For serious adrenaline junkies, there are few things that will get your heart racing harder than Black Friday shopping. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. Forget sky-diving, forget white water rafting — they’ve got nothing on hardcore sales-shopping. But what are you supposed to do when you’re trying to save money? If you’re feeling a bit too broke to spend the early hours of the morning doing battle over some 50-percent-off-but-still-too-expensive shoes, then where are you going to get your adrenaline fix?
Well, the answer is simple — and it’s the same answer you’ll get to basically any question you ever ask me: books.
Just think how much money you’ll save. Even if you buy all 15 of these books, they still won’t cost as much as the brand new wardrobe you were just bound to buy in the Black Friday sales — and the rush they’ll bring you is a million times better. Because yeah, racing down the aisles of a shopping mall is exciting, but you can go even further within the pages of a good book. Some of the books on this list will have you running from ghosts, digging into mysteries, and even going undercover as a spy. Black Friday doesn’t sound so exciting now, does it?
1. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn is pretty much the go-to writer for thrillers at the moment. None of us have quite recovered from reading Gone Girl, and delving further into her back catalogue just produced the even darker and twistier Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Still having nightmares, tbh. So this one’s a no-brainer; if you’re looking for something ghostly and gripping that will get your heart racing, then pick up Flynn’s new short story The Grownup.
2. Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas
Madeleine is 22, newly graduated, and starting a great new job at a TV station — when she has a distrubing dream about her twin sister, Melissa, who was kidnapped when they were 3. Despite her parents’ protests, Madeleine begins a search to find out if Melissa was still alive — and finds that her parents may not have been as innocent in Melissa’s disappearance as they had seemed.
3. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
When Heidi Wood rescues a homeless teenage girl and her baby from a train platform and brings her home, her family think she’s finally taken her good nature too far. But as clues from the girl’s past start to surface, nobody could have predicted quite how twisted this story would get. From the bestselling author of The Good Girl, Pretty Baby will definitely give you the adrenaline fix you need this Black Friday.
4. Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
Smaller and Smaller Circles has two pretty unusual protagonists: Jesuit priests who double up as forensic detectives in the aftermath of a killing spree in the Philippines. F.H. Batacan flips the typical murdery mystery on its head by revealing the identity of the criminal to the reader, but anyone who was as hooked on Columbo as I was will know that doesn’t make it any less gripping as you watch the detectives figure it out.
5. All in Her Head by Sunny Mera
Well, this is certainly a unique premise: Sunny Mera, a woman raised by Christian fundamentalist parents, experiences that rare phenomenon of an orgasmic labor as she delivers her first child. The experience, in which she believed her physician had fallen in love with her, causes her to descend into delusion and paranoia, and an increasing inability to separate the real from the unreal.
6. The Good Neighbor by A. J. Banner
There’s a reason books like Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep are so popular: there’s something wonderfully terrifying about the idea of not being able to trust the people you thought you knew. That’s where The Good Neighbor hits its stride: when a sudden tragedy interrupts Sarah’s life, she is forced to question her friends, her neighbors, and even her husband.
7. The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura
From the moment Nishikawa finds a gun lying beside a dead body one night in Tokyo, he feels compelled to take it. Slowly, his dull university experience begins to revolve around his obsession with the gun. As his personal life becomes increasingly complicated, Nishikiawa’s sense of purpose becomes grounded on one sole mission: he must fire the gun.
8. The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
The Muralist blends historical and fictional characters together in this story of a talented young painter who disappears on the eve of World War II, and her great-niece who tries to solve the mystery 70 years later.
9. Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
If it’s the wackiness of Black Friday that you’re craving, then Beatlebone is perfect for you. It’s essentially John Lennon fan-fiction, and tells the story of Lennon on an Irish adventure with a magical shape-shifting driver. Yep, it’s certainly wacky.
10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
In 1977, a missing teenager is found drowned in a lake. As her parents, a Chinese father and American mother, try to cope with their grief, they learn the things they never knew about their daughter, about each other, and about the cultural fissures within their own marriage. Woven throughout are sections of their shared history in the 1960s, when another missing-person crisis had struck their family once before.
11. Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Two years ago, Lauren Wilder was in an accident that left her unable to trust her own instincts — so when she almost hits local man Bo Laughlin with her car, she can’t trust that he’s OK. Especially when he then vanishes...
12. Dead in a Mumbai Minute by Madhumita Bhattacharyya
Who says crime novels can’t be glamorous? Private detective Reema Ray has been assigned the case of the year: the murder of a Bollywood superstar’s assistant. Suddenly partying on a private island and drinking expensive wine doesn’t seem all it’s cracked up to be — especially when every one of the party guests is a murder suspect.
13. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Never has a harmless bachelorette party seemed quite so sinister. A few days after Nora attends the bachelorette party of a friend she hadn’t seen in 10 years, she wakes up in hospital fearing that she’s done something terribly wrong. Through flashbacks of the party itself, set in a glass house in a dark, dark wood, we see tensions rising — and the unshakeable feeling of being watched.
14. The Crescent Spy by Michael Wallace
Josephine Breaux is about to make your Black Friday mission seem like child play. In The Crescent Spy, Josephine is sent to New Orleans during the Civil War to spy on the Confederates — and she has to do it all undercover as a man.