The “Perfect” Thriller

Are you looking for a quick read that is engaging and hard to put down? Something intense that has you anxiously wondering how the story will end? These thrillers are the perfect companion to any plane flight or long car trip this summer! 


The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

Zoe Maisey seems like the perfect girl, a genius IQ level and a musical prodigy, and she is about to give the recital of her life. Little do the people surrounding her know that three years earlier Zoe was involved in an incident that left three of her schoolmates dead. Zoe’s mother, Maria tells her that she must hide this from everyone including Maria’s new husband. However, that night becomes the biggest night of Zoe’s life for a completely different reason: her mother Maria is killed. What role does the past play in Maria’s death? Have repercussions from that night three years ago come back to haunt Zoe again? Or is there something sinister about her new step-father?


The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

Myriam struggles with being a stay-at-home Mother. After working hard in law school and graduating near the top of her class just weeks before her daughter was born, she was not ready for the slow monotony of motherhood. Just a few years later she gives birth to her son, making her depression worse, she starts stealing small things at the store just to give herself a thrill. Myriam no longer keeps up with housework, she and  her husband start fighting more and more. They finally decide to hire a nanny,and luckily they find Louise. She instantly forms a connection with the two children and they hire her almost immediately after calling her past employer. Louise spends hours making up fantastical tales for the children, cleans the apartment, cooks healthy and delicious meals, and brings the entire family closer together. Things start to turn south when the family becomes more and more dependent on Louise.

The Perfect Nanny begins at the ending, when something horrible has happened in a Paris apartment in an upscale arrondissement. The rest of the book tells us who, how, and why this terrible thing occurs in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. As I was reading this I could feel the gloom settling into the characters in the story as their choices and reactions act as stepping stones towards the end result. For a thriller it started off somewhat slow and then picked up its pace and was more plot-driven than character-driven. The writer does give a lot of background information on the characters’ emotions and motivators but the central focus is the plot of what happened to this family. 


The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

A group of new Moms get together once a week to talk and hang out after having their babies who are all close in age. Francie and Nell decide to organize a baby-free night out so that they can have some fun. They specifically want one of their group, Winnie,  to come because they suspect that she has been having a tough time as a single mom. Nell arranges that her new nanny Alma will watch Winnie’s son Midas. While the group is out, someone sneaks into Winnie’s house and finds the nanny asleep on the couch, giving them the opportunity they need to kidnap Midas. A media storm follows the kidnapping news and people soon turn against Winnie, from painting her into a bad mother because she went out with friends to outright accusing her of being complicit in her sons’ disappearance. Francie feels horribly guilty for arranging the night out and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Midas. She refuses to believe that Winnie has done anything wrong and badgers the police relentlessly while also going off on her own to discover what happened. Full of twists and turns and emotionally tense moments this thriller will keep you turning the pages until the end. 

I really did not see the last twist coming at all! As I read I kept expecting something to happen but when it did I was surprised! This is a fast-paced, character driven read, the author makes it easy to empathize with the new mothers whether you have children or not, and you just want it to turn out for the best for each of them. The chapters are from the viewpoint of different women in the group; Francie, Collette, Nell, and an unnamed Mom from the group. As the story goes on we learn more and more about these women, their hopes for the future, their current struggles, and pain and regret from the past. 


The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Former journalist, Leah Stevens, needs a fresh start. Staying in Boston means facing a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit. She happens to run into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who suggests that they move to Pennsylvania together. Emmy needs to leave her troubled relationship, Leah gets a teaching position in Pennsylvania and they move there together. It seems like this should be their perfect chance to start over, but a doppelganger of Leah’s is attacked shortly after they arrive and then Emmy disappears. The investigation into Emmy’s disappearance makes Leah wonder if she really knew her friend? Do we really know anyone at all?

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