I just finished reading four books, back to back, and each one was STELLAR. That never happens, so you better believe I’m excited to praise these reads, all of which have a common thread–each features a flawed, unconventional protagonist.
I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells.
Six Second Summary: (From flap) John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. To keep his obsession with serial killer under wraps and under control, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal high school life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation. After a string of brutal murders terrorizes his town, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.
I loved it because: Wells’ voice is electric–he keeps the action moving at a fast clip, but all the while, we feel the misunderstood, melancholy wounds that John Wayne Cleaver tries to conceal. There are twists and unexpected turns of fate that make I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER nothing less than stone cold amazing–don’t miss it.
Shelve it between: DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER by Jeff Lindsay and your copy of SUPERNATURAL: Season One, two other chilling, thrilling diversions.
BLACK HEART by Holly Black
Six Second Summary: (Adapted from flap) Cassel Sharpe comes from a long line of con artists and curse workers. Everyone wants him–the crime families and feds, but he’s just trying to stay out of trouble and protect the headstrong girl who’s always held his heart. Cassel will need every ounce of wit and will to make one last score, a final play to win his freedom once and for all.
I loved it because: It’s no secret I adored WHITE CAT and RED GLOVE, but Holly Black outdid herself this time–BLACK HEART is a David Mamet meets Mario Puzo masterpiece, one of the very best trilogy conclusions I’ve ever finished. Get thee to a bookstore right now and pick it up.
Shelve it between: David Mamet’s sleeper con-artist flick, THE SPANISH PRISONER and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER. Yeah, it’s that good. A top shelf trilogy.
DROWNING INSTINCT by Ilsa J. Bick
Six Second Summary: Jenna Lord hides a lot of scars–her psycho dad and drunk mother haven’t protected her in life, and when Jenna meets Mitch Anderson, her chemistry teacher and coach, she’s drawn to him. He’s the one person she can trust, the one honest adult who makes her feel safe. In Drowning Instinct, lines are crossed and we’re left to wonder: Who’s the monster, who’s the victim, and who should live happily ever after?
I loved it because: I can’t resist stalker-ific stories or tales of obsessive love. DROWNING INSTINCT is both, and it’s just the right kind of unsettling story. One that’s filled with desperation and doomed affection–the kind that makes you weep and that won’t let you look away.
Shelve it between: Emily Bronte’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS and TEACH ME by R.A. Nelson, two more breathtaking, catastrophically heartbreaking tales.
CAN I SEE YOUR ID? by Chris Barton
Six Second Summary: (From flap) True crime, desperation, fraud, and adventure: From the impoverished young woman who enchanted nineteenth-century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the lonely but clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, Barton’s ten vignettes offer riveting insight into mind-blowing masquerades. Each scene is presented in the second person, a unique point of view that literally places you inside the faker’s mind. The psychology of deception has never been so fascinating or so close at hand.
I loved it because: Who can say no to the ultimate choose-your-own adventure experience? I loved slipping into the minds of these sometime ne’er-do-wells, people who pulled off the ultimate deceptions. Second person POV is risky, but Barton pulls off a gutsy move to great success. CAN I SEE YOUR ID? is a rare non-fiction treat, a book that unspools like a series of suspenseful capers.
Shelve it between: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Frank W. Abagnale and FLAWLESS: INSIDE THE LARGEST DIAMOND HEIST IN HISTORY by Scott Andrew Selby, two more ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ thrillers.
Hungry for more? Try this recipe for ultra-dark, super sinful BLACK MAGIC CAKE.