Tag: Jessica Knoll

5 Amazing Psychological Thrillers If You’re Missing ‘Sharp Objects’

Don’t worry, you weren’t the only one suffering from withdrawal when Sharp Objects came to an end. I too suffered and continued to suffer… that is, until I found the perfect cure. “What is it?” I hear you cry. Well, I’m glad you asked. The cure is the following five amazing psychological thrillers that you will no doubt both devour and be devoured by. These books are so gripping, so creepy, and so enthralling, you’ll have no choice but surrender yourself to them, allowing them to totally rid you of those withdrawal symptoms!

So, without further ado, let me present to you the cure!

 

1. The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda 

 

Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter book cover featuring woman underwater
Image Via Bustle

 

Kaira Rouda, author of Best Day Ever, is back with The Favorite Daughter, and you’re going to need to sit down. In addition to being one of PopSugar’s Best Books of Spring, and receiving a starred review from Publishers WeeklyThe Favorite Daughter has been described by USA Today bestselling author Cristina Alger, as “compulsively readable and deeply satisfying psychological suspense.” Liv Constantine, author of the national bestseller The Last Mrs. Parrishsaid it “leaves you wanting more;” New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf dubbed it  “a smart, wickedly plotted psychological thriller brimming with dark surprises.” The praise is as endless as you’ll wish this book was almost as soon as you begin. Check out the synopsis below, and don’t forget to grab your copy!

 

From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

2. THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND by Karen Hamilton

 

Image Via The Nerd Daily

 

A Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend is Culturefly‘s buzzed-about ‘addictive psychological thriller,’ and the Sunday Mirror notes: “You don’t often come across a character who is both sociopathic and compelling. Buckle your seatbelts, you’re in for a very bumpy ride… Let this supremely enjoyable thriller whisk you up, up and away.” Good Housekeeping advises: “Be prepared to put your life on hold.” So, are you prepared? Hope you’re ready for the description.

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish meets Fatal Attraction in this riveting, voice-driven domestic suspense novel about a woman who will stop at nothing to reclaim her ex-boyfriend, including training as a flight attendant at the airline that employs him.

Juliette has everything going for her: she’s young, pretty, and driven, and she’s training for an exciting new career as a flight attendant.

The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself—one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training.

What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there, and makes sure to leave all his favorite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him.

He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.

 

3. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll 

 

Cover for Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive
Image Via Coast

 

Knoll’s debut Luckiest Girl Alive is not only New York Times bestseller, but it’s also the recipient of celeb Reese Witherspoon’s most serious attention. Witherspoon optioned it for a film in conjunction with Lionsgate. And don’t worry about it being one of those adaptations that the author has nothing to do with—Knoll herself adapting the screenplay. We’re safe! Of course, the characters may not be… “Loved Gone Girl?” asks Good Housekeeping. (Yes! you exclaim.) “We promise this is just as addictive.” Okay, and I can vouch that the same can be said for fans of Sharp Objects! Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Pradacalled Luckiest Girl Alive “biting and shocking—it kept me riveted from cover to cover.”

 

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is an audacious, page-turning debut thriller that will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Jodi Picoult.

Her perfect life is a perfect lie . . . Ani FaNelli is the woman who has it all: the glamorous job, the designer wardrobe, the handsome and rich fiancé. But behind her sharp edges and meticulously crafted facade lies the darkest of pasts . . .

When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling and violent incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley school, she hopes it will be an opportunity to prove how far she’s turned her life around since then. She’ll even let the production company film her lavish wedding, the final step in her transformation.

But as the wedding and filming converge, Ani’s past threatens to come back and haunt her. And as her immaculate veneer starts to crack, she is forced to question: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for – or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

 

4. Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

 

Book cover for Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbot
Image Via King 5

 

Okay, if Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, likes your thriller, you’re probably pretty great, and Hawkins had this to say about Abbott’s latest offering: “Megan Abbott at her very best. Cool, crisp, chilling.” The New Yorker said that Give Me Your Hand is “steeped in the feminine gothic… [the novel] explores what characters who have been beaten down and confined by sexism might be capable of. Abbott tempts us to read her tale as a study in what happens when female revenge overflows its bounds…” Sounds amazing, right? Thats because it is.

 

You told each other everything. Then she told you too much.

Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving everything she wanted. She hasn’t let anything stop her.

But now someone else is standing in her way – Diane. Best friends at seventeen, their shared ambition made them inseparable. Until the day Diane told Kit her secret – the worst thing she’d ever done, the worst thing Kit could imagine – and it blew their friendship apart.

