Sometimes, you want a book that will totally remove you from your life. You want to land in the middle of a suspenseful murder mystery; in the midst of a creepy psychological thriller; in the center of a survival story. These are the books that will make you ignore your family, cause you to call in sick to work, and convince you that pulling an all-nighter to finish every last page is a good idea. Because you won’t be able to put these fast-paced books down.
Dead by Dawn by Paul Doiron
The latest in the series (though you really don’t need to read any of the previous books to grasp the plot), this is all about survival. Someone wants Investigator Mike Bowditch dead — and if the hypothermia doesn’t kill him, the murderer will offer him a one-way lights-out ticket via any of the obstacles thrown his way. This is a heart-stopping book from page one, set on the winding roads of Maine. It’s a real cat-and-mouse game with deadly consequences. There will be no rest for Bowditch, nor for you, until the final page.
$22.49 at Barnesandnoble.com
Fallen by Linda Castillo
We’ve been waiting an entire year for the latest installment in this series, and this one doesn’t disappoint. There’s a killer haunting Painters Mill, and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder knew the victim. Rachael Schwartz was found badly beaten in a seedy hotel room - and the woman had something in common with Burkholder. They both fled their Amish past. This is the 13th book in the series, though it works just as well as a standalone novel. Fallen reads like a “Who done it,” with plenty of plausible suspects, plot twists and surprises along the way. If you’re in the mood for a good suspenseful mystery, this is the book to grab.
$27.99 at Indibound.org
A Distant Grave by Sarah Stewart Taylor
Long Island homicide detective Maggie D’arcy didn’t get to rest for long. In this follow-up novel to The Mountains Wild, she’s the lead detective on the case of a man found shot in the head and left on the beach. Poor Maggie’s vacation is scrapped, and she’s on assignment — though she’s also dealing with issues with her teenage daughter along with her troubled relationship with her boyfriend. This book has it all: It’s filled with atmosphere, suspense and beautiful writing. It helps to read The Mountains Wild before diving into this book — and be warned, you’ll be craving a trip to Ireland before you put this one down.
$14.99 for the ebook at Us.Macmillan.com
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter
This may be the creepiest psychological thriller of the year (and quite possibly the decade), and to make matters worse, your narrator is unreliable. Delta Dawn is the New York photographer to hire if you want the absolute best pictures of your child’s birthday party. Unfortunately, she gets a little too attached to one family she’s photographing. Attached may be the wrong word. Let’s go with obsessed. She decides to integrate herself into their lives by any means necessary. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief in a few spots — but if you go with it, this story will take you on a journey that will make you start to wonder if you’re the crazy one. It’s an incredibly engaging psychological thriller with dark undertones, many secrets and lots of obsessions.
$27.99 at Powells.com