The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books: 65+ picks

Ultimate list of the Best Thriller Books to Read Now!
The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books: 65+ picks 76

People ask us all the time what are the best thriller books we have ever read. This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many amazing thrillers. Some with give you a surprise twist and others will make you want to keep your light on at night.

But, no matter what kind of thriller novels you love, we have a list of the best thriller books we have ever read.

*Best Thriller Books Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Table of Contents

Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books

Best of 2023 //Popular Thrillers // NYC Thrillers // Serial Killer Thrillers // Psychological Thrillers // Domestic Thrillers // Beach Thrillers // Winter Thrillers // Stalker Thrillers // Historical Thrillers // Survival Thrillers // Unreliable Narrator // Featuring a Psychologist // Thrillers with Kids // Haunted House // Paranormal // Mystery Thrillers // Thriller Books about Books // Dark Academia Thriller // Missing Person Thriller // Horror Thriller Books // Isolation Thriller Books //

Best Thriller Books of 2023

wrong place wrong time

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

August 2022 Reese’s Book Club Pick

This time travel mystery is one of the smartest and most captivating books I have ever read. It is an easy pick for the best mysteries of all time as well as a favorite books of the year.

Jen is waiting for the 18-year-old son, Todd to return home the night before Halloween when she watches him come from the darkness and murder a total stranger by stabbing him. She does not know why her son would do this but her life is torn to pieces.

When she wakes up the next morning, she is shocked to discover that she has gone back to a day before the murder. Can she stop it from happening? First, she needs to find out why.

Now, each time Jen wakes up, she has gone further back in the past- days, weeks, and years before the murder ever happened. I absolutely loved this pick from the Reese Witherspoon book club.

The Writing Retreat

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Alex has almost given up her dream of being a writer when she is invited to a month-long writing retreat by a famous horror writer. When she arrives, she is told that she must, along with the other attendees, write an entire novel during the retreat and the best novel will win a huge publishing deal.

Soon, Alex is having trouble differentiating between her book and reality. To make things even worse, her ex-best friend is among the 5 invitees and now she does not know who to trust. I know this book had mixed reviews, but I love this horror thriller book that is also a book about writers. It is certainly a scary pick from this list of locked room thrillers.

The Soulmate

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Gabe and Pippa have their dream cottage by the sea, so they think. They quickly realize that this is the place people come to when they want to end it all. Gabe never fails to save them the one time he knew the victim. Is this a mere coincidence?

Sally Hepworth never fails to deliver an amazing roller coaster of a ride and this domestic noir is no exception. It is one of the best domestic thriller books of 2023.

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Popular Thriller Books

into the water

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

This thriller is a fast-paced book that leaves you guessing until the very end.  Two women are dead and the question is whether it was murder or suicide.  The story is told from many points of view, which adds to the unpredictability but is a little confusing at first.

I quickly adjusted and immersed myself in the novel. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins has character development, surprise, and suspense.  I read it in 2 days and was left asking what?!  Really?!….Wow!!!

It’s on our list of popular thriller books for a reason!

big little lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This book is Liane Moriarty at her finest. It’s all about a group of mothers in a community who share some big lies. Their friendships take center stage, but there is a fair amount of family drama as well in this domestic noir. This is one of the most popular thriller books around.

This novel was recently turned into a show on HBO starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and more. This book has a little bit of everything from ex-husbands and scandals. Sometimes little lies are so much more.

Find this book in Books About Motherhood / Domestic Thriller Books / Best Mystery Books /Psychological Thriller Books

the woman in cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Shortly after being burglarized, a travel journalist boards a small luxury cruise liner to cover its inaugural voyage. When she thinks she sees a passenger thrown overboard – but everyone is still accounted for – she has to decide if what she saw was real or only in her head.

This book wasn’t as creepy as some of Ware’s others, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. This book has an unreliable narrator which also makes a perfect psychological thriller. You just might want to wait until you are off a boat to read this one! If you love thriller novels, this book is a must-read.

Find this book in Sailing Novels / Isolation Books / Psychological Thriller Books / Unreliable Narrator Books

For more books like these, check out our list of Popular Thriller Books

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Thrillers Books Set in New York City

When No One is Watching

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Sydney Green lives in Brooklyn where she has lived for almost her whole life.  Her neighborhood is quickly changing as old neighbors move away.  What starts off as fiction about gentrification and neighborhood dynamics quickly becomes a fast-moving thriller. 

