Happy New Year! Sharon here with my first Thriller Thursday of 2024! Looking at my to read list and all of the new books coming out this year, I predict that 2024 is going to be a great reading year. 🙂 To start off the new Thriller Thursday year, I have my last read from 2023; One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus and my first read from 2024; The Wedding Guest by Kathryn Croft.
One of Us Is Back (One of Us Is Lying, #3) Goodreads
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: July 25, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press
I really liked the first two books in Karen M. McManus’ One of Us series, One of Us Is Lying and One of Us Is Next, so I was very excited to read the third book, One of Us Is Back. I am happy to report this was everything I had hoped it would be. In this third installment someone has a new game for the Bayview crew, but no one understands the rules. Everyone is a target and things turn deadly when the biggest secret of all is revealed.
I was so excited to have the gang from the first two books back. This book is told from the POV of Nate, Addy, and Phoebe. We also get chapters from the POV of Simon and Jake from six years in the past. I really liked getting Simon and Jake’s chapters as it gives us insight into what started the whole scheme with Simon in the first place and how they may link to what is happening now.
I don’t really want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything. A local billboard is hacked with a message stating, “Time for a new game, Bayview.”, but no one really pays attention to it at first. It is only when one of the Bayview group goes missing after a party at Nate’s house and is found with a partial message on their arm, that the crew realizes that someone is playing a new game and they need to figure out who it is before something worse happens. I love how this whole crew comes together to work out this mystery.
I loved reconnecting with the Bayview Murder Crew, as they now call themselves. I loved the banter they had back and forth and how they were there for and watched out for each other. Even when secrets are revealed and things get messy because of those secrets, they still had each other’s backs.
McManus did a great job in creating this newest Bayview mystery. I thought I had figured things out a few times but was completely in the dark when all was revealed. I also liked how at the front of the book it lists all the characters and gives a brief description of who they are. This helped me a lot to reconnect and remember each character. I don’t know about you, but when I am reading a series and it is a couple years in between each new release it takes me a while to acclimate myself with the characters, so having this list lets me get right into the book and not miss a beat.
If you enjoyed the first two books in the One of Us series, then I really think you will enjoy One of Us Is Back. 4 stars
The Wedding Guest Goodreads
Author: Kathryn Croft
Publication Date: September 14, 2023
Emily Thomas is marrying the man of her dreams, Jeremy Jordan. She loves Jeremy and cannot wait to be a family with him and his ten-year-old daughter, Lexi. The day is perfect, and she is ready to start her new life and forget her dark past. But when she looks out at the guests she sees Christian Holmes, the man from her past who can destroy her perfect new life. Emily will do whatever it takes to keep her secrets from being revealed. And that is the premise of Kathryn Croft’s latest psychological thriller, The Wedding Guest.
The story is told in a dual timeline, starting in the present when Christian shows up at Emily and Jeremy’s wedding and then fifteen years in the past when Emily and Christian met at Uni in London. I loved both timelines equally.
The present-day chapters had me so filled with tension because I had no idea what Christian was going to do next. I did not like him from the moment I met him in the first chapter, and my dislike for him grew as the book went on. We don’t know what secret Christian and Emily share, but Christian is using it to make Emily do what he wants. Christian moved to the United States after the events from fifteen years ago and has not had any contact with his family, but now he is making Emily go with him to visit his father and brother and act like they are engaged. He has also gotten to be friends with Jeremy and is using that friendship to torture Emily. When Emily, Jeremy and Lexi go away for a long weekend, Christian just happens to show up at the same place and ends up staying with them. Christian has also created a wedge between Emily and her mother in-law, who were always close, by hinting to Pam that Christian and Emily were not just old friends, but that they had a relationship when they were at Uni.
I liked Emily and was so afraid for her that Christian was going to ruin her life. Everything he was doing to her in the present just got me so mad on her behalf. And as we got more of a look into their relationship from the past chapters, I really worried for her. When they met at Uni, Emily was a shy naïve girl. Her mother had psychological issues and really kept her sheltered, but Emily was determined to get an education and make her own way in life. So, when she met Christian, she fell for him hard and could not see that he was gaslighting her.
The Wedding Guest was a slow burn read, but as the book neared the end the tension and suspense picked up. I thought I knew where the story was going, but I was so wrong. There was a twist at the end that I never saw coming. I was completely shocked! 4 stars