Psychology Novels To Learn From

Psychology Novels To Learn From

Psychology books like text books can teach us the theory.  Psychology novels – that is fiction novels – can show us the theory in practice through stories.  This list will show you some psychology in action. Note this list comes with some warnings! Examining psychological beliefs can be disturbing for some people so please be careful.

Psychology Novels

  1. A Short Stay In Hell – Steven Peck
  2. The Book of Strange New Things – Michael Faber
  3. Knockemstiff – Donald Ray Pollock
  4. Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff

Click to go straight to a particular book.  Or read all the reviews to find the one that interests you the most – it is worth it.

1. A Short Stay In Hell – Steven Peck

Psychology Novels: A short stay in Hell
This is short, but strong story. It is a story about Soren Johansson, geologist, family man, Mormon. Soren believes in afterlife. He also believes that once when he dies he will meet his family in eternal hereafter. Then one day Soren dies, but instead of waking up in Heaven he wakes up in the place he didn’t expect. He wakes up in Hell. There he meets a God he does not know anything about. The only way out of Hell is to find book containing a story of his life, but the problem is that the library in Hell is very big.
Peck’s vision of Hell is disturbing. It is described as an infinity that has a limit, but that limit cannot be reached. This short story will definitely make reader really think about the afterlife. (Not recommended for people who are suffering depression.)

2. The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

Psychology Novels: The Book Of Strange New Things
This is a story about Peter and Bea. They are married and they believe in God. Peter is a missionary. While he is on the mission of a lifetime Bea stays at home. But Peter’s mission is not on Earth, it is somewhere in the universe. While Peter deals with the friendly population he encounters on his mission, terrible things start to happen on Earth. Natural disasters are devastating it and as they occur, the separation between Bea and Peter becomes harder. Suddenly Peter is torn between his mission, love for his wife and his faith.

The book is fantastic and mesmerizing. The Book of Strange and New Things is about religious faith wrapped up in a good sc-fi story and thus great example of how literary fiction can fall into several genres.

3. Knockemstiff – Donald Ray Pollock

Psychology Novels: Knockemstiff
Donald Ray Pollock writes brutal prose. If you are younger than 18, or cannot tolerate violence, please DO NOT read this book.

Knockemstiff is a collection of eighteen short stories set in real Midwest American town – Knockemstiff, Ohio.  It covers the time period from mid-sixties to the late nineties. The stories range from sad to funny, but even the funny stories are still sad in a way. They tell the story of a town that don’t have much hope.  Besides centering around  the town, the stories are also connected by the characters.

This collection is not for everybody, because as it contains high violence and strong scenes. There is no romance in it and the characters are hopelessly lost. But regardless of that this is a great read that is raw and intense and will push your psychological limits.

4. Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff

Psychology Novels: Fates and Furies
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A FINALIST FOR THE 2015 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
NPR MORNING EDITION BOOK CLUB PICK
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, TIME, THE SEATTLE TIMES, MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE, SLATE, LIBRARY JOURNAL, KIRKUS, AND MANY MORE

Marriage is a mystery and that is probably the reason there are so many books and stories on the topic. In Fates and Furies, author Lauren Groff also delves into the psychology of marriage. This is a story about Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage. It is told over the course of twenty four years, from both Lotto and Mathilde’s POV. With both POV’s the author manages to create full story about one marriage and all its truths and lies. The reader will see that very often look scan be deceiving and that even what seems like perfect marriage might not be so perfect.
This is a story worth reading as it is beautifully written and very emotionally interesting.

For more psychology novels try our Thriller lists or even Horror.

Political Thrillers: 7 To Read Before Election Day 2016

Political Thrillers: 7 To Read Before Election Day 2016

Political Thrillers seem appropriate this week. With the BIG DAY coming up soon, we can only guess at the behind the scenes intrigues, power plays and power deals going on.

But we can enjoy some of the best writers of political thrillers without being part of one.   We even feature the possibility of the first women President of the United States.  At WhyToRead.com we usually think of science fiction forecasting the future; but in this case… who knows.

1. A Devil Is Waiting – Jack Higgins

Political Thrillers - A Devil Is Waiting
As the President is coming to London, a mullah is inciting local Muslims to kill him. Sean Dillon, General Charles Ferguson and his gang, along with Sara Gideon, an intelligence Captain and Afghan war hero, are called to protect the most powerful man in the world.

“A Devil Is Waiting” follows Sara who tries to find the few people who answer the mullah’s call and stumbles into more and more tricky and dark situations. This is a fast paced novel, full of explosive scenes and interesting characters.

