Author Picks: 5 Cinematic Thrillers to Read with Popcorn Nearby

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Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times (London) bestselling author of fourteen novels, including The Other Passenger, coming out on 7/20. She lives in London with her husband and daughter. Visit her at LouiseCandlish.com or connect with her on Twitter @Louise_Candlish.

I’m honestly not sure if you can set out to write a “cinematic” novel. It’s a status conferred on the book by readers who have found their imagination unusually fired, with scene after scene arriving in glorious Technicolor—or maybe stylized black and white—all perfectly lit and skillfully performed. Page and screen are natural bedfellows, of course, and these days the majority of TV and film drama originates with books (the journey can be twisty: my new novel, The Other Passenger, is set to become a movie, having been inspired by the noir classic Double Indemnity, itself based on the novella by James M. Cain). Here are five thrillers that excite and disturb as powerfully in print as they do—or will—on screen.

Misery
by Stephen King

Crying out for a screen adaptation long before James Cain and Kathy Bates seized the parts by the throat, MISERY opens with a classic King set piece, all blackness and confusion and the visceral haze of pain. As consciousness is regained and his medication kicks in, writer Paul Sheldon hears the fatal words, “My name is Annie Wilkes and I’m your number-one fan.” From that moment on, we know we’ve stumbled into the most sinister, bloody, epic duel, with close-up after close-up of our bruised and desperate pair.

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Misery
Stephen King

The #1 New York Times bestseller about a famous novelist held hostage in a remote location by his “number one fan.” One of “Stephen King’s best…genuinely scary” (USA TODAY).

Bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon thinks he’s finally free of Misery Chastain. In a controversial career move, he’s just killed off the popular protagonist of his beloved romance series in favor of expanding his creative horizons. But such a change doesn’t come without consequences. After a near-fatal car accident in rural Colorado leaves his body broken, Paul finds himself at the mercy of the terrifying rescuer who’s nursing him back to health—his self-proclaimed number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Annie is very upset over what Paul did to Misery and demands that he find a way to bring her back by writing a new novel—his best yet, and one that’s all for her. After all, Paul has all the time in the world to do so as a prisoner in her isolated house...and Annie has some very persuasive and violent methods to get exactly what she wants...

“King at his best…a winner!” —The New York Times
“Unadulteratedly terrifying…frightening.” —Publishers Weekly
“Classic King…full of twists and turns and mounting suspense.” —The Boston Globe

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Author Picks: 5 Cinematic Thrillers to Read with Popcorn Nearby

By Louise Candlish | June 24, 2021

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The Family Upstairs
by Lisa Jewell

Currently in development for the screen, with its action moving between Nice in the south of France and London’s swanky Chelsea, this is one of Jewell’s most visual books, as well as a fan favorite. It helps that she has a gift for capturing creepy interiors—I’ve often found myself remembering the carved wooden throne in the Cheyne Walk hallway Libby must pass before she can explore the property she’s unexpectedly inherited—and the ghosts contained therein.

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The Family Upstairs
Lisa Jewell

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One by One
by Ruth Ware

Like Lucy Foley’s excellent THE HUNTING PARTY, ONE BY ONE is set in a luxury winter lodge, in this case the French Alps, and evokes the particular terror of being cut off from civilization by treacherous winter weather. Will you starve to death—or freeze first? Should you rely on those you’re stranded with, or would you be wiser to fear them? I love the gear switch from claustrophobic snow-in to blockbuster chase scene—on skis. The writing is so powerful you can see every plunge and slide, hear every swoosh and scrape, as if right there in the ravine with the pursued.

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One by One
Ruth Ware

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A claustrophobic spine-tingler.” —People
Not only do Ware’s novels wink at [Agatha] Christie in a saucy way, but Ware herself is turning out to be as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime.” —The Washington Post

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 start-up, 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 Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith

You don’t need to watch the lush, sexy 1999 Minghella adaptation of Highsmith’s masterpiece to understand the jetset glamour of this classic, because it’s all there on the page as Ripley picks his duplicitous way around the fictitious Italian resort of Mongibello and then on to San Remo, Rome, and Venice. You should though. And may I also recommend Plein Soleil, the 1960 French adaptation starring Alain Delon that offers a tweaked ending. In my novel THE OTHER PASSENGER, the narrator, Jamie, watches it on his own and is deeply unsettled by the antihero’s fate—and so he should be.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith

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The Woman in the Window
by A.J. Finn

The place the camera loves best is, of course, New York, and the Amy Adams movie adaptation of A. J. Finn’s smash debut follows in the footsteps of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and countless other psychological thrillers set among the city’s iconic skyscrapers and brownstones. Unreliable narrators transfer brilliantly to the screen, with their paranoid delusions and tendency to misconstrue clues, and I can’t wait to see one of my favorite actresses interpret the complexities of Dr. Anna Fox’s version of events.

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The Woman in the Window
A.J. Finn

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MENTIONED IN:

Author Picks: 5 Cinematic Thrillers to Read with Popcorn Nearby

By Louise Candlish | June 24, 2021

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The Other Passenger
by Louise Candlish

THE OTHER PASSENGER by Louise Candlish comes out on July 20, 2021.

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by ferry with your charismatic neighbor Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife, Melia, has reported him missing.

When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends—ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?

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The Other Passenger
Louise Candlish

The “queen of the sucker-punch twist” (Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author) and author of Our House weaves “a stunning masterwork of style and suspense” (Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author) about a commuter who becomes a suspect in his friend’s mysterious disappearance. Perfect for fans of the unputdownable page-turners by Christina McDonald and Lisa Jewell.

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by ferry with your charismatic neighbor Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife, Melia, has reported him missing.

When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends—ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?

No, whatever danger followed you home last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.

Aren’t you?

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