Paula Hawkins: Six Books I’d Recommend to my Readers

Paula Hawkins: Six Books I’d Recommend to my Readers

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction. In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.

“Emily Ruskovich’s debut, a story of enduring love and heartbreaking tragedy in rural Idaho, is a remarkable book. Ruskovich’s language is arresting and lyrical, the mystery she presents us with is intriguing, but it is the deftness with which she reveals her characters’ secrets, their hopes and misconceptions, that makes Idaho such a devastating novel. To be read and re-read.” – Paula Hawkins

The Good People by Hannah Kent

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825. Nora, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheal. Micheal cannot speak and cannot walk and Nora is desperate to know what is wrong with him. Mary arrives in the valley to help Nora just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Nance’s knowledge keeps her apart. To the new priest, she is a threat, but to the valley people she is a wanderer, a healer. Nance knows how to use the plants and berries of the woodland; she understands the magic in the old ways. And she might be able to help Micheal. As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheal, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.

“Hannah Kent’s second novel is – remarkably – even better than her debut, the wonderful Burial Rites. The Good People is a startling and vivid account of the contradictions of life in rural Ireland in the 19th century where religion and folklore make equally pressing claims on the loyalties of the people. A literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller, Hannah Kent takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy.” – Paula Hawkins

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

When you’re thirteen and your best friend goes missing, only one thing is certain: your life will never be the same again Lizzie and Evie are inseparable. They walk home from school together, sleep over at each other’s houses, even flirt with boys together. And they tell each other everything. Or at least, that’s what Lizzie thinks – until Evie goes missing, and Lizzie suddenly realises their friendship wasn’t quite what she thought. A novel about two young girls discovering their sexuality; about fathers and daughters; about family and friendship; about jealousy, secrets and lies, The End of Everything is a powerful reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.

“When thirteen-year-old Evie disappears, her best friend and next door neighbour, Lizzie, finds herself at the heart of the mystery. Lizzie is the one to whom the adults turn for answers and yet, as she searches for her friend, Lizzie starts to wonder how well she knew her after all.
The End of Everything might be the best depiction I have read of the end of girlhood: Megan Abbott recalls with unnerving accuracy the wonder and fear of those moments on the cusp of adulthood, painting as she does a painfully tender picture of teenage girl friendships.” -Paula Hawkins

When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

In rural Devon, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison. In Edinburgh, sixteen-year-old Reggie works as a nanny for a G.P. But Dr Hunter has gone missing and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried. Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is an old friend – Jackson Brodie – himself on a journey that becomes fatally interrupted.

“Atkinson has written greater books (A God in Ruins, for example), but When Will There Be Good News? remains my favourite of her stellar novels. In this clear-sighted look at the myriad ways in which men do women harm, private investigator Jackson Brodie returns – accidentally – to Edinburgh, where he finds himself reluctantly employed by a teenage girl to find her missing boss. Atkinson’s plotting is intricate, her humour black and the outlook often bleak, but her warm and gutsy characters are, as ever, captivating.” – Paula Hawkins

In the Woods by Tana French

When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.

“The first of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods is so much more than a police procedural. Like all French’s work, it has a starkly realist sense of place and time; and its characters – bristling, guarded, human – take a while to reveal their full, complex selves. What I love about this book is its take on mysteries, on the ones we can solve and the ones we cannot, and how to come to terms with unknowability.” – Paula Hawkins

All Involved by Ryan Gattis

That’s when it hits me. I’m staring at a war zone. In South Central. On an April night in 1992, Payasa learns that her older brother has been stabbed to death, his body left out in the road to rot. He was never involved. He was innocent. He didn’t even carry a gun. And that messes with the rules, even for Lynwood, even for the streets. But it’s the first day of the LA riots, and the city is tearing itself apart. Fire-fighters, graffiti artists, nurses and law enforcement – all of them connected by this murder – find themselves caught in the mayhem. Every cop is distracted, and for the people who see the law as an enemy, it’s a chance to settle old scores. That’s just too good an opportunity to miss.

“In All Involved Ryan Gattis proves his gift for ventriloquism, telling the story of the six feverish and harrowing days of the 1992 Los Angeles riots in no fewer than seventeen different voices, each as distinctive and original as the last. Through the eyes of gangbangers and shopkeepers, firefighters and nurses, Gattis gives his readers a terrifying insight into the reality of days on which “every single cop in the city was somewhere else”. All Involved is shocking, visceral and humane.” – Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is available to buy online and in stores today. Select titles within Paula’s recommendations will be on offer between 18th May 2017 – 9th Aug 2017 when bought alongside Into the Water from our highstreet stores. Head to your local highstreet store to find out more.