As the temps rise and the days lengthen, we recommend a psychological thriller to keep you on your toes this summer. As our resident psychological thriller lover and Stephen King expert Sarah Jane would likely tell you, there’s something about unraveling the mystery in a psychological thriller that’s both unnerving and satisfying. Who’s lying and who’s telling the truth? Can we trust this narrator? Should everything being presented to me as the reader be believed? For plot twist junkies, literary detectives, and mystery-lovers, each of these psychological thrillers check all the boxes for a totally engrossing read.
8 Psychological Thrillers With Twists You Won’t See Coming
It was a dark and rainy afternoon—with one of those eerie midsummer storms—the day I bought I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS at the Strand bookstore. I was braving this ominous weather to get Iain Reid’s novel that I had only just heard about and I knew I couldn’t wait to read it. I was immediately intrigued by its premise: a book that mainly consists of a single conversation between a girl and her boyfriend, Jake, on a car ride to visit her boyfriend’s family, described as a philosophical—as opposed to psychological—thriller.
What makes this book so special is the rare combination of a blisteringly fast plot-driven mystery that is also an insightful character study. Zan has crafted three complex and multidimensional characters in Sarah, Tracy, and Christine. These women offer a remarkable look at the human psyche and how it deals with debilitating trauma.
Ten years after accepting a cab ride with grave and everlasting consequences, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life. When her abductor is up for parole, she decides to confront her phobias. If you love haunted but determined female protagonists, you'll love Koethi Zan's tale of a kidnap survivor unraveling the mystery of her horrifying past.
A bookstore actually creates the ideal atmosphere for a mystery. Answers hide in plain sight among the rows and rows of titles, and readers must put together the puzzle pieces of the who, what, when, and why of each query to find the answer. Yet bookseller Lydia Smith finds herself in a much more troubling puzzle upon discovering Joey, one of her favorite customers, dead among the Bright Ideas stacks.
Read the full review of MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE.
How well do we really know the people we call our friends? Megan Miranda, author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, delves into this question, chillingly examining the notion that a seemingly intimate friendship can mask dark secrets in her novel, THE PERFECT STRANGER.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Missing Girls—the gripping story of a journalist who sets out to find her missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all. “Think: Luckiest Girl Alive, The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl” (TheSkimm).
When Leah Stevens’ career implodes, a chance meeting with her old friend Emmy Grey offers her the perfect opportunity to start over. Emmy, just out of a bad relationship, convinces Leah to come live with her in rural Pennsylvania, where there are teaching positions available and no one knows Leah’s past.
When the town sees a spate of vicious crimes and Emmy Grey disappears, Leah begins to realize how very little she knows about her friend and roommate. Unable to find friends, family, a paper trail or a digital footprint, the police question whether Emmy Grey existed at all. And mark Leah as a prime suspect.
Fighting the doubts of the police and her own sanity, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Megan Miranda delivers a deep, dark and twisty novel just as thrilling as her New York Times bestseller All the Missing Girls.
This Edgar Award–winning thriller opens with a small charter plane flying from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City crashing into the ocean. Passenger Scott Burroughs sputters and kicks his way to the surface of the ocean in hopes of surviving. (The description of his inner monologue in this scene is so vivid and adrenaline-filled that I have found myself thinking of it morning after morning when I do my laps in the pool). He finds a four-year-old boy, the only other survivor from the crash, and together, scared and exhausted, they make it to shore.
This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night guessing and second-guessing theories. It will have you eagerly flipping back to check details and folding down pages with important clues. One moment you’ll trust Nora and sympathize with her, and the next you’ll begin to doubt everything. Once you enter the dark, dark wood of the setting—and of Nora’s mind—you’ll be hooked until the very last breathless, stunning revelation.
During a weekend away with a friend in an eerie glass house, crime writer Leonora wakes up in a hospital bed injured wondering not “What happened?” but “What have I done?” This one is for fans of GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.
In Nugent’s raucous and stirring debut novel, UNRAVELING OLIVER, she opens with “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her. She just lay on the floor, holding her jaw. Staring at me. Silent. She didn’t even seem to be surprised”. And away we go. Nugent follows through on the promise in her title and thoughtfully unravels this character of Oliver, a seemingly wicked man with depths to his darkness that continue to unfold over the course of the book. Just when you think you have reached the bottom of his vileness, you will be surprised to find there is even more.
It’s well documented that I love a good unreliable narrator. So how could I resist a bestselling thriller that boasts three? THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN delves into the minds of a trio of women whose lives are intertwined in a story of obsession, lies, and secrets. More compelling than a love triangle, the triangle of deception created by these three characters makes it so the reader can’t really trust any of them.
On her daily train ride, Rachel witnesses something shocking among the stretch of cozy suburban homes she once brazenly surveyed. She involves the police and is irrevocably entangled in the mess that unfolds. An obsessive read with captivating unreliable narration, GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a stunning Hitchcockian debut.