Things Are Not Always As They Seem: Bone-Chilling Thrillers

redstarConstantine, Liv. The Last Mrs. Parrish. Harper. Oct. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780062667571. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062667595. F
DEBUT Daphne Parrish seems to have the perfect life, complete with a handsome devoted husband, two children, luxurious home, designer clothing, expensive jewelry, and all the pampering and material possessions a woman could ever desire. Amber Patterson wants Daphne’s life and makes it her goal to achieve it. She befriends Daphne by tugging at her heartstrings and quickly establishes herself in Daphne’s inner circle. Soon, every calculated move Amber makes becomes part of her fiendish plot to snag Jackson Parrish for herself. Will Amber’s well-planned strategy yield her prize without Daphne suspecting her motives? Will a seduced Jackson agree to part with his idyllic marriage in exchange for a younger replacement? Readers will learn that things are not always as they seem, as they anxiously await the next bombshell. In their captivating debut novel, coauthors Lynne and Valerie Constantine (under the pen name Liv Constantine) have constructed a deliciously duplicitous psychological thriller that will lure readers until the wee hours and beyond. VERDICT With a plot equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, this is sure to be a hit with suspense fans. [See Prepub Alert 4/24/17; library marketing.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights

redstarSager, Riley. Final Girls. Dutton. Jul. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781101985366. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101985373. F
As a teenager, Quincy Carpenter endured a terrible event at a cabin in the Pennsylvania woods. As the lone survivor of a massacre (one she does not remember), she was labeled by the press a “Final Girl,” making her one of three such survivors. Ten years later, Quincy has rebuilt her life in New York City, with a lawyer boyfriend and a popular baking blog. The policeman who saved Quincy that fateful night still checks up on her regularly. Lisa and Samantha, the other two Final Girls whose stories are told as the book unfolds, play important roles, especially when Samantha gets in touch with Quincy to help her realize her internal anger. Soon, the suspense ratchets up with a mysterious murder, violent late-night escapades in Central Park, and the appearance of multiple suspects in past and present crimes. The tale builds to a fantastic conclusion that will have readers thinking of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. VERDICT Sager (a pseudonym for a published author) is a “new” star in the making. This brilliant horror/psychological thriller will fly off the shelves. [See Prepub Alert, 2/1/17.]—Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI

Ware, Ruth. The Lying Game. Scout: S. & S . Jul. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781501156007. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501156199. F
Four women, friends since their teen years spent at a boarding school on the English Channel, are thrown together again after nearly 20 years when a body surfaces in the marsh, threatening to destroy all of their carefully constructed lives—and lies. Narrator Isa, a new mom on maternity leave, joins Fatima, a no-nonsense physician who recently reconnected with her Muslim faith; Thea, a beauty who struggles with addiction; and Kate, a troubled artist who never left the small coastal town and lives in a rickety old mill house that’s slowly sinking into the surrounding lands. As adolescents, the girls spent many long weekends at the mill house with Ambrose, Kate’s artist father, and Luc, her stepbrother. At school, they smoked, drank, snuck out of the dorms at night, and played “the lying game,” an ongoing competition to see who could convince their peers and teachers to believe the most outlandish tales. Unlike In a Dark, Dark Wood or The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware’s third novel has a more leisurely pacing and values character development over nail-biting suspense. The mystery unfolds slowly and the “big reveal” is likely to be guessed at by observant readers. VERDICT Though not as chill-inducing as her previous titles, Ware’s latest offers nuanced characters, an atmospheric small-town British setting, and a satisfying mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/17.]—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

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