Jenny Milchman’s Top Five Tales of Domestic Suspense

  • Guest post by Jenny Milchman

There’s a new genre in town, and it goes by the name of domestic suspense. Syndicated reviewer Oline Cogdill coined the term family thriller, which also suits it.

A family thriller focuses on a circumstance we can relate to. The kind of tale that could, given a slight twist of the knob, happen to us or someone we love. This novel takes ordinary people and places them in an extraordinary situation. What do they do then?

But the real question is, what would we do then? And thus may arise the growing popularity of this sort of book. Empathy is the filament of fiction; it’s what connects readers to a story. We empathize with the characters in a family thriller. In their triumph over unspeakable odds, we imagine our own.

Whether you are new to this genre, or it’s one of your favorites too, I hope the below sample, a fraction of the possibilities, will spark some discoveries.

little face1. Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Do family thrillers have particularly intriguing premises? Alice Fancourt is a new mother who leaves her infant for the first time to go on a brief excursion. When she returns home, Alice finds her baby has been swapped for another. That’s horrifying enough to a mom. But the bigger problem is that no one believes her. Copies of Little Face are available by special order in-store or via

don't look back2. Don’t Look Back by Greg Hurwitz

The family part of this thriller exists off stage, which makes it no less of a compelling tug on the tale. Eve is a newly single mother who goes on a trip to the Mexican jungle to regroup. Out on a hike, Eve sees an act of violence so ugly, her vacay turns into a fight for survival—and a battle to make it back to her son.Copies of Don’t Look Back are available on our shelves or via

24 hours3. 24 Hours by Greg Iles

Iles’ fiction has migrated to epic sagas about the legacy and power of race relations in the south, but Twenty-Four Hours is a quintessential family thriller. Perfect families are mainstays of this genre, and physician Will Jennings has a beautiful wife and five year old daughter. The latter of whom is about to encounter two criminals with a foolproof plan for the world’s perfect kidnapping.Copies of 24 Hours are available by special order in-store or via

those who wish me dead4. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

Even witness protection can’t keep fourteen year old Jace Wilson safe. So his mom comes up with a risky plan. Send Jace to survival camp deep in the Montana wilderness where he and the other boys will be pursued by the most deranged pair of criminals to hit fiction in years. As if that weren’t enough, Jace’s mother has reasons of her own to want her son gone.Copies of Those Who Wish Me Dead are available on our shelves or via

demonologist5. The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Horror, daddy lit, or both? David Ullman is an authority on demonic literature, and about to be divorced. But it’s only after David takes his twelve year old daughter on a voyage of discovery and recovery in Italy that he really learns all he stands to lose.Copies of The Demonologist are available on our shelves or via

Jenny Milchman’s third family thriller, As Night Falls, is a summer 2015 release from Ballantine Books and an Indie Next Pick. Jenny Milchman joins us Monday, August 24th, to speak and sign her latest novel, As Night Falls. Copies of As Night Falls are available on our shelves and via

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