March 10: Ten Books For Readers Who Like ________, I’m picking today’s topic as Dark Themes, the weekly topic provided by The Broke & Bookish
So I’m putting a different spin on this week’s Top Ten list. I’ve recently been watching a creepy TV show and have read some dark books (currently in the middle of one) and realized this is a genre I don’t read enough of so I decided to link the two. I’m not sure why I like to read stories such as these, I guess I feel for the victim and always want answers.
This list is different from others because I’m combining creepy reads with creepy things to watch (TV/film). Film is my specialty but I love reading so here I am finding a happy medium with this list. I give you my breakdown of seven dark themed reads and three tv shows to follow up with 🙂
Stolen: A Letter to My Captor Lucy Christopher
This story is just hella-creepy. I can’t even begin to explain the weird behavior from her captor, Ty, does. He lives in this bizarre fantasy-land that if he takes Gemma she’ll really like living in the middle of nowhere with him and learn to not miss her family or the rest of the world. He’s been watching her for MUCH longer than the reader anticipates and luckily there’s no sexual violence toward her. The creepiness would be out of control on this one if that were the case. But it’s definitely worth the read, especially in the unique letter format the story is written in.
Don’t Look Back Jennifer L. Armentrout
Main character Samantha wakes up not knowing how she lost her memory from days before and learns that her best friend was killed the night she disappeared. It’s the process Samantha goes through in trying to figure out her old life and the missing memories, the flashbacks she gets, and who to trust when things start revealing themselves. And Samantha receives a few notes reminding her that she shouldn’t look for things she’s obviously forgotten. The mind can be a dangerous place; it hides things because it can’t deal with that trauma. Extra creepy.
Dangerous Girls Abigail Haas
I couldn’t imagine being framed for a murder. I couldn’t ever imagine knowing anyone who was murdered. It’s just so crazy to entertain the idea but for Anna whose on Spring Break with her friends in Aruba, things might turn out differently than planned. The reader is taken on a journey through a murder trial, the time before the murder, friendships thriving and deteriorating, and the verdict. This is a tale that certainly has the reader turning the pages so fast on this whirl-wind ride!
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Joyce Carol Oates
I read this short story in college and it was seriously creepy! I’ve wanted to read more from her and this story definitely intrigued me. A self-absorbed teen during the 60’s has difficulties with her mother and her homely older sister habitually lies about where she spends most of her summer nights…at the Big Boy or down some side alleyways with boys she shouldn’t be with. One night a stranger sees her and comes to her house. He’s 18, she’s 15, but after she decides to leave with him she realizes maybe it wasn’t a smart idea after all. Definitely worth the read—the stranger is creepy and you’re left wondering what happens next to main character Connie.
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
Now despite some mixed reviews for the ending and overall of this book, I would like to say I *am* a fan! Gillian breaks up the story into points of view with main characters (husband and wife) Nick and Amy Donne, as well as time period break up which gives the reader a sense of where things develop and where they become out of control. I really felt attached to Nick and then BAM! NICK I HATE YOU, WHERE’S AMY?! A lot of mind games and a lot of questioning characters until the reveal and then you see how twisted this all plays out (the book is pretty similar to the film). I also love that Gillian wrote this. I’m not exposed to a lot of writers who can tell stories like this, and even if I do, they’re most likely male, so I love that she’s conquered this. Even for the movie/book hype you should still give it a shot.
Dark Places Gillian Flynn
See? I told you I liked Gillian’s style and this book was…crazytrain crazy! Libby Day survived her family’s murder one early morning in January at the age of seven. The incarcerated killer? Her older brother Ben. As Libby grows up and loses the money she received from the murder publicized she’s looking to make a quick buck and avoid all of the issues she’s developed over the years. Gillian writes gritty and it’s easy to feel how poor the Day’s are, their misery, the bad luck they deal with—just small farm town, America they live in and how that affects everything. You never know who it could be…oh so Ben might not be the killer? HMMM?, and Libby’s quest for the truth has her second guessing the obvious, now learning how many lies were told to help end that fateful night for her family.
Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn
WHAAA??? Another Gillian rec?! Yes! I’m currently reading it—literally only 50 pages in so I can’t give you an overall recommendation but I have no doubts Gillian will deliver! There’s a second missing girl in the area of Wind Gap, Missouri where main character Camille Preaker is from. Going back to her hometown is something she dreads which sounds like it’s nothing to stick around for, but will most definitely bring on the drama that I just eat up while reading! Hopefully I’ll finish and review soon!
Now this is where my influence for the post came in!
The Fall starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, Netflix – 2 seasons
This show is on a whole other level of Creep! Jamie’s character Peter is a serial killer and has this special disturbing talent hidden from his family and everyone else. Gillian Anderson plays a terrific female lead investigator in the series and tries to get into the mind of someone so deranged as Jamie’s character. It must be a very daunting task to delve into the mind of someone so wicked and makes murder into a game of sorts, but it’s worth watching for sure!
The Following starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, FOX – 3 seasons
This show is actually a hybrid of creepy and reading! WOOHOO! Joe Carroll, James Purefoy, a former professor who was obsessed with creating murders correlating with Edgar Allan Poe stories. (hello extra creep factor) He then becomes a full-fledged murderer and was caught but has a huge fan base outside the prison walls he does time in for so long. As he made his escape you have no idea who is a part of his cult—his Following, making the lives miserable for the FBI, including Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) aka Joe’s favorite play thing. The layers of his Following are intricately woven through many individuals who are hidden in plain sight…as well as deranged copycat killers.
The Killing starring Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, AMC/Netflix – 4 seasons
I’m leaving the Netflix link because you’ll be able to see all four seasons there. This show man…this show. I can’t remember how I discovered it but I know I started watching not too long after I took my first (and only…sadly) trip to Seattle, where the show takes place. It’s a remake of a Danish crime drama and starts out with the murder of Rosie Larson, a teen who’s body is found in the trunk of car at the bottom of a lake. For the first two seasons, Rosie and her storyline are at the forefront mixed with politics in a race for the next Mayor. You follow Detective Liden, the woman who has a rocky past but damn good at her job—ready to leave the force and start off fresh in California, and Detective Holder—former druggie now turned cop and basically an Eminem wannabe. Their chemistry is everything you could hope for a duo dealing with the dark themes from rape, murder, prostitution, etc. on the streets of Seattle. Season three dives back into a murder that happened in Liden’s past a case she was on and a now reformed Holder (suit and everything). Season four is the finale, picking up a new case but tying in with the past which have new secrets to keep quiet. AMC cancelled it after season two but picked it up for season 3. It got cancelled again but picked up AGAIN by Netflix where you can stream all four seasons! This show doesn’t get nearly enough praise it deserves—stream it now!
Bonus show to watch:
Broadchurch….THE REAL BBC VERSION, not Gracepoint the fake US version that will never be as good as the British one.
(sorry I have strong feelings about this) starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, BBC America – 2 seasons, it reads there’s a renewal for S3 but that hasn’t filmed yet
The murder of a boy in a coastal town starts to tear the community apart, pointing the finger at all and creating more drama than necessary. I still haven’t finished season 1…I KNOW!! But I’m two episodes away. I actually went to finish this because season one is on Netflix to watch instantly and I was ready to finish the series when I said, “Screw it, let’s watch The Fall instead” …whoops! But S2 is currently on BBC America and I know it will not disappoint. The Killing and Broadchurch are very similar in keeping the mystery afloat and the suspicion high.
Now if you’re feeling like a crazed psycho who needs some love, please head over to Danielle’s blog, Love at First Page, to read up on some fluffy top ten picks! Have you read any of my picks? Watched any of the shows?! Do you obsess with mystery, murder, and the creepy? hahah Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
xx Linz aka The Kid