Rachel McLean

– Thrillers That Make You Think

Thrillers With a Serious Theme

Welcome back to my series of book recommendations! I’ve taken a break from these over the summer but now I’m back and it’s time for a new list.

Today I’m recommending some thrillers which as well as being page turners, also have a serious theme or issue at their heart.

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

The Quality of Silence coverThis haunting book follows the exploits of a quite remarkable young girl as she travels through the wilds of Alaska in search of her father. As well as the wonderfully evocative descriptions of the snowy wilderness and some great characterisation, it also explores the rights and wrongs of fracking.

I’ll risk my life for you.

On 24 November Yasmin and her ten-year-old daughter Ruby set off on a journey across Northern Alaska. They’re searching for Ruby’s father, missing in the arctic wilderness.

More isolated with each frozen mile they cover, they travel deeper into an endless night. And Ruby, deaf since birth, must brave the darkness where sight cannot guide her.

She won’t abandon her father. But winter has tightened its grip, and there is somebody out there who wants to stop them.

Somebody tracking them through the dark.

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke coverThis is definitely one for you if you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale. I got it for Christmas last year and had read half of it before the turkey was even out of the oven.

Hannah Payne is a RED.

Her crime: MURDER.

And her victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child.

Lying on a table in a bare room, covered by only a paper gown, Hannah awakens to a nightmare. Cameras broadcast her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes – criminals whose skin has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime – is a sinister form of entertainment.

Hannah refuses to reveal the identity of her father. But cast back into a world that has marked her for life, how far will she go to protect the man she loves?

An enthralling and chilling novel from the author of MUDBOUND, for fans of THE HANDMAID’S TALE and THE SCARLET LETTER.

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry coverJane Harper is one of my favourite crime writers and this was her debut. At its heart is the chilling murder of a family and the efforts of an old friend of theirs to solve it. But it also examines the effect of drought on a community. When climate makes people desperate, what lows will they sink to?


I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

A House Divided by Rachel McLean

A House Divided by Rachel McLean coverAs is traditional in these roundups, I’m including one of my own books. A House Divided is a political thriller which tracks the breakdown of one family but also examines political incompetence and intolerance and fear of immigrants in high places.

Jennifer Sinclair is many things: loyal government minister, loving wife and devoted mother.

But when a terror attack threatens her family, her world is turned upside down. When the government she has served targets her Muslim husband and sons, her loyalties are tested. And when her family is about to be torn apart, she must take drastic action to protect them.

A House Divided is a tense and timely thriller about political extremism and divided loyalties, and their impact on one woman.

Buy on Amazon UK

Buy on Amazon US

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