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Shari Lapena: 9 of the best one-sit reads

When I started writing my first thriller, The Couple Next Door, I consciously set out to write a page turner. I wanted it to be compulsively readable. I love these kinds of books, popularly called ‘one-sit reads,’ and clearly, millions of readers do, too.

When I hear someone say about one of my books, ‘I couldn’t put it down,’ my day is made. Here are some recent books I’ve read that I never wanted to put down.

9 of the best one-sit reads

Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House was a brilliant read for me. A woman arrives home to find another family moving into her house. Her husband, inexplicably, is nowhere to be found. The way this story of deepest deceit unfolds is just delicious, and the portrayal of characters and contemporary life is spot on.

Strangers by C L Taylor

Strangers by C L Taylor

An unusual novel about three very different people, each with his or her own compelling storyline, with absolutely nothing in common. But their three disparate lives collide in a shocking way. This is first-rate storytelling – a great read.

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

A favourite read of mine last year. The story of Delia O’Flaherty’s life is unflinchingly told, and what a varied life it is, from her impoverished, twisted beginnings in Ireland to her dire end and everything messy, mad and macabre in between. No one writes quite like Lizzie Nugent, and Delia is a creation like no other – one of my favourite sociopathic characters ever.

All The Rage by Cara Hunter

All the Rage by Cara Hunter

I’m a huge fan of Cara Hunter’s DI Adam Fawley series – Close to Home, In the Dark, No Way Out, and the latest, All the Rage. Set in Oxford, each novel focuses on the investigation of a compelling crime. In All the Rage, a young girl is kidnapped and manages to escape. But she’s hiding something, and another girl might be next. Hunter’s books are full of twists and reveals and great characters, and I highly recommend all of them.

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

The Memory Wood was a gripping read for me from the very first page. A bright 13-year-old girl is snatched from a chess tournament and chained below ground in the woods. A strange boy finds and befriends her, but he doesn’t want her to leave… It’s an intense, atmospheric, and truly original thriller.

The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

A fantastic read. When Jo was a child, her beloved nanny disappeared suddenly in the night, without explanation. Now, many years later, a recently widowed Jo returns home to the family mansion with a young daughter of her own. Then her cherished nanny inexplicably returns… With its buried secrets, shifting allegiances, and creeping sense of dread, The Nanny is a book I simply could not put down.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This was a riveting read for me. A young woman takes a job as a nanny in Scotland. She’s a sympathetic but fallible narrator, and strange things are happening in the house. She is soon accused of a terrible crime. A clever riff on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.

Dark Pines by Will Dean

Dark Pines by Will Dean

Dark Pines is the first book in the Tuva Moodyson series. Set in the Swedish forest and featuring a deaf protagonist, the novel drips with atmosphere and tension. A body is found in the woods, its eyes scooped out, and Tuva, a local reporter, suspects a link to a series of similar murders two decades earlier. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in this series.

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

A real page turner. Izzy has happy memories of growing up with her father. But Izzy’s father has spent the last seventeen years in prison for the brutal murder of her mother. Now he’s out. He’s insisting he’s innocent. Did he or didn’t he kill her mother? I couldn’t put this book down.

What are your favourite one-sit reads? Let us know in the comments below!

Someone We Know

Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena, author of The End of Her
Shari Lapena, author of The End of Her
Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller, the bestselling fiction title in the UK in 2017 and has been optioned for television. Her thrillers A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, and Someone We Know were all Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. Her fifth thriller, The End of Her, is coming later this year.

Follow Shari on Twitter.

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3 Comments

    I have read all of your page turners! A stranger in the house, An unwanted guest, and Someone we know, and The Couple next door. I am anxiously waiting for The End of her! Can you tell when this book will come out ? I wish you had a hundred more books out there!!!

    Hello! The End of Her is out on 23 July in the UK 🙂

    Just finished reading A Stranger in the house. This was such a gripping read, a real page turner with lots of twists. Loved it can’t wait to read another from this author if this is how her books are I will be a fan.

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