Good for Book Clubs

Read It Forward features bestselling and up-and-coming authors of thriller, suspense, and mystery. For readers who love books that keep you turning pages late into the night!

Good for Book Clubs

RIF’s Favorite Reads of April

To be or not to be? To read or not to read? To read, of course. As usual, we spent this month with our noses in books, and we suspect you might have as well. With Willy Shakespeare’s birthday, a legendary musician’s death, and both the Bard and Prince’s connections to poetry (sonnets; lyrics), April has been one packed National Poetry Month. And whether or not you’ve been pranked recently—be it by friends on April 1 or by the fickle spring weather—we’re not fooling with our favorites.

Click on our favorites to buy them, and tell us in the comments which were your best April reads!

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Chris Pavone’s Favorite Place to Stay in Paris

I’ve stayed in more than a dozen hotels in Paris, scattered across eight different arrondisements in all sorts of circumstances—with my family and by my lonesome, on a honeymoon and on a European book tour, as a sanity-restoring getaway from my life as an expat trailing spouse in Luxembourg, on a tight budget and a weeklong lease and one money-is-no-object night.

If you’re hoping that I’m about to reveal an inexpensive secret, I’m sorry to disappoint. All my low- and midrange hotels featured at least a few of the expected drawbacks, maybe even all of them.

On the other end of things, I’ve stayed in exactly one of those super-luxury grand hotels on the Right Bank that form a red-carpeted zigzag across the rue Saint-Honoré, from the Meurice at the Louvre out to the George V; they’re all similarly priced, these places, which is to say exorbitant.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

RIF’s Favorite Reads of March

March is a tricky month—the promise of spring taunts us, but in most of the country, it remains bitterly cold. Daylight Savings brings more evening light, but throws our sleep schedules out of whack. In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, a soothsayer famously warns Caesar before his assassination to “beware the Ides of March,” and we only have St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness to help distract us before April showers start to bring May flowers. So, what is one to do during the not-quite-warm days? Why read, of course! An incredible crop of books were published this month, and while many have a dark edge to them, we guarantee that once you pick these up, you won’t be able to stop reading until spring feels like it’s officially here.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

7 Clever, Weird, and Radically Different Film Adaptations of Books

People with a literary sensibility often claim—more as an exclamation of their personality than a literal assertion of truth—that “the book is always better than the movie.” While I, of course, understand the general notion that novels and stories and biographies have, practically speaking, more time and space and nuance at their fingertips, whereas the logistics of film impose all kinds of obstructions and limitations on the form’s narrative choices–thus making it easy to stake primacy on the endless possibilities of literature over the necessarily collaborative, corporately funded and obstacle-ridden visual art of cinema. This is problem with the book-movie dichotomy: the mediums are so fundamentally dissimilar and share such a tenuous resemblance you might as well say you like riddles more than math equations.

The best film adaptations, for me then, are not ones that bother with notions of faithfulness but those that embrace the differences inherent in the art forms and translate their sources into celluloid the way jazz musicians cover standards—not merely accepting the inevitable changes in rhythm, intonation and structure that occur when one artist engages with another’s—but in fact embracing them, and even establishing an aesthetic criteria based around those subtle, idiosyncratic variations. A film cannot tell the story of a novel; it can only tell the story of a film. But it can express the same sentiments, cull out the same emotions, and even capture—despite an impersonally large screen with pounding music and special effects and demanding celebrities and controlling producers and money and deadlines and ratings and running times—a facsimile of the source material’s essence. A faithfulness to the original’s heart—or, better still, fidelity to the heart of the director’s connection to the heart of the text—is all that I require. Slavish literality to books, in film, is rather like trying to make the version that all readers have in their minds—whereas what I’m interested in is what’s in one mind.

Author Q&A Good for Book Clubs

Lyndsay Faye

Lyndsay Faye’s fifth novel, Jane Steele, opens with the chilling line: “Of all my many murders, committed for love and for better reasons, the first was the most important.” From page one, readers will be gripped by Faye’s reinterpretation of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer named Jane Steele.

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

In this interview, Lyndsay Faye reveals her inspiration behind the book, the feminist themes within and how she writes from the point of view of a man (turns out, they’re just people too!) Pick up this riveting read just in time to celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday on April 21.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Mystery Giveaway: All Things Cease to Appear

A dark, riveting, beautifully written book—by “a brilliant novelist,” according to Richard Bausch—that combines noir and the gothic in a story about two families entwined in their own unhappiness, with, at its heart, a gruesome and unsolved murder.

Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife killed and their three-year-old daughter alone—for how many hours?—in her room across the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at a nearby private college (far too expensive for local kids to attend) teaching art history, and moved his family into a tight-knit, impoverished town that has lately been discovered by wealthy outsiders in search of a rural idyll.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Suspense Giveaway: Try Not to Breathe

For fans of Gillian Flynn, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins comes Holly Seddon’s arresting fiction debut—an engrossing thriller full of page-turning twists and turns.

Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning. Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for fifteen years, forgotten by the world. Amy Stevenson, who, unbeknownst to her doctors, remains locked inside her body, conscious but paralyzed, reliving the past.

Shifting from present to past and back again, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer until its heart-stopping conclusion. The result is an utterly immersive, unforgettable debut.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Thriller Giveaway: The Winter Girl

A scathing and exhilarating thriller that begins with a husband’s obsession with the seemingly vacant house next door.

It’s wintertime in the Hamptons, where Scott and his wife, Elise, have come to be with her terminally ill father, Victor, to await the inevitable. As weeks turn to months, their daily routine—Elise at the hospital with her father, Scott pretending to work and drinking Victor’s booze—only highlights their growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the usual litany of unhappy marriages: work, love, passion, each other. But then Scott notices something simple, even innocuous. Every night at precisely eleven, the lights in the neighbor’s bedroom turn off. It’s clearly a timer . . .but in the dead of winter with no one else around, there’s something about that light he can’t let go of. So one day while Elise is at the hospital, he breaks in. And he feels a jolt of excitement he hasn’t felt in a long time. Soon, it’s not hard to enlist his wife as a partner in crime and see if they can’t restart the passion.