Skip to main content

Book Club Picks: Mysteries & Thrillers

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This week, I'm sharing some selections from one of my favorite genres: mysteries and thrillers. One concern with some books in this genre is that you need to be sure everyone in your book club is okay with some violence and suspense. For some book clubs, cozy mysteries may be okay, but the books I'm recommending are a bit more intense and often include descriptions of violence. If you don't think your entire book club would like these, perhaps you would like to read one on your own! 


Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published June, 2012; 419 pages
If you haven't seen the movie yet, this is an amazing book that will keep everyone talking. The characters are so incredibly flawed that discussing them and their actions alone will take up half the night. Book clubs can also talk about the way the book was written from different perspectives, and the way the author created twists and turns that most people didn't see coming. The ending will likely prompt a heated discussion as well.
My review
Discussion questions

Room by Emma Donoghue
Published September, 2010; 336 pages
My book club discussed this novel back when it came out and it was a good discussion. The story is disturbing and will prompt a lot of talk about what you would do in this situation, and the choices the main character makes. The author's choice to tell the story from the child's perspective provides another topic for conversation. 
My review
Discussion questions

The Secret Place by Tana French
Published September 2014; 464 pages
This novel takes us into the world of a bunch of teenage girls at a boarding school, and the investigation into a murder that happened a year ago at the school. Book clubs can talk about the way the book is written in alternating chapters between present day and the time before the murder. There's also plenty to talk about with regard to the actions and attitudes of the girls at the school and the surprises along the way.
My review

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen
Published February, 2003; 447 pages
This is the one nonfiction book on my list, but it does not read like a nonfiction book. It reads like a a great mystery novel. Book clubs can talk about this writing style and also about the amazing effort that went into the Chicago World's Fair, and the impact it had on our modern world. But what gets it onto my list is the portion of the book that details a serial killer's horrifying actions in that time and place.
My review
Discussion questions

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published January, 2015; 336 pages
This is a fairly new release, and I haven't managed to write my review yet (I'll update this when it's up) but I couldn't leave it off the list. This is one of those books where the reader is left wondering what is going on for most of the story. Book clubs can talk about the complex characters, none of whom seem very trustworthy, and the relationships they have with one another. They can also talk about how the author uses different voices throughout to tell different aspects of the story, without giving too much away.
Discussion questions

What are your favorite mysteries and thrillers? Do you have any that you'd recommend for book clubs to discuss?


Next week, I'll be sharing some great online resources for book clubs. Please let me know if you have suggestions for other topics to cover, or if you would like to write a guest post for my Book Club Picks series. I'd love to hear about your book club or your favorite books for discussion!

Don't miss out on another edition of Book Club Picks. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Comments

  1. I have stopped by on the right day. I've read and enjoyed all these except Devil in the White City - haven't read that yet. The Secret Place wasn't my favorite Tana French but I'm a huge fan of her work!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love for my book club to read more mysteries. The Human Bobby was a great choice for us, great discussion.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Book Review: The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

When Stella and Tom move to a new home in London, they are sad to have left their friends behind. But soon they have a mystery to solve. Their neighbor's dog, Harry, keeps disappearing. Where is he going and why is he always wet when he comes home? As they investigate the area in the garden where Harry seems to come and go, they discover a hidden tunnel that takes them back to their garden ... almost 100 years ago.

The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis is a wonderful children's book that reminds me of the adventurous stories I read as a child. I saw other reviewers say something similar. I'm not sure what it is about the way the story is told, but it is reminiscent of children's books from many years ago, yet it will definitely appeal to the kids of today.

Stella and Tom have an adventure in the past that leads to new friends and discoveries. While it's a time travel story, it doesn't have a lot of fantasy elements (although there are some moles that act a bit unusua…