Bookish List

Predictable Mysteries (That I Loved Anyway)

Hi all!  I used to think that every good mystery-thriller needed a great plot twist.  These days, I know better.  Today I’m sharing with you six mystery-thriller books that I adored despite them being, for the most part, predictable.  Don’t worry – I’m not giving out any spoilers; “predictable” is different for everyone. All synopses are from Goodreads.

DANGEROUS BOYS BY ABIGAIL HAAS

It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder …? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces …

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸 It’s told in three alternating parts: The present, the past and a time called “The End”, which heightens the suspense in a big way.

🌸 It was so fascinating to see Chloe’s transformation from beginning to end – it was done so well and in a way that made sense.

🌸 The horror builds up over the book and it left me speechless by the end.

🌸 I truly found myself thinking certain awful choices were reasonable because of the way the author spun them.


GENUINE FRAUD BY E. LOCKHART

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸The story starts at the end, and goes backwards (for the most part, anyway), making the focus on the journey rather than the destination.

🌸 The main character is constantly pretending to be someone she’s not, which kept me on my toes.

🌸 Though it was simple, the writing style really worked for me.

🌸It was so different to anything I’d read before (at the time), and didn’t feel like it had been censored for a YA audience.


GIVE ME YOUR HAND BY MEGAN ABBOTT

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 . . .

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸 It’s told using chapters from both the past and the present, so you get a true sense of who the characters are and how they got to where they are.

🌸 There is a complex friends-to-enemies relationship between the main characters, and I loved seeing the progression of it.

🌸 A lot of the story is set in professional labs and the atmosphere was captured so well plus added to the unsettling feeling throughout the story.

🌸 There’s intelligent, ambitious female characters doing research on PMDD, which makes up the background of the plot but it all ties in together incredibly well.


THE SECRET HISTORY BY DONNA TARTT

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸 The narrator already knows the end of the story, and leaves the occasional little comment to remind you of it.

🌸 The writing made me feel like I was a part of the story because everything was so clearly described – especially the setting.

🌸 High tension! So many times it felt like someone was about to snap.

🌸 The pacing was incredibly slow, which made it so that when everything went to hell it was all the more devastating.


THE WALLS AROUND US BY NOVA REN SUMA

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸 Chapters alternate every now and then between two complex and unreliable characters.

🌸 It combines ballet, murder, juvenile detention and paranormal occurrences all into one book and it is spectacular.

🌸 It’s just really weird – but in the best way.

🌸 Absolutely gorgeous writing that had me savouring every moment.


IF WE WERE VILLAINS BY M.L. RIO

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

WHY I LOVED IT

🌸 For the majority of the book Oliver is telling the story to a detective, 10 years after it happened, so you already know roughly what the outcome was – it’s just a matter of finding out how exactly it came about.

🌸 There’s a million Shakespeare references in both the characters and the plot and which felt so cool, especially with the academic setting.

🌸 I’m still not totally decided on a certain character’s true intentions, and I’ll forever be wondering about it.

🌸 So. Much. Tension! My heart was beating so hard while reading it.

What do you think?

Have you read any of these books?  Do you have any predictable books that you love anyway?  Let me know!

11 thoughts on “Predictable Mysteries (That I Loved Anyway)

  1. “The story starts at the end, and goes backwards (for the most part, anyway), making the focus on the journey rather than the destination.”
    I love me some books that do that (though I’m also a fan of classic, unpredictable thrillers like Agatha Christie’s).

    Among these novels, I’ve only read The Walls Around Us, and you summed up the book perfectly! Though now I’m wondering why you put it on a list of predictable novels. Can you elaborate a little (without spoiling it for the other commenters)?

    Roberta R. @ Offbeat YA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear that! I definitely enjoy more unpredictable books too.
      Without spoilers, the reason I included The Walls Around Us is because it was obvious to me what each of the narrators had done to end up where they were – hopefully that makes sense.
      Thanks for reading, Roberta!

      Like

  2. I agree that sometimes if something is predictable it doesn’t necessarily make it bad. I find retellings often predictable as they are /retellings/ but I still enjoy them a lot. I think that I didn’t quite love the secret history more so because it was a bit too predictable for me, and long and winding and the ending disappointed me? I did like Genuine Fraud a lot though and loved the way it is told backwards. So creative! And If We Were Villains is one on my wishlist ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you agree 🙂 I feel the same about retellings. I do find that people either love of hate The Secret History because of those same reasons – and I can definitely understand why people dislike it. Happy to hear you enjoyed Genuine Fraud though & I hope you get around to If We Were Villains someday! (I couldn’t find that for a reasonable price in Australia, I had to get it in from The Book Depository).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with you on good mysteries not needing to huge twist that I don’t see coming. I read so much of the genre and am a close reader by default, so more often than not I do guess the twists early on. When executed well though, it’s not annoying… it’s like piecing together breadcrumbs left by the author and I feel powerful!

    I did not enjoy If We Were Villains at all, but I am adding Give Me Your Hand to my TBR now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you agree! I can totally understand that reading a lot of a certain genre would make it more predictable – at some point, you’ll just have seen everything. Execution is everything and I agree with you – it’s so cool to be able to piece things together 🙂
      I hope you have more success with Give Me Your Hand than If We Were Villains!!

      Liked by 1 person

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