Hey everyone! Today, I’m here with mini reviews for four books I finished over a week ago: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Then She Was Gone, The Last Time I Lied, and Behind Closed Doors.
I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve been on a mystery/thriller binge. I started September thinking I was going to read books for a secret tbr challenge, but it hasn’t worked out that way because of this reading mood. I don’t consider myself a seasonal reader so this is really unexpected, but I’m happy that my library has such a wide selection of thriller books to satisfy my mood.
Obviously, I won’t go into too much detail about the plot of these books because I think that tends to give away the story when it comes to thrillers, but I’ll give you my brief opinion. All of these authors are new-to-me authors.
P.s. The covers are linked to Goodreads.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
“It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.”
So, I really enjoyed this story and I even took my lunch break early so that I could finish reading it, but I’m kind of conflicted about how to rate it because the ending was unsatisfying. The premise is pretty amazing. Evelyn Hardcastle dies at a welcome party, but she doesn’t die once. She dies multiple times because the day repeats itself over and over and the only way to break the loop is for the MC, Aiden, to figure out whodunit. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. The plot is complicated by the fact that Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest every day and there’s someone working against him. It was so freaking cool, super atmospheric and suspenseful, hence me going on my lunch break early. I just wish the ending and reveals had been handled differently. 4/5 stars.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
“What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?”
This book is set 10 years after Ellie’s disappearance and follows her mother, Laurel who has never given up hope of finding her daughter. I think Lisa Jewell tackled broken family well, but this was too predictable and kind of disappointing for a mystery novel. Jewell tried to hoodwink us, but she literally laid out all the pieces, didn’t make it interesting or throw in any misdirections or red herrings to make it believable or keep me entertained enough to suspend disbelief. Would not recommend. 2.5/5 stars.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
“Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale.“
This book is a good transition from summer to fall/spooky season. It’s set during summer camp and the character goes back to the camp 15 years after the original event. It was so thrilling, atmospheric, and kept me on the edge of my seat even though I predicted one of the plot twists. I didn’t care for some of the drama and Emma annoyed annoyed me a few times, but my reading experience was so much fun. I loved the way Sager weaved flashbacks with the present-day plot. It was kind of a confusing, but wholly intentional. I never saw the plot twist at the end coming so that was a nice surprise. 3.5/5 stars
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
I was infuriated listening to this story unfold as a woman, but this is an entertaining domestic thriller with quite a few disturbing and sadistic moments that felt all too real. The writing was great, the narrator was fantastic, and I really loved the relationship between Grace and her sister, Millie. Even though there weren’t that many scenes with the two of them, Millie was so precious and the best part of this book. There were times when I got frustrated with Grace, but she was in a very difficult situation.
Unfortunately, as a psychological thriller, this lacked suspense, misdirection, and the ending was kind of rushed. I kept hoping the story wouldn’t be as straightforward as it seemed so I had these crazy theories, but it’s exactly as it seems. A few twists in the narrative would’ve taken this to another level. I want to say don’t read the synopsis if you’re thinking about picking this up because it gives too much away, but the content might be triggering for some people because it’s a abusive relationship so please protect yourself. 3.5/5 stars.
Thanks so much for reading, bookish friends! Have you read any of these books? What are your favorite mystery/thriller books? Let me know in the comments!