The 10 best thrillers of the month

Could we get through the month without a killer read? Not a chance. We went shopping at Exclusive Books, and found our ten top thrilling reads for the month. From MJ Arlidge to Jo Spain to David Baldacci ... gripping, sinister, chilling.

Cat and Mouse
is MJ Arlidge’s eleventh Detective Inspector Helen Grace thriller … and it’s as chilling – if not more – as the others. Helen is leading an investigation into a killer who is targeting those alone at night, playing a game of cat and mouse with the victims. But while she’s investigating, she’s also been hunted, by a ruthless psychopath bent on revenge. As she tracks the murderer, she begins to suspect there’s a connection between the crimes … and it’s twisted! If you live alone, go and stay with a friend while you’re reading this one. Orion

Adrian McKinty’s The Island boasts being a terrifying thriller … and it delivers. It starts off softly … Heather marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. The pair think a working vacation overseas would be the perfect way to bring the new family together, and head off to the Australian outback. Despite the kids being ‘so over their new mom’, the family discover a remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outsiders, and talk their way onto the ferry, hoping for an adventure. But the island, run by a tightly knit clan of locals, is no paradise, and an accident propels the family from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare. Separated from Tom, Heather and the children are forced to escape alone, just seconds ahead of their pursuers, the locals who want her dead. It’s just relentless tension and nail-biting dread. Orion

Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, Mikki. But the surprise is on her when she discovers Mikki’s about to marry a chap she’s only just met. But she’s happy to tag along on a trip Mikki and fiancé Jack have planned … destination Sorrow Bay, a beautiful, remote surfing spot with waves to die for. Once there, Kenna meets a mysterious group of people, people who will apparently do anything to keep their paradise a secret, people who are prepared to go to extreme levels for their next thrill. People who all appear to be hiding something. Kenna’s desperate to get herself, and Mikki, away. But one thing no-one warned her about The Bay … no-one ever leaves. In The Bay by Allie Reynolds, the wave won’t wash away what they did. Headline

We do love a Nora Roberts book so yay for her latest, Nightwork. The lovely Harry is a thief … a habit he picked up when he was a young boy, who needed to steal to help with bills when his mother had her first bout of cancer. She was too sick to work, and stealing helped pay for the mortgage, food and her medical bills. Years later he’s living a quiet life and meets a wonderful girl. But just as he thinks happiness is within his grasp, his past comes visiting … and he’s going to have to deal with it before he can move on. You pick up a NR book thinking you’ll just read a chapter or two and end up curled up on the sofa until the early hours … the perfect, perfect weekend read. Piatkus, available at Exclusive Books

Beware the devil you know. Twenty years ago, Cyrus Haven’s family was murdered. Only he and his brother, Elias, survived. He because he hid. Elias, because he was the killer. Fast forward two decade and Cyrus, a forensic psychologist, is called to a crime scene – a man is dead, his daughter is missing, and then a second woman is abducted. Add in a teenager with a gift for knowing when people are lying, dark secrets, and Elias being released from the secure psychiatric hospital where he’s been held, and the suspense just grows and grows. Michael Robotham’s Lying Beside You is another stay-up-all-nighter. Sphere

No getting away from the tension … Sharon Bolton’s The Dark kicks off with a baby snatched from his pram and thrown into the river Thames. Fortunately there’s an off-duty police officer, Lacey Flint, nearby, who rescues the child. But who on earth would do that? There’s a new terrorist threat from an extremist, women-hating group, buried deep in the dark web, an incel army that MCI Mark Joesbury and his team have been trying to monitor. Pressure builds when Joesbury team learns the snatched baby was the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women, and that the group has singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate. As dark as the title, with loads of twists to keep you on your toes. Orion

We’ve been longing for daisies for Spring … but got more than we bargained for with Daisy Darker, Alice Feeney’s psychological suspense thriller. Daisy Darker, along with the rest of the Darker family, is at her grandmother’s house for her 80th birthday. It’s Halloween (well, of course it is), and the house is a crumbling home perched on a granite rock on its own tiny island, which, when the tide comes in, is cut off from the rest of the world (obviously!). When the clock strikes midnight, gran’s found dead, and a haunting poem’s appeared on the kitchen wall. Someone’s out to kill the Darkers. So creepy, so tense, and a magnificent twist. Macmillan.

A luxury winter resort. Three missing women. One body. Could we ask for more when we’re looking for a thrilling read? Jo Spain’s The Last to Disappear is set in Koppe, in Lapland, a winter wonderland. When Londoner Alex Evans is told that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake, he presumes it was an accidental drowning. Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge of the case, thinks there’s more to the case than meets the eye, and she and Alex join forces to find out what really happened to his tour-guide sister. They learn three other women have gone missing from the area in the past, and the drowned woman may well have left her brother a message. Chilling and tense from the first page to the last. Quercus

Ann Cleeves is no newcomer to the thrill club. In fact, she’s a member of the Murder Squad, a group of writers who promote crime fiction. The Rising Tide, the tenth in the Vera Stanhope series, is the tale of a school reunion which turns deadly. It’s about a group who met as teenagers 50 years ago, on a weekend on Holy Island. The bond they formed has lasted a lifetime … and every five years they return to the island to celebrate their friendship and remember the one friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway on their first reunion. When one of the group, a man recently fired after misconduct allegations, is found hanged, Vera is called in. She needs to find out what the friends are hiding, whether events of 50 years ago led to murder, then and now. Throw in a rising tide, and long-hidden secrets coming to the surface, and Vera and her team may be in more danger than they realise. Macmillan

Last, but never least, is David Baldacci. It’s time to catch a killer in The 6:20 Man. Travis Devine leaves the army under a cloud of suspicion. Strange, since he’s survived combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and has been decorated with models. Now he’s swopped fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda for the cut-throat world of high finance … a world of greed, power, jealousy and ambition. And it’s on his daily commute on the 6:20 train into New York’s financial district that he passes a house where he sees something that rings alarm bells he cannot ignore. Strange coincidences, unnerving truths, deaths mounting … he needs to question who he can trust and who he must fight.  Baldacci always throws in killer twists … and you know they’re coming, but they get you every time. Brilliant. Macmillan        

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