Going out with a Bang: Psychological Thrillers and Suspense

December 28, 2011 | Jane

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Librarians from North York Central Library's Browsery would like to help you to end your reading year with a bang.  If you enjoy cinematic pacing, twisted mysterious story lines, and unsettling questions then psychological thrillers and suspense novels are for you.

Thrillers are pretty fast-paced and usually plot-driven.  There is almost always some kind of significant physical threat to the main character.   In the subgenre of psychological thrillers, novels are also fast-paced but are bit more character-driven and the action or the threat is more mental than physical. In the closely related genre of psychological suspense, novels may have a less hurried pace but a similar tension and creepy unease builds steadily as characters deceive each other or even themselves.

Dark atmospheres and artistic explorations of dangerous states of mind draw you in before you know it. The sample of titles below explore the common themes of questioning identity, reality, and perception.

Intrigued?  A full list of title suggestions can be found in our new Readers Guide at the Browsery Desk. You could even read ahead and join the  North York Central Book Club when we discuss "Turn of mind" by Alice LaPlante in June 2012.

TurnofMind TheAccidentCover1
Before I Go to Sleep

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, 2011 [also in Large Print]

Dr. Jennifer White, formerly a brilliant hand surgeon, is suffering from early Alzheimer’s and honestly can’t remember if she killed her neighbour and best friend Amanda O’Toole, found bludgeoned to death with four fingers surgically removed. Told from Jennifer’s point of view, the novel sensitively explores her mental deterioration.

The Accident by Linwood Barclay, 2011 [also in Audiobook]

Glen’s wife Sheila and two others have been killed in a car accident. The police claim Sheila was responsible and Glen can’t believe it. He investigates only to uncover layers of corruption and lawlessness in their seemingly peaceful suburb. Threatened by neighbours he thought he knew, Glen must avenge his wife’s death and protect his young daughter.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, 2011 [also in Large Print]

Christine Lucas wakes up every morning unable to recognize her husband, Ben, unable to remember her son, and appalled by how much she has aged. Dr. Nash calls her after Ben leaves for work to tell her where to find her journal. Certain facts she finds there don’t match the story Ben tells her. When she can’t trust her own memory, who can she trust?

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens, 2010 [also in Large Print]

Real estate agent Annie O’Sullivan thinks she is finally catching a break when a well-dressed, affible man shows up just as she is about to close her open house. A year later she is reliving the horrifying experience of being this man’s captive to a psychiatrist as the police investigate the man’s identity. The story alternates between her creepy confinement, her escape, and her attempts to readjust to normal life.

-- Have a Bang up New Year from the Browsery Desk Librarians.