My TOP FIVE Suspense Novels
Guest Post - S. F. Kosa,
author of The Night We Burned
It’s hard to narrow down my favorite suspense reads to just five, because this is such a deep and diverse genre with so many addictive stories. Still, there are some that linger with me as old favorites, each for a different reason, and here they are:
This debut novel actually reminded me of what I love most about Gillian Flynn’s novels—the voice is sooo devastating and delicious. On top of that, Knoll gives us a heroine who is as controversial as she is unique. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Ani FaNelli, our protagonist, because her armor is miles thick and her weapons are sharp as hell. But with every page, I better understood why she is who she is, and soon I was deeply invested in her journey—and in discovering the secret from her past that she’s desperate to hide. This one has some wicked twists!
Take Me Apart – Sara Sligar
Oh, this one is meaty. I love books that alternate between past and present, and here, Kate, a former journalist with a painful past, is hired to create an archive of the work of Miranda Brand, a renowned photographer whose suicide rocked the art world over twenty years earlier (or … was it suicide?) While the present narrative is Kate’s, the past belongs mainly to Miranda’s journal entries, which take us deep inside the mind of an artist wrestling with the demons inside her own mind—and in her life. As Kate takes that journey to understanding what happened to Miranda, it threatens to consume her. Much like this book did to me! I was thinking about it long after I read the last page.
S. F. KOSA is a clinical psychologist with a fascination for the seedy underbelly of the human psyche. She is the author of over two dozen fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi, and romance novels under the name Sarah Fine. Her second psychological suspense novel The Night We Burned was released on August 10 2021 from Sourcebooks. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their (blended) brood of five young humans.
Read THE NIGHT WE BURNED
A CrimeThrillerHound recommended read!
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.” From that first line of Gillian Flynn’s second novel, I was hooked. Flynn’s novels drip with voice, her prose sharp and propulsive. This one features Libby Day, whose mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” when Libby was seven. She testified that the killer was her teenage brother, but now that Libby’s all grown up, a group called the Kill Club wants her to revisit that night—and the possibility that her brother wasn’t the killer at all. The results are as chilling as they are riveting.
You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott
I love books where an author can convincingly show me a world I’ve only ever seen from the outside, and this one is top of its class in that respect. Here we have the world of competitive gymnastics, where Katie and Eric are devotedly shepherding their intense and talented daughter, Devon, toward possible Olympic fame. But when someone in their tightly knit community is killed, the tragedy starts to unravel their fragile reality, leaving only the question of how far they’ll go to help Devon achieve her goals. It’s a brilliant meditation on parenthood, vicariously held dreams, and ambition, wound together with seriously delicious tension.
In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware
I’m fascinated by books that depict the complex nature of female friendship and aggression, and this one piles it on by giving us an atmospheric, claustrophobic setting—a weekend at a cottage out in the woods of the English countryside—perfect to ramp up the tension and keep us turning the pages. Nora isn’t sure she wants to go to Clare’s hen party. They haven’t spoken to each other in ten years. But she’s willing to go, to reconnect … until everything goes sideways in some truly terrifying ways. A perfect read for a candlelit night. Just don’t freak out.