Why the rise of the Psychological Thriller is ruining the classic ‘whodunit’

As far as I’m aware, the psychological thriller sub-genre is a relatively new one. It’s certainly one I’ve only come across recently in any case. For those who aren’t familiar, it is used to categorise books that have some sort of large twist; something that messes with your mind and makes you go ‘ERM WHATWHYHOW’ when you reach it. Twists that are so unexpected and yet so cleverly written that you truly did not see it coming.

This all stems from the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, released in 2012. Suddenly, everyone wants to cash in on Flynn’s success, by branding their book as ‘the new Gone Girl’. I’ve seen so many books with this sort of reference on the cover I can’t even count, and yet the majority of the ones I’ve actually read, really fail to hit the mark. This term ‘psychological thriller’ is being used to describe any generic thriller with a female protagonist and a creepy looking cover. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the ones I’ve read, I have, they’ve just disappointed me. I’ve learnt that expecting something on par with Gone Girl is just not going to work.

I understand that publishers need to use certain marketing tools to sell books, and trying to cash in on one of the bestselling novels of the decade is not a bad idea. Clearly it’s working; I certainly keep falling for it myself. The problem is, these are books that I’ve ended up being disappointed by, when if they didn’t have the ‘Gone Gir tag on the cover, I would have really enjoyed. It’s difficult to know when to draw the line, but many books marketed as ‘psychological thriller’ have very average ratings on websites such as Goodreads. Many of the two and three star ratings that are dragging the overal average down are simply people who feel they’ve been duped into believing this would be something that it’s not.

I’m reluctant to name names here, although you’ll see many examples in the reviews on my blog, as I don’t want to insult the authors in question. It is the publishers that are responsible for this trickery, not the authors, who just want a crack at writing a decent thriller.

One name I will mention is arguably the most overhyped book of the last year, and that’s The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I read an article recently by _______ (add link), about the rise of books with ‘Girl’ in the title, and that goes some way to summarising what I’m trying to express here. The Girl on the Train is the driver of the ‘psychological thriller’ bandwagon. Now, I enjoyed the book, despite having a few issues with the ending’ yet I fail to see why this is better than other similar book of the same genre. I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh is much more suibtable categorised, and is the only book I’ve read so far that even comes close to Gone Girl, yet it hasn’t taken off in the same way at all. Yes, I’m sure Claire Mackintosh is enjoying modest success and has achieved a very decent number of book sales for a debut author, yet as far as I’m aware, there are no movie deals here. This is not ‘the book that everyone’s talking about’ in the same way that The Girl on the Train is. Now this is pure speculation, and I do not have sales figures for either book, but the reason I believe for The Girl on the Train’s incredible success is because of that one word in the title. The reader automatically compares this to Gone Girl and expects something of the same, even if it’s subconscious.

For me, the best thing about Gone Girl is the intelligence in the writing. Gillian Flynn’s style is something matched by no other. She manages to cleverly weave a stomach churning plot with deeply unlikable characters, yet still managing to make it a joy to read. All three of her books are masterfully crafted, yet unbelievably messed up; so much so, that you begin to worry for her sanity. This clever style is unmatched by anything I’ve ever read, particularly by anyone attempting to slot themselves into this genre.

Of course, this is no bad thing. An author must always bring something new to the table, otherwise what’s the point in picking up debuts rather than well-published reliables?

I’m not an author. I’ve never even attempted to write a book myself, I lack the creativity. I am, however, an avid reader. I am a reader who is getting sick to death of being disappointed by the books I read, simply because of inappropriate marketing.

WWW Wednesday – 8th March 2017

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday post, a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. This is my first WWW post since September, and first post at all this year(!), but I’ve been very busy with my masters degree so I’ve had to take a step back from my blog. I have several reviews waiting to be written when I get chance, and I’m going to try to post WWW Wednesday and general reading update posts a little bit more regularly.

Please go and have a look at everyone else is reading and make sure you post your own WWW in the comments so I can have a look.

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The premise of the post is quite simple – answer the three Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

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End of Year Review

This year has been the first year I’ve had a blog, and the first year I’ve actually managed to complete my reading challenge. Anyone who’s read my blog in the past knows that I had a year between undergrad and postgrad uni to pretty much do what I liked, so I spent most of that reading as many books as possible. I’m now back at uni, so my blogging and reading has tailed off dramatically, but I’m taking a study break to write this.

This year, I’ve read 37 books! I know that doesn’t sound like a massive amount, but I’m a fairly slow reader, so that’s really impressive for me. I originally set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 25, but ended up extending it twice. I would’ve loved to make it to 40, but I really don’t have the time any more. My one book a week has turned into one book a month, so it’s unlikely I’ll get another 3 books read in the next week. I’m doing my best to keep reading though. During my undergrad, I stopped reading completely, other than over the summer, and I really missed it. I’m making sure I’ve always got a book on the go, to read a chapter at a time when I need a break from studying.

So moving on to this years reading stats. According to Goodreads, I have read:

  • Books: 37 
  • Pages: 14,198 
  • 5* books: 4
  • 4* books: 21
  • 3* books: 11
  • Unfinished books: 1

I rate books differently on my blog, so I have listed below my 10/10 Perfection and 9/10 Almost There books, with links to my reviews:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Room by Emma Donoghue

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Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

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If you haven’t read any of these, please do, they’re all wonderful. I’ve read so many goo books this year, and haven’t rated any lower than 3*. I’ve been lucky enough to win several Goodreads Giveaways and had the opportunity to review many ARC, so I’m really grateful for that.

