The best books with plot twists

Julie Kusma Author Of The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium
By Julie Kusma

The Books I Picked & Why

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

Book cover of The Silent Patient

Why this book?

Michaelides’ psychological thriller, The Silent Patient, is a scrumptious read. I relate to the main character’s silence which feeds into the plot’s suspense. The human mind is fascinating, as are its methods, and all in the name of self-preservation. Equally enthralling to me is how Michaelides does such a great job sharing this in his book. This story also offers a twist that delighted me, along with its plot unfolding through the skillful use of flashbacks. I just love reading stories that effectively utilize this device. It is one of my favorite storytelling methods, too.

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By Dan Simmons

Book cover of Drood

Why this book?

First of all, Drood is a fantastic trip into the macabre. And, because I love to weave actual truths into my stories, either real-life experiences or real encounters, I am fascinated that Simmons based his novel on the last five years of Charles Dickens's life. Whether this is entirely speculation or otherwise, this novel draws on the character found in Dickens's last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Simmons does precisely what I hope to do with my stories; draw the reader into my world and leave them wondering what parts were based on unexpected truths. 

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The Lottery and Other Stories

By Shirley Jackson

Book cover of The Lottery and Other Stories

Why this book?

The story, The Lottery, from Jackson’s collection, held particular horror for me because we see this happen in real life. Not the exact details, of course, but mob mentality and the going along with things taught us without ever questioning what it means. This story evokes human trauma about adults who say and do nothing. A genuinely terrifying aspect of human nature gone awry and the utter lack of respect for life. 

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The Story of an Hour

By Kate Chopin

Book cover of The Story of an Hour

Why this book?

I love The Story of An Hour: Short Story by Kate Chopin because this tale has a delicious plot twist and portrays irony at its finest. I resonate with the feminist message — the oppression and the realization of what the heart truly desires and the heartbreak of that being ripped away. Very emotive. I felt what the main character was feeling and didn’t see the ending coming. This is my favorite type of story and the kind I love to write.

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The House of the Seven Gables

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book cover of The House of the Seven Gables

Why this book?

I love this book because I’ve stood inside the house that inspired this tale, owned by Hawthorne’s cousin Susan Ingersoll, and I learned of the history associated with the story and why he wrote it. But beyond these fascinating details, Hawthorne’s knack for layering symbolism throughout his work really speaks to me. I love to do this when I write because the subconscious mind picks up these details even when we consciously may not realize it. This is part of evoking the mood essential for creating a foreboding environment.

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