Have you ever made excuses not to go somewhere because you’d rather stay in and finish the book you’re reading? Have you ever locked the bathroom door and left the tap running just so you can finish the chapter without someone disturbing you? Do you read at the table and utter monosyllabic grunts every so often?
I’ve been doing all that (and worse) lately after picking a run of books I’ve had to be surgically removed from. They’re a different sort of book for me – I don’t read a lot of psychological thrillers because at the faintest whiff of implausibility, I’m off. I never ever guess who it is either. I was way out on both seasons of The Killing.
These are the three I’m blaming my sleep deprivation on:
Before I Go To Sleep – S J Watson
It seems everywhere I look, at the bus stop, on the train, tucked under an arm, someone is reading this book. It’s the story of Christine who wakes up every day unable to remember anything at all about who she is. The man in bed next to her is a total stranger but is in fact her husband, Ben. She discovers that she’s been seeing a doctor to treat her memory loss and he has encouraged her to write everything in a journal. But then she reads on the front of the diary ‘Don’t trust Ben.’ I didn’t figure out the twist but I was engrossed in the whole premise of what it must be like to be completely cut adrift from your past once the anchor of memory is gone.
I can’t wait to see how they turn it into a film; the whole premise of Christine writing in her journal is so central to the plot, it will be interesting to see how they tackle it.
Lasting Damage – Sophie Hannah
Late one night a woman, Connie Bowskill, is scrolling through the details of a house on a property website when she sees a woman lying face down in a massive pool of blood. By the time she has called her husband to come and look, the body has vanished and the carpet is pristine.
I read this very quickly over a couple of sittings and, in a way, too fast. When I finished, I wasn’t sure it all worked out and felt slightly cheated so had to go back and read bits again. Of course it all worked out.
Her latest thriller is Kind of Cruel.
Into the Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes
This has one of the best openings of any novel I’ve read for pulling you in and then not letting go. The time jumps at the beginning left me briefly disoriented but as soon as you get your bearings, the reasons behind the constant date swapping become apparent. The whole structure is deceptively clever. The characters are so plausible – especially Lee – which makes it doubly chilling. After I stayed up until 2am to finish it, I had to check the double lock was on the door.
The book won Amazon Book of the Year and her second book Revenge of The Tide came out last week. Elizabeth Haynes is also one of the most modest, unassuming people on Twitter (@Elizjhaynes).
Which books have you dropped everything for? Which books have you stayed up late reading?