Summary: If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.
Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.
When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
Genre: thriller, mystery Rating: ★★
The first time I picked up a book by the Hendricks and Pekkanen duo in 2018, my mind was blown. It shocked and impressed me that two authors with such distinct voices could cohesively write a book together that felt as though it came from one writer. I loved all the twists and turns, and truly did not see the story moving at all in the direction that it did. I told every single person I knew to go read their first story. I wanted to devour every single book these two created together, and so I have.
The problem is that, with every book they release together, the less impressed I become.
Summary: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and put in prison. Chloe and her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.
Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?
Genre: thriller, mystery Rating: ★★★★
A Flicker in the Dark is a stunning debut novel that packs all the punches of the thriller genre without becoming a cliché story full of ridiculous tropes. I was immediately sucked into this story and had a truly difficult time setting it down. I wanted to rush to the end to figure out what happened and solve the mystery.
Summary: Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe. Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news – the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.
Travelling the journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story. As she plans her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking. Meaning she could very well end up as his next victim.
Genre: thriller Rating: ★★
I started to slightly dislike Riley Sager once I found out he was using a unisex pseudonym to potentially lure in a different demographic of readers. I know people do this all the time, but I remember feeling let down when I learned the stories I had enjoyed were written by (insert dramatic sigh) another white man. However, I still found myself devouring his books, because even if they weren’t downright terrifying, they were still strong contenders in the overwhelmingly average thriller genre.
Until I read Survive the Night. This is not only his worst book, but also one of the weakest thrillers to come from 2021. And it almost exclusively boils down to the main character being the dumbest person alive.
Summary: One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop a t nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
Genre: mystery, thriller Rating: ★
The Good Girl is maybe one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and there’s a lot to unpack here. Other readers have given this four stars, and while it seems like such a dramatic difference compared to how I feel about it, I will say I understand why some people liked this book. It wasn’t completely terrible at times. However, a majority of the problems lie in the very last chapter of the book.
Summary: It’s their daughter’s graduation and Rachel and Ed Hartley are expecting it to be one of their family’s happiest days. But when she stumbles and falls on stage during the ceremony, a beautiful moment turns to chaos: Gemma has been shot, and just like that, she’s fighting for her life. PI Matthew Hill is one of the first on the scene. A cryptic message Gemma received earlier in the day suggests someone close to her was about to be exposed. But who? As Matthew starts to investigate, he finds more and more layers obscuring the truth. He even begins to suspect the Hartleys are hiding something big—from him and from each other. While Gemma lies in hospital in a coma, her would-be killer is still out there. Can Matthew unravel the family’s secrets before the attacker strikes again?
Genre: thriller, mystery Rating: ★★★
Her Perfect Family fits cozily on the domestic thriller shelf right between authors like Tarryn Fisher and Shari Lapena. It checks all the boxes here: it’s told in alternating perspectives between the PI, each member of the Hartley family, and, seemingly most importantly, a mysterious person who is our alleged killer; the story focuses heavily on the personal lives of the characters instead of the actual crime procedural.
So is Her Perfect Family good? It checks all the boxes, which will easily draw in readers who already enjoy the genre. I just don’t know that it stands out from others on the shelf.