Lex has spent years trying to forge an identity for herself beyond that of Girl A - the one who escaped from her parent's horrific abuse and raised the alarm to save her siblings. Now an adult, with a successful legal career in New York, she is dragged back to her childhood trauma when her mother dies in prison and names Lex as executor of her will. As Lex reconnects with her siblings, many of whom she hasn't seen for years, she must confront the insidious grip they have on each other's lives, not to mention the dark coping strategies that can hold back the past no longer.
10 Dark & Twisted Romances to Make You Glad You’re Single
Subtly Creepy Books to Enjoy this Halloween!
Confession: I'm a massive wimp, and for me full-on horror films or books are an absolute no-no. When I was younger I was traumatised by E.T. the alien for weeks, and my Mum once had to walk me sobbing out of the cinema when I freaked out over Dobby in The Chamber of Secrets. If you share my cowardly streak, you'll love this list of books that sit safely outside of the horror genre, but still provide a creepy and unsettling vibe to get you in the mood for spooky season...
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism
Rating: 3 stars
Summary: When Libby inherits a mansion from the biological parents she never knew, it offers life-changing possibilities and the ticket out of her dead-end job. However, this once-lavish house holds the story of Libby's first months of life, and she can't sell until the truth is uncovered.
A newspaper article records how the house became infamous decades ago, when three adults were found dead in what was suspected to be a cult-related suicide pact. Concerned locals reported children living there too, but their identities were unknown and no trace of them remained. These missing children could be the only family Libby has ever known: the question is whether they want to be found.
Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith: Crime Fiction With Character
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Crime fiction
Synopsis: Victor Van Allen is proud of the ordered life he has created for himself. He runs a sought-after printing press, holds a respected position in the town, and is the father of a precocious little girl.
The only taint to this perfect facade is his wife, Melinda. Their relationship is tenuously held together by Vic sleeping in a separate room and pretending to ignore her involvements with other men. Yet a new arrival in the sleepy town of Little Wesley means Vic may not be able to look the other way for much longer...
The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown: Unflinching and Compassionate Insight into the Prison System
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Non-fiction, Memoir
Synopsis: After the frustrations and bureaucracy of working as a GP cause Dr Amanda Brown to impulsively walk out of her practice, she is looking for a change. Her compulsion to challenge herself and make a difference lands her where she never thought she'd end up - treating prisoners in some of Britain's toughest criminal institutions.
The Prison Doctor is the story of the incredible people she meets, as well as a compassionate insight into the individual lives that are placed into the hands of the justice system - for better or worse.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Stand-Out Thriller that Deserves the Hype
Rating: 5 stars
Theo has just started a new job at The Grove, a psychiatric unit for violent female criminals. Top of the list of new patients he must take on is Alicia. Alicia seemed to have it all - a flourishing career as an artist and a loving husband - until the night she shot him in the head. Since that fateful night, Alicia has refused to speak a word.
Disentangling Alicia's past and the motives for her crime is not going to be easy - especially when The Grove is hiding secrets of its own.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: Character-Centric Historical Crime
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Historical fiction, crime, literary fiction
Alias Grace is based on the actual historical figure Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper in 1843, alongside James McDermott. In this fictionalised account, it is uncertain whether she was acting under duress, out of fear for her own life, or if she was McDermott's lover and co-conspirator.
The ambitious psychologist Dr Jordan is sent to the penitentiary to draw out the truth. However, with Grace claiming to have no memory of the incident, it will be difficult to separate the innocent, exploited young girl from the woman capable of unspeakable violence.
Eve Was Shamed by Helena Kennedy: Feminist Challenge to an Unjust Justice System
Rating: 4 stars
Working as a high-level barrister at the very heart of the justice system, Helena Kennedy is well placed to examine whether this system is working for women. In her book, she draws on extensive experience working with women, both as victims and perpetrators of crime, and the challenges she has faced as one of the only QC female barristers.
Eve Was Shamed is a shocking revelation of how women remain discriminated against by the law. It is also a powerful call for change.
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Crime Fiction
"Did the world always mete out just deserts?"
Tom Ripley is struggling to make his way in New York City, chasing the elusive American Dream while treading the edges of illegality. When the father of an old acquaintance approaches Tom in the hope that he can persuade his son, Dickie Greenleaf, to come home from Europe and take on the family business, Tom leaps at the chance.
However, from the first, it becomes clear that Dickie has no intention of obliging his father. His life in the Italian village of Mongibello is everything Tom has ever dreamed of: wealth, status, a luxurious lifestyle. Tom will have to return empty-handed to his sordid life in New York - unless he takes measures increasingly more extreme.