If you’re looking for a good adrenaline rush, these psychological thriller books are great picks– they will keep you guessing until the very end, and they’re sure to give you a thrill!
Do you enjoy being on the edge of your seat while reading a novel? Are you looking for a spine-tingling good time?
There’s something about pyschological thriller books that just grips you and won’t let go. Maybe it’s the suspenseful plot lines or the psychological thrillers that keep you guessing until the last page.
You never know what’s going to happen next, and you can’t help but keep turning the pages to find out.
So, whether you’re looking for the best psychological thriller books or just want some ideas for your next book club meeting, be sure to check out this list!
Table of Contents
Best New Psychological Thriller Books
by Rachel Hawkins
When Lux and her boyfriend are hired to sail two women on a remote island, it appears like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. But then it begins to feel as though the island is forcing them on a perilous journey of discovery. Reckless Girls is the perfect mix of mystery and suspense, leaving you breathless until the end.
by Minka Kent
Merritt Coletto and her husband, Luca, have a perfect life until one night, Lydia, Luca’s first wife, who had supposedly died years earlier, shows up at their doorstep telling a story of her abduction. Unmissing is dark, suspenseful… and very clever! With a brilliant plot and multidimensional characters, some of whom are more twisted than others, this is such a fast-paced, well-written novel hard to put down and definitely a must-read thriller this year.
The Night Shift
by Alex Finlay
Four adolescent girls working the late shift are assaulted. Only one of them survives, and a suspect vanishes without a trace. Fifteen years later, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are murdered in the same town, and only one of them survives. Both survivors recall the murderer uttering just a few final remarks before he left: “Goodnight, pretty girl. The Night Shift is an exciting crime thriller that brilliantly weaves together two crimes, past and present, and is sure to keep you up all night!
Psychological Thriller Books into Movies
The Woman In The Window
by A.J. Finn
Anna Fox lives an isolated life in her New York City home, unable to go outside. She spends her day drinking too much wine, watching old movies, reminiscing about the past, and spying on her neighbors. When the Russells, apparently a perfect family, move into the house across the way, Anna witnesses something she shouldn’t, and her world starts crumbling. With a strong sense of mystery which keeps the reader engaged throughout the story and a brilliant ending, The Woman in The Window is absolutely one of the best thrillers to read.
The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson
The novel follows four characters living for a few weeks in the haunted Hill House to observe any paranormal activity. As events unfold, it becomes clear that there may be a good reason why the house has earned its reputation as haunted, especially when the group begins to experience strange and increasingly frightening phenomena themselves. The Haunting of Hill House represents one of the best examples of a haunted house story ever written, so it comes as no surprise that it has had such longevity. The characters are well-written and believable, and the fear grows slowly until you can stand it no longer; then, suddenly, things take a turn for the truly horrific.
by Gillian Flynn
Camille Preaker is sent to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, by her editor at the newspaper where she works in Chicago after two young girls are found murdered in the town. Camille’s return sparks memories of when she was younger. But if she wants to get the story and survive this homecoming, she’ll have to figure out the psychological puzzle of her own past. As she begins to reconnect with her family, specifically her mother Adora and half-sister Amma, this leads to the darkest secrets, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next and whom they should trust.
by Daphne du Maurier
The book begins in Monte Carlo, where our protagonist is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden engagement proposal. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck when he sweeps her off her feet and proposes marriage. It is only when she arrives at his enormous country home that she understands how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–and how dangerous it will be to their marriage from beyond the grave. This novel has been a classic for years, and for good reason! The way Daphne du Maurier writes is amazing and Rebecca was a pure delight to read.
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
Three women whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Narrated by each woman, it’s filled with dark humor and wit, as well as realistic characters you can relate to in some way. This is definitely one thriller book that should be on your reading list! An utterly compelling thriller that will keep readers guessing until they reach its shocking conclusion. Big Little Lies is a brilliantly observed, thought-provoking novel about ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard bullying, and marital infidelity. Written with humor but also poignancy this thriller is not to be missed!
by Gillian Flynn
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most addictive and highly-praised psychological thriller books of recent years, Gone Girl’s shocking twists and disturbing turns will keep you reading long into the night. The plot follows Nick Dunne as he searches for his missing wife Amy on their fifth wedding anniversary. Is he guilty? Whether you believe him or not, this thriller will keep you guessing until the very end. This is one of those psychological thrillers that will keep readers up at night because it raises important questions about life and love that everyone can relate to.
Best Psychological Thriller Books of All Time
The Turn Of The Key
by Ruth Ware
When Rowan Caine comes across an ad for a live-in nanny position paying almost unimaginable sums of money, it looks like a great opportunity. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is instantly captivated by the luxurious “smart” home, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a living hell—one that will end with a kid murdered and her behind bars on suspicion of murder. A nail biting psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the very last page.
The Wife Between Us
by Sarah Pekkanen & Greer Hendricks
The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks is a terrific suspense novel. When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will think she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle… You will think you know the ending. But you don’t… until the last page.
