book review

Mystery and Thriller Mini Reviews

Hello friends! I’m here with three mini reviews today, two of them are for thriller novels and one of them is for a mystery. I had a really great time reading two of these three books, while one of them was an utter disappointment and will certainly end up on my worst books of the year list. But now, without further ado, let’s jump into the post!

Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane

Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town, but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems. A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth….

With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body, and now it’s gone.

❤️ I had a blast listening to the audiobook of Pretty Little Wife; not only did the audiobook narrator, Xe Sands, did an excellent job, but the book itself was tightly paced and exciting. Long story short, I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this book, which to me is the marker of a well-done thriller.

🖤 Lila was such a fascinating character – I loved the way the author slowly revealed more and more layers of Lila, showing us that she is far from a reliable narrator. The blurb doesn’t tell you this, but we are also given a perspective into the detective’s head who is working on this case. It was a delight to watch her try to figure out what exactly happened with Aaron.

❤️ The only major issue I had with Pretty Little Wife was that the supporting cast could have been better crafted – for instance, Lila’s lawyer as well as her neighbor intrigued me (and were likable characters) so it would have been nice to see them developed a bit more.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

🖤 I went into The Last House on Needless Street expecting it to blow my mind, so you can’t imagine the disappointment I felt when I realized that I wasn’t clicking with this book at all. I can already see that it’s going to end up as one of the worst books I read in 2021, maybe even the worst one.

❤️ I can see that The Last House on Needless Street will work for many people, but personally, I found the book pretentious and overly complicated instead of finding it clever. On top of that, I feel like people’s enjoyment of this strange storytelling will depend on how fast they figure out the twist. The fact that I figured out the big twist really early into the book further took away from my enjoyment of this story.

🖤 Speaking of the twist, turn your eyes away from this paragraph if you don’t want to be (lightly) spoiled on it. Seriously, stop reading, now. Ted, the main character, is revealed to have Dissociative Identity Disorder… that’s it, that’s the big fucking twist that everyone has been praising. I don’t have DID, so I can’t say if the representation is problematic or not, but I do question this choice, even though the author tried to prove that she had done a lot of research to write this book. Personally, I believe that even if Ted doesn’t end up being the killer, his character and his mental illness are used as a plot device. I’m not the only one who disagrees with Ward’s choice, so I recommend reading this article to see a more detailed criticism of using DID as a plot device.

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat–her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds…

🖤 Sweet Little Lies was the first book I finished in June, and it was certainly a good start to my month. This book is on the slower side, especially during its first half, but anyone that enjoys a good mystery should give it a chance, as the mystery and the way it unfolds is complex and fascinating.

❤️ I’ve read quite a lot of mysteries, but few where instead of a single detective working on a case we get a whole unit working together. Even though the novel focuses on Cat, we also get to see the rest of her team, including her partner and her boss, as they are trying to work out what happened to the murder victim.

🖤 Sweet Little Lies is one of those mystery series that I can’t wait to continue, as part of the novel concentrates on Cat’s complicated relationship with her father, someone who has always been mixed up in organized crime. Cat’s hesitancy over choosing her job vs. choosing her father was compelling to read, and I’m sure the way she handled the case in Sweet Little Lies is going to be brought up in the future novels too.

Let’s chat!

Do you enjoy mystery and/or thriller novels? Have you read any of these novels? Do you want to read them?


11 thoughts on “Mystery and Thriller Mini Reviews

    1. Sorry about that!! I tried using a spoiler tag before and it worked in the preview but didn’t work when the post was published, so this seemed safer than trying that again. 😦 Hope The Last House on Needless Street will work better for you. 🙂


  1. The Last House on Needless Street intrigued me – I even requested it on NG – but then I read some reviews on GR, and reconsidered my choice. And now this. While I’m not averse to “that thing” being used as a plot device, it shouldn’t be everything there is to it. I mean, the character shouldn’t be a mere puppet. We should come out of a story like this with a better understanding of “that thing” and a bit of compassion. And it doesn’t sound like the case here. On the upside, I’ll never get the book on NG because I could only “wish” for it haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (spoilers ahead, so only read if you don’t plan to read the book) I feel like the author did try to add compassion to the story at the end, but I don’t think it was enough. The character’s whole personality is his mental illness AND even though he isn’t the bad guy (which is admittedly subversive of the books that use DID negatively) he is portrayed as the most likely villain throughout most of the story. To me, that’s still questionable because she is still using his DID to make him seem strange and creepy and someone that could be capable of murder. The fact that he ends up not being a killer or a kidnapper doesn’t change the way he was portrayed previously.

      Liked by 1 person

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