As we leave August behind and move into the chilly season, it is time to recommend some thrillers and spooky reads. To start off, we are here to celebrate the release on And Don’t Look Back. We have the honour of inviting Rebecca Barrow to write a guest post for us about the inspirations behind the story, and to give us some queer thriller recommendations.
When I started thinking about my next book, I wasn’t sure what kind of thriller I wanted to write—a ghost story, maybe, or something about a girl dropped in an unfamiliar place with a strange history, or perhaps the story of a disappearance. In the end, all of those things weaved their way into And Don’t Look Back. Harlow, a girl who has spent her entire life on the run with only her mother by her side, is forced to make choices for herself after her mother is killed in an accident. But the choices aren’t so simple, and Harlow is—like most of us would be in that situation—scared. Sometimes I think the most haunting stories emerge from small moments, like Harlow having to decide between moving forwards or going back to where everything began. I’m really interested in why people make the choices they do, and what drives us all to go beyond the point of no return. If you’re looking for more books that deal in similar thrills as And Don’t Look Back, read on for my recommendations.
Echo After Echo — A.R. Capetta
This is a mystery, yes, but also a love story. Set around a production of Echo and Ariston, the answers to a series of mysterious—and unnerving—deaths slowly unfold as uncertain actress Zara and lighting designer Eli fall in sweet, intense love. With truly beautiful prose and a mesmerising setting, this is a must for anyone afraid to utter a certain name inside a theatre.
This darkly atmospheric slow-burn thriller makes the most of its Paris setting, taking the reader into the catacombs where a deadly bargain awaits ballet dancer Laure. With all the tension of a cutthroat ballet environment (glass in pointe shoes, anyone?) Shea examines the lengths Laure will go to in order to succeed in a world that refuses to accept her.
People Like Us — Dana Mele
If you’ve ever thought “god I love boarding school books, and I love thrillers, and I love reading about terrible girls, but sometimes I wish I could have all of those things in the same place” then I have exactly the book for you! When Kay and her friends—the queen bitches of their school—find a classmate dead in the lake, it kickstarts a story of revenge, backstabbing, and lies on top of lies.
A Line in the Dark — Malinda Lo
You cannot talk about queer YA without talking about Malinda Lo, and A Line in the Dark is her take on a psychological thriller revolving around three girls: artist Jess, the best friend she’s in love with, and the best friend’s new girlfriend. When a party ends with a body, the toxic trio find themselves under suspicion, and you won’t know who or what to trust when it comes to the truth.
All Eyes On Us — Kit Frick
If anyone reading this is as much of a fan of the unhinged teen drama Pretty little Liars as I am, then I think you’re going to enjoy this read. Amanda has planned a future with her golden boy rich boyfriend, Carter—except Carter also happens to be dating Rosalie behind her back. But Rosalie is actually only using him as cover so her homophobic parents don’t send her back to conversion therapy. And then the threatening texts start coming…
Night of the Living Queers — edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown
This is one recently-released anthology that I’m really looking forward to reading because everything about it is exciting to me! Each story in this—written by a mix of established writers and newer names, all queer authors of colour—takes place on Halloween night. With creepy clowns, ghosts, body swapping, revenge, and more, there’s going to be something in this anthology for all thriller lovers.