Tag: #psychologicalthriller

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

Narrated by Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster

Goodreads blurb: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.…

My thoughts: I was expecting this book to be really creepy and scary. But it turns out there’s a real story here and that story is very psychological. The Gardener almost has two personalities. At times he is very kind and considerate of the girls and yet he is holding them captive for his own pleasure. He is up in arms when he finds out one of his sons is abusing the girls but granting them their freedom doesn’t even occur to him. The story is told alternately by the girl Maya and by the FBI agents. I found Maya to be a very intriguing character. Her relationships with the girls and the Gardener are very complex. The twists and turns make the story very compelling. I think the choice to use two narrators was good one for this story and I enjoyed listening to both of them. Overall, I think this story is unique and very well written and narrated. I really enjoyed this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading and Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

Narrated by Imogen Church

A deception, wrapped in a disappearance, wrapped in an obsession … all in one book! Lara Finch is an unhappy housewife with a dark secret in her past. When she is offered a job in London she jumps at the chance. She will have to take the sleeper train every Sunday afternoon and return on Friday night. She makes new friends among the regular travelers and loves being back in London. The only downside is the strained she relationships with everyone in her family except her godfather, who absolutely dotes on her even though she’s a grown woman. She has also recently befriended Iris, a lonely woman who lives near her. She too is hiding a deep secret. Then comes the Saturday morning that Lara does not get off the train and one of her traveling companions is found murdered. Is there a connection and where has Lara disappeared to? Iris is determined to find the answers.

Let me just start by saying that you need to read, or listen to, this book. This is a fabulous psychological thriller. Lara is a fascinating character. Sometimes, I found her to be very sympathetic and other times I just wanted to knock some sense into her. Her relationships with her husband and family are very complex and the author did a great job with the development of all the main characters. I found Iris to be the most interesting though. Her story doesn’t really begin until about halfway through the book but once it starts, it’s just irresistible. I had not paid too much attention to the description of the story before I began listening to it, and at first I thought it was just going to be another unhappy wife story. But, oh my gosh, about a third of the way through the story takes a turn that just makes it one of the most compelling thrillers I’ve read in a while. Did I mention how much I enjoyed listening to the narrator? Imogen Church was a great choice for this book. Her narration was irresistible but did not over dramatize. She let the words convey the drama more than her voice. I was very sorry when I had to stop listening to her voice. Bottom line is, I loved the story and the narration, and highly recommend both to you especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading! Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins – Audiobook

“Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins – Audiobook

Narrated by Laura Aikman, Imogen Church, Daniel Weyman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred

From the author of “The Girl on the Train” comes another page turner of a mystery. Lena is 15 and her single mother has just been found dead in The Drowning Pool. This pool has seen several suicides in its history and everyone assumes that this is another in the line of women who have killed themselves by jumping in. Lena is convinced that her mother did not commit suicide and the policewoman Erin, recently transferred from London, also finds the idea of suicide to be questionable. As Erin begins to look into the case she finds herself uncovering all kinds of dark secrets that the townspeople are hiding.

This rural community is a treasure trove of psychological angst. It seems that everybody has a secretand some of them are barely contained. And I was so drawn into this story that I listened to the whole book, 11 ½ hours, in just 2 days. The structure of the story is similar to her first book in that it is told by several different people, sometimes in the present and sometimes in the past. I found this format a little challenging in the beginning because there is not much to indicate the transition from one character to another, except the change in voice. I found myself a couple of times getting distracted and missing the transition but was able to quickly get back on track. That being said I thought all the narrators were great. Their interpretation of the characters was excellent. The story itself is full of twists that kept me guessing till the end. There is some physical action in the story but the suspense really comes from the psychological aspects of the story. A couple of these people are really messed up and none of them seem to have truly functional relationships. Lena’s teenage angst mixed with the trauma of losing her mother is just perfectly written. Overall, I found this to be a riveting story with exceptional characters and a really top-notch narration. Don’t miss out on this one, whether in print or audio.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Audible   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Sandman” by Lars Kepler

“The Sandman” by Lars Kepler

OMG! This book just blew me away! In “The Sandman”, the 4th installment in the Joona Linna series, a young man has appeared walking across a train bridge one night. But this young man disappeared as a 13 years ago along with his sister, and has been declared dead. Detective Inspector Joona Linna was on the original case and even though a suspect was arrested, prosecuted, and is still incarcerated, Joona had always believed there was an accomplice. Now he’s sure of it, and the hunt is on. Jurek Walter is securely imprisoned with no contact with the outside world, so why was Mikael released? And who released him? He claims his sister is still alive, but where is she being kept? Can Joona and his team unravel the clues before the girl’s time runs out?

This was my first time with DI Joona Linna but I don’t think it will be my last. The suspense is unbelievable. The storyline has lots of twists but it all comes together brilliantly for a totally unexpected ending. I thought the characters were great with a depth to them that made them feel real and relatable. The scenes in the mental hospital took my breath away. This book takes place in Sweden which was new for me and some of the names were a bit challenging but I got to learn about a different country so it balances out. Everything about this book is 5 star.

