BOOK THRILLS | Alex Michaelides, Carol Goodman, Fiona Cummins

A well-crafted psychological thriller, a slow-burning thriller and a cosy mystery novel - here's what we read this week

05 May 2019 - 00:00 By Sunday Times Books
A healthy dosage of thrillers to keep you up at night...
A healthy dosage of thrillers to keep you up at night...
Image: Supplied

Published in the Sunday Times: 05/05/2019

The Silent Patient ****
Alex Michaelides, Orion, R295

This is a well-crafted psychological thriller. There's a mystery, a femme fatale, a sinister man lurking in the shadows, a hidden diary and a riddle in the form of a painting. At the heart of Michaelides' gripping debut novel is the question: what drives a woman to shoot her husband five times and then never speak again? Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to get Alicia Berenson to unlock the secret of what happened. But the more he digs into her life - her troubled childhood, her art, and her dysfunctional relationships - the more he recognises parts of himself in her ... and the boundaries between patient and doctor begin to blur. Smart suspense from start to end. Anna Stroud @annawriter_

The Night Visitors ***
Carol Goodman, HarperCollins, R280

This slow-burning thriller builds to a spectacular finale that will keep you up into the wee hours. Alice and Oren are on the run from an abusive domestic situation. Penniless, they arrive by bus in a small town in upstate New York. Alice calls a shelter for abused women, where Mattie, a middle-aged social worker, is a volunteer. Alice is aggressive, jittery and suspicious, overawed by Mattie's crumbling mansion, while Oren is completely at home. This brings back memories for Mattie, as Oren reminds her of her little brother, Caleb, who died 35 years ago, aged 10. Both women are harbouring secrets but Alice's start to unravel when the following morning Mattie reads a news story that a man has been stabbed to death in New Jersey, and realises that is what Alice is fleeing. As a massive snowstorm starts to build, so does the tension. Gabrielle Bekes

The Neighbour ***
Fiona Cummins, Pan Macmillan, R290

It's action a go go from the first page. As soon as the Lockwoods move into a lovely big house - which comes cheap because so far there's been five murders in the neighbourhood, another body is found in the woods near their home. This time it's a police officer. His wife (also a detective) is committed to finding the murderer. But everyone in The Avenue is a suspect as they are all hiding secrets - even her husband. Not top shelf by any means, but its short chapters, creepy cast of neighbours and fast pacing make it a worthwhile cosy mystery. Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt