Zoo by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"There is no soft living now."
This dystopian, scientific thriller is not usually my kind of read, but I found myself flying through it. Essentially, all of the animals in the world have gone mad with some sort of virus or illness that causes them to attack humans in droves. Will the protagonist, a scientist named Oz, be able to make the world listen to reason, or are things too far gone?
I loved the premise of this book. It was exciting and also felt realistic in its portrayal. It wasn't too science-y to be boring but also felt grounded in intellect. The main character was likable in his flaws and his strengths. I also enjoyed that the book covered a span of years in an effective way. the chapters are super short, which makes it perfect for a busy person who still wants to fit in an exciting read. I also found the ending satisfying.
I really didn't have a knock for this book. Some will argue it is unbelievable or unrealistic. However, I enjoyed the sort of out-there premise. Fans of Hitchcock's "The Birds" will love this modern, updated, and arguably enhanced story of animals leading to the downfall of man.
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Is there a bookworm on your holiday shopping list who loves thrillers?
Giving books as gifts during the holidays is one of my favorite things to do, but it can be difficult to know just what book would be the best to give. But don't worry! I've compiled a list of five recommendations for the thriller book lover on your shopping list. These books will satisfy every type of thriller lover and are choices that they probably haven't read yet.
I've read all of these and loved them. Scroll down to see which one is best for your bookworm friend.
1. For fans of realistic thrillers/ Ruth Ware
If the reader on your list loves realistic thrillers with deeply complex female characters, give Carissa Ann Lynch My Sister is Missing a try. I loved how developed the main character was. When her sister goes missing, she is taken down a twisty road of secrets and lies. Carissa's writing style is similar to Ruth Ware in that the suspense aspect focuses a lot on relationships. You can see more of my full book review here.
2. For the Gone Girl Fan/ Readers who love shocking twists
There's an arsonist on the loose, and no one can figure out who it is. When Pete Andrews' son becomes a victim of the sinister serial killer's work, he will be sent on a path towards revenge. However, as secrets are unearthed, Pete and the reader learn that nothing is as it seems.
If your book lover loves shocking twists and plots that keep you guessing like Gone Girl, this dark thriller by the USA Today Bestseller will give them a satisfying reading experience. This book was named a Quarter Finalist in the Book Life Fiction competition. Numerous reviewers have noted that The Arsonist's Handbook it truly kept them intrigued and guessing up until the last page.
3. For readers who can handle dark material
If your bookworm enjoys really dark material with heavy storylines like those in The Sinner show, My Dark Vanessa is the book for them. There are a lot of trigger warnings with this one (sexual assault especially), so beware of that. However, if your bookworm enjoys a really complex book that doesn't censor itself, this one is a powerful read. This deals with a relationship between a student and teacher, so it definitely has a taboo vibe to it. However, the writing is gorgeous, and the author really covers an important topic.
Gift with caution, of course...but if you know the reader really well on your list, this might be the kind of impactful read they are looking for.
4. For the True Crime Lover
For the book lover who can't get enough of true crime books and shows, A Serial Killer's Daughter is a moving, chilling account of Kerri Rawson, daughter of the BTK killer. It details what it was like to grow up with a father who was a serial killer. It also covers her healing process. Although the book has been noted as being a bit slow at points, I found it fascinating to learn about the behind-the-scenes life of BTK and to realize that he really did have two sides.
You can learn more from a full book review of Kerri Rawson's book here.
5. For the reader who likes their thriller on the horror side
Behind Closed Doors is a shocking thriller that will keep the bookworm on your holiday list turning the pages. It has an intense plot that is eerie and creepy, and the ending really does keep you up at night. This is a book I haven't been able to forget since reading it. Some thriller readers have actually noted it was too dark for them, but if your bookworm loves authors like Karin Slaughter and Gillian Flynn, I think they'll find this to be a good read.
Do you have any books you would add to the list? Be sure to comment below with some of your favorites. If you're looking for a FREE thriller read to check out now or gift to a friend, be sure to check out I'd Kill For You, my FREE short story thriller about how far a mother would go to protect her murdering son.
Chilling twists and turns. Shocking endings.
A good thriller sticks with you long after the final page or scene. There are so many choices out there, though, on streaming services and Amazon Prime. It can be exhausting to slog through movies and shows in search of that perfect psychological thriller that will creep you out and build the tension you're looking for.
Look no further, though. I've compiled a list of my top five choices. If you love authors like Ruth Ware, Gillian Flynn, and B.A. Paris, these twisted psychological thrillers will stick with you long after the credits start rolling.
