Quite a few people have asked me recently “what would you recommend reading?”, so I decided to put together a list of some of the books that really made an impression on me. This isn’t a review of any sort, just a list of books and their blurbs (as detailed on Amazon or Goodreads), so you can decide for yourself if you would like to read them or not. Oh and these aren’t in any order of favouritism either.
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (Book 1 of the Rizzoli & Isles Series)
A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed. The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed “the Surgeon” by the media. Detective Thomas Moore and his partner Rizzoli of the Boston Homicide Unit have discovered something that makes this case even more chilling. Years ago in Savannah a serial killer murdered in exactly the same way. He was finally stopped by his last victim who shot him as he tried to cut her. That last victim is Dr Catherine Cordell, who now works as a cardiac surgeon at one of Boston’s prestigious hospitals. As the murders continue, it becomes obvious that the killer is drawing closer and closer to Dr Cordell, who is becoming so frightened that she is virtually unable to function. But she is the only person who can help the police catch the copycat killer. Or is it a copycat? To complicate matters even further, Detective Moore, often referred to as Saint Thomas as he continues to mourn the loss of his wife, is getting emotionally involved with the doctor.
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen (Book 2 of the Rizzoli & Isles Series)
The Surgeon has been locked up for a year but his chilling legacy still haunts the city, and especially Boston detective Jane Rizzoli. But now a new killer is at work and Rizzoli senses something horrifyingly familiar about him. The FBI starts taking an interest in the investigation and Rizzoli begins to wonder just what makes this case so different and so dangerous? But then the unthinkable happens: the surgeon escapes. And suddenly there are two twisted killers on the loose – master and apprentice…
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
When your son can’t look you in the eye… does that mean he’s guilty? Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues and expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject – forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right. But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviours are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only wants to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, Emma, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, its another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal… A murder… a tragic accident… or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what? Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest. And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbours secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realises how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Can you commit the perfect crime? Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist – who once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of an anonymous woman is found facedown in a bath of acid. It is a textbook murder – and Pilgrim wrote the book. What begins as a challenging investigation will become a terrifyingly race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to take a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.
I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk
It’s official. Angela Clarke is in love – with the most fabulous city in the world. Fleeing her cheating boyfriend and clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane, destination – NYC. Holed up in a cute hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBF Jenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, Angela is dating two sexy guys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her new blog (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out). But it’s one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it’s another figuring them out for yourself… Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
What would you do if you witnessed a murder – but no one believed you…? Map-obsessed Thomas spends his days and nights on a virtual tour of the world through his computer screen, believing he must store the details of every town and city in his head. Then one day, while surfing a street view program, he sees something that shouldn’t be there: a woman being murdered behind a window on a New York street. When Thomas tells his brother Ray what he has witnessed, Ray humours him with a half-hearted investigation – until he realises Thomas may have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy, which puts them both in danger.
Lucy In The Sky by Paige Toon
Settling down for a 24-hour flight to Australia, Lucy finds a text message on her phone – not one from her boyfriend James, as she fondly hopes, but from a woman claiming to have slept with him four times in the past month. Trapped on the plane, she questions everything about her relationship with James. She finally calls him and he reassures her: it was only his mates playing a silly joke. James is a lawyer, persuasive and gorgeous and Lucy adores him. So why, at the wedding in Sydney of her best friend Molly, does she have niggling doubts, and find herself attracted to Molly’s brother-in-law Nathan? The sooner she gets back to her regular life in London, the flat she shares with James, her job in PR, the better. Nathan is a happy-go-lucky surfer boy, with no prospects, no place to live, an almost-girlfriend in tow. And the other side of the world…
Play Dead by Harlen Coben
Ex fashion model and successful business woman Laura Ayars’ perfect world is shattered at a time which should have been the happiest of her life. On her honeymoon, her sports superstar husband goes for a swim – and never returns. But what has happened to David – can he really be dead? Whilst struggling to cope with her almost overwhelming grief, Laura is plagued by questions and doubts. Was it an accident? Or suicide? Or is it some terrible, ill-judged hoax? As events begin to unfold, Laura starts to question David’s mysterious disappearance. She begins to uncover a conspiracy which reaches deep into the past, and is now slowly beginning to destroy everyone involved. Someone will do anything to keep Laura away from the awful truth – and she has no idea who she can trust…
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back. Until out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her. But something goes wrong. Very wrong. And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.
The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman
A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only 2 islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision. They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1971. To his fans he is an enigma. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father. On a damp October night the young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty. For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid. The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality.
Billy & Me by Giovanna Fletcher
Sophie May has a secret. One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop. But then Sophie unexpectedly meets the gorgeous Billy Buskin – a famous actor with ambitions to make it to the top. As they begin to grow closer, Sophie finds herself whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world. After years of shying away from attention, can Sophie handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? How much is she prepared to give up along the way? And is their love strong enough to keep them together against the odds?
The Lady Killer by Martina Cole
George Markham has a nasty little hobby, one that erupts into an orgy of vicious sexual depravity. Patrick Kelly is a hard man. His one soft spot is his daughter, and when she falls victim to the Grantley Ripper, Kelly wants revenge. The DI in charge of the case is Kate Burrows. She feels for Kelly but her growing involvement with a known villain is putting her career at risk . . . As the forces of law and order and London’s underworld converge in a huge manhunt, Kate fears she’ll lose everything she’s ever cared about . . . to the ladykiller.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared, but she remembers nothing. In the wake of those tragic events, she has lost not one parent, but two: her father is in an asylum, and now she lives with her grandmother – who finds it too painful to talk about what happened. Ten years on, Jenna is the only one who still seems to care. And she is determined to seek the truth, no matter how shocking and life-changing it might be.
Daddy’s Girls by Tasmina Perry
The Balcon sisters are London’s paparazzi darlings. Serena, the country’s most beautiful actress, Venetia the glamorous designer, Camilla the rising political star and Cate the feisty magazine editor. They have wealth, privilege and sizzling sex lives. When their tyrannical father Oswald Balcon is found dead, the finger of suspicion points towards his glamorous daughters. Suddenly we find that beneath the façade lies a web of deceit and betrayal. From the exclusive fashion houses of Milan to the star-studded streets of Cannes, the Balcon Sisters play out their lives in a whirl of glitz and glamour. But as tragedy and danger stalks each one of them, the scene is set for a stunning climax.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham
Ron Williamson was a star college sportsman in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma. When he left to pursue his dreams he seemed destined for glory. But years of injury, drinking, drugs and women took their toll, and he returned to Ada a lonely drifter. Soon after his homecoming, a local cocktail waitress was raped and murdered. With no immediate leads, the police worked the case for five years before arresting Williamson and charging him with her murder. Despite no physical evidence, and based largely on the testimony of jailhouse snitches, he was found guilty at trial and sent to death row. Left to await his fate, Williamson was the only person to know the terrible truth: that an innocent man had been sent on a journey to hell. A journey from which he might never return.
Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern
From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as they’re discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they’re separated. Alex’s family moves from Dublin to America – and Alex goes with them. For good. Rosie’s lost without her best friend. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever – and keep her at home in Ireland. But destiny, Alex and Rosie discover, is a funny thing and fate isn’t quite done with them yet…
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever. Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger.
That should get you started but if none of these look like they take your fancy, then just drop me a message and I am sure I can recommend something else!
Oh, and if you do read any of the above as a result of my recommendations then I would love to hear from you!