From Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley to more recent books including The Lying Game, psychologically twisted fiction is, by its nature, full of deception. These books dress the classic setup in new disguises.
Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, St. Martin’s, Jan. 2019
Jessica Farris, a make-up artist struggling to make ends meet, fabricates her way into a psychology study of ethics and morality conducted by Dr. Lydia Shields, only to discover as it progresses that she’s taking part in a much more sinister kind of experiment. The second collaboration between Hendricks and Pekkanen follows their 2018 hit The Wife Between Us (126,000 print copies), and alternates between Jessica’s first-person and Dr. Shields’s second-person narration. PW’s starred review said the book delivers “major league suspense.”
Ben H. Winters, Mulholland, Jan. 2019
In the country of Golden State, located in what used to be California, lying is illegal, and Laszlo Ratesic’s job for the last 19 years has been to enforce the truth as part of the Speculative Service. As an officer, he is one of the few citizens allowed to speculate, in order to solve crimes. While investigating a supposedly accidental death with a trainee in tow, Ratesic begins to see through the distorted fabric of a world that is supposed to prize absolute truth. This near-future thriller by Edgar winner Winters (The Last Policeman) is likely to provoke discussion.
D.J. Palmer, St. Martin’s, Apr. 2019
Meghan Girard, age 14, has a history of unexplained illnesses that makes doctors suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy. But not everyone is so sure—is Meghan’s mother Becky ill herself, devoted to a sick child, or could something else be going on? This is Daniel Palmer’s first thriller writing as D.J. Palmer, following several books that continued his late father Michael Palmer’s popular medical thrillers.
They All Fall Down
Rachel Howzell Hall, Forge, Apr. 2019
The author of the Elouise Norton series riffs on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in this standalone novel, which brings a diverse cast of seven strangers to a remote private island in Mexico. The reason behind the trip—a recently deceased person common to all—only becomes apparent later. What beyond-the-grave game is being played? And will the narrator make it home to Los Angeles and her teen daughter, or will she fall victim to her own sins?