month.
Sophie Hannah’s new thriller, A Game for All The Family, starts in a deceptively simple way: Justine, our main character, is a married woman with a young daughter, who’s moving, with her family, to a quiet house in Devon, England, to get away from all the stress of her previous job, which nearly killed her. Of course, as anyone who reads thrillers or watches horror movies knows, it’s just when you think you’re leaving your stresses behind and settling down into a nice comfortable new home that you fall into the worst, most horrifying, dangers of all, and so this gentle beginning draws us into a dark, scary place. First Justine notices some disturbing changes in her 14 year old daughter, Ellen, changes which Justine’s husband fails to see. Then Justine starts getting calls from someone who purports to know her, but who doesn’t tell Justine who she is or where they supposedly knew each other from. Then there’s trouble at Ellen’s school, and things just start to snowball until Justine has to outsmart an opponent she doesn’t know and find out the truth in order to protect her daughter and save her own life. If you like twisty thrillers with surprising endings, give A Game For All The Family a try.
There’s something fascinating about survival stories, where characters are placed in deadly situations and have to find some way to survive. In Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, a number of people are on a private plane flying from Martha’s Vineyard when the plane crashes. There are only two survivors: a destitute artist and a four year old boy, whose family was all killed in the crash. The book alternates between the story of the crash and the struggle of the two survivors and the backstories of the other eight passengers on the plane, and it seems less and less of an accident and more and more as if the plane crash was planned, but by whom and for what purpose?
Another classic thriller plot involves discovering that the people you thought you knew are very different from who you thought they were. That plot illuminates Forgive Me, by Daniel Palmer. Angie DeRose, the protagonist, is working as a private investigator at the beginning of the book, searching for endangered runaways. Her own childhood was idyllic and happy, as far as she knows. But then her mother dies suddenly, and among the mementoes in her parents’ attic is a picture of a little girl Angie doesn’t recognize. On the back of the picture is a code and the words “Forgive me”, in her mother’s handwriting. Her father claims to know nothing about the picture or about any of the other questionable things Angie finds. Wondering whether she has a sister she doesn’t know about, Angie enlists the help of a U.S. Marshall who works with her agency to try to find out what happened to the little girl in the picture. What she doesn’t realize is that there are people who know those secrets and are willing to do anything, even kill, to keep them secret.