Though as readers we try our best to keep an open mind, we have a confession. We admit it, it’s a dirty word to us: genre fiction. That said, when we were breathlessly devouring Tana French’s newly-released Broken Harbor, we were struck by something: the power of a well-written, perfectly plotted, tightly-wound literary thriller. While the “t” word might throw off some high-minded snobs (admittedly, us), there’s absolutely nothing wrong in delighting in a great book that is, well, thrilling. As an entry point, we’ve gathered some of our favorite recent literary thrillers here, for your perusal. Note that we set the guideline of “recent” (so, please, no “where’s Agatha Christie?”), we chose not to focus on true crime (though we did have to make one exception), and that we highly recommend all of these. Also note that we don’t recommend starting any of them before bedtime.
Tana French, Broken Harbor
Everything Tana French touches turns to thrilling, nightmare-creating gold. In The Woods became an instant thriller classic, and every other entry into her “Dublin Murder Squad” series has been just as good, if not better. Broken Harbour puts detective Mike “Scorcher” Kennedy (ridiculous name, but stay with us) and his new partner, rookie Richie, on what seems like an open-and-shut, albeit grizzly, murder. It appears standard: husband kills wife and family and then himself. Things get incredibly strange very quickly, though as they discover random holes in the walls of the family’s house being videotaped, and, in a reddit-ish plot twist, increasingly unhinged forum posts from the father. Broken Harbor is the great writing nightmares are born from.