In 2021, Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me is one of the most anticipated thrillers of the year. A streaming series starring Julia Roberts is already in development based on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club selection. Slow-burning thriller about family, trust, and personal identity is on the way. Readers may ponder the question of how well they truly know others, even those closest to them like family and friends. When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down, and I stayed up way past my bedtime to find out what happened.
Owen, Hannah’s husband of two years, has won her heart and won her heart’s affections completely. Bailey, his 16-year-old daughter, is in the midst of a serious romance with her. A note from her husband with only the words “Protect her” on it arrives one day in Hannah’s mailbox. She knows immediately that Owen is referring to Bailey, but the reason for the note is a complete mystery, and Owen does not return her calls or messages. He was arrested for fraud and his company was raided before the day was out.
A duffel bag full of cash was left in Stepdaughter’s locker at school by her stepfather, Owen, when Hannah went to pick her up from practice. How and why did Owen flee? Hannah and Bailey aren’t friends, but they both care deeply about Owen and are convinced that he is innocent of the charges against him. Hannah missed red flags in the couple’s early days, which we see in flashbacks. With Owen’s whereabouts unknown, Bailey and Hannah must rely on each other to find clues. The stakes are high here.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on this one, try one of these suspenseful reads about missing people, secret identities, and tangled family ties.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell is a master of the suspenseful plot twist. I’ve enjoyed every Jewell book I’ve read, and I’ve never been able to predict the twist at the end of each one. In the film Then She Was Gone, a fifteen-year-old girl goes missing one afternoon and is never seen again. Laurel, her mother, spends ten years following up on leads in an effort to locate her bright, outgoing daughter. It has been three years since the disappearance of Laurel’s husband, and she has no intention of rekindling her relationship. When she meets a handsome stranger, she finds herself sucked into a romance she never expected. There’s a strange feeling when she meets his 9-year-old daughter, because the girl looks exactly like Laurel’s missing daughter. Hoopla has no holds on the audiobook version of this book.
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
It’s a great one! When it comes to parenting, Amy seems to have it all. In addition to her husband, teen stepdaughter, and baby daughter, she takes great care of herself. Amy enjoys baking cookies and helping her best friend run a book club in their neighborhood. It’s a good life. Once the new neighbor has moved in, the game of blackmail begins. She’s privy to Amy’s innermost thoughts and feelings, and she’s aware of the real Amy. Amy is determined to beat the blackmailer at his own game in order to keep her family and her new life safe. You’ll never know what’s going to happen next in this story. Hoopla has an instant audiobook version read by the author.
Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
This was a chilling read. As she awaits trial for the murder of a child in her care, Rowan Caine, a former nanny, tells her story in letters to her lawyer. She insists she is innocent and would like to be heard.
Rowan had been looking for a moment to recharge. She was struggling to make ends meet while working a full-time day job as a nanny. When Rowan was a teen, she had no family, few friends, and few options for the future. As soon as she was offered a position as a live-in nanny in a stunning mansion, she jumped at the chance, believing she had struck gold. Certainly, the house was secluded, and the children, particularly the sulky middle child, were difficult. Despite receiving a generous salary, the family had gone through four nannies in the previous year.
Rowan wanted to be a part of a family, and she was confident she could handle any situation that came her way. There was even a note from the previous nanny cautioning her to be cautious. Though there are whispers of ghosts and poison gardens, there is nothing to fear here. A series of revelations about Rowan’s past emerge as the story progresses. I was completely taken by surprise by the conclusion. I get goosebumps thinking about this book and want to read it all over again.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
In the wake of the Enron scandal, Laura Dave was inspired to write The Last Thing He Told Her by the media coverage of it. Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, The Glass Hotel, is based on the Madoff scandal and tells the story of financial corruption, fraud and greed. Similar to Dave, Mandel looks at how people’s lives are affected when they are caught up in a scheme like this.
A young woman mysteriously vanishes from a cruise ship at the beginning of the book. The narrative then shifts back and forth between the present and the past to tell a tale of betrayal, poor judgment, tangled family ties, and ghosts. Mandel has a talent for writing stories that show how each person’s life has an impact on so many other people. The beauty and the devastation of this ripple effect are inseparable.
Northern Spy by Flynn Berry
One more domestic suspense thriller from the Reese’s Book Club list: Northern Spy. It takes place during the Troubles in Northern Ireland (1968-1998). Even though it’s a page-turner, the focus of this novel is on the lives and relationships of two sisters who are affected by domestic terrorism and the constant threat of violence and injury.
As a BBC employee, Tessa believes that violence in the name of nationalism is wrong. She’s taken aback when she recognizes her sister’s face in a video of an IRA heist. At first, Tessa is sceptical about her sister’s ties to the violent group. Tessa becomes entangled in a web of espionage, secrecy, and mysterious disappearances as she learns more. In order to protect their family, country, and selves, they’ll have to examine their own allegiances and make difficult decisions.