1) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Okay, I know this one creeps a lot of people out—and with good reason. Humbert Humbert’s one of the most sinister characters in literature. That said, he’s also compelling and at times even weirdly lovable. The way Nabokov dives into that gray area, crafting this dark tale sentence by sentence, never ceases to amaze me.
2) Dare Me by Megan Abbott. Who knew the world of high school cheerleaders could be so noir? Abbott is one of my favorite authors, and the tension she creates in this lush, evocative novel is off the charts.
3) You by Caroline Kepnes. I listened to the audiobook version of this with my husband, and we became mutually obsessed with the book’s main character, Joe. Santino Fontana narrates it with such a nuanced performance, it will blow you away. It’s simultaneously funny, chilling, and thought provoking. Hats off to Kepnes. As a side note: The sequel, Hidden Bodies, is equally masterful.
4) The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I’m a sucker for college campus settings, and this is by far the best I’ve ever read. Tartt’s depiction of the madness of youth and the power of loners who find themselves part of a tribe never hits a false note. She is one of the most patient, meticulous builder of worlds I’ve ever encountered.
5) In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. What’s not to love about a bachelorette weekend that ends in murder? Ware slices up time and layers the tension so smoothly, it’s impossible to resist this novel’s macabre charms.
About the Author:
Jody Gehrman has authored eleven published novels and numerous plays for stage and screen. Her Young Adult novel, Babe in Boyland, won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award and was optioned by the Disney Channel. Jody’s plays have been produced or had staged readings in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. Her newest full-length, Tribal Life in America, won the Ebell Playwrights Prize and will receive a staged reading at the historic Ebell Theater in Los Angeles. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She holds a Masters Degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a professor of Communications at Mendocino College in Northern California. Watch Me is Jody Gehrman’s debut suspense novel