Is Sydney being paranoid or are people out to get her?  To make matters worse, Sydney’s mother is sick and she does not want to put all her burdens on her best friend.  The only person Sydney can turn to is Theo but can she trust him? How far will people go to get what they want? I loved this thriller-horror book. This situation is totally plausible which makes this one of the more disturbing psychological thriller books on this list.

lock every door

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is quickly becoming a must-read author for me. I absolutely loved this last book, The Last Time I Lied, so I was eager to pick this one up. The story is told via a dual timeline about 4 days apart.

Jules is hired to apartment-sit at a ridiculously wealthy building in NYC. But there are strange rules to protect the residents of The Bartholomew – no visitors, no disturbing the neighbors, and no spending nights away from the apartment.

There are also some concerning urban legends surrounding the lush residence. It was fun to read a haunted house book that was set in an apartment.

Let’s just say I was glad I was not alone while I was reading this thriller horror book. If you love disturbing psychological thriller books, don’t miss our entire list of The Best Riley Sager Books Ranked by Super Fans!

Social creature

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

This thriller was described, as Gone Girl Meets Gossip Girl and it didn’t disappoint! An obsessive girl wants to live the life of her new friend and socialite.

But is it enough to be her friend or does she actually want to replace her? This eerily creepy story is now one of my favorite books about stalkers.

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the maidens

Serial Killer Thriller Books

Survive the Night

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is back with a heart-pounding read about a girl who took a ride from a stranger to get home. She’s leaving college after finding out her best friend was murdered by an unknown serial killer.

But as the night progresses, she begins to think that the stranger giving her a ride is actually the serial killer. Can she survive the night? This is one of the creepier Riley Sager Books.

the maidens

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

What an amazing thriller. Alex Michaelides did it again! This secret society book was insane with twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat and my heart beating a little faster! 

Mariana is a therapist who is still grieving the loss of her husband when she gets a call from her niece, Zoe. Zoe’s best friend Tara is missing and Zoe is afraid something has happened to her. 

One by one, When women start dying at Cambridge and Mariana gets deeply involved as she tries to solve the mystery. This Addicting Dark Academia Book is perfect to read before this creepy thriller book becomes a tv show.

sharp objects 1

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Recently made into an HBO mini-series, this story is another dark one from the writer of Gone Girl. This was a psychological thriller and mystery, and it was fabulous! I’ve recommended this story to so many people — it’s so much better than Gone Girl.

When 2 girls are found murdered in her dingy old town, a reporter is sent to investigate. In the process, she digs up some old wounds and resurrects family drama. This is one of the books about mothers that will give you chills.

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Best Psychological Thriller Books

Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Don’t let the gorgeous cover of this book fool you. Darling Rose Gold is a dark and sinister look at a dysfunctional, abusive mother-daughter relationship.

For 18 years, Rose Gold thought that she was always one step away from death but no tests could ever find anything wrong with her. Her mother, Patty Watts goes to jail for 5 years for child abuse and when she gets out, Rose Gold lets Patty move in with her.

I couldn’t put this book down and I can’t give much about the story away without ruining it. If you are a thriller lover, this one is for you.

Content Warning: Child Abuse
Find this book in Best Psychological Thriller Books / Best Thriller Books / Books with Colors in the Title

His and Hers

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

His and Hers is the best psychological thriller I have read this year.⁣ There are two sides to every story and this one had me guessing until the last page. I had to go back and re-read.⁣

Anna Andrews works at the BBC and has her dream job as an anchor until she doesn’t and she will do anything to get it back. When she has to return to her hometown to cover murders that are centered around her, nothing could complicate the situation more…..until her ex-husband is the lead investigator.

Oh, and he knows the first victim as well. ⁣This book is a puzzle that isn’t complete until the last page. It’s one of our best books of 2020 picks.

Find this book in Best Psychological Thriller Books

the dinner

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Two couples, one family out for dinner- what can happen? The family has come together because they must help their children after a horrific act.  What follows is anything other than a fun family meal.

Did popular thriller book was recently adapted into a movie starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney.

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The Wife Upstairs

Domestic Thriller Books

Wife between us

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Everything that you think you know in this book is just an assumption. You can assume that you are wrong. I cannot say much about this book because I do not want to spoil anything but, it is such a perfect domestic thriller.

Warning: do not start it if you don’t have time to finish it. Nellie is so excited about her upcoming wedding that is just days away. She cannot shake the feeling that someone is following her. This is a psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat and question what you think you know!

