Category Archives: Domestic Thriller

Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Title: Magpie by Elizabeth Day
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Doestic Thriller
Length: 332 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

For fans of Gone Girl and The Perfect Nanny, a taut, psychological suspense novel about a perfect couple and their seemingly perfect roommate—that is until she threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create.

Marisa and Jake are a perfect couple. And Kate, their new lodger, is the perfect roommate—and not just because her rent payments will give them the income they need to start trying for the baby of their dreams.

Except—no one is truly perfect. Sure, Kate doesn’t seem to care much about personal boundaries and can occasionally seem overly-familiar with Jake. But Marisa doesn’t let it concern her, knowing that soon Kate will be gone, and it will just be her, Jake, and their future baby.

Conceiving a baby is easier said than done, though, and Jake and Marisa’s perfect relationship is put to the test through months of fertility treatments and false starts. To make matters worse, Kate’s boundary-pushing turns into an all-out obsession—with Jake, with Marisa, and with their future child. Who is this woman? Why does she seem to know everything about Marisa and Jake?

In her quest to find out who Kate really is, Marisa might destroy everything she’s worked so hard to create—her perfect romance, her perfect family, and her perfect self.

Jake doesn’t know the half of what Marisa has created—and what she stands to lose.

For fans of Gone Girl and The Perfect Nanny, Magpie is a tense and twisting novel about mothers and children, envy and possession, and the dangers of getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of.


Magpie by Elizabeth Day is a wickedly clever domestic thriller.

Twenty-eight-year-old Marisa Grover has finally hit the jackpot with her in relationship with thirty-nine-year-old Jake Sturridge.  She quickly moves in with him following a whirlwind romance and soon falls pregnant. But when Jake announces their new lodger, Kate Stewart, is moving in, Marisa begins harbor suspicions about his fidelity. But are her instincts correct?

The storyline for this domestic thriller is incredibly well-written and full of unexpected twists. The first half of the story is narrated from Marisa’s viewpoint but then switches to Kate’s perspective.  It is absolutely fascinating and enlightening to see the differences in the women’s narration. Jake’s mother Annabelle is an interesting, albeit frustrating addition to the cast of characters.

Magpie is an extremely captivating domestic thriller that is fast-paced. Readers will appreciate Elizabeth Day’s breath-taking twists and turns. Highly recommend.

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Filed under Domestic Thriller, Elizabeth Day, Magpie, Rated B+, Review, Simon & Schuster Inc

Review: Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

Title: Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger
Publisher: Park Row Books
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Thriller
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Secrets, obsession and vengeance converge in this riveting thriller about an online dating match turned deadly cat-and-mouse game, from the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45

Think twice before you swipe.

She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love?

But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted.

Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn’t that always what women think—that they’re the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she’s looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she’s not sure whether she’s the predator—or the prey.


Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger is a twisted domestic thriller.

Wren Greenwood is an advice columnist and podcaster who in the midst of a long dating drought. At the encouragement of her best friend Jax, she joins dating app Torch and she is disappointed her dates have so far just been so-so. But her dating luck is about to change with her latest match, Adam Harper.  Wren is immediately drawn to his intensity and for the next few months, their relationship is absolutely perfect. Which is why Wren is heartbroken after he fails to show up for their date one evening. Realizing how few solid details she knows about him, she turns to his social media in hopes of learning why he stood her up. But he soon deletes all traces of himself from Torch and the internet. Wren grows even more alarmed once a private detective shows up asking questions about Adam. Questions that Wren cannot answer…

Wren is the perfect narrator for this thrilling mystery. She is a very complex woman who understands keeping secrets because she has a few of her own. Wren has confided some of these secrets to Jax, but there are some things she just cannot bring herself to share. But she finds it talk to Adam. During the dark of night, Wren reveals details about herself to him that very few people know. Do these revelations have anything to do with him ghosting her? Or did he perhaps ghost because of  what Wren learns about him from private investigator Bailey Kirk?

Last Girl Ghosted is a superb domestic thriller with a well-developed storyline that is very clever. Wren is an extremely personable young woman who has overcome a great deal in her life. She loves her career and she takes it very seriously. Wren and Jax are more than just friends; they consider themselves to be family. Adam is extremely enigmatic with a magnetic personality. Wren has to find out the truth about Adam but is truly prepared for what she is going to uncover? With cunning twists and unpredictable turns, Last Girl Ghosted brings this captivating thriller to an absolutely shocking conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Thriller, Last Girl Ghosted, Lisa Unger, Park Row Books, Rated B+, Review

Review: The Last Guests by J.P. Pomare

Title: The Last Guests by J.P. Pomare
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Thriller
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A wife finds herself racing for answers when the decision to rent out her family vacation home takes a deadly turn in this “twisty thriller” perfect for fans of Megan Miranda (Megan Goldin, author of The Escape Room).

