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Top 5 Unreliable Narrators Who Gave Me Trust Issues

by  | September 11

There is a certain thrill that comes from reading a story as told by an unreliable narrator. When you can’t trust your own storyteller you are always on edge, always questioning if the world is the way it is described, or if we are only seeing what the narrator wants us to see. Whether their memories are flawed as in The Girl on the Train, or there’s a much more sinister reason to keep things hidden as with Gone Girl, unreliable narrators have always been used to create a very specific (and very effective) type of tension. So check out my personal five favorite unreliable narrators, who will leave you shattered by the last page.

Shutter Island

Shutter Island

by Dennis Lehane

When I was younger I was too afraid to watch horror movies, any horror movies, so whenever a movie adaptation of a horror novel would come out, I would run to the library and read it instead. I loved the spooky stories, just not the jump scares. This was how I found one of my all-time favorite horror novels, Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane. The story follows two detectives as they investigate the disappearance of a patient at the Ashcliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Part noir, part horror story, this books sucks you into the darkness of the island and leaves you with a truly shocking twist.

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The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder

by Sarah J. Harris

In this compelling and often heartfelt debut, The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder, Sarah J. Harris offers a contemporary murder mystery through the incredibly unique lens of an autistic teen. Narrated by Jasper, a thirteen-year-old with face blindness and synesthesia (the ability to see colors when he hears sounds), the story follows his journey to understand and get to the bottom of who killed his neighbor, Bee. We experience his neighborhood the way he does, which creates another layer to the mystery. In exploring the role of family and community toward Jasper while spinning an original and fascinating thriller, the author of The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder has created an absolute must-read.

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The Turn of the Key

The Turn of the Key

by Ruth Ware

In this modern reimagining of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, a woman, Rowan, takes a job at an isolated Scottish home as a nanny for three children. The house, which is decked out with the latest in-home technology, seems like an idyllic place to live...until things start going haywire. Sinister children or a ghost in the machine? Rowan must navigate her new role the best she can. That is, until a child winds up dead. A truly chilling story, this is absolutely my favorite Ruth Ware to date. Completely told by her in a letter to her lawyer, this unique framing device forces the reader to question Rowan’s story until its truly gutting conclusion.

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You (Media Tie-In Edition)

You (Media Tie-In Edition)

by Caroline Kepnes

In our first foray into the twisted mind of Joe Goldberg, You, follows the aforementioned stalker as he sets his sights on Guinevere Beck, an NYU master’s student living in a West Village apartment with unfortunately large front windows. Using social media and the good old fashioned standing-across-the-street technique, Joe escalates his behavior menacingly, which we see only from his point of view. A dark voyage into the mind of a dangerous man, You is, without a doubt, one of my favorite modern thrillers.

His story continues in the sequel, Hidden Bodies, which will be the basis for the second season of the Netflix show!

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I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

by Iain Reid

In this surprising and endlessly twisty novel by Iain Reid, a woman travels with her boyfriend to meet his parents. As they drive she contemplates their entire relationship and why she wants to end it all. This sounds like the premise for a short story, but no...the novel is anything but. It is a a complex tale that is dark, with some truly horrifying moments and imagery. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is one of the very few recent books that absolutely surprised me. I powered through this story in one sitting; it left me completely shocked and breathless by the last page.

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Amy is a Legal Contracts Assistant at Simon & Schuster. She loves thrillers, contemporary fiction, and all things Stephen King! If she isn’t talking about her obsession with true crime podcasts like Last Podcast on the Left she is gabbing on about any and all things film. She loves reading in her favorite NYC bars, which you can see on her bookstagram, @boozehoundbookclub