Kit is still the only person who knows what Diane did. And now Diane knows something about Kit that could destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.

How far would Kit go, to make the hard work, the sacrifice, worth it in the end? What wouldn’t she give up? Diane thinks Kit is just like her. Maybe she’s right. Ambition: it’s in the blood . . .

5. As Long as We Both Shall Live BY Joann Chaney

 

Book cover for Joann Chaney's As Long As We Both Shall Live
Image Via Books 2 Screen

 

Kirkus Reviews called Chaney’s As Long As We Both Shall Live “a perfectly paced, shock-studded chiller from an author to watch.” People thought it was “unputdownable….anything but predictable,” and that “the female characters are forces of nature, and the plot twists are deliciously demented, a la Gone Girl and Big Little Lies.” The New York Times called Chaney a “thoughtful and nuanced writer,” who is always only “a half-step ahead of us but continually getting away, right through the book’s conclusion…” Don’t trust those sources? Well, trust your own eyes! Grab a copy and see for yourself.

As Long As We Both Shall Live is JoAnn Chaney’s wicked, masterful examination of a marriage gone very wrong . . .

‘My wife! I think she’s dead!’ Matt frantically calls to park rangers, explaining that he and his wife, Marie, were out hiking when she stumbled on a cliff edge and fell into the raging river below. They start a search but aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall.
It’s a tragic accident.

But when police discover Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances – a fire in their family home – they have a lot more questions for him.

Is Matt a grieving husband, or has he just killed his second wife? Detectives Loren and Spengler dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

‘My wife! I think she’s dead!’ Matt frantically calls to park rangers, explaining that he and his wife, Marie, were out hiking when she stumbled on a cliff edge and fell into the raging river below. They start a search but aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall.
It’s a tragic accident.

But when police discover Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances – a fire in their family home – they have a lot more questions for him.

Is Matt a grieving husband, or has he just killed his second wife? Detectives Loren and Spengler dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

 

Featured Images Via Amazon and HBO

Jessica Knoll sitting at a table in a restaurant

Jessica Knoll Set Out to Be Successful. Why Is That a Bad Thing?

March 21st saw The Cut’s publication of Maggie Bullock’s interview with bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive and The Favorite Sister, Jessica Knoll. The interview is entitled “How to Be a Writer and Still Get Really, Really Rich,” and is part of a series called Get That Money, described by The Cut as ‘an exploration of the many ways we think about our finances — what we earn, what we have, and what we want. As part of the series, we’re interviewing women about how they feel about their bank balances.’ The interview features Knoll—whose first book Luckiest Girl Alive is being made into a film by Reese Witherspoon, and whose second book The Favorite Sister is being brought to television by the producers of Big Little Lies—discussing, in no uncertain terms, how she deliberately set out to write a New York Times bestseller, and intended to become extremely wealthy from writing. She says of the initial sale of the book: “We had an offer from Simon & Schuster. It was quite a large number, but then two more offers came in over the next couple of days and we were able to negotiate and get it even higher. My feeling was, “Yeah, this is exactly what I expected.”’ Knoll goes on to explain that she aspires to Shonda Rhimes-level success, saying “The secret sauce is being an author who can adapt her own material. Then you’re not only looking at the money that the publisher is going to pay you, you’re looking at the money that the studio, network, whatever is going to pay you. And the royalties you’re going to make because the book is on everyone’s radar.”

Her candidness and openness about her motivations is unlike anything I have ever seen from an author, and though personally, I found it extremely interesting and refreshing, it has enraged and seemingly disgusted many.

On TwitterThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author John Boyne calls the piece “one of the most depressing author interviews [he’s] ever read,” and accuses Knoll of having “no humility, no interest in writing a good book,’ and “bragging about money, movie stars and Porsches.” He ends the tweet by claiming that “only someone with absolutely zero self-awareness could talk like this.”

At the time of writing, Boyne’s tweet has no less than 108 replies, the majority of which agree with him, saying things like “there’s a writer whose work I never need to read,” wondering how she can be a writer of fiction when she appears to have “so little empathy,” with one person simply commenting “I think she’s awful.” Of course there are those who interject to point out that Knoll was being interviewed specifically about her finances, not her inspiration or writing process, and that humility is not necessarily a prerequisite for writers, but the majority of responses are in agreement with Boyne: that Knoll is a superficial, inherently bad person, whose writing they will never go near.

Elsewhere on Twitter, the sentiment is similar. Knoll “may be a great writer but seems like a really terrible human being,” says one person, while another calls the interview “a perfect hate read.”

