The best books with strong female leads and dark secrets

Warren Slingsby Author Of To Catch A Storm
By Warren Slingsby

Who am I?

I love to write about crime. I have no idea why. I don’t have any real-life experience of crime. Honest. I enjoy setting books in the places that I love to visit. So Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Nice all feature strongly here. And so far, the two novels I’ve written of which one is available on Amazon, have had strong female protagonists. I guess I find it interesting for a woman to take on a bunch of nasty men. And I studied art and the history of art at college, so everything I have written in terms of novels has been in the world of stolen art. 

I wrote...

To Catch A Storm

By Warren Slingsby,

Book cover of To Catch A Storm

What is my book about?

Janet comes round in a strange hotel room, her memory almost erased by a drug and alcohol-fuelled binge from hell. Unsure which hotel or even which city she's in and no idea how she got there. She's not alone; there's a dead man laying next to her. And there are some eye-opening surprises in the room. Surprises that will lead her to abandon her life as a successful banker and plunge into the unspoken world of stolen art.

She stumbles into a dangerous game of cat and mouse crossing the paths of thieves, thugs, and oligarchs taking her from Glasgow to Edinburgh and onto Barcelona and the Cote d'Azure. During her journey, she'll unlock the secret to the location of the most infamous and valuable stolen painting in the world. 

The books I picked & why

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Elizabeth Is Missing

By Emma Healey,

Book cover of Elizabeth Is Missing

Why this book?

This story is heart-stoppingly gripping. Emma clearly has gone through the struggles of looking after someone who is losing their memory. Her characters are brilliantly rooted in the real world. The way she understands her main character can remember what happened decades ago but can’t remember what she did a few minutes ago really hits home with a punch in the stomach. 

Big Little Lies

By Liane Moriarty,

Book cover of Big Little Lies

Why this book?

I love stories about dark hidden secrets. This is one of the best. Moriarty keeps you guessing. The characters are annoyingly interesting and very Aussie, even though the massive TV show that it spawned was based on the West Coast of the US. If you haven’t seen the TV show, read the book first. If you’ve seen it, still read the book. 

Apple Tree Yard

By Louise Doughty,

Book cover of Apple Tree Yard

Why this book?

Apply Tree Yard is along the lines of The Girl On The Train. A deeply flawed main character. Someone who’s done something she shouldn’t have. As her life hangs in the balance in a courtroom, everything depends on her remembering how and why she had sex with a random man. 

The Cutting Room

By Louise Welsh,

Book cover of The Cutting Room

Why this book?

Another story of dark, hidden family secrets. I read this book a long time ago but it’s stuck with me and I need to re-read it soon. The story centres on a troubled auctioneer who discovers a collection of old family photos which catch his eye. But as he examines the photos deeper, he realises their content is a snuff movie before there was such a thing, leading him to delve into their owner's past. 

Trust Your Eyes

By Linwood Barclay,

Book cover of Trust Your Eyes

Why this book?

Linwood Barclay always grabs you from page one. He is the king of the page-turner for me. But with Trust Your Eyes, he created a character in Thomas Kilbride so engrossing and interesting, it ramped it up even higher for me. Throw in an ex-Olympic Romanian gymnast turned assassin and for me, it’s one of my favourite books ever. 

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