Sunday, September 27, 2020 -
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Domestic suspense

There’s a new genre of thriller that has emerged in the past seven or so years, and it’s absolutely hooked me. I don’t know what the literary powers that be have officially coined this genre, but I’ve settled on domestic suspense.

These books, most often written by women and driven by female characters, are psychological thrillers that revolve around domestic life, usually marriage or parenthood. Often these novels employ multiple or parallel narratives, using the twists and turns that keep the reader turning the page.

I think what makes these novels so captivating is their domesticity: These aren’t tales of international spies, Swiss bank accounts or illegal arms trading. I like those too, but they aren’t exactly relatable. These new thrillers could theoretically happen to any of us because they take place in settings and situations that most humans inhabit.

They also play on that ever-troublesome question: How well do we really know the people we think we know best?

Here’s a brief reading list — but be warned: cliffhangers may mean some late nights ahead!

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn: A dark violent tale of partner idealization gone wrong and of the economic crisis;

• Most novels by Australian author Liane Moriarty, the most well-known being Big Little Lies, a twisted tale of marriage, parenthood and friendship;

• Kaira Rouda’s Best Day Ever slowly builds to a point where you realize you’re in a totally different story from where you started — and totally creeped out;

Our House, by Louise Candlish, is told from both male and female perspectives; the reader knows more than both main characters, leading to a brilliant twist ending.

Shana Goldberg may be reached at

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Shana Goldberg

IJN Assistant Publisher |

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