Ever have the feeling you’re being watched?

Newlyweds Lina and Cain don’t make it out to their property on gorgeous Lake Tarawera as often as they’d like, so when Cain suggests they rent the house out to vacationers, Lina reluctantly agrees. While the home has been in her family for generations, they could use the extra money. And at first, Lina is amazed at how quickly guests line up, and at how much they’re willing to pay.

But both Lina and Cain have been keeping secrets, secrets that won’t be put off by fresh paint or a new alarm system. And someone has been watching them—their mundane tasks, their intimate moments. When a visit takes a deadly turn, Lina realizes someone out there knows something they shouldn’t…and that welcoming strangers into your home is playing a dangerous game.


The Last Guests by J.P. Pomare is a suspenseful domestic thriller with a unique plot.

Lina Phillips and her husband Cain have weathered their fair share of storms throughout their relationship. Lina is a paramedic who is supporting the family since Cain’s personal trainer business has yet to turn a profit. Cain is a former New Zealand SAS veteran who was injured in his last deployment to Afghanistan. He continues to suffer from physical problems from his injuries and he also battles nightmares related to his final deployment. Lina and Cain are finally at a good place in their marriage which is why a decision she makes is inexplicable. Now keeping a huge secret from her husband, she has no one to turn to when she begins receiving vaguely threatening text messages. Feeling guilty, Lina gives in to Cain’s to rent her family home in Lake Tarawera on WeStay. All goes well with their first sets of guests, but Lina cannot shake her suspicions that something is off with one of the couples who recently stayed in the house.

Lina has nothing but happy memories of the lakeside home where she lived with her grandparents. They provided her with a wonderful childhood that was only marred by infrequent but memorable visits from her mother. Lina’s world was completely upended when they passed away just a few years apart. Her chance meeting with Cain turned her life around and her love for him has never waned. Lina worries he will revert to hold habits, but they have a “no secrets” agreement. Which is why she feels so guilty and scared he will uncover hers.  As events continue to spiral out of control, Lina cannot help but wonder what Cain might be hiding from her.

The Last Guests is a menacing domestic thriller that is very fast-paced. Lina and Cain are well-developed characters who are secretive yet mostly appealing. Auckland and Lake Tarawera are beautiful locales that spring vividly to life. The storyline is absolutely fascinating and takes unanticipated twists and turns.  With a final, shocking revelation, J.P. Pomare brings this devious domestic thriller to a jaw-dropping conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Contest, Domestic Thriller, JP Pomare, Mulholland Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, The Last Guests

Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Thriller
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sally Hepworth, the author of The Mother-In-Law delivers a knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters in The Good Sister.

There’s only been one time that Rose couldn’t stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be…dangerous.

When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.

Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.


The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is mesmerizing domestic thriller.

Fern and Rose Castle are fraternal twins who are extremely close. Rose is married but her husband Owen is currently out of the country on business. Fern loves her job working in a library and she is very loyal to her sister. Fern has a sensory processing disorder, but she controls it by adhering to her routine and avoiding large crowds. After discovering Rose cannot have children, she decides to get pregnant and allow her sister to adopt her child. But after entering into a relationship with library patron Rocco aka Wally, will Fern go through with her plan?

Fern is a logical thinker who interprets comments quite literally. She also takes everything Rose tells her as the truth and never questions what her sister tells her do. So, after a lifetime of hearing she cannot raise a child, she does not believe she will have any trouble giving her baby to her sister. But will Fern be able to give up both Wally and her baby?

Wally is an American currently residing in Australia and he is now living a #vanlife. He works in IT and he is now freelancing.  Wally understands Fern’s sensory processing issues since he has a milder form than she does. He finds Fern easy to be with and he enjoys her company and sense of humor. Wally views Rose’s involvement in Fern’s life much differently than she does, but will she take his advice and impressions to heart?

Rose’s chapters are in the form of diary entries that are detailed accounts of her and Fern’s dysfunctional childhood. Rose describes how her mum is always unhappy with her behavior while also showing favoritism towards Fern. She also takes sister under her wing and tries to teach her to interpret other people’s emotions and facial expressions. After learning of Fern’s pregnancy, Rose becomes a force to be reckoned with until her sister gives birth.