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Books / Popular Thriller Books

best day ever by kaira rouda

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

This story mostly takes place during a car ride when a husband and wife are on their way up to their vacation home.

I can’t talk much more about what I loved about this book without giving away the plot. I will say that the narrator is unlike any I have read before and for all you fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train…this domestic thriller is perfect for you!

the wife upstairs

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

This is a Jane Eyre classic retelling featuring a southern home decor influencer! Told by both the second wife and through the diary entries of the first, this domestic thriller is perfect for year-round reading.

Kirsten was shocked, Jackie guessed a lot of it, but we both enjoyed it a great deal. Who would have thought that so many influencer books would be thrillers?

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Thriller Books Set at the Beach

The Club

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

March 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

This contemporary fiction book was a WILD ride and I loved every exhilarating twist and turn! The Home Club is clearly based on members-only celebrity clubs like SoHo House but the newest Home Club is opening on a private island and features an opening weekend to die for.

Literally, because it’s a murder mystery. Except we the readers don’t know who is murdered, how, or why at the beginning…but instead we are treated to various narrators telling the points of view of the weekend as it unfolds.

The layered approach to telling the story of the celebrity shenanigans and the murder of a key figure in the Home Group family had me flipping through the pages of this isolation novel. A truly enjoyable beach read!

Reckless Girl

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

This is the Ultimate Beach Read Thriller! It’s all about 2 girls who hire a couple to charter them a boat to a deserted island.

But the island isn’t so deserted after all. As their relaxing trip turns deadly, we learn about the back story that brought each person to their destination.

It’s a wonderfully addicting isolation novel that is great in audiobook format as well. This vacation thriller is a perfect choice for books like People We Meet on Vacation.

the guilt trip

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

👏 👏 👏. Okay, Sandie, I see you! I loved this slow-building drama/thriller about an old group of college buddies gathered again for a wedding at a hotel.

The story was a slow build but the final chapters were FIRE. These friends had secret and scandal-filled lives! I couldn’t put this hotel novel down at the end. I gasped out loud at the INSANE ending.

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Love Everything Beach? We do too! That’s why we created the Beach Hub with everything for the summer!!

Thriller Books set in Winter

Ski Weekend  and more October 2021 Novel Ideas book reviews

Ski Weekend by Retkok Ross

This YA survival thriller had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. I can see why it has won so many awards. Fair warning if you read it before a ski trip- you might want to wait until you get back!

Six teens and a dog go on a ski weekend but how many of them will return? When Sam, her brother, and 4 friends go on a ski weekend, the last thing they expect is to crash in a snowbank with little food and no cell phone reception. What would you do to survive this isolation novel?

one by one

One by One by Ruth Ware

As a creepy thriller, this book is fast-paced and heart-thumping as one person after another winds up dead.  As a mystery, I had a problem with the fact that I knew who the killer was from the very beginning. 

Where does that leave my feelings on the book? Although there were no surprises for me, this survival thriller had me cringing throughout. If you love novels about blizzards, check this isolation novel out!

Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

This newest book by Alice Feeney is another great read.  Her books always have me turning the pages.  This hotel novel starts with Adam and Amelia Wright headed to a weekend away in a remote Scottish getaway to save their marriage. It turns into one of the locked-room thrillers you will not be able to put down.

Told from the point of view of both Adam and Amelia, it is clear that one weekend away may not be enough.  Each year of their marriage, Adam and his wife exchange traditional wedding gifts and she writes him a letter that she will not let him read.  

When reading a domestic noir you expect twists and turns because that is part of the fun. While I expected a few, some of the ones in this stalker book were completely unexpected!  

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Stalker Thriller Books

the woman in the window

The Woman in the Window: A Novel by AJ Finn

If you love old movies, you will adore this book. It is a spin on Hitchcock’s Rear Window and features an agoraphobic narrator who is often unreliable.

Anna Fox lives alone in her house. She is agoraphobic and cannot leave, so she sits at her window and watches everyone in the neighborhood. 

When she sees something across the street, she is sure there has been a crime but, what is real and what is imagined? Amy Adams stars in the Netflix adaptation of this book.

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Books / Psychological Thriller Books / Books About Mental Illness

Goodnight Beautiful

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

I was in the mood for a good thriller for Halloween when I stumbled across this story about a therapist and someone who is obsessed with him. Certainly. unique story on our list of books with stalkers.

