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Thriller Book Recommendation: John Saul & Jennifer McMahon

Really looking forward to sharing two new thriller books with you guys! Before I dive in I wanted to let you know about a new group I’m creating via social media: #thrillerbooktribe. If you’re creating a new blog post, tweet, Instagram post or anything else online that you think other thriller readers would enjoy, please use the tag. I hope it will bring together like-minded readers so that we can better spread the word on great thriller novels.

And now, on with the book recommendations…

John Saul: Thriller Legend

Actually, this title should probably read “horror legend,” because his books fall more into that genre than straight thrillers. I tend to shy away from horror stories (my own books tagline after all is, “suspense that turns pages, not stomachs,”) but I occasionally make an exception. I love John Saul’s writing and the fact that most (all?) of his books tie in the supernatural/dark spirits/sinister characters.

In the Dark of the Night by John Saul

In the Dark of Night by John Saul

I recently finished, In the Dark of the Night, which was a thoroughly engaging read. It has a campy, summer feel to it. Perhaps this is because the main characters are teen boys who go to stay in Pinecrest, a summer tourist destination by a beautiful lake. Along with their families, the boys are prepared to enjoy all the thrills they can…

But none of the teens or adults are prepared for the sinister presence lurking in the carriage house. As the boys spend more and more time there, bringing items from the past to light, truly horrifying things begin happening in the small town.

NOTE: While I enjoyed this book a lot, I do offer this warning: if you’re sensitive to gore/torture/animals meeting untimely ends, you’ll probably want to take a pass. I put it down at one point because of an especially gruesome scene and almost didn’t pick it up again…but then I did. My curiosity got the better of me!

Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon

Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon

Yay, a fellow Vermont author! I was excited to finally get my hands on this suspense novel by Montpelier-based author, Jennifer McMahon. I’ve read almost her entire collection of stand-alone books at this point, and this one did not disappoint.

Burn Town is a slightly complicated story with lots of unusual characters. At one point I had to admit it felt like the characters were a little too unusual (circus acts, homeless “mystics” a Chicken Man, teen drug dealer and more?), but it worked in this novel.

Jennifer McMahon is a brilliant writer. Her suspense novels are part edge-of-your-seat thrill ride and part lyrical prose. It’s a beautiful blend.

Here’s my attempt at a synopsis of Burn Town (like I said, complicated but worth it!):

Burn Town Synopsis

Eva and her mother, Lily are on the run and living on the streets of the town they once called home. What Lily calls the “Great Flood,” wiped out their house and the rest of their family. Lily meets up with a group of Fire Eaters–homeless mystical women–who take a powerful drug which helps them to see the future.

As Lily becomes further entrenched in the group, she becomes more and more convinced that someone evil from her and Eva’s family is out to get them. This person wants something that Eva’s father used to own, but which she believes was lost in the Great Flood. When Lily dies under mysterious circumstances and Eva’s boyfriend is murdered, she too, becomes afraid and goes on the run.

The rest of the book ties in a cafeteria manager who is convinced she’s in the circus, a teen who accidentally becomes a drug dealer, and a private investigator/delivery driver who loves fluffy little white birds. Each of these characters are woven expertly into the plot and a final breathless twist.

Suspend disbelief? You may need to. But if you can the ride is more than worth it.

What are you reading this week? I’d love to hear either in the comments of via social media.

Note: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. I would never recommend something that I didn’t enjoy.

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