“Fear is the Key” by Alistair MacLean – The Art of Pulling Teeth

“Fear is the Key” by Alistair MacLean (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Alistair MacLean has written so many bestsellers later on in his career, it is easy to forget he had some earlier novels too which are well worth a read despite being flying under the radar, a prime example being Fear is the Key. Turned into a movie approximately ten years after its publication, the novel tells the story of multiple parties chasing after a mysteriously-sunken treasure, but not without their own nefarious hidden agendas.

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“Listen for the Lie” by Amy Tintera – The Ghost that Never Sleeps

“Listen for the Lie” by Amy Tintera (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Short Summary

Amy Tintera has, until now, been largely known for writing superb young adult novels, many of which have become bestsellers and earned her prizes. With her latest novel, Listen for the Lie, she decided to leave her comfort zone and go into adult territory by penning a murder mystery. It follows a young woman, Lucy, who is forced to uncover the truth behind her best friend’s murder. The catch is that everyone, including Lucy herself, believe she’s the one responsible for it.

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“Marathon Man” by William Goldman – Diamonds of Demons Past

“Marathon Man” by William Goldman (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

William Goldman is responsible for a few movies and novels considered classics today, and to many people, Marathon Man remains his greatest achievement as an author. It tells the story of Thomas “Babe” Levy, a post-graduate history student at Columbia University, and how he unwittingly gets sucked into a long-standing Nazi conspiracy, at the centre of which stands Dr. Christian Szell, infamously known as the “White Angel of Auschwitz”.

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“Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir – The Saviour’s Solo

“Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Short Summary

Andy Weir has definitely set himself apart in the world of hard science-fiction, using physics, astronomy and mathematics to their fullest extent in developing some rather imaginative themes. In Project Hail Mary we follow Ryland Grace, the sole survivor on a space craft who just awoke from a coma. Bit by bit his memory returns to him, and he remembers the nature of his mission: Earth’s last-ditch effort to stay alive in the face of a cosmic extinction event.

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“Prisoner of Heaven” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Lazarus of Montjuic Castle

“Prisoner of Heaven” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Short Summary

Carlos Ruiz Zafon has presented Barcelona unlike any before him with The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, and the third one, titled Prisoner of Heaven, takes a bit of a detour from the previous stories. This one focuses on Fermin Romero de Torres, previously a side character, and his miraculous return from the dead, along with all the trouble it brings him.

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“Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut – The Automated Future

“Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Kurt Vonnegut‘s extensive bibliography isn’t short on bestsellers, but I see many people overlooking his first novel, Player Piano, which seems a little strange considering how well it resonates with modern times. It tells the story of an engineer, Paul Prodeus, living in a totally automated American society in the future, increasingly desperate to find some true meaning to his life.

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“The Great Train Robbery” by Michael Crichton – The Thieving Mastermind

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Michael Crichton, unlike most authors, has managed to pen multiple classics over the course of his lifetime, many of which were turned into equally-celebrated motion pictures. The Great Train Robbery is one of his better-known works, taking us to London 1855 to embark on an adventure alongside Edward Pierce as he orchestrates the crime of the century.

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“Mindhunter” by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker – Plunge into the Psychological Abyss

“Mindhunter” by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Short Summary

John E. Douglas is perhaps one of the more important figures in modern criminal psychology, being not only one of the first profilers, but more importantly, one of the only ones willing and able to consistently share his knowledge with the public. He has published many books alongside Mark Olshaker, and in Mindhunter, Douglas delves into some of the more surprising and shocking cases throughout his storied twenty-five-year career.

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“The Guns of Navarone” by Alistair MacLean – Men of Iron

“The Guns of Navarone” by Alistair MacLean (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Alistair MacLean is perhaps one of the more cinematic authors out there, with his novels always being evocative and, as has been proven on numerous occasions, great for movie adaptations. The Guns of Navarone is arguably one of his better-known works across both literature and cinema, and it tells the story of a small group of saboteurs tasked with the seemingly pointless and impossible mission of destroying an artillery installation preventing the evacuation of 1200 British soldiers.

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“The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Cutting a Deal with the Devil

“The Angel's Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Short Summary

Carlos Ruiz Zafon has single-handedly put his beloved city of Barcelona on the map as the perfect setting for mysteries basking in the eternal lights of art, history, and literature. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books is, without a doubt, the series which best exemplifies the author’s adoration of his hometown as well as his literary prowess. In the second novel, titled The Angel’s Game, he takes us back in time to the 1920s and 1930s to meet a young pulp fiction writer whose life is about to change for both the worst, and the best.

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“Steppenwolf” by Herman Hesse – The Inherent Beauty of Meaninglessness

“Steppenwolf” by Herman Hesse (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Short Summary

Herman Hesse is an author whose literature can be best-described, in my opinion, as profoundly introspective, affording each and every person it touches the tools to peer further within themselves. Steppenwolf is one of his most popular and influential novels, telling the story of Harry Haller, a profoundly sad and lonely individual struggling to reconcile the civil and primeval halves of his own identity.

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“The Girl in the Sand” by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain – The Broken Saviour

“The Girl in the Sand” by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Short Summary

L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain have created their own standout series in the mystery genre, following FBI profiler Violet Darger on one deadly manhunt after the next. In the third book of the series, titled The Girl in the Sand, she sees herself summoned to Las Vegas following a grizzly discovery, one which puts her in the crosshairs of a legendary serial killer bearing a personal grudge against her.

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“Jaws” by Peter Benchley – Man Versus Nature

“Jaws” by Peter Benchley (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Peter Benchley has left his mark on the worlds of literature, cinema, and ocean activism, but few of his works have withstood the test of time in the way Jaws has. The novel takes place on a seaside resort on the south shore of Long Island, where a giant killer shark begins to make minced meat of the swimmers. Despite political and personal conflicts swirling around them, three men decide to undertake the perilous journey to send the shark back to the depths it came from.

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“The Half Moon” by Mary Beth Keane – The Surprises of Midlife

“The Half Moon” by Mary Beth Keane (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Mary Beth Keane writes the sort of fiction which digs a little deeper than your typical thrillers and mysteries, often exploring some of the greyer areas in our lives. In The Half Moon, she tells us the story of Malcolm and Jess Gephardt, a couple faced with a rather uncertain future, one where their dreams and life aspirations might be extinguished for good.

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“The Good Samaritan” by John Marrs – Words of Despair

“The Good Samaritan” by John Marrs (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

John Marrs is a name most thriller fans are familiar with, having penned numerous bestsellers which still stand tall to this very day. In The Good Samaritan, one of his better-known works, he tells the story of Laura, a woman who abuses her position as a suicide hotline operator to push people over the edge. However, one man has seen beyond the veil, and is closing in on her sinister nature, unaware that she’ll do just about anything to stay in the shadows.

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