Shelf Life: Looking for a cheap thrill?

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Come to the library and check out a thrilling book if you’re looking for a cheap thrill! Better than cheap, it’s free. (You know, just remember to renew or return it on time and don’t let the dog chew on it or anything…)

My absolute favorite genre for the last year or so has been psychological thrillers. I can hardly read anything else now, to be honest. It has to be an edge-of-your-seat page turner for me or I feel like I’m wasting my time. I’ve read a few good ones this year, so if you’re looking for a thrilling book, look no further!

The last book I finished was “Final Girls” by Riley Sager. I absolutely loved it and it was both scary and shocking. “Final girls” refer to those who were the only survivors after a mass murder, and the main character Quincy is one of them. Ten years ago, all of her friends were killed while on a vacation at a cabin in the woods. Only she doesn’t remember any of it and the past is coming back to haunt her.

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“The Perfect Stranger” by Megan Miranda (a local-ish author I met at Malaprop’s) was even better than her last novel, “All the Missing Girls.” Leah moves to rural Pennsylvania with her old friend Emmy, who disappears shortly after their move, leaving Leah wondering how well she really knew her as the truth is slowly uncovered.

I’ve read a few of author Lisa Gardner’s books now, but “Find Her” is my favorite so far. It’s the eighth installment in the Detective D.D. Warren series, but it definitely works as a stand-alone novel. Flora was kidnapped and held captive for over a year but she escaped, and now we find her seven years later, not quite living a normal life as she is linked to several crimes involving those who prey on women. Is she a Dexter-esque vigilante or just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

“Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris was an interesting one, as you know the secret quite early on but spend the rest of the book wondering how it will be resolved. Jack and Grace seem like the perfect couple, but their marriage is actually the perfect lie. I’m currently reading “The Breakdown,” the author’s latest, and so far it’s very intriguing as well.

Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors and her best book is “Big Little Lies.” While not quite the same as the other books I’ve listed in this genre, it is thrilling as the story is told backward and the reader must piece together what events led to the murder that is revealed in the beginning of the book. The book was also turned into an HBO show starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, which was highly entertaining.

“Her Every Fear” by Peter Swanson revolves around Kate, who is seeking a change of scenery after a traumatic ordeal. She decides to swap apartments with her cousin and moves from London to Boston seeking respite. However, when she arrives, she discovers that her cousin’s next door neighbor was recently murdered and is caught in the middle of a new nightmare.

If you’re prone to having nightmares, I wouldn’t recommend reading any of these books! However, I’ve enjoyed a good thriller since I discovered R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series back in middle school.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.