I absolutely loved this one. There were many twists and turns that I just did not see coming! I gasped out loud on more than one location as I watched this creepy book unfold. It’s easily one of my favorite thriller books of the year. I did not see the ending coming at all!!! #gifted

I see you

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I was so excited to read this stalker book.  I absolutely loved Mackintosh’s other book: I Let You Go.  This book is quite a different feel but is still a very good thriller. 

I was left shocked and surprised to the last page.  It was not predictable and had me thinking and questioning after I had finished the last page. It left me feeling creeped out for days after. 

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For more books like these, check out our list of Books with Stalkers.

Woman of Intelligence

Historical Thriller Books

The Doll Factory

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

This historical fiction novel about art is part mystery, part love story, and part thriller. MacNeal’s debut takes place in Victorian England during the time of The Great Exhibition.

Iris dreams of learning to paint like a true artist, while she tolls away with her twin sister in a doll shop. Silas is a curiosity collector who can’t seem to get Iris out of his head after their chance meeting, and Albie is the rag-a-muffin street urchin I wanted to take home.

Their stories weave together in a slow burn until the blood-pumping, heart-racing conclusion. This stalker book made our list of the best books of 2019.


11/22/63 by Steven King

This historical fantasy book was brilliantly researched and had an amazing premise in which Jake Epping steps into a time hole to stop the assassination of Kennedy. Every time he leaves history, time resets itself. This means that if something does not go right, he can reset the clock and try again.

The historic details in this book were immaculate but, as much as everyone loved this book, I thought that it was much too long. You have to be prepared for almost 900 pages.

a woman of intelligence

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

I was interested to read this book about a housewife turned female informant for the FBI. I went in interested to learn about the government’s efforts to root out Communism in the 50s but stayed to understand Katharina’s story.

I can’t imagine being a wife in the 50s. The ideals that society put on women were just too much. Too many constraints, too many rules, and far too much judgement. If you are looking for books like Lessons in Chemistry, this is the choice for you.

I loved seeing Katharina find herself through her undercover work, but sometimes those scenes of her life at home were hard to read about because I came to despise her husband.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy. All opinions are my own.

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Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.

Best Survival Thriller Books

and then there were none

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I was so hooked by this British murder mystery/thriller. A mysterious person is trying to right the wrongs of the past by luring unsuspecting criminals to a deserted island…and then murdering them one by one.

But who is the killer? Why are they killing? And just how long have they been stalking their prey? You have to figure out whodunit in this unreliable narrator book.

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Book / Best Classic Novels / Historical Mystery Books / Agatha Christie Books in Order / Best Mystery Books / Locked Room Mysteries

The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

February 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

Oh boy, was this a creepy haunted house book! I wish I had chosen to read it during the wintertime instead of the summer because seeing snow while reading it would have made it that much creepier.

With dead bodies piling up, and a blizzard keeping the guests of the fancy sanatorium-turned-hotel stuck inside, will Elin be able to solve the mystery before she becomes a victim herself? This is such a great blizzard book for mystery book lovers and is perfect for anyone who loves locked room mysteries or isolation novels.

in a dark dark wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Leonora is invited to a cabin in the woods for a girls’ weekend getaway.  What should be a fun weekend turns into anything but fun. 

As the memories and pieces of the weekend slowly come back, the tale of what really happened in the woods comes together as well.

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Best Thrillers with Unreliable Narrators

the girl on the train

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same train every day and peers out the window watching people. She watched two people in particular as they led what appeared to be a perfect life until one day she saw something terrible while watching them. 

She reports it to the police but, can they trust a dysfunctional alcoholic? This is a domestic thriller story that will have you questioning who is telling the truth from the beginning until the end. Unreliable narrators like Rachel make the best page-turners! You’ll never know what to believe!

Find this book in Books with Stalkers / Domestic Thrillers / Unreliable Narrators / Psychological Thriller Books

We were liars and more books for 12-year-olds

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I chose this as my pick for books with unreliable narrators and it did not disappoint.  I will not spoil and give too many details about it.

A group of four friends spends every summer together on a private island.  Money, family, love, and an accident lead to secrets and lies. 

This book was the perfect suspense which I did not expect.  Even though I knew that the narrator was unreliable, I still had no idea where this story was going and I didn’t know it was a Shakespeare retelling of King Lear until years after I read it.

Emma in the night

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

All I can say is wow!!! This book kept me in suspense from the first page to the last. I love reading a book that leads you down a path, so perfectly choreographed that it’s like a dance.