Jack Higgins gives us an insight on Muslim communities that is not as extremist as one may think. This book makes an amazing political statement on the war of terror and gives perspective to anyone who will hear it.

2. Executive Power – Vince Flynn

Political Thrillers - Executive Power
CIA superagent Mitch Rapp is the leader of the squad who prevented Saddam Hussein starting a nuclear war. After the President congratulates him on his success, all eyes are on him. The media and also terrorist eyes. CIA director, Dr. Irene Kennedy decides that he should help the country from behind a desk rather than on the field.

Then Navy SEALs are ambushed trying to save an American family kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in Philippines, and Mitch Rapp goes to a secret mission to help them.

Vince Flynn is the master of political thrillers. So it’s no surprise that “Executive Power” is a fast paced and intriguing book. It presents without embellishments the geopolitical struggle with the war on terror. Also, the political and the life of covert operatives is drawn in a realistic light and makes you more aware of the world we live in.

3. Poisonfeather – Matthew FitzSimmons

Political Thrillers - Poison Feather
When Charles Merrick, a convicted hedge fund manager, admits that the FBI didn’t find all the victims’ money, a treasure hunt begins. Gibson Vaughn, a legendary hacker and marine, enters the race when he finds out that one of the victims, Judge Hammond Birk saved his life a long time ago.

But the promise of easy money hand garners attention from a lot of outlaws, who are all racing Gibson Vaughn to the grand prize, the offshore cache.

The road to the money is full of challenges, and “Poisonfeather”, a geopolitical secret, is the biggest one for the skilled hacker.
Matthew FitzSimmons gives us a glimpse of world of political secret operations with the thrilling “Poisonfeather”. Another fasted paced story, full of unexpected turns and political games that we loved at WhyToRead.com. The second book in a great series.

4. Shall We Tell the President – Jeffrey Archer

Political Thrillers - Shall We Tell The President?
Finally, America has a woman as a president. No, we are not forecasting the presidential election; this is fiction in the person of Florentyna Kane. But for her is not an easy job. Between the political struggles she is facing, and trying to live up to the hype of being the first woman who runs the free world, she and her staff face life threats from extremist groups.

As an assassination attempt is diverted after a tip off by a reliable source, the FBI start to investigate. The plot thickens when merely an hour after the phone call that saved the President’s life, all but one of the investigating agents are dead. And FBI Special Agent Mark Andrews knows when the next hit will take place.

“Shall We Tell the President” is the third installment of the “Kane and Abel” series, with the first one published in 1977. Jeffrey Archer does offer a vision to what the future might hold for women, from a time when equality wasn’t a given.
We loved Archer’s strong and daring characters. And were astonished about how up to date this book is with the political agenda now. “Shall We Tell the President” shows that political thriller games can be timeless.

5. The Atlantis Plague – A.G. Riddle

Political Thrillers - The Atlantis Plague
“The Atlantis Plague” is a dystopia that presents us with a pandemic, a virus that doesn’t kill but transform humans at a genetic level. So the human race, as we know it, is going extinct. As the chaos develops first world countries find a drug, Orchid, that doesn’t treat the virus, only the symptoms.

The main conflict of the book is not between the humans and the virus but between two organizations, Immari International that favors doing nothing, letting natural selection runs its course; and the Orchid Alliance which advocates for combating the pandemic.

Doctor Kate Warner is working to find a cure and begins a journey to get to know the history of the human genome that is now changing the world.
Enter the world of chaos where everything is changing, but the human nature to negotiate and to obtain the power remains the same.

6. The Fixer – Joseph Finder

Political Thrillers - The Fixer
When investigative reporter Rick Hoffman’s life takes a turn to the worse, he moves into his miserable childhood home left decaying after his father suffered a stroke, 18 years ago. As he starts to renovate the house, he finds money stocked into the walls.

As he discovers bits and pieces about his father’s life, a man who hasn’t spoken for almost 20 years, the secrets become risky and intoxicating for the main character.

Follow Rick Hoffman in a story about corruption, Irish mafia, local politics and a 20 year old murder. Joseph Finder carefully crafts the perfect political thriller: fast paced, full of unexpected turns, old mysteries and smart characters.

7. The Whistler – John Grisham

Political Thrillers - The Whistler
Judges are human, and when money is involved, they can turn a blind eye to the guilty. This is not the case for most judges, but there are some who will tip the balance to money rather than justice.

