Psychological thrillers are my thing. I seem to gravitate to books that feature crazy female characters who are smart, resourceful, creative, and in control of their situations. These ladies know how to manipulate the people around them, especially men. Maybe we can all learn a thing or two from them.
Here are five of my favorite books that I’ve read in the last year that feature cray cray chicks:
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Publish Date: June 5, 2018
“There are two kinds of people in the world; the people you can fool into liking you, and the ones clever enough not to fall for it.” – Social Creature
This psychological thriller is about a toxic friendship between Lavinia and Louise. Rich Girl Lavinia has lured Poor Girl Louise into her world of The Finer Things. Lavinia has a beautiful NYC apartment, is invited to elite private parties, goes to the opera and the Met balls, has a breathtaking designer wardrobe, has over $100K in her ATM account, and a fleet of famous literary friends. Her life centers around good lighting, shopping, glam parties, drugs, lots of booze, and selfies. Lavinia brings Louise into her inner circle and gives her a taste of the high life. Louise loves it and can’t get enough. Soon she is partying with Lavinia on a nightly basis, reneging on her work obligations, and flirting with Lavinia’s ex, Rex. This setup leads to Louise digging herself into a very, very deep hole and then WATCH OUT, the book is un-putdownable.
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Publish Date: June 12, 2018
“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.” — Lying in Wait
Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.
I have read a lot of thrillers about psychopaths, but this one TOPS THEM ALL. This book has the craziest cray cray character of all. Lydia takes the cake. If this is a contest, she beats out Amy Dunne of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Paul Strom of Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda.
It’s crazy creepy, and often made me gasp in horrified fascination. Luckily, Lydia is a fictional character, but it makes me wonder ~ who walks among us that might be the real life version of this psychopath?
An Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen & Greer Hendricks
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
“I don’t fear strangers… I’ve learned more harm can come from familiar faces.” — An Anonymous Girl
I love this formula for a story: A financially challenged, desperate, single female living in a big city trying to get by. This person is also smart, independent, resourceful, creative, and motivated by money.
The main character, Jessica, fits this perfectly. She is motivated by money because she doesn’t have any. She has a strong sense of family and is helping her family financially, even though she is barely scraping by. We learn more about her character through the questions posed to her during a morality and ethics study, and a lot more about her afterwards in real-life tests. Her motivation is her downfall, and she is easily manipulated and turned into a puppet by Dr. Lydia Shields.
Dr. Shields is very analytical and references many therapy techniques, behaviors, and well-known human studies/experiments. She is obsessive, cold, calculating, manipulative, controlling, and…. cray cray. I never knew where the story was heading.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Publish Date: March 26, 2019
“Some people are just wired wrong. They think bad is good.” — My Lovely Wife
This book is a twisty, disturbing ride with some absolutely VILE characters, and it’s highly entertaining.
Millicent and her husband are just plain cray cray. They spice up their marriage in a very unusual way. When I say this, I don’t mean swinging or swapping or sex parties. No, that would be too typical, bland, boring. They keep their marriage alive in a way that no one would expect – they are serial killers living under a deceptively mundane existence.
This is the craziest thriller that I have read to date. Fasten your seat belt for this wild, dark ride of a book, and don’t say that I didn’t warn you. It’s an excellent first book from this author.
The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
Publish Date: March 26, 2019
“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, make them.” — The Perfect Girlfriend
Everyone has an inner psycho. They might stuff it deep inside of themselves, but it’s there. Juliette, our main character, is unafraid to show it to the world. She has suffered a huge heartbreak but she is determined to win back the love of her life by doing whatever it takes.
I admire her determination. “Stick to the plan, stick to the plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail,“ she says to herself. “As long as I don’t veer off course, nothing can ever harm me again“. Many people go through bad breakups, but most move upward and onward. Not Juliette. She does things that jilted exes dream of doing, but she can’t help it. Love makes people do crazy things.
There are times when I cringed and groaned and said “No you didn’t just do that” but I loved the premise. The writing is strong, the story is entertaining and easy to read, and if you’ve ever had your heart broken, you’ll live vicariously through Juliette.