So far, 2019 has been especially kind to readers who love the twists, turns and character study of a good psychological suspense novel. Here are five brand new titles that have been receiving a huge amount of buzz and will definitely be keeping thrill-seeking readers busy until the summer. 

The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth, an Australian novel which will be released in North America on April 23rd, expertly blends mystery and suspense with juicy domestic fiction. It chronicles the fraught relationship between Lucy and her mother-in-law Diana. We know from the beginning that Diana has an untimely death, which the police are investigating as a homicide, but how did it get to that point? The narrative drifts back and forth between Lucy and Diana, as the tension between them reaches a crescendo. It’s a fantastic page turner that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty.

Set in 1980s Texas, Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard is an unusual, menacing sort of novel that follows a young man (Sean) who lives under a haze of medication controlling his schizophrenia. Annabelle, his love interest, was abducted right front of his eyes….but nobody believes him. We know from the start that Sean has a dark, potentially murderous past so he’s an unreliable narrator from all angles. As he tries to determine Annabelle’s whereabouts, the reader is left as disoriented as the narrator. Did Sean hallucinate Annabelle entirely? Did he harm her himself? This book is far-fetched and chocked too full of twists, but readers who enjoy getting inside the heads of complex, unstable characters (think You by Caroline Kepnes) may enjoy this.

In For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt, a couple with martial problems come together in order to enact revenge upon their son’s school principal after it is alleged that he was abusing his pupils. The narrative switches back and forth between husband and wife, as obstacle after obstacle are thrown their way. You are left wondering if and how they will be caught – and whether they will turn on each other in the meanwhile. The subject matter is dark, but this rollercoaster of a novel is very compelling.

In a similar vein, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing also follows a murderous married duo – but this couple is creepier and certainly more sinister. After fifteen years of marriage, this pair of suburban psychopaths are apparently bored and so decide to go on a crime spree. In order to evade detection (and have some fun), they emulate the m.o. of a notorious serial killer who was never convicted. They soon find that resurrecting the town bogeyman will have consequences for their family. This was not a favorite of mine personally but Marg from our Napanee Branch Library, who is responsible for discovering a lot our most popular books, has chosen My Lovely Wife as a Staff Pick. See some of Marg's other picks here.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides follows a criminal psychotherapist who becomes obsessed with his perplexing new patient: a beautiful and highly acclaimed visual artist who murdered her husband several years ago and hasn’t uttered a word since. The therapist, clearly psychologically damaged in his own right, makes for a complex, unreliable narrator. Most of the novel is told through him, as the reader begins to understand his motivations and what’s really going on inside his mysterious patient. I’m only about half way done this book, but so far it is holding my interest.

All of these titles can be reserved from your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or online by clicking on the titles above. 

This article was originally published in the April 11th edition of the Napanee Beaver.