Reading in bed

10 Page-Turners So Thrilling You Won’t Notice You Lost an Hour of Sleep

Sara Roncero-Menendez
March 12 2021
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I’ll go ahead and say it: no one likes it when the clock changes in the spring. That lost hour of sleep can really mess with your head, not to mention your whole schedule for the next week. What’s a bibliophile to do when confronted with the dreaded daylight saving time switch? Spend the whole night reading, of course! I especially recommend books filled with suspense and spine-tingling thrills that will keep you up just long enough to help adjust your internal clock. No matter how you choose to deal with “springing forward,” get ready to sit back, relax, and be totally sucked in by these ten fun and fast-paced page-turners.

The Butterfly House
by Katrine Engberg

Hospitals can be unsettling places, even when they are meant to be spaces of healing. Investigator Jeppe Kørner learns that quickly as he looks into two murder victims—killed by exsanguination—who worked for Butterfly House, a now-defunct residential home for mentally ill teens. The murders seem connected in more ways than one, but who could be behind these strange killings, and where will they strike again? THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE is an international thriller that will keep you guessing up until the very end, with a stunning finale you’ll never see coming.

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The Butterfly House
Katrine Engberg

“[E]ngaging, inventive…brimming with mystery and intrigue” —Crime by the Book

In this “engrossing piece of Nordic noir” (Booklist, starred review) and sequel to the #1 international bestseller The Tenant, detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner race to solve a series of sordid murders linked to some of the most vulnerable patients in a Danish hospital.

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But in the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen’s leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient.

Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon a macabre find: the naked body of a dead woman, lying in a fountain with arms marked with small incisions. Cause of death? Exsanguination—the draining of all the blood in her body.

Clearly, this is no ordinary murder. Copenhagen investigator Jeppe Kørner, recovering from a painful divorce and in the throes of a new relationship, takes on the case. His partner, Anette Werner, now on maternity leave after an unexpected pregnancy, is restless at home with a demanding newborn and an equally demanding husband. While Jeppe pounds the streets looking for answers, Anette decides to do a little freelance sleuthing. But operating on her own exposes her to dangers she can’t even begin to fathom.

As the investigation ventures into dark corners, it uncovers the ambition and greed that festers beneath the surface of caregiving institutions—all the more shocking for their depravity—and what Jeppe and Anette discover will turn their blood as cold as ice…

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | March 31, 2021

10 Page-Turners So Thrilling You Won’t Notice You Lost an Hour of Sleep

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White Ivy
by Susie Yang

Young love between a rich boy and a beautiful girl is often the escapist fantasy found between the covers of a book. But with a twist of the intentions, it’s not so romantic and innocent. Ivy may seem like an ordinary, sweet first-grade teacher, but she’s practiced in the ways of theft and deception. When she reconnects with her childhood crush, Gideon, those skills are put to good use when she finds herself becoming a part of his rich and luxurious world. But even the best-kept secrets can find a way to the surface, something Ivy must avoid if she wants her happy ending. WHITE IVY is the kind of read that sneaks up on you slowly, only revealing how deep it has its hooks in you when you realize you can’t put it down.

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White Ivy
Susie Yang

***LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE***

From prizewinning Chinese American author Susie Yang, this dazzling coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience.

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her.

Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

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Iron Lake
by William Kent Krueger

Cork O’Connor was once a Chicago cop and small-town sheriff who thinks he’s seen it all. In fact, when a local judge is brutally murdered and a young Eagle Scout goes missing, Cork thinks he can solve both cases. However, the twisted tale becomes more and more complicated as he encounters people with dark pasts and unfettered corruption. In order to crack the case, Cork will have to go up against some of the most influential people in town and face the consequences of getting in their way. IRON LAKE kicks off the Cork O'Connor Mysteries series with an unsettling atmosphere and nuanced characters that will draw you into the messed-up politics of small-town life.

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Iron Lake
William Kent Krueger

The first in the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series follows Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor as he delves into the dark side of small-town Minnesota while investigating a tangled web of corruption and danger. “A brilliant achievement, and one every crime reader and writer needs to celebrate” (Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota, is having difficulty dealing with the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children. Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, he is getting by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt.

Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on this complicated and perplexing case of conspiracy, corruption, and a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

With white-knuckled suspense and unforgettable characters, Iron Lake demonstrates why “among thoughtful readers, William Kent Krueger holds a very special place in the pantheon” (C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

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The Girls Are All So Nice Here
by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Some friendships can withstand the test of time, while others fall apart at the first unspeakable deed perpetrated together. College besties Ambrosia and Sully’s friendship nearly dissolved after graduation. As their ten-year reunion approaches, they both receive threatening notes implying that they have to pay for the damage they did during their freshman year. THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE is an intoxicating mix of queen bee antics and dark thriller motifs, with shocking twists and themes about just how far some people will go to get what they want, regardless of who gets hurt.

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The Girls Are All So Nice Here
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

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One by One
by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware is the queen of thrillers, so no matter which of her works you pick up, you will find yourself glued to the page. But ONE BY ONE seems especially apt for these late-winter months indoors. When an up-and-coming app company needs to figure out if they’re going to take a buyout, the nine board members head to a remote ski chalet to be wined and dined. But when an avalanche leaves them all in dire straits, the bodies begin to pile up. Will they be able to survive the winter cold and a cold-blooded killer among them? You’ll be up for hours to find out.

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One by One
Ruth Ware

“The Agatha Christie of our generation.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Diabolically clever.” —Riley Sager, author of Final Girls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

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The Radleys
by Matt Haig

If you’ve ever had bad neighbors, you might have called them bloodsucking fiends on more than one occasion. And if you lived next door to people like the Radleys, your insult would be more apt than you could have guessed. Seemingly normal suburbanites Peter and Helen Radley are vampires, a fact they have hidden from everyone, including their two children Rowan and Clara. But when Clara commits a terrible deed, the truth comes to light and the family must do everything it can to keep their secret and protect one another as the outside world comes closing in. From the author of the bestselling new read, THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, THE RADLEYS may not be your typical thriller, but it’s sure to sink its teeth into you nonetheless.

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The Radleys
Matt Haig

From the bestselling author of The Midnight Library, an “irresistible...full of clever turns, darkly hilarious spins...Even if you're suffering from vampire fatigue...The Radleys is a fun, fresh contribution to the genre” (Associated Press).

Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.

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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
by Elle Cosimano

If someone offered you $50,000 to kill their husband, what would you do? If you’re suspense writer Finlay Donovan, you end up in a screwball comedy in which the murder itself isn’t the strangest part. While Finlay sits in a sandwich shop with her agent discussing her latest work, a woman named Patricia mistakes her for a hit-woman and offers to pay her to kill her husband. She has to deal with gangsters, police officers, furious wives, and her ex, who is trying to renegotiate their custody agreement. The perfect thriller for someone looking for something light, FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT is the fast-paced, fun read you need on your bookshelf.

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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
Elle Cosimano

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The Dry
by Jane Harper

Federal agent Aaron Falk’s homecoming is less than ideal. For one, he and his father were run out of town for the mysterious murder of a girl. For another, Aaron is returning for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, who supposedly killed himself after murdering his wife and child. But Luke’s parents aren’t convinced it was a suicide and they ask Aaron to help figure out what really happened to their son. As Aaron dives deeper into the secrets of the town he once knew, ghosts from his own past keep finding him, all while the deadly threat of wildfire looms. THE DRY will have you feeling the heat of the Australian outback as Aaron races against time and a slew of angry townsfolk to uncover the dark and devastating truth of how Luke’s death and his own alleged crime are connected.

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The Dry
Jane Harper

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Close
The Guest List
by Lucy Foley

Weddings are always stressful, even with the most put together bride and groom. So, with tensions already running high, it’s the perfect time and place for a gruesome murder. Less a whodunit and more of a “who’s the victim?” THE GUEST LIST follows a wedding party as they arrive at an Irish island for a posh wedding. However, every guest has secrets and, as the day goes on, each of their truths is revealed with the connections between them casting a new light on the happy day. Full of twists and shocking reveals, this is one wedding you, and all of the guests, will never forget.

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The Guest List
Lucy Foley

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Close
The Witch Elm
by Tana French

How well do you know your family? Sure, you have reunions and hang out on the holidays, but how well do you really know them? Toby’s life was a charmed one before he was brutally attacked by burglars and left for dead. He moves in with his Uncle Hugo in order to recuperate, spending more time with his family, but especially his cousins Susanna and Leon. But when a skull is found in the trunk of an old tree in the yard, everything Toby knows is called into question. Tana French’s mysteries are full of dark revelations, and THE WITCH ELM has plenty of those, even when you think you’ve figured it all out.

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The Witch Elm
Tana French

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Photo credit: istock / Prostock-Studio

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