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Thriller Suspense Book Recommendations: James Scott Bell & Steven Ramirez

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Always on the lookout for a new thriller-suspense novel? Like to try new-to-you authors? Then sit back and pour a cup of coffee, and let me tell you about two excellent authors I recently discovered.

Unexpected. That is perhaps the best description of the enjoyable and intriguing paranormal suspense novel, The Girl in the Mirror, by award-winning author, Steven Ramirez. On its surface, the premise is simple: woman meets ghost, woman solves mystery surrounding ghost, and all live happily ever after.

But this isn’t a simple ghost story. There are fun twists and unexpected turns, great characters, and a much-appreciated atmospheric tension. And if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know that I’m a sucker for an atmospheric tension.

Sarah Greene and her ex-husband, Joe, own a realty and building company: while Joe flips houses with his crew, Sarah sells them. And then a beautiful, abandoned home comes onto the market. Joe can’t resist a great deal and Sarah is pleased her business partner snapped the house up at a steep discount. They begin work renovating the house for resale when a mirror is discovered in the basement.

This isn’t just any old mirror though. It’s antique, unusual, and oh yes, has a ghost inside that speaks to Sarah. As she works to untangle an old mystery and find out who the ghost is referring to when she says, “Not dead,” Sarah meets a whole host of other interesting people–some alive, some not.

This novel was hard to put down. More than once I ran over my reading time with “just a couple more pages.” I’m really looking forward to reading the next in the Sarah Green Mystery series, House of the Shrieking Woman.

Picture this: you see a nun in a hospital cafeteria. Nothing unusual there. But then you see the nun get into an altercation with a man…and she breaks his finger. The words “ninja” and “nun” usually don’t go together, but that’s the premise of a fun, mystery series by James Scott Bell, International Thriller Writers’ award-winning author.

Bell, who has written a number of books in varying sub genres in the thriller-suspense arena, is someone whose nonfiction work I’ve followed for years. Force of Habit is the first fiction novella of his I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The pacing was quick, the characters memorable, and the premise fun. Force of Habit is the first in a series of five.

Though this novella isn’t really a thriller, more a comedic mystery, the author does have a lot of titles that are. His book, Last Call, looks especially intriguing, as does Don’t Leave Me which is already queued up in my TBR list on Kindle.

In Don’t Leave Me, a former Navy chaplain, Chuck Samson, returns from Afghanistan to care for his autistic brother, Stan. Balancing his duties as a caretaker and his job as a fifth-grade teacher keep him busy but hopeful for the future.

When Chuck is accused of murder though, a long-buried secret rears its ugly head. In a desperate attempt to protect Stan–who he fears will be used as collateral for his supposed crime–Chuck needs to dig deep into his past in order to move forward.

Be sure to check out James Scott Bell’s work, particularly if you enjoy thrillers that are “heart-whamming,” as one editorial reviewer noted.

With so many great books on my list, it will be hard to choose just one or two to read next. What about you? What are you reading this week or what thriller-suspense novel would you recommend?


Enjoy Gothic-inspired thriller-suspense novels? Let the Dead Rest might be your next favorite read. Set in parallel timelines (present-day and 1944), two women are gifted with the same doll…and both experience equally terrifying results.

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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