This family story is so twisted and multilayered, the final layers are not peeled away until the last pages of the book. This book is truly unputdownable- far and away the best psychological thriller I have ever read. 

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For more books like these, check out our list of books with Unreliable Narrators.

Best Thriller Books Featuring a Psychologist

silent patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This popular thriller book was Michaelides’s debut novel and sold over 65 million copies for good reason. This psychological thriller sucked me in immediately – a woman murders her husband and then doesn’t say a word for 10 years.

Convinced he can help, a psychologist named Theo transfers to the facility where Alice is staying to try to get the real story behind the fateful night of the murder.

Soon, he will become obsessed with Alice and finding out the truth behind the murders.

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Books / Best Mystery Books of All Time / Best Psychological Thriller Books

The therapist

The Therapist by B. A. Paris

I listened to this book and I have to say that I think it added so much to the suspense! I love the way the narrators added to the story.

Alice and Leo move into a house on “The Circle”, an exclusive gated community. When Alice discovers a hidden drawer containing letters from a woman named Nina, who was a patient of the previous owner—a therapist, she decides to find out more about the therapist who lived there before.

As Alice becomes obsessed with the past, she is met with lies and confusion until she is unsure what is true. It’s the perfect Halloween thriller book!

Find this book in Halloween Thrillers / Psychological Thriller Books

Invisible girl

The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

This book was firmly OK. I’m normally a big fan of Lisa Jewell’s writing, but this one didn’t have me flipping pages at top speed.

The story is about a person who is sexually assaulting women, a girl gone missing, a lonely incel, and a philandering child psychologist and his family. It had promise but lacked the plot to fully draw me in.

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the perfect daughter

Best Thriller Books Involving Kids

The Push

The Push by Ashley Audrain

January 2021 GMA Book Club Pick

This is a domestic noir that will scare the pants off most mothers. It’s compulsively readable.

Blythe Conner comes from a long line of bad mothers, but she’s determined not to be one. When she has Violet, she struggles to connect with her.

The reader is left wondering if Blythe is a mother who sees the worst in her child or if there is actually something off with Violet; something that even her husband can’t see. There is a reason this domestic thriller was chosen by GMA, it is a crazy good read and will have you on the edge of your seat.

Warning: the topic is disturbing and may be triggering for some people

Find this book in Books About Mothers and Motherhood / Psychological Thriller Books / Domestic Noir Books

The Perfect Daughter

The Perfect Daughter by DJ Palmer

When police come to Grace’s door, she is terrified that something has happened to her teenage daughter, Penny. Instead, she finds out her daughter has been arrested for murder. ⁣

⁣What follows is a year and a half in a psychiatric facility while Penny awaits her trial and experts try to determine if the multiple personalities are real or a made-up ruse to get away with murder. Because Eve, the protector, has kept Penny and the other personalities away. ⁣

⁣This thriller is brilliantly crafted and had me guessing until the very end. ⁣Thank you to Macmillian Audio for my ALC of this book. It was amazing to listen to as each personality had a distinct voice. If you are looking for books that are psychological thrillers, this is one that I couldn’t put down!

Playing nice

Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney

Delaney did it again with this heart-racing domestic thriller about newborns that were switched at birth. There were times when my heart was beating so quickly I had to ask people what would happen next.

I was on the edge of my seat for the entire last half of the book and found myself wishing I had medication to calm me down! It was thrilling up until the very last page. A perfect book to read or add to your list and one of the best psychological thriller books we have read!

Find this book in Best Domestic Thriller Books / Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books

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haunted house

Best Haunted House Thriller

Home Before Dark and other July 2021 Novel Ideas books.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

It is so strange that I have read four paranormal fiction this month! Maggie Holt spend three weeks in a house that became the subject of a best-selling novel written by her father.

During the three weeks in the house, the family was haunted by ghosts before there were eventually forced to flee. 25 years later, Maggie is shocked to learn that her father still owned the house when he died and the house is now hers.

As Maggie returns to the house to find out what really happened, she might be in for more than she bargained for. Even though this is last in our list of Riley Sager books, it was definitely a fun read that we would highly recommend.

The Family Plot

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

CREEPY THRILLER VIBES ALERT. The premise of this haunted house book is perfect for true-crime documentary fanatics. 

The Lighthouse children are named after famous murder victims. They live in a creepy house, known as murder mansion to locals, and live an isolated life.