 

The Favorite Sister book cover and Jessica Knoll
Image Via Paperbacks Paris

 

I object to this line of thinking. People intentionally become wealthy in myriad ways. I don’t think it’s fair to vilify someone for combining their talent and business sense to do so. It is simply snobbery and silly artistic gatekeeping to suggest that Knoll has no empathy or is a bad person for admitting to doing that. The most irksome thing about the interview is the part wherein she mentions that upon purchasing her Porsche, the dealer looked to her husband to confirm her income. That, to me, is what people should be irritated about.

As she mentions in this interview, and speaks about in greater detail elsewhere, Knoll had a hugely traumatic experience as a teenager, which led to an eating disorder and also inspired Luckiest Girl Alive. I would argue that it makes perfect sense and is completely reasonable for someone with Knoll’s past to seek financial security, to be able to afford good therapy, to be able to afford a home. She saw an opportunity, she knew she could do it and do it right, and so she did.

I don’t think artists should get to tell other artists that the reasons they’ve created their work are wrong, especially not writers who have also made a fortune doing what Knoll does (looking at you and your self-described ‘ego room,’ John Boyne.) Why is she wrong to want what they have, too? Because one is not supposed admit to wanting it? And one is just supposed to smile politely to oneself when it does happen, and never be so vulgar as to discuss it or admit that it’s an advantage or that they wanted, or God forbid expected, it to happen?

I was relieved to see that I am not the only one irritated by the general reaction to this interview. Among the responses on Twitter were many, mainly from women, who say they are ‘fascinated’ (a word used, interestingly, a number of times) by Knoll’s honesty and praise her for achieving her goals, and I am among them. I have never in my life seen a writer, much less a woman, be so frank about their financial goals and about wielding their talent and knowledge of the industry (Knoll was an editor at Cosmo and was working at Self at Condé Nast when Luckiest Girl Alive was published) in order to get where they wanted to go.

Writer Emma Flynn dismissed Boyne’s point, tweeting ‘I hate the idea that there’s something inherently noble about being a writer.’

I agree with her. It’s ridiculous to denigrate someone for not having the same apparently vocational motivations for writing that you deem necessary for the writing to be considered valuable or the writer to be considered legitimate. Is success supposed to be just an unlikely side effect of being a writer, one that, however pleasant it may be, we are not supposed to admit is desirable, and certainly not a motivation? As Flynn says, the idea that writing must be an ‘inherently noble’ pursuit, seems notional. Of course, most writers write for the sheer joy of it, the passion for it, the need for it, the urge. But who’s to say Knoll doesn’t do that too? She has spoken in the past of how writing Luckiest Girl Alive was incredibly cathartic for her and a way of dealing with her trauma,  she is a big reader and among her favorite books are Bright Lights Big City, The Bell Jar and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Knoll is a bonafide writer, a bestselling author, there are both film and television adaptation of her work in production and fair play to her for being as involved as possible in these projects. But even if she hadn’t otherwise discussed her love of reading and writing, and The Cut interview was only one she ever gave, I would still object to criticism of her ‘lack of humility’, or the interview being ‘a hate read.’ Knoll saw her chance, recognized her own abilities, used her position and secured for herself the success she desired. That is to be admired.

 

Featured Image Via WWD.com

Top 5 Thriller Writers Taking Things to the Next Level

Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock once said “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it,” and while there are countless authors seeking to instill in their readers the terror and anticipation of which Hitchcock spoke, there are only some who really stand out, who take risks and elevate the art of thrilling readers. Here are the top five thriller writers who are taking things to the next level.

 

1. Peter James

 

Image Via The Real Spy

 

One of the biggest names in thriller writing in the UK and Ireland, Peter James is about to hit the US, and you better be ready. Having received his first writing accolade in school, this murder mystery powerhouse has won coveted awards almost every year since 1999, and doesn’t show signs of stopping. Brace yourself for some big numbers: James is best known as the author of the Roy Grace series, which is comprised of nineteen books and counting, and has sold a cool 19 million copies worldwide, as well as earning him the number one spots in countries including the UK, Canada, Russia and Germany and being translated into thirty-seven languages. It doesn’t stop there. James has over twenty additional novels under his belt, as well as a non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking: Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton, and has also been involved in the making of no less than twenty-six movies including A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, starring Robert De Niro. All in a day’s work.