Long Bright River
by Liz Moore
Long Bright River is the story of two estranged sisters in a Philadelphia community wracked by the opioid epidemic. Kacey lives on the streets in the grip of addiction, and Mickey walks those same blocks on her police beat. When Kacey suddenly vanishes, at the same time that a strange chain of murders begins in her sister’s district, Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the murderer—and her sibling—before it’s too late. Long Bright River is a heart-pounding and heart-wrenching thriller that’s also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the complicated ties that endure between place, family, and fate.
My Lovely Wife
by Samantha Downing
My Lovely Wife is the darkly provocative story of a couple and the murder that transforms their relationship. Financially stable and with two teenage children, Millicent and her husband have been married for 15 years, living in a gilded suburb of Central Florida. When they commit their first murder, it’s accidental. But they are surprised to discover how the shared secret injects new life into their relationship. By the time the second woman goes missing, nothing is accidental.
In A Dark, Dark Wood
by Ruth Ware
In Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller, a pleasant and fun-filled weekend in the English countryside takes a sinister turn. Leonora, also known as Lee or Nora, is a reclusive crime novelist who only leaves her apartment when it is necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years asks Lee (Nora?) to an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to go. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Trying to figure out what happened, she must go back and revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
Behind Closed Doors
by B. A. Paris
Perfect for fans of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, this psychological thriller is a chilling story of a too perfect couple and the truth that lies privately. This thriller quickly becomes a page-turner as Grace’s unyielding love for Jack begins to become troubling, and the darkness inside of him seeps into their home. This novel takes readers through twists and turns as it delves deep into the darkness of Jack and Grace’s marriage, making it nearly impossible to put down this thriller until you have finished.
Bestselling Psychological Thriller Books
by Sarah Pearse
When Elin’s estranged brother and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at a hotel, where once was a sanatorium, she accepts. But when Laure is missing, Elin needs to trust her instincts to find her. But the more time passes, the less hope there is of finding Laure alive. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is an exciting debut novel that will have readers looking over their shoulder every few pages!
The Last Thing He Told Me
by Laura Dave
A new life. An old secret. And a shocking event that will change everything. Before her new husband Owen disappears, he manages to smuggle a note telling her to protect his sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. But the girl has no interest in her father’s marriage with Hannah as she lost her mother at a young age. Once Owen goes missing, their life and relationship will change, and they will need each other’s help on the way to following the clues about a hidden past. One of the best thrillers and a bestseller of 2021, The Last Thing He Told Me, will keep you on your toes until the end.
The Family Upstairs
by Lisa Jewell
Shortly after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones receives the letter she has been waiting for her entire life. She quickly discovers her biological parents’ identities and that she is the only heir to their abandoned home on the Thames in London’s prestigious Chelsea area, which is worth millions. But she has no way of knowing that others have been waiting for this day as well, and she is about to collide with them.
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Best Psychological Thriller Books 2021
Not A Happy Family
by Shari Lapena
Named as one of the most exciting novels to read this year, Lapena’s recent psychological thriller is sure to please. The story tells about the Mertons who are brutally murdered following a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. They were never a happy family because of their vengeful father and neglectful mother, but one of the siblings may be more disturbed than anyone realized. With a plot twist at every corner, the reader becomes more involved in discovering who killed the most unlikable family in town.
by Ashley Audrain
This gripping, page-turning psychological thriller novel explores the bond between mother and child. Blithe has always dreamed of being the caring mother she has missed, but she knows something is wrong with her daughter Violet, but her husband dismisses her fears. Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to adore her little brother. But as their lives are turned upside down in a moment, Blythe is forced to confront the truth.
Rock Paper Scissors
by Alice Feeney
Things have been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long time, so when they win a weekend trip to Scotland, it may be exactly what their relationship needs. But after ten years of marriage and years of secrets, this will be an anniversary they will never forget. Rock Paper Scissors is the story of a marriage coming apart at the seams, and two people forced to face their own failures. This is a sharp, engaging psychological thriller book that takes you into the heart of a marriage gone wrong.
by Alex Michaelides
Mariana Andros, a group therapist, becomes fixated on The Maidens, a secret society of female students, when one member, a friend of her niece’s, is found murdered at Cambridge University. She is sure that charismatic professor Edward Fosca is a murderer, but he cannot be touched because of his popularity and charm. But when another body is found, Mariana is determined to stop Fosca, even if it costs her everything. After The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides returns with another great thriller whose characters are brilliantly crafted, being vivid and memorable. The plot is excellent as well, with the story gripping the reader right from the start.
I Let You Go
by Clare Mackintosh
Jenna Gray leaves her high-paying job in London to retire to a remote Welsh coast cottage, where she tries to escape the memory of the car accident that haunts her and is desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. At the same time, this novel follows the pairs of Bristol police detectives who are trying to solve this hit-and-run case. They are drawn to each other as much as they are to the perplexing, turn-filled case before them as they pursue down one fruitless lead after another.
by Stephen King
When Paul Sheldon crashes his car on a snowy Colorado road, he’s found by Annie Wilkes, the “number one fan” of his Misery series. She takes him to her home and nurses him back to health–but then demands that Paul write a new book for her, based on Annie’s twisted ideas. If he refuses…well, he’s seen Misery. And she’s not to be trifled with. King’s thriller fans will be left on the edge of their seats as Paul’s life hangs in the balance.
