Thrillers to chill this May

A historical novel looks into domestic violence, rights of women, and the witch hunts in “Hour of the Witch” by Chris Bohjalian.

Mary is a young wife in Boston in the mid 1600s. Married off to a widowed man double her age, all she was hoping for was a child of her own one day. Instead, her husband is violent and cruel to her when no one is looking, particularly their indentured servant who seems to have a crush on him. When her husband Thomas finally drives a newly imported fork into her hand, Mary decides she has had enough and goes back to her parents and wants to divorce him. But it is hard for a woman to divorce a husband, even for cruelty at this time, and when the servant girl starts up witch talk, Mary may need to avoid both abuse from her husband’s hand and/or the gallows of the witch trials. But when Mary’s back is against the wall, how far will she go to escape?

This is a really well done novel that looks at domestic violence and women’s rights, and at the same time, produces a thriller of a story that comes with a satisfying conclusion.

“Hour of the Witch” is published by Doubleday Books.


USA Today bestselling author Paula Munier returns to her Mercy Carr mystery series with “The Hiding Place.”

Mercy and her working dog Elvis are called to see a dying deputy who ends up leaving her his dog and case files that he and her late grandfather never solved — involving a missing woman named Beth Kilgore who has never been found in 20 years. Almost as soon as the case drops into Mercy’s lap, she gets a visitor from an ex-Army veteran who says Elvis was originally his dog — not her deceased fiance’s — and he wants him back. Mercy and her grandmother, Patience, are the targets of a pipe bomb that could have something to do with her grandfather’s old cases, as the man who killed him just escaped from prison, and she still doesn’t know how she feels about Troy, a local game warden. As danger gets even closer to Mercy, her grandmother goes missing. Now Mercy must solve a cold missing person’s case, and her grandmother’s as well, before it becomes cold as well.

With solid characters and two working dogs who are ready to search for the bad guys as well as the missing persons, this is a good mystery series for the dog lover.

“The Hiding Place” is published by Minotaur Books and is $27.99.


A woman trying to rebuild her life finds objects from her childhood around a series of murders in bestselling author Elle Marr’s “Lies We Bury.”

Twenty years ago, Claire Lou was Marissa Mo, the child of an abducted woman and her kidnapper, living in his basement with her other “mothers” and two sisters. The notoriety has caused her to change her name, and now, with her horrible father set to be paroled, things seem to be coming to a head once again. But when Claire’s new job as a photographer for a local news agency causes her to find a clue to her past around the body, and then a threatening note, she realizes the killer is taunting her. While Claire looks for clues for the next body, she must confront the past before danger targets her and her sisters.

This is a well written mystery about a tough subject that is an addicting read, one that you will stay up late reading because you want to see what happens next. Marr is good at creating characters you care about, and blending the mystery into a story of identity and overcoming trauma.

“Lies We Bury” is published by Thomas & Mercer.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.


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