After their father dies, Dahlia and her two siblings return home for the first time since her twin, Andy, disappeared 9 years earlier. When they bury their father, they find Andy’s body already in his family plot.

Dahlia vows that she won’t leave again until she uncovers Andy’s murderer, but the family secrets she unearths might turn her into the next victim.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The house the story was set in is utterly fascinating. The female characters I loved, but I hated the architect. He was creepy in such a subtle way, but it totally made my skin crawl.

I was compulsively turning pages and staying up late into the night to find out what happened to Emma and Jane. Oh, and the ending was perfection. I can’t wait to see this adapted to the big screen! If you love haunted house books, you must read Halloween thriller.

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Paranormal Thrillers

Girls of Brackenhill

Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti

Holy gothic thriller, batman. This haunted house book is literally the stuff of paranormal legend.

Missing girls, ghosts, murder, and a legit creepy castle where it all goes down? Cue images of me staying up past my bedtime as I tried to get over the scary things happening in this book. I had chills a few times while reading and is one of the scarier books on this list of ghost books.

I wish I had a few more answers at the end, but I think that’s part of the point, to leave the reader to decide what they think happens next in this paranormal book.

plain bad heroines

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

I started Plain Bad Heroines and I did not know what to think.  I was debating giving up on the book for a little while because I just wasn’t sure where the book was going.  Fast forward. I loved it and I am glad I stuck with it. This YA fantasy book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well-written.

The lines between reality and fiction are perfectly blurred. It is a book about a book and making a movie about that same book. ( follow that? Lol) The story intertwines the lives of all those that read the book and the mystery and supernatural that follows them 🐝. I don’t usually read horror but I loved this witch book. If you’ve read this dark academia novel, I have to talk to someone about it!!!

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For more books like these, check out our list of Creepy Halloween Thriller Books.

the last thing he told me

Mystery Thriller Books

The Last Thing He Told me

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

May 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

I raved about this book when I read it earlier this month! Well-chosen, Reese! The story of a stepmother and her daughter as they try to find the girl’s father after his abrupt departure. This is a powerful book about motherhood.

This mystery has so much heart as you see Hannah bond with and try to protect her new stepdaughter, Bailey. I did not see the ending of this book coming, but absolutely adored it. This is one of the mystery books that will keep you turning the page.

the plot

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

What a ride! Jean Hanff Korelitz’s thriller is quite something. It’s one I just adored even if I did figure the big twist out early on. It’s the journey with this book.

Jacob is a formerly successful writer who is struggling to write his next great novel. His student Evan dies without having published his own incredible story, so Jacob decides to write it himself to great critical acclaim.

But then someone starts threatening to expose him for the theft of the story, launching him into the truth behind the tale he wrote about. This is the perfect story for our list of books about thieves!

the royal secret

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

I love guilty pleasure royal romances, but this is so much more! Part romance, part mystery, this book has something for everyone and is an amazing beach read.

A young journalist is given a mystery to uncover after an old actor passes away, but her investigation quickly turns deadly. I felt all the feelings on this one. There were a couple of times when I was truly angry at the author, but in the end, I really enjoyed this mystery book about royalty!

The girl with the dragon tattoo

The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander is not technically a detective but she sure is a bada** investigator. She is able to use her unparalleled computer hacking skills to find information on anybody, anywhere.

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist who has a libel conviction. He is hired to investigate a disappearance from 40 years ago and convinces Lisbeth to help him in his investigation. These two make the most unusual pairing in this list of detective books. If you have not read this book series, they are fantastic.

This is also one of the best movies based on books. It was done twice: an American version and the original version with subtitles. Both are fantastic. If you are looking for books like The Da Vinci Code, or you want to read the best mystery books of all time, this should be on your list. But we had to include this in a list of the best thrillers as well!

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Thriller Books About Book

the other black girl

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

June 2021 GMA Book Club Pick

Wow. I’m still processing this genre-defying novel. It’s a social commentary and a thriller all in one. It makes me want to sit down and discuss it with everyone.

Nella is the only black girl at her publishing house until Hazel is hired. Thinking she’s found an ally, instead, she begins to wonder if Hazel might be an enemy instead.

As Hazel’s career soars, Nella is left questioning her identity, her ideals, and what it means to be a black woman in the business world while trying to uncover who is behind the scary notes she keeps receiving.

eight perfect murders

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

This is one of the best mystery thrillers that I have read in a long time.  I loved this book from beginning to end.  Years ago, Malcolm, a bookseller, wrote a blog post that included books with the most unsolvable murders. 

