Looking for your next thriller book to read but unsure what to pick up? Choosing a new novel can be tricky. While thriller and suspense books are among the most popular out there right now, the fact that there are so many to choose from can be overwhelming.
As a lover of twisty-turning psychological thrillers and gothic suspense, it’s not often I come across a book, movie, or TV show that really checks all the boxes. Movies like What Lies Beneath and The Awakening did that.
And the Netflix original movie, Fractured, which came out last October did, too. If you watched that and loved it, you’re sure to enjoy the 10 thriller books recommended here.
1. Field of Lies
You know what they say about lives that look perfect from the outside? Sometimes they’re not quite so wonderful behind closed doors. That’s the premise of Field of Lies, the debut novel of Sabina Gabrielli Carrara.
Living a seemingly perfect life in a small Irish village, Michael and Bernadette are hiding secrets–from the outside world and each other. Michael has started a dangerous affair and a secret from Bernadette’s old life threatens the couple’s world…and perhaps Bernadette’s safety.
2. Girl Targeted
By author, Val Collins, Girl Targeted is a psychological thriller that questions reality. When newlywed and very pregnant Aoife, takes a job at a temp agency, she witnesses a terrible tragedy at the office. Shaken, she tries to comes to grips with what she saw during her maternity leave.
When she returns to the same office three months later, Aoife begins to realize that the tragedy she witnesses was actually premeditated murder…and now the murderer may be after her.
3. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
In Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, by Henry Farrell, two sisters, Blanche Hudson and her sister, Jane, live in a remote house at the top of a hill. The small-town community whispers about the two sisters–both of whom were Hollywood actresses–and shares a history of dark secrets.
4. The Yellow Room
Yes, I’ve recommended The Yellow Room, by Mary Roberts Rinehart before. But it’s such a great suspense novel with so many unanswered questions throughout (reminiscent of Fractured) that it has to be included on this list as well.
In this novel, Carol Spenser, a single woman in her late twenties, is tasked with the job of closing the family’s summer home in Maine. The first surprise? The discovery of a body in the closet. The second? The disappearance of the servants. By the time the phones stop working, Carol knows she’s in over her head. But where can she turn?
5. The Silent Patient
With more than 40,000 reviews on Goodreads, The Silent Patient took psychological suspense readers by storm in 2019. In it, Alicia Berenson, a famous painter, and wife of a prominent fashion photographer shoots her husband five times in the face when he returns home from work one day.
Refusing to speak a word following that, Alicia is later assigned to a criminal psychologist who has a complicated past and is intent on unraveling the mystery of Alicia’s silence.
6. Friends Like These
Touted as a “totally gripping psychological thriller,” Friends Like These, by Sarah Alderson is a great book for those who enjoy unreliable narrators. Because the book is written from the perspective of both main characters, the challenge is finding out who is telling the truth and who is lying.
I won’t say a lot about this book because I’ve written about Friends Like These in a previous thriller book recommendation post. You can read, “Thriller Book Recommendations: Sarah Alderson & Geoffrey Girard” for more details. Suffice to say, it’s a great read and one which parallels the inconsistency of Fractured well.
7. Never Speak
Imagine that you’re weeks away from losing your home because your writing muse–along with your girlfriend–abandoned you. Then Ray Watts decides to write a memoir about the time he and his ex-wife (now deceased) spent in a spiritual group. It was the type of group which forbids sharing its secrets. But who wouldn’t want to learn all those juicy tidbits? Ray thinks he’s found the answer to all his problems.
But when the anonymous threats begin, it’s apparent that some people are very serious about maintaining the secrets of the group. And that they are determined to shut him up…for good. Never Speak is written by author John Manchester and the first in a series called, “Ray of Darkness.”
8. Wicked River
Named one of my “Best Mystery and Suspense Books Read in 2018,” Wicked River, by Jenny Milchman, is a heart-pounding read that will leave you counting the minutes until your next reading session.
There are a number of places in the novel you’ll wonder, “what else can possibly go wrong?” and because of the level of psychological suspense, I’m confident in recommending Wicked River to you if you were a fan of Fractured.
The novel is set in the Adirondack forest in upstate New York. In it, newlyweds embark on their honeymoon. Only some bad guys are after them and there may be a dangerous recluse following them…
Note: There was one disturbing scene involving an animal.
9. The Last Time I Lied
The Last Time I Lied, by Riley Sager, is a nail-biter. Set in a summer camp for girls, the main character, Emma, returns to camp after 15 years away. The last time she was there, three of her friends went missing and were never heard from again.
Emma though has been hospitalized for a mental condition, has a tendency to fib, and gets drunk one night with another counselor–the night before another tragedy strikes. Is she really telling the truth about what happened that night a decade and a half ago? And what about the other secrets at camp? The ones that someone definitely doesn’t want to be brought to light.
10. Before I Go to Sleep
Imagine waking up every day and not knowing a thing about yourself: your name, where you live, what you do, who you know. That’s the reality for Christine Lucas, the main character in Before I Go to Sleep, who has anterograde amnesia. But a neurologist, Dr. Nash, works regularly with Christine, encouraging her to record everything she can daily.
As these snippets of her life begin to form an uneven picture, they cause Christine to begin asking questions and get closer to a truth she might be better off not knowing.
I hope you enjoy one or more of these titles. What great psychological thriller did I miss? Please leave a comment and let me know.
J.P. Choquette writes thriller books and coaches writers by offering support, systems, and simple writing and marketing plans that can be followed in real life.