Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I know technically Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but I wanted to post this early in case I don’t have time on the actual day. For some of you, this may be quite a depressing holiday. I’ve been there before. I’m also not one for serious romance and lovey-dovey stuff. And that’s okay! So I’ve decided to go in another direction today. Rather than focus on my favorite love stories, I want to showcase domestic thrillers. A domestic thriller typically has no happy ending for the not-so-happy couple, just winding plot twists that tear them apart at every opportunity. I figured, whether you’re single or in a relationship, these couples will make you appreciate what you have (or don’t have). On to the list of CRAZY Valentine’s Day book couples!
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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
If you haven’t heard of Gone Girl by now, then you need to get on that! This book was probably the book that turned me on to domestic thrillers in the first place. Nick and Amy are presented as the perfect couple: they’re beautiful and seemingly happy, until Amy disappears and Nick becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. Gone Girl is the first book to let me know that NOTHING is ever as it seems! P.S. I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie (obviously).
After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
After I’m Gone was the first book by Laura Lippman that I read, and it definitely won’t be my last! Felix meets Bambi on Valentine’s Day in 1959, and they become a happy family with three daughters. But Felix is far from perfect: his business dealings are far from legal, he ends up having an affair with a stripper, and suddenly disappears without a trace shortly before he begins a trial that could land him in prison for years. This is the story of the family he left behind, but what really happened to Felix?
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Rachel Childs is a former journalist who had a complete meltdown on television. Now, she is a recluse and can barely leave her city apartment. But her husband has been an absolute rock, supporting her when the rest of the world abandoned her. But then she finds him in a place where he shouldn’t be, and secrets are revealed about him that she never expected. I also really loved that Rachel experiences such a huge transformation by the end of this novel that it makes the story even better!
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
I first read Kaira Rouda’s Best Day Ever in October, and it was a really great read to get me in the mood for Halloween! I’m not saying it was ridiculously scary, but there were aspects of it that just plain freaked me out. Paul has planned the best day ever for him and his wife, Mia. He plans to drive up to their lake house, leaving their beautiful boys at home with the sitter, and they’re going to have the best day ever that nothing can ruin. But what starts out as an amazing day for Paul turns into a disaster, forcing Mia to wonder how well she really knows Paul. Read this book. It seriously made me rethink everything about my own relationship!
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Behind Her Eyes is more than just a domestic thriller. Its main character, Lousie, a single mother in a new city. She meets a man at a bar, and they share a perfect kiss. The next day she starts her first day at work, finds out he’s her new boss, David, and he’s very married. Then she bumps into his beautiful wife, Adele, and they become friendly. All the while Louise is still enamored with David, and David has feelings for Adele. It’s a strangely twisted tale of a woman entering the lives of a very unusual couple. And the ending? Some people thought it was a bit strange, but OH MY GOD IT WAS A KNOCKOUT! You’ll never see it coming!
The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
Of all the books on this list, The Blackbird Season is probably my least favorite. But it’s still quite an interesting read that I did enjoy. One day blackbirds just started falling from the sky. Everyone was asking what, how and why, until other news corrupted everyone’s thoughts. Nate and Alicia Winters are the perfect couple: he is the high school baseball coach and she stays at home with their autistic son. Then Nate is photographed hugging a high school student, Lucia Hamm, outside of a seedy motel. Everyone turns their backs on him, including Alicia. But he has one supporter in his fellow coworker and friend, Bridget. Can Bridget prove that nothing inappropriate is going on between Nate and Lucia?
Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison
I read Lie To Me with Salt Water Reads on Instagram in November, and I absolutely loved it! We had a fantastic discussion with the author, and I really enjoyed reading this book and talking about it with others. Sutton and Ethan Montclair are the perfect literary couple. As authors, they have inspired each other in both their works and their lives. But nothing is as it seems. One day, Sutton disappears without a trace, and Ethan is left behind to pick up the pieces, until he’s accused of murdering his wife. Again, this is very reminiscent of Gone Girl, but the second half of the book is COMPLETELY different! The whole ending was amazingly unique and surprisingly a bit happy, so definitely check this book out if you can!
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The Wife Between Us is a book with a MASSIVE amount of hype surrounding it. Even the book synopsis was completely vague yet still intriguing. Book of the Month offered The Wife Between Us, and I knew I just had to read it! We had a pretty intense discussion for this book in the Salt Water Reads book club on Instagram, and I was absolutely floored by the twists and turns that took pace in The Wife Between Us! It features an ex-wife stalking the new fling of her ex-husband, but NOTHING is what you think it is!
I hope this wasn’t a completely cynical post. I know Valentine’s Day isn’t always what everyone is hoping for, so my goal here is to make you feel so much better about your current love life situation. Even if you’re single, you’re better off than most of these couples! Happy Reading and I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day!