1. Stonehearst Asylum
This is my favorite slow-burning thriller movie of all time. This movie is set in an insane asylum. We follow a young asylum doctor who is interning at Stonehearst Asylum. While there, though, he learns there are many secrets to uncover.
This movie, though, is so strong in its plotting and twist. The clues are subtle but deep; once you learn the twists, you will realize the hints were there all along. I promise you that when you think the movie is done presenting twists, it will present some more. You will NOT guess the ending but will love it.
This movie is based on an Edgar Allan Poe story and features an eerie backdrop, ever present tension, and, again, a look at what reality really means. I love movies that explore mental illness and what madness means. I think if you love thrillers that are emotional and complex with an atmosphere straight out of a Poe story, you will fall in love with this one.
2. The Babadook
This one technically falls under horror, but the ending, for me, throws it into a psychological thriller sort of status. Again, although it is technically creature horror, its dealings with unreliable narrators, what reality is, and heavy emotions makes it a great watch if you love a slow burn.
The ending is, again, a shocking, twisted ending that has high interpretive value that will keep you talking long after the last scene.
I was flipping through Netflix arguing with my husband about what to watch as married life sort of dictates when I came across this eerie tale. Usually, I am admittedly a subtitle snob (I hate reading subtitles. I know, I know, uncultured). But this plotline really caught my eye.
In a world where families are starving, an invitation to a ball is a prized treasure similar to Charlie getting the golden ticket. Thus, when the protagonists get to go to the actual ball, they feel like they've won the lottery. Fine foods, fancy dining, and a lifestyle they aren't used to awaits them.
However, they quickly start to realize that things in the mansion are anything but normal as a horrifying "play" unfolds. The maze-like status of the building creates a sinister backdrop to a mystery both the characters and viewer must solve. The ending provides an unforgettable scene of malevolence.
My husband and I talked about the ending of this one endlessly because it does leave a lot of questions. It is a movie with a slow build that creates that eerie feeling you find in the pages of a psychological suspense. I definitely think this one is worth checking out.
4. The Handmaid's Tale
I rave about this literally anytime I get a chance. The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's book, is a twisted, horrifying apocalyptical tale that will truly freak you out. Although it certainly could fall into the horror genre, the psychological and emotional terror along with the twisting and turning storyline is sure to satisfy suspense readers' needs. It has such an engaging plotline but also lets us in June's head for the entire show. It really does an excellent job at bringing Atwood's horrifying world to life.
June, named Offred in the world she lives in, is being held captive in Gilead after a faction takes over the US. The new powers are essentially a cult who follow the Bible literally when it comes to reproduction. Handmaids, those women able to reproduce, are essentially kept as slaves and forced to bear children for the wealthier families.
The show features gorgeous, award-winning film-making techniques. The plot will keep you horrified but also wanting to know more. Viewers both want to look away and can't stop watching because of the engaging plot and the extremely high tension.
5. The Woman in the Window
I will confess... I haven't had a chance to read this twisted psychological thriller. I had heard there was a major twist ending, though, and that the premise was creepy. When it hit Netflix, thus, I decided to give it a try.
This follows the story of a therapist who has become agoraphobic (afraid to go out in public). The story is told from her perspective as she watches the flat across the way. You start to sense that something deeply troubling happened to her. I thought that was the twist originally and sort of discounted the movie. However, as it unfolds and the storyline weaves in and out of unreliable narrators and crazy things happening, you start to realize there might be more at play. The ending totally caught me by surprise in the best way and changed my mind about the whole movie.
This movie definitely has "The Yellow Wallpaper" vibes to it with the unreliable narrator and the psychological turmoil. I have heard those who read the book say it isn't as good as the book, of course, bu I haven't had a time to verify that yet (let me know if the comments if you have).
Available now! A Booklife Quarter Finalist for the 2021 Book Awards...
From USA Today best seller, L.A. Detwiler, comes a harrowing thriller about vigilante justice.
“Let him burn. Let them burn. Let it all burn.”
A disturbing family business passed down....
At 16, Jameson Wills has never known his father. When he finds an old journal in the attic, though, he discovers some malicious truths about the man who disappeared long ago. As he reads about his father’s secret addiction to arson, Jameson begins to wonder if the desire to burn is in his blood. But searching for a connection to his father might lead him down a path of no return.
A grief-stricken businessman looking for vengeance....
Pete Andrews’ infant son has just died in a fire. When the police deem it the work of an arsonist, Pete decides he will stop at nothing to find justice for his son. But as his sinister past emerges, will he go too far in his quest for revenge?
Two men. One arsonist. Choices that will change their lives forever.
The Arsonist's Handbook is a dark, stand-alone psychological thriller that will haunt you long after the last page.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books