When Greg Myers, a disbarred lawyer with a new identity, claims that he knows a judge who was involved in an illegal casino construction on Native American lands, the file goes to Lucy Stoltz, a lawyer who investigates this type of accusations.

John Grisham is the master of legal and political thrillers. And this book has everything you need to keep you glued to the pages: feisty lawyers, an intriguing plot, corruption, gambling and the honor of the judicial system is at stake

Best Crime Series 2016

Best Crime Series 2016

Wondering what the best crime series are in 2016? Read on.

Detective stories or crime fiction is unique as it must have a plot and a believable solution. A crime novel cannot leave you suspended in a conceptual idea or emotional drama. Most if not all loose ends must be neatly wrapped up or the reader will depart. Excitement must be balanced with logic. No cheating allowed.

These new and old crime series will definitely please the fans.

Best Crime Series 2016

1. The Big Fear (Hollow City Series) – Andrew Case

Best Crime SeriesBest Crime Series
A civilian investigator and veteran cop are forced to team up in a mystery involving corruption in the police force. The result is a highly suspenseful thriller with unique premise, yet remarkably believable. You will be turning page after page as each piece of the puzzle falls into place, leading up to a satisfactory conclusion that begs for a sequel. It is almost hard to believe that The Big Fear is the author’s debut novel, considering how skillful Case is at crafting an intricate plot and building up suspense.  We definitely think this deserves a place in the Best Crime Series list for 2016.

2. The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster series) – Robert Bryndza

Best Crime SeriesBest Crime Series
Detective Erika Foster was still grieving the loss of her husband when she has to investigate the death of a young socialite from a prominent family. With the victim’s father hindering her investigation in an attempt to uphold his daughter’s good girl image, the detective must follow her own gut and pursue her own leads to track down the killer. The Girl in the Ice is mainly a character based crime novel, filled with complex and sympathetic characters. As the first book of a crime series featuring Detective Foster, it is definitely off to a good start.

3. Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel – Laura Lippman

Best Crime SeriesBest Crime Series
Private investigator Tess Monaghan is entangled in the case of Melisandre Harris Dawes.  A woman who allowed her daughter to suffocate to death, but got off by reason of insanity. Although a crime novel, a few thought-provoking issues are explored, particularly the challenges of motherhood and maintaining a work-life balance as a working mom. Overall, Lippman has woven a complex tale with amazing psychological depth, featuring a complex female lead.

4. Make Me (Jack Reacher series) – Lee Child

Best Crime SeriesBest Crime Series
This is the 20th book of Child’s successful Jack Reacher series. This plot revolves around the protagonist teaming up with a former FBI agent to search for the latter’s missing friend. There is a mystery at hand in a small town of Mother’s Rest, which gradually unfolds. New comers to the series may enjoy the suspense, while long-time followers of the series may find this installment a bit too familiar to offer anything new.

5. Play Dead (Elise Sandburg series) – Anne Frasier

Best Crime SeriesBest Crime Series
Detective Elise Sandburg already has a lot on her plate, as far as her personal life goes. Now, she has to get to the bottom of a case where freshly buried male prostitutes – victims of a serial murder – are allegedly clawing out of their graves, supposedly driven by some voodoo ritual. You cannot go wrong with well-rounded characters, a murder mystery, and some supernatural elements thrown in for good measure.

Best John Grisham Books

Best John Grisham Books

John Grisham is a highly successful, best selling author of (mostly) legal thrillers. He draws on his professional life as an attorney, politician and activist. Best John Grisham books lists abound and vary wildly with personalities. This Best John Grisham Books list by WhyToRead is our list of  our favorites.

Lawyers turned rogue, crazy families, small towns, big towns and even a baseball rookie – these books have it all.

1. Sycamore Row (The Jake Brigance)

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
For those who enjoyed Grisham’s A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row is sort of a loose sequel that brings back many of the characters from the earlier novel. The book started off with a bang: a wealthy man had committed suicide, leaving behind a hand written will that cuts out his family from his estate and makes his maid the beneficiary. With unexpected twists and dysfunctional characters that are typical of a Grisham legal thriller, this is a page-turner you don’t want to start reading if there are a lot of important things still unchecked on your to-do list.

2. Gray Mountain

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
Samantha Kofer had a career at a prestigious Wall Street law firm, until she became part of the downsizing effort due to the recession. Her new job then takes her to a small coal mining town where people will kill to cover up secrets.  They are not at all keen on newbie Samantha being in town. Some Grisham readers consider Gray Mountain one of his weakest works, and Samantha among the least sympathetic protagonists.  We,  with many others rank it as a favorite. Either way, you are still in for an entertaining read that will have you turning pages. Whether you find the conclusion satisfactory is another matter.

