As we begin September, we’re getting amped for everything fall and stocking up on CHILLING thrillers. With that said, we are delighted to welcome author Sarah Vaughan to Get Literary to recommend her top choices for thrillers featuring dysfunctional families—because aren’t the best thrillers those that hit a little too close to home? Sarah’s newest novel, Little Disasters, is a haunting page-turner about early motherhood, obsession, secrets, and friendship, with a terrifying sequence of events that leads to a meticulously mounted conclusion. And for fans of Sarah’s previous book Anatomy of a Scandal, there’s a TV adaptation in the works at Netflix. Thanks for joining us, Sarah!
I recently listened to a TV producer talk about the subjects that most appeal to viewers. The extraordinary in the everyday, he said. A compelling, propulsive plot; committed writing; characters you believe in—but, most crucially, a universal setup or theme.
There’s no theme more universal than the family. If we haven’t got kids ourselves, then we’ll usually know someone who has, and, of course, we’ve all had some sort of parent. It’s this relatability that explains why family-centric thrillers remain so popular, despite so many of us being holed up with our immediate families since the onslaught of Covid-19.
In fact, perhaps the claustrophobia of lockdown explains why readers are opting for these books. We can identify with a scenario, vicariously experience the horror of the characters, and then feel intense relief that this isn’t happening in real life.
I certainly drew on my own experience of feeling panicked and uncertain when at home with my three-year-old and a newborn baby to write Little Disasters.
If all this sounds relatable, here are six family-centric thrillers to add to your TBR.