Archive for the ‘Suspense’ Category

Staff Picks Hall of Fame Author: Alafair Burke!

April 24, 2020

Did you know that suspense author Alafair Burke has been recommended by 3 different staff members on this blog? Back in 2016 Cindy recommended The Ex, saying “A great courtroom thriller/mystery.  I read a review of this book and was intrigued and plunged in.  This book is inhabited by some very interesting characters and not many of them are that likable!  Even so,  the story is so well told and fast paced, you just can’t put it down.  This was the first novel I read by this author and will definitely be back for more.”

Mary-Ellen recommended The Better Sister as one of the best books she’s read in the past few months, and Karen included The Wife as one of her favorites this year.

You can find The Ex on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Ex by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Find The Better Sister on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

The Better Sister

Find The Wife on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Wife by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Did you know that Alafair Burke is the daughter of suspense author James Lee Burke? You can find James Lee Burke’s on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive too!

Staff Favorites – Lightning Round

March 27, 2020


What are the last 5 books you’ve read?

Lock every door by Riley Sager

Nothing to see here by  Kevin Wilson 

The husband’s secret by  Liane Moriarty 

Before she knew him by Peter Swanson

The Wife by Alafair Burke 

What did you think of them?

They were so good!! They are also all available on Libby/Overdrive. 

The Institute, by Stephen King

February 20, 2020

[Lesley] I’m a Stephen King fan from way back. Lost sleep over ‘Salems Lot and have never forgotten the car and the music in Christine. The Dark Tower series remains one of the best dystopian epics I’ve ever read. Still, there have been lots of books in between that I just didn’t really like. Either they felt re-heated or gratuitously gory or just too weird even for me. The Institute brought me right back into the King fold.

The Stephen King books that I have liked most have at the heart of their creepiness a true darkness that is more frightening than any monster or supernatural phenomenon. I won’t say that it is human darkness (but it is human darkness).

The Institute is speculative/science fiction that could be happening right now, somewhere in this country. Kids being used for their “special” abilities, kids being experimented on to enhance those abilities, secret agencies operating beneath the radar of everyday life. Stranger Things (the series) starts with this idea as do many other stories.

We begin with the kidnapping of Luke Ellis and the murder of his parents. He wakes up at “The Institute,” a mysterious and sinister place where kids have access to 24/7 meals, and cigarettes but they need “tokens” to buy junk food or alcohol. The other kids tell Luke about how to get tokens (don’t put up a fight), what experiments to expect, and which of the staff are the most dangerous. If only these things were kids exaggerating to frighten the new one but, of course, it is even worse than he could have believed.

Why is this happening? Where do the kids go when they disappear from the Front Half? The kids can’t give much thought to these questions in between extreme and violent tests, drugs, and emotional abuse. No one has ever escaped from The Institute but Luke isn’t just anyone. Mrs. Sigsby and the staff are only looking for powers they can use; they don’t see Luke’s exceptional intelligence or his strength. There is much hidden behind The Institute’s mission and their reach is wide.

Suspense! Evil! Danger! And reality ever worse than whatever we could imagine. Gotta love Stephen King.

The Institute - ebook

The Institute can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

Click here for books by Stephen King in the library’s collections.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

February 19, 2020


This is Alex Michaelides first novel and hopefully will not be his last. It’s a murder mystery, told from the point of view of a psychotherapist who switches jobs so he can try to help Alicia, the Silent Patient of the title. Alicia is accused of shooting her husband in the face 6 years ago and hasn’t spoken since. I thought I had this story figured out many times…and in the end it offered a surprise ending that is clever and believable.

The Silent Patient can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Silent Patient - ebook

The River, by Peter Heller

March 25, 2019


Peter Heller is a singular writer. His novels have a sparse quality that contains multitudes. The River is the story of two young men, best friends, and a wilderness river trip. They are skilled and comfortable with this sort of trip and their relationship is easy. As the story unfolds from the beginning, we learn about their background; how they became friends, where they are from, what their plans are for the trip. Observing their natural, experienced actions and knowledge is beautiful. They work together seamlessly – no need for talking – and Heller’s descriptions of their preparations and movements on the river establish a feeling of peace and trust. Even when they start to notice the faint of smell of smoke and Jack determines that there is a forest fire moving towards the river, Jack and Wynn aren’t panicked, they have it under control.

