If you were stranded on a desert island and had to choose 8 books to take with you. What would you pick and why? In today’s feature, Allison Dickson, the author of The Other Mrs Miller recommends her crime and thriller favourites.
Over to you Allison:
- Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller. This one easily stokes the fires of voyeurism. In the summer of 1969, Frances is living in a room above a very interesting couple, Cara and Peter. At first, she spies on them, but eventually she’s drawn more fully into their world, where things aren’t quite as idyllic as they initially seemed. The setting of an English mansion and the time period make this incredibly rich story with perfect prose indelible.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – When famous artist Alicia Berensen murders her husband and then never speaks a word, psychologist Theo Faber becomes obsessed with unraveling her mystery. Utterly brilliant, engrossing from the start, it’s not hard to see why this book has been such a hit.
- My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – The ultimate story of how to keep a marriage alive . . . by committing murder. This book is disturbing in all the best possible ways, but is especially strong due to Downing’s gift for pacing.
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy – This one reads almost like a modern day western as it meditates on the unstoppable nature of evil and the consequences of a split decision, which in this case was a man taking a bag of money that didn’t belong to him after stumbling on a drug deal gone wrong in the desert. McCarthy’s spare prose reads almost like poetry.
- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – Of Flynn’s three excellent novels, this one remains probably the most re-readable for me. Protagonist Libby Day is compelled to look into the murders of her mother and younger siblings when a group of diehard Murderino types present info that Libby’s brother, who’d long ago been convicted of the slayings, might not be guilty after all. With its alternating timelines, super taut tension, and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end, it remains one of the strongest books in the crime genre.
- You by Caroline Kepnes – I was in love with this story long before Netflix made it explode (deservedly!) into the stratosphere with the hit show. From the very first page, Kepnes grabs the reader through the eyes and mind of bookstore clerk Joe Goldberg, who has fallen in love at first sight with beautiful college student, Guinevere Beck. From there, Joe’s pursuit of her unfolds like a terrifying master class of stalkerish behaviour that would have me voluntarily exiting the dating pool if I weren’t already married.
- Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – There is so much beautiful snark in this book, I could read it over and over just to marvel at it. Knoll’s debut about Ani’s perfect life—great job, amazing fiancé, the whole bit—is all at risk of falling apart due to a secret she’s been holding onto since she was a teenager. Of course, wanting to know what that secret is drives us to turn the pages, but it’s Knoll’s stunning voice that makes want to keep turning them long into the night, well past our bedtime.
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – If criminal justice, wrongful convictions, and complicated marriage stories are at all your bag, this amazing book needs to be on your desert island list. The story of artist Celestial and her husband Roy whose lives are ripped apart when he’s sent to prison for 12 years for something he didn’t do, and how they both cope with the fallout will stay with you. It’s timely, important reading.
Allison Dickson’s new novel The Other Mrs Miller is out now in ebook.