5 Dark Thrillers to Soothe Your Valentine’s Day Hangover


Coming off of a Valentine’s day overdose? Completely topped up on truffles, love poems, and ecards featuring Tony Bennett songs and tiny explosions of heart confetti? Everyone knows that the best cure for red and pink is black and white—so long as you choose your post–February 14 reading wisely. Here are 5 recent releases that’ll warm (or further chill) your Cupid-intolerant heart:

Concealed in Death, by J.D. Robb
The latest installment of the Eve Dallas series opens with a demolished wall full of plastic-wrapped skeletons. Not gloomy enough for you? What if I said they were the victims of ritualistic murder? Then you’d know you were in for a classic Robb thriller, full of creepy twists, shattered puzzle pieces, and sexy chemistry between Lieutenant Dallas and her husband, reader favorite Roarke.

The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon
Another cold case is brought to light in McMahon’s mystery, which finds the two daughters of a reclusive small-town woman left struggling after their mother’s sudden disappearance. After the eldest discovers an artifact linking her family to the decades-old murder of a grieving woman from their town, McMahon’s tale alternates between the events of the past and the unfolding terrors of the present.

After I’m Gone, by Laura Lippman
There’s just something about an unsolved murder that gets a writer’s wheels turning. In this seamlessly plotted work, semi-retired detective Sandy Sanchez teases out the hidden web of connections between the 26-year-old disappearance of crooked businessman Felix Brewer, and the killing a decade later of his mistress. The book is both a whodunit and a moving character drama, exploring the effects of Felix’s loss on the wife and three daughters he left behind.

Tilt, by Ellen Hopkins
Yes, this verse novel, a follow-up to 2011’s Triangles, tells the entwined stories of three teens looking for love, but anyone who actually remembers what that’s like (or who’s experiencing it now) will be unsurprised to learn that the book is more grueling than romantic. Hopkins is known for her inclusion of the darkest themes YA has to offer, and fans won’t be disappointed by her head-on treatment of issues like STDs, child mortality, and teen pregnancy.

Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith
This sci-fi horror YA has less to say about love than it does about lust (the omnivorous, 24/7 kind that could only come from the mind of a teenaged boy). Set in the suburban wilds of the American midwest, it follows 16-year-old Austin’s efforts to stem the plague he’s unwittingly unleashed: an oversized superbreed of hungry, unkillable, ceaselessly procreating grasshoppers that quickly metastasize around the globe.

What’s your favorite anti-love story?

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