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If you’re like me, you love a good mystery. The more twists, turns, and surprises, the better. Right?

Here’s a list of some of the mystery-suspense novels I read this year that I couldn’t put down. I read these in a weekend—a couple of them in a single night. The characters are intriguing. The story is addictive. The ending is surprising. They’re the type of books I aspire to write.

Never Have I Ever
Joshilyn Jackson

When a new neighbor unexpectedly shows up to the neighborhood book club, a woman’s perfect life is turned on its head. She’s been running from the truth for a long time, and she’s desperate to keep her secret and the life she loves safe.

The neighbor is terrifyingly evil and the main character has interesting character flaws, yet keeps the reader pulling for her. You’ll think you’ve got it all figured out, until the next chapter takes the story in a whole different direction. I stayed up late to finish this book and highly recommend it.

Good as Gone
Amy Gentry

Thirteen-year-old Julie is abducted from her bedroom one night. Eight years later, she returns home. As her mother comes to terms what she’s lost and what she’s found, she also begins questioning the identity of the young woman who claims to be her daughter.

The mystery unravels with every chapter and kept me turning pages. The characters are interesting and tragic, and the twist is mind-bending. It kept me guessing right up to the end.

The Couple Next Door
Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco appear to have it all – a wonderful home, a loving marriage, and a beautiful baby. But while they attend a dinner party at the neighbor’s house, their baby is abducted, and the detective suspects one or both of them were involved. As a detective digs into their lives, Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

This book is a page-turner. I started it and finished it within two days. I simply couldn’t put it down. It seems every character is hiding something, and every chapter reveals something that takes the plot in another, unexpected direction. The last two pages, to say the least, reveal one humdinger of a twist.

Good Girl, Bad Girl
Michael Robotham

Cyrus Haven, an intelligent forensic psychologist with a dark past of his own, works with the police, but isn’t fully accepted by them. When a teen skating star (the “good girl” of the title) turns up dead, he’s called in to assist in the investigation. He unearths some dirt on the skater that reveals her squeaky clean reputation was more image than reality. And there are quite a few suspects for who may have murdered her.

At the same time, he’s asked to assess a teen (the “bad girl”) who wants to be released from the group home she lives in, though her identity is still a mystery. She calls herself Evie, and she was discovered in a hidden room at a violent crime scene. As the story unfolds, hints are revealed eluding to her past.

This book excels on so many levels. The characters are interesting, the story is engaging, and the search for the murderer is a real puzzle. Plus, the tension just never lets up. It’s a real page turner.

Pretty as a Picture
Elizabeth Little

Marissa is hired to replace the film editor on a movie about the “based on a true story” murder of a young girl. In fact, the film is even shooting on the actual location where the murder occurred twenty years earlier. And some of the locals who are still haunted by that tragedy aren’t too thrilled about it, including the actual murderer.

The book gives a behind-the-camera glimpse into Hollywood, with larger-than-life personalities. Ultimately, it’s a funny, satirical read with a few twists and solid mystery at its core.

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