Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Every week I get dozens of requests on twitter. They all go something like this: "I loved book that you recommended, what should I read next?". These last few weeks, though, I have noticed a trend; almost everyone is looking for their next sunlounger thriller. Something "a bit murdery" as my friend, writer Sali Hughes, put it. Something smart, quite possibly female-focussed, loaded with suspense. And maybe the odd body. Or two. Could be that everyone's looking for a Gone Girl replacement, or perhaps the sunny surroundings dilute the darkness that lies at their heart.

There are plenty more where these came from, but these are the authors I'll be turning to first...

Tana French

The multi-award-winning French has the dubious honour of being crime writing's best kept secret. French counts Ian Rankin amongst her many in-the-know fans who praise her subtle psychological thrillers.

My favourite: Start with her creepy debut In the Woods
Her Latest: The Secret Place (out 28 August)

Lesley Glaister

I've had a crush on Glaister since I read her sinister first novel Trick or Treat. It's still one of my favourites, but you can't go far wrong with any of the twelve novels she's published since. Crime writers Erin Kelly and Sophie Hannah cite her modern gothic as an influence.

My favourite: her second novel, Honour Thy Father
Her Latest: Little Egypt 

Erin Kelly

The author of The Poison Tree is great on the complexities of family ties, always with a sinister undertone. Kelly is also the coauthor of the Broadchurch novel, out this autumn.

My favourite: Kelly's fans adore The Poison Tree, but I prefer her slightly darker follow up, The Sick Rose
Her Latest: The Ties That Bind

Harriet Lane

Not at all murdery but still wonderfully unsettling, Lane excels at the kind of elegantly simple scenes that make you question everything.

My favourite: Lane's debut Alys, Always is a masterclass in understated suspense.
Her Latest: Her

Lauren Beukes

The highest body count by far and probably not for the queasy, Beukes' science fiction roots are in evidence in the time-shifting supernatural serial killers she excels at.

My favourite: Beukes first foray into crime was a runaway hit for good reason, The Shining Girls
Latest: Broken Monsters (out 31 July)

Patricia Highsmith

Let's not forget the woman - or one of them - who started it all. Highsmith and, with her, Daphne du Maurier, are the true godmothers of psychological suspense.

My favourite: Not her most critically acclaimed, but if you've read all the Ripleys, start with Deep Water

1 comment:

  1. If you've read these, how about taking a satire that's also a Gothic-horror, historical thriller? It's called Purefinder.

    [Full disclosure: yeah, I wrote it but my publisher's a small one and I'm encouraged to tell interested folks about it. These choices are all similar in some way to Purefinder, it's definitely "a bit murder-y". :) Hope your interest will be piqued.]