Monday, July 29, 2019
Books: Suspense Novels Including "Too Close"
There are threw new suspense thrillers that are sure to excite you this summer as you enjoy long afternoons and days on the beach: Too Close by Natalie Daniels; Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson; and The Churchgoer by Patrick Coleman.
By Natalie Daniels
Harper Paperbacks; $16.99; available July 30
Too Close is the psychological debut novel from Natalie Daniels, the pseudonym of a London-based actor and screenwriter, and if focuses on a woman who has been institutionalized for a heinous crime, and the psychiatrist assigned to her case who finds the truth beneath the madness.
Emma, who has worked as a dedicated forensic psychiatrist for many years, is not shocked so easily, but then she is assigned to work with Connie, a wife and mother accused of a despicable crime.
Connie is suffering from dissociative amnesia, or at least seems to be, and it is up to Emma to decide whether she can stand trial for her sins. However, there is something about Connie that draws Emma into her orbit. It could be the way she sees right through Emma, speaking to Emma's deepest insecurities about her life, marriage, and her own tragic past.
Emma begins to understand how Connie's complicated marriage and toxic relationship with her beautiful best friend Ness could have driven Connie to snap - or maybe, she is simply getting too close to a woman who is unforgivable.
Too Close tells the story by alternating between the two women's points of view, creating a beautifully written work about the powerful closeness between two women, leaving the reader to wonder how close you should get before it's too late.
Never Have I Ever
By Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow; hardcover, $26.99; available July 30
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters, and she has now written her first flat-out thriller, Never Have I Ever.
A group of women play a harmless drinking game that escalates into a war of dark pasts. Jackson keeps readers on the edge of their seats with the chilling thought of, what if someone knew your worst secret and was ready to use it against you?
Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it, like teaching driving lessons, baking cookies for her new neighbors, and helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family, including her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and her adorable infant son.
There is also the steadfast and supportive Charlotte, but Amy's sweet life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.
Roux, who is sultry and magnetic, beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it's naughty, harmless fun, but Amy knows better.
Something wicked has come her way, a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did. When they are alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn't give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she's going to make Amy pay for her sins - one way or another.
To protect herself and her family, as well as save the life she has built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets.
Amy knows the consequences if she can't beat Roux, but what most terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.
This diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists features Joshilyn Jackson's trademark humor, making Never Have I Ever one of the most entertaining books you will read this summer.
By Patrick Coleman
Harper Perennial; paperback, 368 pages, $16.99; available July 30
Patrick Coleman's debut novel, The Churchgoer, is a brilliant and original new take on the California noir tradition.
This story of one man's brush with the toxic, contradictory underbelly of Southern California in his search to find a woman who he suspects may be involved with an evangelical megachurch with dark secrets.
In Mark Haines's former life, he was an evangelical youth pastor, a role model, and a family man until he abandoned his wife, his daughter, and his beliefs. He is now marking time between sunny days and dark nights working security at an industrial complex.
Mark's isolation is broken when Cindy, a charming twenty-two-year-old drifter he sees hitchhiking on the Pacific Coast Highway, hustles him for a breakfast and a place to crash.
When Mark's co-worker is murdered in a robbery gone wrong and Cindy disappears on the same night, he knows he should let it go and return to his life of solitude. Instead, he is driven to find out where Cindy went, under stranger and stranger circumstances.
Soon after, Mark is chasing leads, with each one taking him back into a world where his old life came crashing down, into the seedier part of Southern California's drug trade and ultimately into the secrets of an Evangelical megachurch where his past his future are about to converge.
What begins as an investigation turns into a haunting mystery and a psychological journey both for Mark and for the elusive young stranger he won't let get away.
The Churchgoer, set in the early 2000s, is a gripping noir, a quiet subversion of the genre, and a powerful meditation on belief, morality, and the nature of evil in contemporary life.