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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #765, January Debut Thrillers

Fri, 01/29/2021 - 10:17pm by muffy

pushThe Push * * by Ashley Audrain 

A long chain of toxic mother-daughter dyads… “Feeling unloved by her mother, who left the family when Blythe was 11 and never looked back, Blythe fears having a daughter of her own. When she gives birth to Violet and is unable to bond with her, her fears multiply. While she fiercely loves the son born a few years later, her relationship with Violet remains fraught, and when a tragedy takes place, it cannot recover. Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, this is sure to provoke discussion.”  (Booklist)

“This is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.” (Publishers Weekly) 


If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

Sera loves true crime podcasts and when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera sets out to investigate and plunges headfirst into the wild back-country of Northern California, following clues hidden in the episodes of Rachel's podcast to an isolated ranch. As Sera digs, she finds that Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won't be the last. 

“Blending the true crime compulsion of Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark with the immersive creepy-craziness of Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, Brazier creates a heady, pitch-dark cocktail all her own.” (Publishers Weekly)

wife_upstairsThe Wife Upstairs * * is YA author Rachel Hawkins’ first adult title, a Southern-gothic reboot of Jane Eyre, set in Alabama. 

Jane, a recent transplant, walks dogs for the well-heeled residents of Thornfield Estates, people who won’t notice when items go missing here and there. Then she meets Eddie­ Rochester. The rich, brooding, and handsome widower could finally offer Jane the life she yearns for. As they prepare to marry, the death of Eddie's first wife, Bea, and her best friend, Blanche, in a boating accident continues to haunt them.  When the police reopen their probe, an increasingly concerned Jane starts investigating Bea's fate and what part, if any, Eddie played.

“First-person narration by Jane allows for a slow reveal of her past, and occasional perspectives from other characters provide clues to their motivations. An altogether sinister novel that will make readers of Jennifer McMahon, Ruth Ware, and Donna Tartt shudder ” (Booklist) 


People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd (the husband-and-wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos), it probes the dark side of influencer culture, and explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we'll go to be liked by strangers. 

Former fashion editor Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, Britain's most famous Instamum, claims to offer an unfiltered view of life raising a young family. Followed by millions, only her embittered, washed-up novelist of a husband knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth. Then one of her followers becomes obsessed and stalks the Jackson family, clearly with malicious intent. 

...(a) well-timed story reminiscent of Gone Girl (2012) and Caroline Kepnes' You (2014)”.  (Booklist) 


The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan 

When her seven-year-old son, Cody, tells her about “New Granny” he meets in the park, Georgina reasons that it is entirely understandable that Cody might have invented a "New Granny" to replace his beloved grandmother who recently passed away.  It's only when Cody's imaginary friend starts leaving signs behind--candy wrappers, mysterious phone calls--does Georgina suspect that there could be something more sinister going on, or she is losing her mind. 

“(F)irst-time author Ryan draws the reader into not only Georgina's terrifying journey to save her son, but also her marriage and her sanity… Seasoned mystery lovers will recognize similarities to B. A. Paris' The Breakdown (2017), Mary Kubica's The Other Mrs. (2020), and A. J. Finn's The Woman in the Window (2018).” (Booklist) 

pickard_county_atlasPickard County Atlas by Chris Harding Thornton

Summer, 1978 Nebraska, Pickard County deputy sheriff Harley Jensen has to deal with an unresolved case involving the missing body of a murdered child, and the lingering sadness of his mother’s suicide. 18 year after Dell Jr. went missing and his body was never found, the Reddick family decides to lay a headstone.  Paul, the youngest Reddick, a troublemaker and instigator and Pam Raddicks, married to Rick, is restless, and drawn to Harley’s dark history. Unfolding over six tense days, Pickard County Atlas sets Harley and the Reddicks on a collision course—propelling them toward an incendiary moment that will either redeem or destroy them. 

“Thornton's debut rural noir is grim, with a foreboding atmosphere and a story that does not grow more hopeful. Fans of Laura McHugh's The Wolf Wants In may appreciate this dark book.” (Publishers Weekly)

 * * = 2 starred reviews


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