Top Ten: Thrillers

Top Ten: Thrillers

Thrillers are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. I have chosen books that elicit this response.

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard (Young Adult, SHE)
Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Wracked with grief and refusing to give up on her sister, Aerin spends months trying to figure out what exactly happened to Helena and who killed her. But the police have no leads. A young, familiar officer named Thomas wants to help and suggests she checks out a website called Case Not Closed. Hesitantly, she posts, and when teenagers Seneca and Maddox show up on her doorstep offering to help investigate she accepts in desperation. But as their investigation begins, it seems that maybe it's no accident that they are all together, and that maybe the crimes have something - or someone - in common.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter (Young Adult, CAR)
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. Her past has come back to hunt her and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

The Special Ones by Em Bailey (Young Adult, BAI)
Esther is one of the Special Ones – four teens who live under his protection in a remote farmhouse. The Special Ones are not allowed to leave, but why would they want to? Here, they are safe from toxic modern life, safe from a meaningless existence, safe in their endless work. He watches them every moment of every day, ready to punish them if they forget who they are – all while broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside.
Esther knows he will renew her if she stops being Special. And yet she also knows she's a fake. She has no ancient wisdom, no genuine advice to offer her followers. But like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters (Young Adult, WIN)
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl, a suffragist, in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Adult Fiction, LAR)
Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch and there's always a catch is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues.

Inferno by Dan Brown (Adult Fiction, BRO)
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Adult Fiction, HAW)
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Young Adult, BAR)
Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don't lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved murder. Most teenagers can't tell who you are, where you're from and how you're likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don't get chosen to join The Naturals.
Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilities. For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a new serial killer strikes and Cassie is drawn into a lethal game of cat and mouse, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be.

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (Adult Fiction, GER)
A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician - a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.
But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful doctor with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and shot her attacker dead.
Now the man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her

They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan (Young Adult, MAC)
When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real? Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation. She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash. Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America stop intelligence agency. For seven years, Alexandra has been on standby and life’s been good. But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now. Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Kerrie Gamble