It was a dark and stormy Wednesday ...

August Dog Days are all about sitting in the air conditioning with a great read (if you're me), or outside on a patio with sweet iced tea (if you're Jenny, — she has Southern roots.) How ever you endure these post-Olympic (sob!) Dog Days, we have here a great list of THRILLERS to help you chill out. If you want me to put one aside, call the store (630-765-7455) or email me at read@prairiepathbooks.com. Oh and hey - if your book club is looking for an October spooky selection, these are great choices, especially Woman in Cabin 10; don't forget book clubbers get 15% off their selections at PPB! See you soon, Sandy

The lead book for this month must be Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10. The cover is textured and you can feel the water, very cool for our tactile readers! After surviving a house invasion, travel writer Lo Blacklock boards the inaugural voyage of a wealthy couple’s ten-cabin luxury yacht before it becomes available to the public. Woken in the middle of the night of what sounds to be a struggle and something falling into the water below, Lo is convinced the woman in the cabin next to her has been murdered and tossed overboard – but no one has any recollection of the passenger on the boat. Situations get stranger, Lo begins questioning her sanity and answers seem too murky to figure out. The Woman in Cabin 10 will have its readers questioning and curious until the last page. It is one of those books that once you figure it out, you may just go back to page one and piece it all together from the beginning!

In the vein of Liane Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies), Megan Abbott’s new release You Will Know Me hits all the same notes – tight knit community, suspicious event, characters who readers don’t know who to trust. Following the sudden death of a young man in their gymnastics’ world, a mother of a gymnastics prodigy begins questioning her life, her family’s choices and all those around her. As we watch the Olympics and see the sacrifices families must make to support their Olympian, it makes the reader wonder what they would be willing to do to make their child “the best.” Readers will be held through the end when they learn what happened – fun, don’t-want-to-put-it-down read. A great way to end the summer. 

For readers who love twists, mysteries and plunging through a book to figure out what the "real story" is, it is time for you to check out Swan Huntley's debut novel, We Could Be Beautiful

Catherine West is a 43-year-old New York City woman who owns a card shop but lives off her trust fund and desires to be married. An older handsome gentleman sweeps her off her feet, but something is off. Catherine's mother has progressive Alzheimer's and is often confused, but she is unhappy and flustered about the match, leaving Catherine to question whether she should be concerned about her mom or her man. Follow Catherine through the whirlwind romance, as the reader and Catherine question what is actually happening. Enjoy this mystery! 

If you like a little lighter fare for your thrills, check out The Assistants by Camille Perri. It was described as a "'9 to 5' (the '80s movie with Jane Fonda, Lily  and Dolly Parton) for the debt-ridden college graduate era. But instead of revenge, it is the desire to be debt-free from college loans that female assistants feel they will never escape while working for bosses who spend, in one moment, more than their assistants will make in a year. 

When the assistant to a major media mogul discovers an ignored reimbursement, she quietly uses it to pay off her student loan and vacillates between feelings of guilt and freedom...then she is found out. But in a twist, the colleague doesn't want to rat her out, she wants her debt paid off too! Soon the small idea becomes a scheme that involves other assistants. It's a modern-day Robin Hood! Early on in the book, the narrator tells that she was caught, so the reader spends the book wondering how it is going to blow up. 

For those who prefer their thrills to be straight from the headlines, check out American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin. I was too young to remember this time but the name Patty Hearst, the term “Stockholm Syndrome,” and that infamous photo of Hearst with the gun are all familiar. Even if the reader was aware of the Hearst situation, this book will unveil new information and great depth to one of our country’s  and most riveting stories. Toobin’s book is fascinating in describing the era, the San Francisco setting, the political climate – and although it is nonfiction, it reads easily and it truly is a “truth is stranger than fiction” tale. 

Jenny (and her daughter) is recommending The Girls by Emma Cline. In day, Evie recalls her teenage years in the 1960s and 70s where she was introduced to a cult with a manipulative leader. Jenny loved that “Evie’s world and our own adolescent worlds revisited in our minds. And Cline does this masterfully throughout the book with her alluring and evocative descriptions, reminding us of the challenges of being a GIRL, of surviving the teenage years with its fixations and immaturities not all that different from Evie’s, at times. In the end, of course, we don’t join a cult, but we can identify with the circumstances that lead Evie astray. This book is one you will definitely want to talk about.” 

And if we are talking about great thrills, we must pay homage to the queen, Agatha Christie. There is a reason she is the third  author of all time (behind the Bible and Shakespeare, so that’s pretty good!) – one billion English copies, another billion in other languages. Christie’s mysteries are great palate cleansers – they are quick, they are good, they stand the test of time, and they thrill and chill. I recommend And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express, but there are many to choose from in the Christie legacy. 

Here are some more titles of thrillers, courtesy of the PPB readers: 

• The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Paula) 

• Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre (Paula) 

• The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Susan) 

• Into the Woods by Tana French (Susan) 

And for our younger readers: 

• The Pet and the Pendulum by Golden McAlpine (Stephanie) 

• The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Jennifer) 

All these books are available to purchase or order through Prairie Path Books. 

Happy Reading, Paula