One day, an FBI agent comes to his store to ask him about that post.  She believes that someone is using it as a recipe for committing murders. The book has twists and turns and is so well-written!!! 

The Magpie Murders and more books by Jewish writers

The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

There is a British murder mystery within a murder mystery in this well-written and thoughtful book. 

In this book, you are uncovering the murder of a mystery author while also reading his book. Are they interconnected? The idea is truly unique and so well executed.  I just loved it.

Anthony Horowitz is one of the well-known Jewish writers whose British mysteries will keep you guessing until the last page.

Love books about books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Books about books

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Dark Academia Thriller Books

Ace of spades

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Hello Dark Academia. Centered around Devon and Chiamaka, the only black students at an elite private school, this is one wild thriller.

After being chosen by prefects on the first day of their senior year, Devon and Chiamaka quickly become the targets of the mysterious Aces – a dangerous gossip girl-type character out to ruin their lives.

I was on pins and needles as this thriller unraveled, addressing systemic racism in private institutions in the process.

Find this book in Books Set in High School / Dark Academia Novel / Stalker Books / Psychological Thriller Books

luckiest girl alive

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I could not put this story down when I first read it. It takes place in a suburban suburb of Philly and explores the vicious habits of the old money elite.

There are so many big reveals in this book but beware – there is a trigger-inducing rape scene in the story that is difficult to read. The author drew from her own experience when writing it so proceed with caution if that’s a trigger for you. The Netflix book adaptation stars Mila Kunis and was produced by Reese Witherspoon.

Broken Girls

Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The story moves back and forth between Vermont in the 1950s and 2014. Idlewild Hall is a school where girls were sent to be forgotten.  It was shut down decades ago and is rumored to be haunted but, is suddenly bought by an unknown benefactor who intends to restore it and reopen it. 

Fiona Sheridan is a journalist, whose sister died on the property of Idlewild in the 90s.  She cannot let go of the past and decides to write a story about the school and its history. 

What they discover on the property of Idlewild takes the reader on a thrilling mystery and Idlewild slowly gives up its dark secrets.  I loved the mystery and could not put the book down.  The paranormal component wasn’t over the top which made it readable with just the right amount of fear factor. There is something about ghost books that take place at schools that are extra creepy.

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For more of the best thriller books like these, check out our list of Dark Academia Books

Best Missing Person Thriller Books

Bring me Back

Bring Me Back by B.A Paris

I love a really good psychological thriller and this book definitely satisfied the craving. The story begins when Finn and Layla are on vacation. Finn goes to the bathroom and when he comes back, Layla has disappeared and is never seen again.

Fast forward 10 years — Finn is engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister. The domestic noir story moves along a twisted path that will lead you to a very unexpected ending.

Then she was gone

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

To me, this is by far the creepiest of all of Lisa Jewell’s books. While I did have some idea of what the ending was going to be, I was not prepared for how creepy this thriller book would be. 

I think the point of this was to take the fear factor up a few notches. This book left me wanting to keep my kids a little closer to home. If you are looking for books that are psychological thrillers, this is a creepy and heart-pounding pick.

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter with her whole life ahead of her until she disappeared without a trace. Now, after ten years, her mother cannot stop looking for answers. When she sees a girl who looks just like Ellie, her unanswered questions begin to haunt her.

Find this book in Lisa Jewell Books / Psychological Thriller Books

Confessions on the 745

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

Things are not what they seem in this psychological thriller that was more creepy than mysterious.  I enjoyed this twisted tale.  When Selena is on her way home from the office one night, she begins a conversation with a stranger, but nothing is really as it seems.  

Is she a stranger? Why does she seem familiar? This missing-person domestic thriller will keep you on your toes and make you check over your shoulder.

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Horror Thriller Books

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix and more January 2023 book releases

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

I loved this haunted house book. When Louise finds out her parents have died, she does not want to pack up the house of the people who loved her the most. She also does not want to ask her brother for help with the house because the two siblings never got along.

When the will is finally read, Louise is shocked but, even more shocking are the strange things that start happening in the house. This is by far the scariest book I have ever read and one of the best horror thriller books around.

Grady Hendrix does not disappoint! Every one of his books is more terrifying than the last. This thrilling horror was a pure adrenaline rush from the first page to the last.

