Five Fe-nomenal Female [Thriller] Writers

There’s truly nothing like summer to put me on a thriller kick. Other times of year I find I prefer deeper, more thought-provoking styles, but in the heat of July, give me a murder mystery I can devour in three days, and I’m a very happy camper. Over the years I’ve read a variety of authors and with Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game coming out tomorrow, I wanted to make a quick list of my Five Favorite Female Thriller Writers (I lost the F trend after a while..)

Tana French

French is the author that got me back in to reading. I borrowed Into the Woods from my mom in high school and fell back in love with reading.  I didn’t read much through college or grad school, but every time a new Tana French book was released, I ran across the street to Barnes and Noble and picked it up.

Tana French’s style is character driven. It focuses as much on the detectives as on the mystery they are solving. It’s also very procedural. I didn’t totally pick up on it for the first few books, but each book has a main detective and a secondary detective, and in the next book, the secondary detective becomes the main and a new detective is introduced. This gives these books some cohesion, but you by no means need to read them in order.

My Favorites:

Paula Hawkins

I’ll admit it. I’m a total fan! I was hesitant after The Girl on the Train, because it felt like every book with the word “girl” in the title was an instant bestseller, but just last month I read and loved Into the Water.

Hawkins’ style tells the story through the point of view of many characters. The suspense is built through a scene told in one voice, which will take place up to the action, and then stop. While the narration switches to someone who is uninformed or uninvolved but speculating about the primary scene, you start to engage in their speculation too. And when you just about can’t take it anymore, the narrator switches again and the scene is revealed. I couldn’t put Into the Water down, and if we’re being honest, I read The Girl on the Train in just a few days too.

Books to Check Out:

Ruth Ware

If you missed my recent review of In a Dark Dark Wood, check it out here!

Ruth Ware’s books focus on writers (at least in the first two books) a little bit out of their league and in the fight of their lives.

Her books are fast paced and pure joy. Since I like to dissect books, I often find that when I read a book that’s too light, I get bored. I never felt that way with these. In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 are unrelenting in suspense. Be sure to clear your plans before picking one up!

Ware’s Tales (that doesn’t even rhyme):

Susie Steiner

Susie Steiner may be the most unknown on this list. Her first in the D.S. Manon series came out last summer, and number two was just released this week. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

D. S. Manon is the female detective who serves as the protagonist in this mystery series. I heard mixed reviews when the book came out – a lot of people really didn’t like Manon and it ruined the book for them, and others were lauding it as a great debut. I picked it as my Book of the Month selection last July and thoroughly enjoyed it! The style was definitely similar to Tana French, and I’m looking forward to Steiner’s next book, so I can continue to get a feel for her writing style!

Check these out:

Gillian Flynn

… who’s name may as well be Gone Girl. Who hasn’t read this book? I believe that I read this one the best way — totally blind. I had no idea what to expect, which is seriously the only way to do this book, so I won’t spoil it for new readers.

Since Gone Girl, I read Dark Places, and her short story The Grownup. What I find to be both Flynn’s strength and weakness, is her ability to write a creepy story. Dark Places made me uncomfortable by the end of it, and while the plot of that book has stayed with me even two years later, I kind of wish it would go away. The Grownup really solidified this for me. It was amazing how Flynn could spin a tale so creepy in so few pages. But hey, I’ve never been one to enjoy a scary movie or a haunted house. If that sounds like you – this may be for you as well.

Flynn is clearly supremely talented as a writer, and if you’re looking for something to make your spine tingle, look no further. 

The Best of the Best:

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