3. The Racketeer

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
Meet Malcolm Bannister, a lawyer jailed for a crime he didn’t commit and he is out for revenge. The Racketeer is a novel that requires the reader to set aside what they deem to be realistic for the sake of being immersed in a crafty story. Stop questioning the possibility of some of the main character’s actions and the overall plot, curl up and enjoy a fast and thrilling read.

4. Rogue Lawyer

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
A lawyer who plays by his own rules, Sebastian Rudd is known for defending clients other attorneys would not take on.  He  even occasionally resorts to shady tactics to get what he wants. For those who enjoy a more character-centric legal drama, Rogue Lawyer is a great choice as far as Grisham’s books go. Rather than focusing on one court case, the plot revolves around Rudd as he works on case after case,  while going through a custody battle with his ex-wife. Shenanigans and antics abound in this one.

5. The Litigators

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
Instead of suspenseful legal battles, The Litigators is about the lives of two less upstanding lawyers – Oscar Finley and Waly Figg, partners at their own tiny firm, Finley & Figg. Always looking to make the most out of each clients and situation, they are joined by the disillusioned David Zinc.   After a series of legal misadventures, the three ended up in a big courtroom battle against some formidable opponents. Overall, it is a fun-filled Grisham novel, peppered with complex characters.

6. Calico Joe

best John Grisham booksbest John Grisham books
Last but not least in our Best John Grisham Books list is his first baseball novel.  Centered on rise of a promising rookie player, Joe “Calico Joe” Castle, whose career was ended by a near fatal pitch thrown by a big leaguer, Warren Tracey. The novel is more than just a story about one of America’s favorite sport, but also of human drama. Told through the eyes of Warren’s 11 year-old son, the plot unfolds with how the events of a game had influenced the lives of those involved. The book is a departure from the legal thrillers Grisham is often associated with, but the story is just as engaging.

Best Sellers from Christmas 2015

Best Sellers from Christmas 2015

Here’s some more best sellers from Christmas 2015. Like the Top 5 Christmas Best Sellers this list features a majority of mystery/thrillers; but also a true story, and a romance to round out your entertainment.

But clearly, we all like nothing better than curling up with a good book and a good mystery or thriller is best of all.  Curl up and ignore the cold vortex with these popular picks.

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

(part 2)

6. Cross Justice (Alex Cross) – James Patterson

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

As the 23rd entry of the Alex Cross crime novel series, Cross Justice is everything fans of the genre and series would expect; packed with action, drama, and crafty villains. The story follows the famous crime fighter trying to clear the name of his cousin, who was charged with a slew of crimes as part of a conspiracy. Long-time fans will also get a closer look into Cross’s background and upbringing, which will add more depth and dimension to the hero.

7. See Me – Nicholas Sparks

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

He was a guy with anger management issue just getting his life together, while she was ambitious, hard working and the perfect daughter. Despite being total opposites, they met and fell in love. See Me is a classic tale of boy-meets-girl and opposites attract, with a touch of mystery and thriller. What makes it so easy to get hooked on this book is the memorable characters that you cant help but care about and want their romance to have a happy ending.

8. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

Based on the actual 1943 Thai-Burma death railway construction by prisoners of war under the command of the Japanese army, The Narrow Road to the Deep North gives a poignant account of real horrors through the eyes of fictional characters. Although it is a work of historical fiction, the dehumanizing atrocities are grimly and realistically depicted. It is one of those entertaining and imaginative novels that are also eye-opening and haunting.

9. The Best American Mystery Stories 2015 – James Patterson & Otto Penzler

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

We bet you will rediscover a love for short fiction with this anthology compiled by crime fiction author James Patterson (yes the same one at No6 above) and editor, Otto Penzler. This 2015 collection features 20 stories that cover the various extremes of criminal behavior imaginable, penned by masters of the genre. That is 20 fast-paced, surprisingly twisted mystery tales for some daily light reading.

10. Point Blank (Sisterhood) – Fern Michaels

Best Sellers 2015 Christmas

The sisterhood is a group of female vigilantes who always stand together. In Point Blank, the daughter of a Sisterhood member goesmissing from her school in China, and the other members and the men in their lives band together to find her. Michaels’s Sisterhood series always delivers on exciting action and adventure-filled plot, with strong female characters – even if they are a little reality-defying and over the top. Nonetheless, the book is entertaining escapism reading; just suspend reality for a moment and enjoy the thrill ride.