The Good Sister is an absolutely riveting domestic thriller. Fern is a bit eccentric, but she is funny and very much liked by her co-workers and library patrons. Wally is a good fit for Fern but he does not know if he can convince her to take a step back from her sister. Rose is an intriguing person who wants protects her sister, but can her interpretation of events be trusted? With a few shocking twists and turns, Sally Hepworth brings this spellbinding thriller to a gratifying conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this domestic thriller to fans of the author and the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Thriller, Rated B+, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, The Good Sister

Review: Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Title: Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Legal Thriller, Domestic Mystery
Length: 296 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From author Kia Abdullah, Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.

One victim.
Four accused.
Who is telling the truth?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.

But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.


Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a captivating legal thriller with a topical storyline.

Zara Kaleel is a former barrister who now advocates for victims of sexual abuse. When  sixteen year old Jodie Wolfe reports she was attacked by four of her classmates, Zara never doubts her story. After Jodie agrees to go to the police, Detective Constables Mia Scavo and John Dexter bring the teenagers in for questioning. The young men deny Jodie’s accusation but after finding evidence which contradicts their stories, the case goes to trial. Because the four teenagers are Muslim and the sons of immigrants, the trial becomes a flashpoint for anti-Muslim and anti-immigration protesters. With tensions rising, will Jodie find justice?

The daughter of immigrants, Zara is at odds with her family who do not agree with her choices. Their interactions and visits are often fraught but she refuses to give into their pressure. Despite knowing she made the right decisions, Zara struggles with to find peace and happiness.  As the protests become more volatile, will Zara pay a personal price for continuing to support Jodie?

Jodie has not had an easy life. She has a medical condition that results in severe facial deformities. She is often the target of bullies and she must deal with being called hurtful names.  She lives with her single mother who blames her daughter for her problems and offers her little love or support. Jodie second guesses her decision to press charges against her attackers but Zara’s encouragement convinces her stay to the course.

Take It Back is a multi-layered domestic mystery with a timely plot. The characters are vibrantly drawn with realistic strengths and weaknesses. The courtroom scenes are gripping page-turners that raise many questions what happened to Jodie. With stunning turns, Kia Abdullah brings this tension-filled legal thriller to an absolutely jaw-dropping conclusion.  I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this thought-provoking novel to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Thriller, Kia Abdullah, Legal Thriller, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, St Martin's Press, Take It Back

Review: Playing Nice by JP Delaney

Title: Playing Nice by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Domestic Thriller
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


What if you found out that your family isn’t yours at all? How far would you go to protect them? A gripping new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Girl Before. . . .

Pete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s son, Theo, isn’t actually his son—he is the Lamberts’, switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they’ve been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.

The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents—or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts’ glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.

They are done playing nice.


Playing Nice by JP Delaney is an absolutely riveting novel that is breathtakingly suspenseful.

Pete Riley is a devoted stay at home dad to two year old Theo. His partner Maddie Wilson works long hours at an advertising agency.  Young Theo is full of energy and Pete has his hands full trying to convince him to be kinder to his nursery mates.  Having completely recovered from the tumultuous early days and weeks of Theo’s premature delivery, Pete and Maddie’s world is upended when a stranger shows up and announces Theo is his child. Two premature babies were somehow switched at the NICU and Miles Lambert and his wife Lucy are raising Pete and Maddie’s son David.  Believing they can peacefully resolve this complicated situation, the two families begin spending time together.   But Pete and Maddie are stunned when Miles takes extraordinary steps that could destroy the life they have created together. Will they be able to stop him before they lose everything?

Pete is a warm and loving dad who is very patient with his impulsive and active little boy.  Although he never planned to give up his career for fatherhood, he is happy with their current arrangement. A former journalist with a newspaper, Pete is disappointed he has not managed to get his freelance career off the ground.

Pete and Maddie have very different personalities but she is content to let him make the decisions regarding their son.  She loves Theo but she thrives on her high stress career.  Maddie is not as trusting or even keeled as Pete, so she has a few reservations as they try to  work out a compromise with Miles and Lucy. When Miles changes tactics, will she and Pete find a way to keep their family together?

With chapters alternating between Maddie and Pete’s points of view, Playing Nice is a taut domestic thriller that is multi-layered and utterly compelling.  The storyline is well-developed and rife with tension as Miles steadily insinuates himself into Theo’s life.  With pressure building as the story hurtles to an uncertain finish,  JP Delaney masterfully brings this gripping story to an edge of the seat, stunning conclusion. A deliciously unpredictable novel that I loved and highly recommend.

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Domestic Thriller, JP Delaney, Playing Nice, Rated B+, Review, Suspense