Welcome to Desert Island Crime, where each week we ask a bestselling author: If you were stranded on a desert island and had to choose 8 books to take with you, what would you pick and why?
This week, we asked T. W. Ellis, otherwise known as bestselling author Tom Wood. His first ever standalone psychological thriller, A Knock at the Door, is out now. Over to you, Tom…
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is effortlessly readable long after you’ve been shocked by its sensational midpoint twist. I’m not sure it’s possible to find another book that has had such an incredible impact on the modern crime & thriller genre.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whittaker is sensationally good. There are so many brilliantly realised characters it is almost unbelievable that Duchess is able to stand out from the crowd. I don’t imagine I’ll read a better book for a long, long time.
The Cartel by Don Winslow is a tactical choice. If I’m on a desert island then I want a really long book to help pass the time. The Cartel is enormous, and has so many characters and plots, it’s going to be worth its weight in gold.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Buekes blends a classic serial killer tale with some reality-bending time travel. Despite the supernatural element, it feels very believable. I often think that crime novels can be too constrained by realism and the genre could benefit from more cross-genre efforts like this.
Persuader by Lee Child is one of the best of the long-running Reacher series. It’s a typically violent tale with some genuinely awful villains. As is normal, we’re under no illusions that Reacher will save the day, but we don’t care because we want to see those baddies get what’s coming.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is one of those books that’s so easy to read, it’s over before you know it. Ayoola and Korede’s are little sister and big sister, serial killer and her accomplice, and their unusual relationship is a dark joy to read about.
The Hired Gun by Matthew Branton is a slickly written slice of noir about contract killer Decker, who may or may not be over the hill. Branton manages to create an eminently sympathetic antihero that you can’t help but root for, and the world-building is excellent.
Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver is one of the most original, thought-provoking books I’ve read. It’s a haunting read about the danger of cults, the power of suggestion, and is boldly told by a narrator who pulls no punches with his social commentary.
A Knock at the Door
They ask for your husband. They just want to talk. THEY’RE LYING.
Your husband isn’t who he says he is, say the people at your door.
Come with us.
Don’t trust them, says a voice on the phone. Run.
Who would you believe?
In this terrifying first psychological thriller by bestselling author T.W. Ellis, one woman goes on the run and is forced to question everything she held dear…