Sometimes the scariest things are the things closest to home, the things we encounter day by day and take for granted: the train we take to work, the troublesome sibling, your spouse and your relationship with him or her. Some of these new thrillers at the Field Library build their thrills and scariness on those things we deal with on a regular basis.
According to the statistics of the FBI, the most dangerous place for a woman in her 20’s is in a relationship with a man. In The Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando, that truism is about to be put to the test. Jack Swytek, the attorney protagonist of Grippando’s series, thinks he’s just meeting an old friend at the airport when his friend’s wife is arrested in front of the two of them, charged with conspiring to murder a man who raped her back in college. Of course Jack takes on Isabelle’s defense, for his friend’s sake as well as hers, but he soon discovers that the truth here is a lot more complicated than he thought it might be, and questions of guilt and innocence, victim and predator, revenge and self-defense, are nowhere near as clear as he hoped they would be in this twisty thriller.
Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach, starts with a set of twins, alike in everything but the way they face the world. Ava, the protagonist, ran away from her family’s vineyard, her absent father, her mother sinking into dementia, her mercurial (to say the least) twin sister, and a romantic betrayal that broke her heart. She started a whole new life in Paris, leaving upstate New York far behind, until she gets the news her twin sister, Zelda, died, burned to death in a fire. Ava has to return to deal with the aftermath of Zelda’s death, which turns out not to be real at all, but another of the flamboyant Zelda’s games, a sort of hide and seek which forces Ava to think like her sister, follow her sister’s clues and wind her way into Zelda’s former life, and forces her to look again at their twisted history together and the things that drove her away in the first place.
If you’re the type of person who lives by a routine, taking the same train to work every day at the same time, following a pretty predictable schedule, you might want to check out I See You by Clare Mackintosh. Her protagonist, Zoe Walker, lives that kind of predictable life: she takes the same train every day, waits at the same place on the platform, takes the same seat in the car when she catches the train. Then one night she’s disturbed to see her own picture in a classified ad in the local paper, with a phone number and a website, findtheone.com. All right, that’s creepy enough, but as days go by and other women’s pictures appear in that ad, and those women become victims of terrible crimes including rape and murder, Zoe becomes more and more frightened, and when she finds out, with the help of a police officer, what the purpose of those ads is, it becomes clearer to her that someone who knows her well is setting her up for a terrible fate. It could be the person sitting opposite her on the train every day, watching and waiting for his move. For anyone who’s ever felt a little paranoid about the people around you, this is just the book to convince you you’re not crazy after all.