Alinefromabook’s rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble

Thank you to First to Read for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

“Watch Me” by Jody Gehrman

“Watch Me” by Jody Gehrman

A really disturbing story that you won’t be able to put down! Jody Gehrman puts the reader right inside the head of a stalker and his victim. Kate Youngblood is an author and English professor at a Midwestern college. Sam Grist is the star student in her workshop. He’s talented and charming in a sea of ordinary college students. Kate is recently divorced and her best friend is about to have her first child. She’s lonely and facing writer’s block while her agent breaths down her neck. Sam is like a breath of fresh air but with her bid for tenure under consideration, she knows better than to do more than be a mentor. Sam on the other hand, has more in mind…much more!

I will admit that it took me a while to get into this story. I didn’t like anything about Sam and felt like a voyeur reading his thoughts. Kate, on the other hand, I could really relate to. Having been through one myself, I totally understood the anxieties and doubts caused by her mid-life type crisis, and how flattered she felt by the attentions of her student. The story seemed to start out a little slow but the intensity builds gradually to the point of no return. I admit that I thought I knew how it would end and was taken completely by surprise. If you like to get inside the brain of the perpetrator, then you will love this book. I highly recommend.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Darkness at the Edge of Town” by Jennifer Harlow

“Darkness at the Edge of Town” by Jennifer Harlow

Welcome to Book 2 in the Iris Ballard series! Iris is a forensic psychologist who previously worked for the FBI. Now she is an acclaimed author. While on a tour to promote her book, she is summoned back to her hometown in Pennsylvania because her brother has abandoned his life and joined a cult. Iris’s high-strung mother is fit to be tied and determined that Iris will get her brother back. To do this Iris must infiltrate the cult and try not to get killed in the process.

So, I have a little bit of an obsession with books about cults. I find the inner workings of these groups to be endlessly fascinating. This story is pure fiction, but takes the reader into the heart of the cult and exposes you to the tactics they use to gain followers. The main characters are a diverse group with some very complicated personalities. In particular, Iris’s family is highly dysfunctional and her mother can be scary at times. The story is about Iris trying to find and extricate her brother but at the same time she is working through some very intense personal emotions and relationships. The story itself moves at a quick pace and keeps the reader turning pages. My only issue with the book is the over use of the “F” word throughout and that’s why I’m giving it a lower rating. If that’s not a problem for you then you are in for a compelling psychological thriller.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 3 star rating  3 stars!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

Thank you to NetGalley and Alibi books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

“Poison” by Galt Niederhoffer

“Poison” by Galt Niederhoffer

The story told in “Poison” is riveting and totally blew my mind. This is very much a psychological thriller that will leave you breathless. Cass and Ryan Connor have what looks like the perfect marriage and family. A nice home in a nice neighborhood, 3 kids around the table, jobs they enjoy: what could possibly be wrong? Cass starts to notice things that just seem a bit off. Ryan takes longer than necessary getting home from the airport and he smells of alcohol. Was he with somebody else? But his explanation makes so much sense. Then Cass starts to feel ill, nausea and vomiting. Ryan seems more short tempered than usual. That fish he brought home just doesn’t taste right. Is there any validity to her suspicions? Why will no one believe her?

This story really gets into Cass’s head, exploring her thoughts and her perceptions in a way I’ve never experienced before in a book. At times I believed Cass was right, but then there were moments when I thought perhaps she was losing her mind. And you really have to go all the way to the end to find out whose story is the truth. But then I was wondering if Cass was going to make it to the end of the story. This is really good stuff! “Poison” is the first book I have read from this author and I am so impressed that I will have to check out more. The story is masterfully written, the characters are beautifully drawn and the ending was very satisfying. I highly recommend this one!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

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To purchase on Amazon UK click here

To view on Goodreads click here

“The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware

“The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware

How much damage can a lie do? Can it alter the course of your life? Four women are about to find out. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isabel met while at boarding school in Salten. Kate’s father was the art master at the school. The girls like to play the Lying Game amongst themselves and they were inseparable. Now grown, some with families, Thea, Fatima and Isabel find themselves being summoned by Kate with the simple message “I need you”. They rush to Salten and there they find out that a body has been found buried in the beach. Unfortunately, they know way too much about it but have maintained their lie for so long that it could destroy their lives if it becomes known.

This psychological thriller was a roller coaster ride of a story. My emotions were all over the place. The characters felt so real it was like I was reading about people I already knew. I found the story to be complex enough to keep me engaged and guessing. The story moves back and forth between things that take place in current time and during the time when the girls were in school, so it has the feel of coming at the mystery from both ends at the same time. I will be adding Ruth Ware to my favorite author list because I enjoyed this one so much. Highly recommend this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads