I’ve found it frustratingly difficult to figure out how to name the theme for this week! Instead of more romance books, I wanted to focus a bit on thrillers since it is a favourite genre, and specifically on thrillers based around relationships and/or marriage to fit the Valentine’s theme of the month. I guess the closest fit might be domestic thriller, but I’m not really sure all of these books count as domestic. What I had in mind was stories were the marriage or relationship itself was a central aspect of the story. In general, I find the majority of the thrillers I read tend to fall into one of two categories: family secrets revealed because of the death of a parent or sibling, or disturbing marriages/relationships. I think it’s because I love character-driven stories in general, so these are the kinds of plots that I tend to gravitate toward.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Date Night by Samantha Hayes
This was the first book that immediately jumped to mind when I thought of this week’s theme. It caught my attention initially because I recognized the author’s name from having previous books of hers on my TBR, even though I haven’t read any yet. This book is Samantha Hayes’ 2019 release, which is about a woman named Libby who returns from a disastrous date night with her husband to find their young daughter alone. Their teenage babysitter, Sasha, is missing and as days go by, Libby is accused of murdering her. I think this book immediately sprung to mind because of it beginning on the couple’s date night, which seemed like a great fit for a Valentine’s Day-ish theme. I was actually a bit surprised to realize that the date itself did not seem to be the focus of the story like I’d originally thought, but it still sounds like a very interesting thriller and definitely the kind that I tend to enjoy.
2) The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell
Strangely enough, I have a ton of thrillers on my TBR that involve the word “wife,” but hardly any that refer to husbands, or even girlfriends/boyfriends in the title. This is another author that I’ve been meaning to try for a while and I think I even own one of her books, but I haven’t read any yet. This book is due out this June, and it is about a woman named Tabitha, whose ex-boyfriend Connor comes back into her life after many years apart. Connor had married a wealthy but controlling woman, Nina, for her money, but when Nina takes her own life, he is suddenly free to be with Tabitha again. Hoping to finally have the future together she had dreamed of, Tabitha is surprised to find a diary that appears to be written by Nina, claiming that her death was foul play, and Connor and “her” were behind it. I’m kind of regretting that I didn’t add Michele Campbell to my list of priority authors to try this year because I’m not sure I’ve been able to fit in any of her thrillers, but they all sound so good! This one reminds me a bit of Verity and even Rebecca, and I’m excited to try it!
3) The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
I really enjoyed The Last Mrs. Parrish, and I’m very interested in trying more books by this author duo! This book is due out in late May, and it is about a woman named Joanna, who is devastated to learn that her husband Leo is willing to leave her for another woman, Piper. Joanna had supported Leo through a period of severe depression, but soon realizes that it was Piper that managed to renew his happiness, and not their relationship or their two children. Devastated by how easily Leo walked away, Joanna is determined to find out more about Piper’s past to uncover something to use against her, and soon discovers secrets that make her fear for the life of her ex-husband and children. With her fears written off as jealousy, she struggles to find the evidence she needs to save her family. To be honest, my first impression of the synopsis is that it seems fairly similar to The Last Mrs. Parrish, but it’s encouraging to see that none of the reviews so far seem to mention a resemblance. I’m very intrigued by this one, and although I doubt I’ll be reading it this year, I’d love to pick it up at some point.
4) The Date by Louise Jensen
I have an unofficial goal to make sure I read at least one of Louise Jensen’s books this year! I have literally added every single one of her thrillers to my TBR since 2016, but haven’t read any yet. I even bought two last year with the intent of reading at least one, and ran out of time. I didn’t even bother adding her to my list of priority authors because it was already such an ingrained goal to make is happen this year. The Date is Louise Jensen’s 2018 release about a woman named Alison who is persuaded to go on a date with a new man after her recent separation from her husband. The morning after her date, Alison wakes up alone in her home. She is hurt, but she has no memory of what happened to her and is also unable to recognize anyone’s face, including her own. I’m a little unclear about whether her inability to recognize faces was a pre-existing condition or the result of what happened to her, but either way, it sounds like an interesting and unique angle. The whole concept seems really creepy, and I’m definitely intrigued to try it, although I’m not sure which of this author’s books I’ll be reading first.
5) The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
I feel like this one has been on my TBR for way too long, but I think I’d also mostly forgotten about it. If I remember correctly, I added this one to my TBR because I saw it mentioned in my local newspaper, but it’s been on my list since 2017 already! This one is about a woman named Laura whose son Daniel is the center of her life, but finds herself struggling to connect with Daniel’s girlfriend Cherry. Laura is convinced that Cherry is only after her son’s money, and the relationship between them only becomes more strained. When Daniel is injured in a car accident, Laura makes a fateful decision, and the fallout of that choice has long-lasting consequences for both women. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I had this book mixed up with Karen Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend, which I also have not read yet and was definitely mentioned in my local paper, but this one sounds pretty intriguing too. It is a very different kind of relationship-based thriller than the others mentioned above, but still seems like it could be an interesting one.