Shocking Twists

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So the element in all of today’s thrillers is a twist or even many twists quite often at the end of the book. So are you disappointed if there isn’t a twist or it is somewhere other than the end?  The following are the old school thrillers that paved the way for today’s shocking thrillers.  Did I forget one of your favorites?  Comment and let me know.  I’m always in the mood for a shocking twist. And make sure to check back in September for some of the best twists I’ve seen this year.

And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie

How can we discuss old school twists without a mention of Ms. Christie?  This is one of my all time favorite books and it set up my love of thrillers.  

1939 Europe teeters on the brink of war. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…


Defending Jacob
William Landay

While I am not sure this one qualifies as a thriller, this one wowed me!  All the signs were there, but I never saw it coming.  And I just finished watching the limited series and they stayed mostly true to the book until the end.  It’s been many years since I read this book and I will always recommend it when someone asks for a book with a twist.

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.


My Sister’s Keeper
Jodi Picoult

This book boggled my brain.  Not only did the ending shock me, which is much different than the movie version, but had me questioning right and wrong, and do parents always know best.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister — and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.


Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

This is what I consider the forerunner of today’s thriller. While the shocking twist did not come at the end, it is the whopper of all twists.  And while overshadowed by the big one, there is a slight twist at the end.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

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