I’ve also loved being part of the Book Blogger community. I now get most of my reading recommendation from you guys, so thanks for that! I know I’m not really active at the moment, but I am still lurking around and reading everyone’s reviews and posts.

I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as I saw the play last week. I was a bit disappointed with the play, if I’m honest. I’ll not give any spoilers, but I found the story incredibly odd. I’m hoping I enjoy it more written down on paper.

I still have so many things on my TBR list, and I’ve asked for far too many books for Christmas, so I’m sure that list will increase even more this time next week. Hopefully, I’ll slowly be able to make my way through them all. I’ll be setting my 2017 reading challenge much lower, at 20 books. My masters lasts all the way to September, so everything will be slow going up to then, although I’ll hopefully get plenty read once I’ve finished, and for the inevitable holiday I will have at some point over the summer. I know it’s very unlikely I’ll beat what I achieved this year, so maybe that’ll have to wait until 2018s reading challenge.

 Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to look at my blog this year, I can’t believe anyone at all has read it, never mind over 1000 people.

For now, I’ll just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What are your favourite reads of 2016?

Top Ten Tuesday -Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017. This is week is quite easy for me, as I only buy paperbacks as a rule, mainly because of the price, and also because they look out of place on my bookshelf, so there’s been lots of hardback releases in the latter half of 2016, that I’m desperately waiting for.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016. I read more books in 2016 than I ever have before, and most of them were new authors, so here’s my ten favourites!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately. I forever adding things to my TBR, often with no immediate intention of actually reading them, so here’s ten that I actually do intend to read in 2017, I just haven’t bought copies yet. I’ll probably end up pretty much duplicating this post in December for my 2017 TBR post.

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Monthly Round Up – October

So October has been my first month as a masters student and as you’ll guess if you’ve been paying attention, I haven’t had much time for reading or blogging. In fact the only posts that have gone out are my pre-scheduled Top Ten Tuesdays. This month has been busier than I could’ve imagined, but I’m enjoying my course and getting back into studying again. 

I’ve managed to finish The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and read an ARC that’s been sat on my Kobo for too long, Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. I’m cheating a little bit as I finished that tonight (2nd November), but I’m going to count it anyway. Review coming soon (when I have time!).


One good bookish thing about this month is that I’ve finally completed my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge of reading 35 books. I was really hoping for 40, but considering how long Local Girl Missing took me, and with only two months left, I don’t think I’ll make it. 

I’m obviously reading much slower now, but I’m enjoying it. I’m taking my time and not rushing to get things finished like I did have a tendency to do. I’ve got back into reading every night before bed, which is a nice way to switch off after a long day with my head in research books. Over the past year, reading has become slightly more than just a hobby, simply because I haven’t had anything else to focus my mind on, but now I’m feeling much more casual and relaxed about it. I’m not worrying about reading a book a week so that I fulfil my goal of paying a review a week on my blog. 

Unfortunately, my blog is something I’ve had to put to one side, although I’m certainly not giving up on it altogether. I’m really proud of what I e managed to build up over the past few months, and although I don’t have masses of followers, or views for that matter, I never even expected anyone to read it. I love being part of the book blogger community, and that’s not something I’m going to leave behind, I’m just going to be playing more of a background role for the foreseeable. 

I’m about to start The Reader on the 6:27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. I’m looking forward to reading something different and uplifting, as I’ve heard this is!


Happy November!

Top Ten Tuesday -Top Ten Books To Read If Your Book Club Likes Historical Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books To Read If Your Book Club Likes _______________. I’ve decided to go for Historical Fiction, as I’ve done a top ten thrillers list recently.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My favourite book of all time. It’s a very marmite type book, so I imagine it would provoke some interesting discussion in a book club setting. The narrative is very unusual, as is the main premise of the story really. In my opinion, it’s a true masterpiece of writing.img_0230


The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paulina Simons

Good for book clubs that enjoy a good romance. This trilogy is so, so good, with characters that you will fall head over heels in love with. The setting of the first book is the Siege of Leningrad, during World War Two, and it is unbelievable harrowing.


Fall of Giants Trilogy by Ken Follett

Perhaps these are a little long for a book club, being over 1000 pages each, but I’d recommend it to those who have plenty of time! The first two are brilliant tellings of 20th Century history, from the start of World War One, through to the end of World War Two. The third one is set during the Cold War, and is no where near as good as the first two, so probably best to be avoided.fall-of-giants


The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Not strictly historical fiction, but it is set in 1920s Australia, so it does slightly fit into this genre. I can imagine this providing plenty of book club debate as it has the question of right and wrong at its core. Highly recommended.img_0214


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The parallel stories of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War Two. Really beautiful imagery throughout. (My review here)img_0175


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A stunning account of a black woman in 1960s Southern America.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Another ‘Set in World War Two France’ book, but a completely different spin to anything I’ve read on that topic before.

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

I’m sure many people will have already read this, or at least seen the film. There’s something so brilliant about the way it’s written that I instantly felt the need to discuss it afterwards. I’m sure many others felt the same.

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Two Brothers by Ben Elton

The story of two brothers, one adopted, during the rise of Nazism in Berlin. One is discovered to be from Arayan parentage, while the other is from Jewish. It is partially based on Ben Elton’s own family.

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Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Not really historical fiction, but it is set in the 1970s, so it’s not entirely modern either. It’s a very deep and really quite disturbing book, yet so beautifully written. I loved it, although I know many people found it a bit much. I’m sure a book club would enjoy discussing it regardless. (My review here)

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