I hope you’re looking for some great new suspense books to read. If so, I have some fantastic thriller book recommendations for you! Darcy Coates and Paul Doiron were both new-to-me authors, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by both of them.
Before I get too far into this post on Thriller Book Recommendations though, I’d like to clear up the definitions of thriller books vs. suspense books vs. mystery books. This is something that confused to me, so I sought help from an expert, author David Corbett, at Writer’s Digest magazine. (Read the full article, The Differences Between a Crime Novel, Mystery Novel and Thriller Novel, here.)
What are the Biggest Differences Between Thriller Books, Suspense Books & Mystery Books?
Thriller books are usually the most emotional and fastest-paced of the three. There is some grave peril that the main character(s) need to escape, expose or kill.
Suspense books are closer to mystery in that they are generally a somewhat slower pace than a true thriller. However, the true “defining difference,” could be attributed to something that Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Suspense is the state of waiting for something to happen.” (Read the full article, Suspense vs. Thrillers here.)
Mystery books are somewhat different in that typically the crime (usually a murder) has already occurred. The puzzle is trying to figure out who committed the crime.
I hope that helps to clear things up for you. Now, on with the Thriller Book Recommendations…
Hunted by Darcy Coates
You might remember in my recent Thriller Book Recommendations, two things: 1) I’m on a huge nature thriller jag right now 2) I recently recommended two books by Jane Harper, both of which are set in the Australian bush.
Hunted by Darcy Coates, is yet another book set in (you guessed it!) the far reaches of Australia. This thriller takes place in a true wilderness location just outside of a small town. When a young woman goes for a day hike in the forest, something–or someone–stalks her. This is how the book opens. From there, the reader is taken through the story via different characters points of view.
This is a stand alone book and one which reads very quickly. I’m not a fast reader and managed to polish it off in about four days. The story line in Hunted fraught with “what ifs” and “who do you trusts” and lots and lots of other compelling features that make it gripping.
What I enjoyed most was probably the atmospheric tension created by the author. I felt like I was really there, in those wild woods, being chased…it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!
I did a little digging on Darcy’s author website and found that she’s written a lot of other books. Most of these are ghost stories, so if those interest you be sure to check out her other work, though I recommend you start with Hunted. She also has a few anthologies of short stories.
The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron
This thriller book recommendation is actually more of a suspense book and definitely has a literary tone. I found The Poacher’s Son to be gritty, realistic, suspenseful and exceptionally well written.
Set in the wilds of (very) rural Maine, the story line follows Mike Bowditch, a game warden in the area. Needless to say that Mike isn’t a really popular guy. However, his relationship gets a lot more strained with others in his new community after his estranged father is accused of murdering two men in cold blood.
Convinced that his father didn’t commit the crime, Mike sets out to prove his innocence. His father is on the run though, and as an experienced backwoodsman, manages to evade police and other authorities, reaching out periodically to his son to ask for help.
I loved how real this book was. I could see the characters living right here in my own rather rural area of Vermont. The voices were clear, their motives were strong (even if immoral) and their personalities jumped off the page. While I’m not usually a police procedural-type reader, this book captivated me.
The one downside was the fact that it was a gritty read as I mentioned. When I finished the book, I had to admit I felt a little depressed. I think that’s just a side effect of reading “real life” fiction. You are so entrenched in the character’s lives (even those you don’t like or respect) that it’s hard to distance yourself from them, if that makes sense.
Thoroughly enjoyed The Poacher’s Son which is the first in this series. There are 10 books in the series so far and hopefully more to come.
Next up for me is a psychological suspense thriller that I’m reading for an online book club (the only type I like to attend!). I’m also looking forward to trying another nature-suspense novel, set out West. It’s the first in series and I’m not sure if I’ll like it but am looking forward to giving it a try after an acquaintance recommended it to me.
What are you reading this week? Please let me know in the comments below.
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