All tagged Thrillers

A Twisted, Gripping, Disturbing Thriller: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Our lives are made up of choices. Big ones, small ones, strung together by the thin air of good intentions; a line of dominos, ready to fall.

I don't think a book has left me feeling so intensely uneasy as Abigail Haas' newest, Dangerous Boys, did. 

Like in Dangerous Girls, Haas takes readers on a time-shifting journey, shifting between the present and the events leading up to a tragedy. In this case, three teenagers--narrator Chloe, her boyfriend Ethan and his brother Oliver--enter an empty home but only two emerge from that house as it burns to the ground. 

The reader is left wondering which brother survived the fire? Whose at fault? Was it self-defense? An accident? Or something more insidious? 

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka: Uneven, But Relevant & Gripping

I don't know if I suffered as severe of dystopian burnout as a lot of readers, largely because I'm self-aware enough to know that any faction-based world irritates the crap out of me, so I managed to avoid a lot of the popular dystopian-ish novels that hit the shelves in the wake of The Hunger Games' popularity.

(Seriously, what is with all the factions, dystopian authors? I just don't get it.)

I've picked up a few recently that I've enjoyed at varying degrees. I enthusiastically enjoyed Maureen McGowan's corporate conspiracy-meets-X-Men Dust Chronicles action-adventure series; I was profoundly let down by the promising water-contamination novel The Ward by Jordana Frankel (that book had so much promise!).

Catherine Linka's debut, A Girl Called Fearless, likely sits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, yet it manages to shine a bit more brightly than many others because it's both thought-provoking and gripping.

Stream-It Saturday: The Fall (TV)

In my continuing selfless service to the world (ahem), I'm always looking for the next awesome thing to stream. And, of course, I must share my finds with you fabulous folks. Hence, Stream-It Saturday. 

This week, I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic thriller which originally aired on BBC and was a BBC-Northern Ireland production, The Fall. Starring the always-fascinating Gillian Anderson, with a fabulously-understated performance in a supporting role from Archie Panjabi, of The Good Wife fame, this is a great one for fans of stellar U.K. crime dramas like Luther. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Horrible People Being Horrible - a review on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

You probably know by now that I love a good thriller, so I bought Gillian Flynn’s much-buzzed Gone Girl with high expectations.

It’s received high praise, been lauded as a frightening portrait of psychopathy that’s brilliantly-written with twists and turns to rival Alfred Hitchcock. Glowing reviews snagged my attention and I bought it despite Sarah’s warnings that it may not be my sort of thriller.

A seemingly perfect, beautiful wife who is well-known as the template for a series of children’s books titled “Amazing Amy” and a husband, Nick, who’s become disillusioned with his life and his wife give some backbone to the claim that this suspense thriller will chill and thrill its readers. Amy and Nick Dunn finds them living where neither wants to be with no income other than Amy’s money from her parents who are as wacky and unlikeable as all the other characters in Gone Girl. In a rented McMansion along the Mississippi River they bemoan their fall from a life of luxury in New York, loss of jobs and their loss of passion for one another. Into this mix comes Amy’s disappearance on what should have been a celebration of their anniversary. 

This bland, yet strangly intriguing, plot concept could be viable, but it fell apart for me thanks to Gone Girl’s wholly despicable characters.

Amy aka Amazing Amy made her parents a great deal of money. They patterned her actions, her relationships with her friends, even her appearance into a series of books that found their way into grade school classrooms, libraries, bestseller lists and finally into the hands of nearly every child in the U.S.  But shocking as it becomes for the country, Amy the icon disappeared leaving her husband as the  prime suspect for her disappearance. Suspicion of murder becomes stronger with each weird clue that surfaces.

The first section of Gone Girl centers around the investigation into Amy’s disapearance. We discover that Amy is a mean-spirited, manipulative creature whose sole purpose is to make others miserable, to condemn everyone she comes in contact with and to sharpen her killer instincts with each ugly action she takes. Amy has plans and wickedly ugly and cynical thoughts to condemn anyone unfortunate enough to fall under her spell.

Getting into the mind of a person with no redeeming qualities does not make for an enjoyable read. 

Living Proof, Kira Peikoff’s debut futuristic thriller, piqued my interest because it dealt with a near-future that seemed plausible and frightening. 

Set in New York City in 2027, destroying an embryo (say, for stem-cell research) is illegal and considered first degree murder. Similarly, pregnant women are monitored for any behavior that could be potentially unhealthy and a prosecuted for missing prenatal appointments or ingesting alcohol.

In this world, fertility clinics are big business, so there are many, many unused embryos in storage. Doctors are charged with preserving the embryos indefinitely and are subject to severe criminal prosecution if they are found to be negligent in their care of the embryos face prosecution while the separation of church and state has eroded almost completely, 

“I really think we are at a crucial fork in our history. The separation of church and state is breaking down all the time. First the line was blurring, and now it’s all but indistinct.” She swallowed the words that dangled from her tongue, threatening to expose her fury toward the DEFP and the DEP.

Arianna is a obstetrician with a secret—she has rapidly progressing multiple sclerosis and a connection to the radical scientific underground. Her only hope to avoid the always-fatal outcome of the type of MS she has is a stem-cell transplant, which scientists (including her father) had nearly perfected as a treatment prior to it becoming illegal. However, the Department of Embryo Preservation (DEP) is suspicious of her (they are unaware of her connection to her father’s work) because of the sudden popularity of the fertility clinic she operates, and they send in an undercover investigator (they are also motivated by threats to the department because they haven’t had a major bust in ages).