If you’ve read Heller’s The Dog Stars then you know how he can build suspense, anxiety, and threat over a short novel. When the intensity and danger of their situation begins to show cracks in their capable armor, the reader feels it – it has to be bad for these two to lose their equilibrium.

Some of Heller’s talent lies in telling basically simple stories where everything is at stake and telling that story in a slow reveal. My heart was in my throat for nearly the whole book; I was holding my breath in places and just when I thought things couldn’t get more threatening, they did. Unlike traditional thrillers though, the depth of these two characters and nature itself raises the stakes.

Find the books in our catalog:
The River
The Dog Stars
The Painter

Find Peter Heller’s books on Libby/Overdrive.

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

August 22, 2018


I couldn’t stop listening to this book– the characters had great dynamics, and the setting and description was so vivid that I felt kind of like the house was one of the characters. I can’t get enough of this narrator, Imogen Church; since finishing this book I have continued to borrow more audiobooks of hers from the library on my Overdrive account.

The only drawback for me was that IT WAS SO GROSS! The description was so vivid it often made me wince or gag. But despite this, I couldn’t put it down. Worth the read if you like a good thriller.

Available in Wiggin’s OverDrive collection

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

February 12, 2018

Bird BoxI had never heard of this author, but when a customer recommended this book wholeheartedly I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m glad I did! Very good audiobook– it was terrifying to be trapped in a sightless world with these characters. They are stuck indoors, afraid to look outside, afraid of the unknown. Malerman paints a picture of terror, capturing well the feelings and interactions of characters caught in a new era they know little about. I felt he even did a good job giving voice to a female main character and mother, not always an easy feat for a male author.

I saw today that Netflix has a film adaptation in the works- I’m skeptical and curious because I feel like there is something innately off when it comes to “viewing” this story. I’m kind of excited, though, to see what the director does with it when it comes to portraying the absence of sight. Audio was obviously a great format for this sensation.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Bird Box on Overdrive
Bird Box on Hoopla

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

February 9, 2018

behindB. A. Paris drew me right in, weaving the main character’s past and present perspectives together into a story I could not put down! So thrilling.

Behind Closed Doors in Wiggin’s Catalog (print copy)
Behind Closed Doors on Overdrive (eBook & Audiobook)

Scar Island, by Dan Gemeinhart

March 23, 2017

[Lucia] Dan Gemeinhart’s third novel continues his streak of gripping middle-grade adventures.

Jonathan Grisby is the newest “student” at Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys. The crumbling fortress is located on a remote island, pounded by surf and weather, and cut off from every comfort. The boys spend nights locked in dark cells exposed to the icy wind, and survive on mere scraps of food. The staff is cruel and abusive, and it’s exactly what Jonathan deserves. You see, Jonathan is not innocent. He has a terrible secret, a past that earned him his spot at Slabhenge, and he’s ready to take whatever punishment comes his way to try and atone. But, just as Jonathan is learning the ways of his new life, a disaster leaves the boys alone on the island without any adults. When their newfound freedom turns to anarchy and a new wave of cruelty, Jonathan must come to terms with his past, or leave every boy on the island to a watery doom.

Gemeinhart’s first two books, “The Honest Truth,” and “Some Kind of Courage,” were both on the Great Stone Face Award list, and I expect “Scar Island” to make it a hat trick. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys adventure, disasters, self-discovery, and solid, fast-paced writing.

Available on Hoopla!



The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

February 8, 2016

[Lesley]  This book knocked my socks off! Not only was the story very original and creative, a couple of twists near the end really kept me surprised and engaged. The characters are both archetypal and unique and this is storytelling at its best.  A “family” of librarians (not exactly in the way the word is generally used), each an expert in his or her own subject area (war, death, healing, languages, animals, mathematics, etc.) is left without leadership when their adopted father (basically, none of the words you think you understand mean exactly what you think they mean!) cannot be found and they can’t reenter the library that is their home. Enemies are everywhere and anywhere, even in their midst, and some average (well, maybe not so average) folks are caught up in the unfolding story.

Available on Hoopla