Her Perfect Family
by Teresa Driscoll
Rachel and Ed Hartley appear to have the ideal life, but when their daughter Gemma is shot at her graduation ceremony, the façade of perfection begins to crumble. PI Matthew Hill is one of the first on the scene. A cryptic message Gemma received earlier in the day suggests someone close to her was about to be exposed. As Rachel and Ed try to uncover who would want to hurt Gemma, their own lives are slowly put under the microscope. With well-drawn characters and a plot that has the reader constantly wondering what will happen next, this thriller will keep you reading until the early hours as the author carefully unravels the story, drip by drip.
A Slow Fire Burning
by Paula Hawkins
When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, three women, each with a different connection to the victim, and who are simmering with resentment for various reasons, are questioned. A thriller that slowly draws the reader in, featuring three female characters who all have their own quirks. While there are many main characters to follow, Hawkins does an excellent job of making each one unique and giving them enough time on the page without confusing or overwhelming the reader. There are several dark secrets and the tension is slowly built up as the reader keeps turning pages not wanting to stop until they find out what happened
The Good Sister
by Sally Hepworth
The story starts off with Fern’s daily routine, which consists of working at the library, eating dinner with her twin sister Rose three times a week, and avoiding crowds because it could be very dangerous for her to do so. The novel takes its time introducing the reader to Fern’s personality and her extremely cautious way of living. The reader learns that Fern is afraid of almost everything, by the injuries she has across her body and the fact that she will always avoid it if possible. The novel ends up escalating when Rose announces she cannot have children , which leads Fern to believe that she can pay her sister back for taking care of her. But her mission will shake the foundations of her carefully constructed life and raise dark secrets from the past.
Before She Disappeared
by Lisa Gardner
In addition to plot twists, Before She Disappeared is a book with a dark secret. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic who makes no qualms about drowning her sorrows in booze. She has more regrets than belongings and lives her life doing what no one else will. When someone goes missing, usually the police won’t look for them, the public doesn’t care anymore, and the media never paid attention. But Frankie starts looking for them, even if no one else will. A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. Searching for a Haitian teenager, Angelique Badeau, who went missing from her high school months earlier, Frankie starts asking questions that someone doesn’t want to be answered.
Survive The Night
by Riley Sager
The Night She Disappeared
by Lisa Jewell
Thriller fans won’t be disappointed by The Night She Disappeared’s relatable characters, intense suspense, and unpredictable plot. The novel is about a teenage mum, Tallulah, who goes missing. Before they even know she’s gone, her mother wakes up to discover that she never came home the previous night. Tallulah was last seen heading out with friends to a pool party at Dark Place, an abandoned house in the woods. A year later, while walking through the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend, Adam, started as a headteacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence that says “DIG HERE.” Curiosity gets the best of her, and she begins digging only to find out it is the location where Tallulah went missing.
Good As Dead
by Susan Walter
After she witnesses the accident that takes his husband’s life, Holly is approached and promised the world -starting with a luxury house for her and her daughter Savannah, at the price of their silence. But when their sudden arrival in wealthy Calabasas, California, catches the attention of neighbors, the cost becomes higher than they anticipated because they are not the only ones with secrets in the neighborhood. Told in alternating points of view, the story brings together an unusual collection of characters linked by a crime, a cover-up, and compounded deceptions. But as those carefully crafted lives begin to disintegrate, how far will everyone be willing to go to bury the truth and protect those they care about?
Local Woman Missing
by Mary Kubica
Local Woman Missing is a twisty thriller about two women and a young girl who went missing from a Chicago suburb over a few weeks. The story begins when Shelby Tebow disappears, followed by Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah. Their disappearances are being investigated. While a few facts are discovered, the case eventually goes cold until eleven years later, when Delilah returns home, reopening it. What follows is a string of events that reveal deeper and darker secrets than what the investigators could have expected. In addition to alternating perspectives, Mary Kubica added suspense to this thriller by introducing elements that left readers questioning what was going on.
We Were Never Here
by Andrea Bartz
Emily is with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip to Chile. But on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite and finds blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says a man attacked and she had no choice but kill him in self-defense. But it’s not the first time this has happened. Emily struggles to bury her trauma and continues with life, but when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront the truth.
The Other Black Girl
by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Nella Rogers, a 26-year-old editing assistant, is frustrated with being the only Black employee, so when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle next to hers, she’s thrilled. When a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, Nella is left in the dust. Then, threatening notes start showing up on Nella’s desk. But as Nella spirals and obsesses over the nefarious forces at work, she understands that there’s a lot more at stake than simply her job.
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And that’s just the beginning! Thriller books are a great way to get your heart racing, and these 35 psychological thrillers are sure to do just that. So what are you waiting for? Start reading!