The house in the pines and more January 2023 celebrity book club spoilers

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

January 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

As books with unreliable narrators go, this is the best I have ever read. Maya was days away from moving away to college when he best friend Aubrey mysteriously dropped dead in front of her. She blamed Frank, an older guy who she had been hanging out with that summer although there was nothing to prove that he had done a thing to harm Aubrey.

Now, years later, Maya is trying to overcome an addiction to the drug prescribed to help her overcome the loss of Aubrey. When she sees a video of a woman who drops dead in a cafe and Frank is sitting with her, she sets off in a spiral again and needs to prove that Frank is responsible. I love this book with a totally likable and yet, completely unreliable narrator. This is one of the best thrillers of 2023 pick for sure.

If you have not read this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023, run, don’t walk, to get it! It needs to be top of the list of your books for fall.

lock every door

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is quickly becoming a must-read author for me. I absolutely loved this last book, The Last Time I Lied, so I was eager to pick this one up. The story is told via a dual timeline about 4 days apart.

Jules is hired to apartment-sit at a ridiculously wealthy building in NYC. But there are strange rules to protect the residents of The Bartholomew – no visitors, no disturbing the neighbors, and no spending nights away from the apartment.

There are also some concerning urban legends surrounding the lush residence. It was fun to read a haunted house book that was set in an apartment.

Let’s just say I was glad I was not alone while I was reading this thriller horror book. If you love disturbing psychological thriller books, don’t miss our entire list of The Best Riley Sager Books Ranked by Super Fans!

For more of the best thriller books like these, check out our list of 12 Thriller Horror Books to Chill You to the Bone

Isolation Thriller Books

Daisy Darker

Daisy Darker: A Novel by Alice Feeney

Daisy’s family is gathering for Nan’s birthday on a tiny, private, tidal island after not seeing each other for years. When the tide comes in, they will be cut off from everybody for 8 hours.

When Nana’s body is found dead with a creepy poem written on the wall beside her, they each begin to suspect each other- after all, one of them is a murderer. Soon, everybody’s secrets start to come out as the members of the family die one at a time.

This pick from isolation books had me guessing until the very end and definitely has the feeling of “And Then There Were None”. In the true Alice Feeney style, I had no idea what was going to happen next so, I stopped trying to guess so I could just enjoy the thrill of the ride. You will love this pick from the Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2023. It is a locked room mystery at its finest. If you are looking for books for fall to snuggle up with, this one will not disappoint.

The Guest List

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

June 2020 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

I’ve just read THE thriller of Summer 2020 and it’s soooooo good.⁣ A murder at a wedding. On an isolated island. In the middle of a power outage.⁣ Yaaaaaaaaas. ⁣This is an unputdownable psychological thriller book and a vacation I would NOT want to be on.

The murder sets the scene and then we get the story in flashbacks without knowing who is murdered until the end. ⁣I’ve become very picky about thrillers recently and this one is hands down my favorite of the year so far.⁣ It also made our Best of 2020 list!

Can you guess who the killer is? I can’t wait to see this added to the list of Hulu book adaptations.

Find this book in Locked Room Mysteries / Books Like People We Meet on Vacation / Best British Mysteries / Books Becoming Movies in 2024

The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

November 2019 GMA Book Club Pick

I love Lisa Jewell. As I read her books I find each one creepier than the last. This book starts with Libby’s 25th birthday when she inherits a multi-million dollar home. She knows that she was adopted at 10 months old but, she doesn’t know the truth about what happened to her family. She is shocked to find that the story that she was told is not what happened to her family.

25+ years ago Henry, his sister, and his parents are living a very privileged life. When he is 12 years old, things change when David moves into the house with his wife and kids with no plans to leave. He is charismatic and alluring to everyone except Henry. The story moves between past and present until the two stories come together and you finally understand what happened in the house all those years ago. I love listening to full cast audiobooks and this popular thriller book was no exception. If you love Lisa Jewell, check out our post: The Best Lisa Jewell Books Ranked: Complete List

For more of the best thriller books like these, check out our list of 24 Isolation Books and Thrillers to Binge-Read Now

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What are the best thriller books you have read?

Love thrillers? You’ll probably love this swag too!

What Defines a Thriller Book?

wrong place wrong time

A thriller book is any book that is plot-driven and action-packed. There are moments of anxiety, suspense, and maybe even fear when reading these books. Examples of some of the best thriller books are:
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian Mcallister
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

What Thrillers Should I Read?

big little lies

If you have never read a thriller novel, these are the best thriller books that we recommend you read:
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware

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