5 Books on Charlie Donlea’s Shelf

by Charlie Donlea

I was a late bloomer when it comes to reading. I hated reading as a kid, and did everything possible to avoid it. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I picked up John Grisham’s The Firm and fell in love with thrillers. So much so that I actually convinced myself I’d write my own someday. Ever since then, I’ve been a voracious reader of fiction, and thriller in particular. Here are a few books that have stuck with me after I turned the last page…

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Local Woman Missing was one of those books that grabbed me with the opening hook—a young girl trapped in a dark basement, listening to her captor’s footsteps on the floorboards overhead—and kept hold of me until the last page. A great twist at the end made this one of my favorite Kubica books.

The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

If you liked my novel The Girl Who Was Taken, you’ll like this. It’s the story of a medical examiner on the trail of a serial killer that kept me on the edge of my seat. And it contains some gruesome passages that make the autopsy scenes in The Girl Who Was Taken seem tame in comparison. 

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

When six-year-old January Jacobs is killed in the small town of Wakarusa, Indiana, everyone is a suspect. With unmistakable similarities to the JonBenét Ramsey case from the ‘90s, this chilling story had me flying through the pages.  

The Book Spy by Alan Hlad

I don’t read much historical fiction, but I had the chance to meet Alan Hlad at a conference and snag an early copy of The Book Spy. Inspired by the true stories of librarian spies of WWII, I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it one Friday afternoon. By Sunday I was racing to finish this thrilling story that slowly but tightly captured my attention all the way through the last page.

All the Dark Places by Terri Parlato

A dark thriller perfect for fans of Megan Miranda and Shari Lapena where murder exposes the dark secrets at the center of a group of friends and sets two women – one with a traumatic past, the other a Boston police detective – on a hunt for truth. I’m a slow reader but made it through Parlato’s debut in two sittings. Easily one of my favorite reads of 2022.  

You know her name.
You know her face.
You know those eyes

Ten years after she was exonerated for the slaughter of her family, the girl the tabloids called “Empty Eyes” is the only one looking for the truth in this propulsive thriller from #1 internationally bestselling author Charlie Donlea.

“Excellent…Engrossing…This searing look at the legal system, entitlement, and exploitation is not to be missed.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“Draws readers in from the first heart-stopping pages and doesn’t let go until the end.” – Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing

Alex Armstrong has changed everything about herself—her name, her appearance, her backstory. She’s no longer the terrified teenager a rapt audience saw on television, emerging in handcuffs from the quiet suburban home the night her family was massacred. That girl, Alexandra Quinlan, nicknamed Empty Eyes by the media, was accused of the killings, fought to clear her name, and later took the stand during her highly publicized defamation lawsuit that captured the attention of the nation.

It’s been ten years since, and Alex hasn’t stopped searching for answers about the night her family was killed, even as she continues to hide her real identity from true crime fanatics and grasping reporters still desperate to locate her. As a legal investigator, she works tirelessly to secure justice for others, too. People like Matthew Claymore, who’s under suspicion in the disappearance of his girlfriend, a student journalist named Laura McAllister.

Laura was about to break a major story about rape and cover-ups on her college campus. Alex believes Matthew is innocent, and unearths stunning revelations about the university’s faculty, fraternity members, and powerful parents willing to do anything to protect their children.

Most shocking of all—as Alex digs into Laura’s disappearance, she realizes there are unexpected connections to the murder of her own family. For as different as the crimes may seem, they each hinge on one sinister truth: no one is quite who they seem to be . . .