Since leaving uni and having actual free time which is no longer dominated by reading list anxiety, I’ve been able to expand my horizons in terms of genre. I have since found myself developing a serious affinity with mystery novels, especially psychological and crime thrillers. On these cold evenings, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the sofa, or in bed, lighting a candle and digging into a mystery novel.
Here are a few that I’ve been making my way through over the past few months.
Debbie Howells, The Bones of You:: This book started off really well for me, the characters were interesting, the plot was intriguing, the prose was emotive – I found myself with goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes after the first few pages. However, I ended up hating the characters after a while; the women especially seemed weak, too similar and very dislikeable. That being said, the plot itself was very suspenseful, with lots of well integrated twists, keeping me completely engrossed. The ending was more of a slow realisation than your typical plot twist, but I think I liked that, since the realism wasn’t at all sacrificed for cheap shock value. ★★★★☆
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train:: I cannot recommend this book enough! The fact that I started and finished reading this book on a train (two separate journeys over a weekend, I’m not that good!) make this all the more special for me. The writing style and structure make the whole reading experience ridiculously tense, in the best possible way. And the plot. THE PLOT. Enough twists to make you dizzy. Go read this right now. ★★★★★
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:: I haven’t actually finished reading this one yet (I’m about 60 pages from the end), but I have quite a lot to say about it already so I’m throwing it in. Although the central plot is very interesting, and the characters are unique, especially Lisbeth (the girl with the dragon tattoo), reading it is hard. I don’t know if it’s maybe been lost in the English translation, but the prose feels laborious and makes for very monotonous reading, a lot of the time. There is too much listing, a lot of financial and journalistic jargon, and random uninteresting and unnecessary descriptions scattered throughout. I am determined to finish it at this point, but whether or not I read the other two in the Millennium trilogy depends on the ending of this one. ★★☆☆☆ (for now…)
Maggie O’Farrell, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox:: I read this book on holiday in Menorca, finished it in about a day and half, and couldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the week. Unlike a lot of mysteries I’ve been reading, this one does not centralise around a murder, but it was under no circumstances any less interesting. It is a haunting story which explores the wrongful institutionalisation of Esme Lennox, and her blurry family history. With enough twists to keep your bum perched permanently on the edge of your seat. Intense and very intellectual prose made this a very exciting and really lovely read. ★★★★★
Next on my list::
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects:: I’ve read both of Flynn’s other novels (Gone Girl and Dark Places) and absolutely loved both of them, so I am more than excited to get my nose into this one.
Irvine Welsh, Filth:: Although not exactly in the same genre as the psychological thrillers above, Filth does revolve around a murder investigation. I tried reading Trainspotting by Welsh, but couldn’t get into it no matter how hard I tried. The blurb on this one made me laugh out loud in the middle of the charity shop though, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go.
What are you reading right now? Any recommendations to add to my ever-growing list?