 

James’s latest contribution to the world of thriller writing is his exciting new novel Absolute Proof. What would you do if someone told you they had absolute proof of God’s existence? That is the question posed by James in what Lee Child has called “the best what-if thriller since The Da Vinci Code.” Investigative journalist Ross Hunter receives the following phone call that will change his life forever…

 

‘I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.’

 

“What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what,” asks James, “would be the consequences? The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence…”

Don’t miss your chance to win your name in a Peter James novel, signed copies of Absolute Proof and more thrilling Peter James goodies! 

2. Paula Hawkins

 

Image Via Daily Express

 

You’re probably familiar with Paula Hawkins’ phenomenon The Girl on the Train, which was made into a crazy-successful film starring Emily Blunt. But can you fathom how successful the book was, even without the film? The Girl on the Train debuted at number one on The New York Times Bestsellers list, where it spent thirteen consecutive weeks. In its first year, the book sold well over 1.5 million copies, and occupied the number one spot of the UK hardback book chart for twenty weeks, the longest any book has ever held the top spot.

 

The Girl on the Train was the first book she published as Paula Hawkins, however it was not her first published work. She wrote several romance novels under the pseudonym Amy Silver, as well as a financial advice book for women entitled The Money Goddess. Her second book as Hawkins, Into the Water, had a lot to live up to, however also became a bestseller and in February 2017, before it was first published, DreamWorks’ parent Amblin Partners purchased the film rights, with La La Land‘s Mark Platt and Jared LeBoff as producers. If you’ve seen The Girl on the Train film, you’ll be excited for this. As USA Today notes, “Hawkins, influenced by Hitchcock, has a cinematic eye and an ear for eerie, evocative language.”

 

3. Tana French

 

Image Via Oprah.com

 

A favorite author of none other than Stephen King, Irish-American author Tana French is best known for her Dublin Detectives series, which follows the homicide detectives of Dublin as they investigate strange and unusual crimes around Ireland. Her best book (in this writer’s opinion) is The Secret Place, an absolutely stunning mixture of thriller, bildungsroman, murder mystery and, unexpectedly, but so well executed, magic surrealism that will keep you entirely hooked until the end. The combination of themes and genres she weaves together really sets her apart, and ensures that no two of her novels bear much similarity to one another, beyond their consistently gripping plots, believable characters and, as King would have it, ‘incandescent’ prose.

 

Her latest offering, The Witch Elm, described by the New York Times as “her most intricately nuanced novel yet” follows a young man who goes to his dying uncle’s home to recover from an attack that left him near dead. However when a skull is unearthed beneath a tree on the house’s grounds, family secrets come to the surface.

 

 

4. Jessica Knoll

 

Image Via WWD

Image Via WWD

Jessica Knoll is an author who hit the big time straight off the mark. Her debut thriller Luckiest Girl Alive became an instant New York Times bestseller, selling 450,000 copies, and remaining on best-seller lists for four months. It was then optioned for film by Lionsgate, with none other than Reese Witherspoon set to produce. And all this for good reason; Knoll has also become a voice for survivors of sexual assault, having opened up about the gang-rape she suffered when she was fifteen, which informed Luckiest Girl Alive. Her willingness to be candid and open about her experiences has no doubt helped and inspired many survivors, and she is undoubtedly taking things to the next level with her brave, unflinching writing and honesty.

 

Apart from her literary success, over the course of her career Knoll has held the position of senior editor at Cosmopolitan and the articles editor at Self, which are incredibly impressive roles in themselves. Her second novel, The Favorite Sister, dubbed “deliciously savage and wildly entertaining”by People Magazine who named it their Book of the Week, also sat happily on bestseller lists around the world following its release in May 2018. By the following month, a TV adaptation from the producers of Big Little Lies had been announced.

 

5. Stuart Turton

 

Image Via The National

 

Despite having only one book out, what a book it is! Turton’s debut, The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a high-concept thriller that has already been optioned for TV! Described as “Cluedo meets The Matrix meets Agatha Christie meets the reinvention of Sherlock Holmes as a TV series”, Evelyn Hardcastle follows an amnesiac who finds himself caught in a Groundhog Day-style game of real life Cluedo, in which he relives the death of Evelyn Hardcastle from the various perspectives of the potential culprits every day. As you can imagine, the book is doing rather well.

 

Following its appearance on the Sunday Times Bestseller list, it went on to win the Books Are My Bag Novel Award 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018. As if that wasn’t enough, it made it onto various Must Read Books of 2018 lists, including those of Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. But it wasn’t even all of this praise that led to the next big thing for Turton. Before the book was even released, the TV rights were optioned by House Productions. Phew!