John McClane (Bruce Willis), currently separated from his wife, is an NYPD cop invited to her company Christmas party in a Los Angeles skyscraper. When terrorists seize the building and a group of hostages, McClane is their only chance of escape. Die Hard (1988, R) sets the standard for action/hostage movies and catapulted Willis into becoming an action hero movie megastar. Also starring Alan Rickman as his nemesis. Get the "Die Hard Collection" binge box to watch the entire series. It is also featured in the "Christmas Gone Wrong" binge box.
Looking for a weekend getaway, best friends Riley and Gwen book a room at a small quaint inn in the middle of the woods where they are away from the bustle and hustle of city life. Joining them is a group a people who come from varying backgrounds coming for a calming weekend. Everything is going well until they hear a scream in the middle of the night and wake up to find a fellow guest at the bottom of the stairs. Caught in the middle of a snowstorm, they have no choice but to spend their weekend inside with someone who might be lurking in the shadows. Tensions rise as suspicion grows with every minute and the group begins to wonder if they will make it to the end of their trip alive.
This is a funny book, but the humor is very dark. Peter Brown tells the story himself. He is an emergency room intern. His real name is Pietro Brnwa, and he's a mob hitman. Because the story is told by this former hitman, the language is pretty crude. Very crude. But it has to be, given his background. And the violence is bone crushingly graphic. Still, Beat the Reaper (2009) is really funny. Author Josh Bazell has an M.D. from Columbia (the university, not the country), giving authenticity to Dr. Brown.
In the year 2045, the real world is so dismal that everyone escapes by spending as much time as possible in a virtual reality universe known as the OASIS. When the creator of this universe dies, he bequeaths his vast fortune and rights to the OASIS to the first person who can find three eggs hidden in the game itself. In order to find these eggs, the gunters (short for "egg hunters") must learn everything they can about 1980s pop culture, especially about how to play the video games of the time.
Wade Watts, an indigent teen living in a stacked trailer park, is determined to be the winner of the contest. Standing in his way is IOI, Innovative Online Industries, a corrupt corporation that will stop at nothing to take control of the OASIS. This sci-fi thriller is exciting right until the end, and especially appealing to anyone who grew up in the 1980s.
Tom and Karen Krupp live a happy married life until the night of Karen's accident. Suddenly, Karen has no recollection of her crash or why she had been speeding in the worst part of town on the night of a mysterious man's murder. Karen's uncertainty has placed her under suspicion of murder and the police have started coming around. Tom starts to question if his wife is really the person he believes her to be, and their marriage slowly begins to spiral. With the police at their door and a curious neighbor across the street, the Krupps' happy life begins to hang by a thread.
A Stranger in the House (2017) by Shari Lapena is a fast-paced psychological thriller. Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook. For more stories in this vein, check out our lists: Psychological Suspense and Domestic Thrillers.
I recommend the movie All Good Things (2010, rated R), based on a true story from the early 80s about New York real estate heir David Marks (Ryan Gosling) and the disappearance of his wife Katie (Kirsten Dunst). Gosling does an amazing job with the transformation of his character in how he changes over the years of his marriage. He tries to outrun his past, but his family and wealth bring him back into the family business.
Claire and Eva both have reasons for wanting to disappear, so when they happen upon each other at the airport, they decide to take the other person's flight. However, when one of the planes crashes, the danger they thought they were leaving isn't far behind.
Borrow The Last Flight instantly from Hoopla today.
I enjoyed watching The Rainmaker (1997, rated PG-13). John Grisham is definitely one of the better writers when it comes to courtroom drama or lawyer/drama kind of story, and this is an adaptation of his 1995 novel of the same name. Matt Damon and Danny DeVito work well together, and there is plenty of drama and suspense because of Rudy's (Damon) clients. The ending is somewhat bittersweet, but it's all part of why this is an excellent movie.
Jessica Chamberlain is newly separated and lives in a small Iowa town with her two beloved sons. She misses her husband and hopes to get her marriage back on track. One morning, she receives a phone call that breaks her world apart. As she tries to make sense of a horrible tragedy, she is drawn into a mysterious web of lies. Everything seems to lead back to Gabriel, her adopted 7-year-old son.
When Kate's husband John disappears after she believed he was at a conference in London, her life is thrown into turmoil. It's obvious her marriage isn't what she thought it was when Kate discovers that John never even left Australia. Another woman, Abby, lives on an island off the coast, and worries about her husband Ray's strange behavior and feels he is hiding something. In alternating storylines in The Wife and the Widow (2020), Christian White tells the stories of both women whose lives you know are going to intersect in this clever page turner. With two solid novels under his belt, White proves he's a writer to watch.
Start this film only if you're interested in the kind of drama that grabs your attention and refuses to let go for its entirety. (My only problem is the same one I have with all terrific movies that are rated R: in my opinion, these films would still be just as terrific if they were made PG).
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin are at the top of their game in this intense story between good and evil (including the evil of greed and lust for money) with an ending not always what you're expecting.
I recommend watching No Country for Old Men (1997) for great acting and the suspense we all want to see on a Saturday night. Check it out on Hoopla today. The movie is based on the book, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.
Imagine you hear a noise in a completely dark room. You think there very well might be a big crazy guy with a large knife ready to pounce right in front of you. Would you turn on the light?
That's the creepy tense feeling of Bird Box (2014). No crazy guy with a knife, but some strange abstract entities that cause people and animals that see them to go insane, kill others around them, and kill themselves.
This is the story of Malorie and her children as they try to find safety blindfolded and in a blindfolded world. Taking off the blindfold outside could mean madness and death. The book starts a few years into the ongoing horror then alternates flashbacks and current action.
A welcomed reuniting of two of Val McDermid's most memorable characters occurs in Splinter the Silence (2018). D.I. Carol Jordan and psychologist Tony Hill are hot on the trail of a vicious serial killer and they are running out of time. Those of you who are fans of McDermid will thoroughly enjoy this non-stop page turner. Those of you who are new to McDermid will be looking for her books from now on. A perfect enjoyable read!
Mike and Lee are having friends over for dinner tonight. It's also the night Miller's comet will pass near the Earth. Smartphones crack, the Internet goes out, and then all power is lost. Mike has a generator which restores the lights. The landscape outside is dark except for one house in the distance with the lights on. Despite having been warned by a physicist friend to stay inside during the comet event, two of the party take glow sticks and attempt to visit the other house.
Then it really starts getting weird. This is one of those movies you have to watch over again to notice the clues you missed the first time. Don't look for car chases, fiery explosions, or gunfights. Coherence (2013) is more of a thought-provoking suspense puzzle.
When twelve inmates organize a prison break that opens the doors for all the prisoners, the small town of Weldonville, Colorado, will never be the same. Two years after many in the town lost their lives, the mayor and city attorney of the town secretly authorize police officer Leah Hawkins to hunt down the twelve inmates and kill them.
A Small Town (2020) is the story of Leah's journey around the country to find some sense of justice in order for the town to begin to heal. Thomas Perry takes the reader on an action-filled ride that's hard to put down.