Don’t Start These 3 Brilliant Books On A Holiday

They are so gripping, you’ll be stuck in your room and not want to leave until you know what happens in the end.

Don’t Start These 3 Brilliant Books On A Holiday
Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

They are so gripping, you’ll be stuck in your room and not want to leave until you know what happens in the end.

There are interesting fiction books.

And then there are books that hook you so bad, you’ve no option but to complete the entire story in a single sitting.

This post talks about three such books that will absolutely ruin your holiday. If you read them on a vacation, you’ll be stuck in your room, not wanting to go out until you know what happens in the end.

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you’ll find your next read on the list. If you’ve never tried the genre, but are in general interested in reading an interesting book, read on. The books listed below are so gripping, you won’t be able to tear your eyes off until you turn the last page.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. The Widow by K.L. Slater

Genre: Psychological thriller.

Book cover
Image: Goodreads

A small village is shaken to its core when the police dig the ancestral property of an old lady and find something so shocking, the whole country starts talking about it.

Village housewife Kate Shaw has a perfect life. Her husband, Michael seems to love her and their six-year-old daughter with all his heart. They don’t always have money to go on expensive vacations, but for now, this is enough.

Kate’s perfect life is torn to shreds when one day, her husband’s co-worker disappears, and suspicions fall onto her husband. As everyone in the village jumps to their own conclusions about who’s behind the kidnapping, a theory blossoms that Michael made the lady disappear as she was threatening to go public about their secret love affair.

It falls upon Kate to make the decision whether she’ll believe her husband, whom she has loved for 20 years of her life, or would she believe the evidence that strongly suggests there’s a lot more going on than what meets the eye.

As the stakes rise and more missing people are discovered, the small village is broken out of its usual stupor. Soon, a mystery so chilling surfaces that it’s bound to remain in the memories of the people of the village folk forever.

Why I liked this book so much

When I started reading the book, I didn’t quite like the protagonist. In spite of all the evidence staring at her right in the face, she still chose to believe that her husband was innocent.

This naive helplessness isn’t how I usually like women characters in books to be. And for a while, I was annoyed at how gullible and helpless she seemed playing into the role of the believing housewife, while her husband continued with one sordid scandal after another.

But as the story unfolded, I realized this was exactly what the author had planned.

In spite of how naive Kate Shaw might sound, turns out she isn’t foolish after all. The way the events unfold towards the end of the story makes it more than apparent.

I loved reading the book because of the strong sense of mystery permeating through the pages, right from the first chapter. After all, with a prologue that ends with a police person saying, “The whole country will be talking about this tomorrow morning,” what else can you expect?

I wanted to know what happened and who did it. The final reveal definitely took me by surprise. Although I had come to expect some of it, I didn’t know the why or how of what had been done. The way the author tied all the threads together towards the end was superb.

If you like psychological thrillers that also dig deep into the human psyche and why we behave the way we do, then “The Widow” by K.L. Slater is a book you should definitely read.

Get yourself a copy here.

2. The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

Genre: Psychological thriller/Crime fiction.

Image: Goodreads

The book begins with Chrissie, an 8-year-old girl, murdering Stephen, a 2-year-old boy.

And just like that, Chrissie has a secret no one else knows. As their whole locality is thrown into disarray, and the police try and fail to find out who committed the crime, Chrissie finds herself flourishing.

Her play-mates are in tears and the adults are overly protective of their kids, but Chrissie walks around like the best, most talented person around: someone who can make things and people disappear at her will, and no one will ever find out.

Twenty years later, Chrissie is no longer the confident, all-powerful child. Living under a changed name, she has traded the casual brutality of her childhood for the fear that comes from living a double life.

She no longer carries around a secret, but a burden that weighs her down and threatens to take away all that she holds dear.

Why I liked this book so much

This was a difficult book to get into. No matter how seasoned a reader you are, there’s always something deeply troubling about getting into the mind of a child-killer, even if the said killer is just eight years old.

On its surface, the book is crime fiction. But it takes a look into what happens when people who aren’t ready to have children decide to become parents. When adults use children as pawns in their sordid games of power, how does it impact the child? And when all else is taken away from the world of a child, what do they do to claim even a tiny fraction of parental love and adoration their friends seem to have in so much abundance?

The book made me cry. And even though I knew how it would end, I just couldn’t stop reading because of how well-written and deeply thought-provoking it was. The characters seem to fit in right with your life, and you want to keep reading because you can’t live without knowing what happens to them and how they deal with it.

Get yourself a copy here.

3. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Genre: Psychological thriller.

Image: Goodreads

A woman comes back to her senses in a hospital one morning. She can’t move. She can’t speak. Her foggy brain knows there are only three truths she can be sure of:

  1. I’m in a coma.
  2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
  3. Sometimes I lie.

Paralyzed on her bed and helpless to anything that happens to her, she can’t even remember how she ended up here. Does he husband have anything to do with the terrible accident that left her in a coma?

The narration alternates between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago.Sometimes I Lie is a brilliant psychological thriller asks the reader: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Why I liked this book so much

My first reaction when I finished the book: “What the fuck was that?”

I am a fan of thrillers in general and psychological thrillers in particular. Having read several books of that genre, I have come to have some general theories, some preconceived notions, and I am, in general, very good at guessing what the story might be. But this book defied all that. Nay, it took all my guesses, grabbed them by the throat, and threw them out the window.

Yes, it was that good — I am not exaggerating. The ending was brilliantly executed. The characters are flawed to the extent that a reader shudders every time the narrator goes, “I did something bad. I swear I didn’t mean to.”

The start is a bit slow and the amount of self-pity the narrator indulges in might get on your nerves. But have some patience. There is a reason for all that and that reason is BRILLIANT. All the seemingly unconnected threads come together brilliantly towards the end and will leave you reeling with shock.

Get yourself a copy here.

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