Hey guys! Over the past year I have read SO many crime thrillers/psychological thrillers, and I think they are my favorite genre at the moment. For a long time I was reading anything I could get my hands on, that was hailed as the “next Gone Girl“. In doing this, I ended up reading SO many fantastic thrillers… and also some not great ones. Here are 11 books that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who likes a good (often twisted/disturbing) thriller. If you are looking for some bookish Christmas Gift ideas, hopefully this will be helpful.
I will write a little bit about each one/ what I thought about it. I will also, as always, attach the GoodReads Plot Blurb, so you can check it out if you are interested.
Happy December Everyone. I will be doing a GIANT December Wrap Up at the end of the month as well, so keep your eyes out for that one. Happy Reading ❤
1.) “The Secret Place”, by Tana French
I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get into the dark and twisted world of Tana French. She has got to be hands down one of the most brilliant crime thriller writers, maybe ever. I am so in love with all of her books, especially “Into The Woods” and this one “The Secret Place”. These books are all a part of a series called the “Dublin Murder Squad”, with this one being #5 in the series. These books are pretty much stand alone however, and you don’t need to read them in order. There are some reoccurring characters, and mentions to earlier books though, so if you wanted the full experience.. probably best to start with #1 in the series.
This book was very juicy, and had so many elements that I felt so nostalgic for. It had everything from a group of the meanest teenage girls EVER, a murder of a popular boy.. intrigue, gossip, and just so many brilliant twists and turns I could never have seen coming. This one will appeal to everyone who likes a murder mystery, but especially to any fans of “Mean Girls”, and “Heathers”. I would very much recommend this to all my girlfriends!
(The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.
Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.
But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.)
2.) “Good as Gone”, by Amy Gentry
This book has the most chilling plot, when I read the back jacket I knew I wouldn’t leave the store without it. This is the story of a girl named Julie who was kidnapped at 13, leaving behind a shattered family. We then get to see the story of a family who has tried to come to grips with losing a daughter/sister. Then out of nowhere JULIE returns at the front door. Then the happy heart warming story takes a really twisted turn. Julie’s mom starts to wonder “IS this Julie? Is this girl my daughter? Is this a stranger pretending to be my long lost daughter?!?!”. So you can see now why I felt like I HAD to read this one. This book was a very fast read for me, I don’t think I put it down once that night. So twisted and wonderful.
(Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts. She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter.
Propulsive and suspenseful, Good as Gone will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and keep readers guessing until the final pages)
3.) “The Sandman”, by Lars Kepler
If you have been reading my Blog for a while, you probably already know how obsessed I am with Lars Kepler. They are a Swedish literary couple who write the books together, and I can’t tell you enough how INCREDIBLE their books are. Every single one they have written is perfection. The one I’m mentioning today is “The Sandman”, which has got to be one of my favorites (although it’s so hard to choose). This book was so creepy and terrifying, the perfect book to read around Halloween. Don’t read this one before bed you will never sleep again haha. I love their books for so many reasons.. brilliant timing, amazing characters, and the most intriguing dark Nordic vibe. If you liked “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” series at all, then you will absolutely love this I promise.
(During a cold winter night in Stockholm a man is found walking alongside a railway bridge, suffering from hypothermia and legionella. After he’s rushed to the hospital, it’s discovered that, according to a death certificate, the man has been dead for over seven years. He is believed to be a victim of notorious serial killer Jurek Walter, who was arrested years ago by Detective Inspector Joona Linna and sentenced to a life of total isolation in forensic psychiatric care. As Joona Linna investigates where the “dead man” has been all these years, some unexpected evidence leads to the reopening of a cold case. Danger is imminent, and someone needs to get under the skin of the serial killer–fast–as they are running out of time.)
4.) “The Widow”, by Fiona Barton
This book was a very “Gone Girl” like book. A dark look inside a marriage, and a very creepy novel about the power of secrets. It’s a very interesting look at the different types of masks people wear to hide their true selves, their crimes, their fucked up secrets. Such a good book, and I literally had no idea what was going to happen, or who to believe. I’m still feeling unsettled by this story, months after reading it (but in the very best way).
(THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…
But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.
Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.
The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…)
5.) “Still Mine”, by Amy Stuart
This is the haunting story of a woman who leaves her life behind, and vanishes. Why did she run away? What is she hiding? Why is she searching for a missing girl? What does she know about her? This book was so well executed and so stressful to read haha. I had a pit in my stomach the whole time, I felt this desperate anxious need to know all the answers. You will too, trust me! I loved this book so much.
(The Girl on the Train meets The Silent Wife in this taut psychological thriller.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU VANISH FROM YOUR LIFE AND LEAVE NO STORY BEHIND?
SOMEONE WILL MAKE ONE UP FOR YOU.
Clare is on the run.
From her past, from her ex, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she’s hiding. As it turns out, she’s hiding a lot, including what ties her to Shayna in the first place. But everyone in this place is hiding something from Jared, Shayna’s golden-haired ex-husband, to Charlie, the charming small-town drug pusher, to Derek, Shayna’s overly involved family doctor, to Louise and Wilfred, her distraught parents.
Did Shayna flee? Was she killed? Is it possible she’s still alive?
As Clare uncovers the mysteries around Shayna’s disappearance, she must confront her own demons, moving us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of lies and making us question what it is she’s really running from. Twisting and electrifying, this is a get-under-your-skin thriller that will make you question what it means to lose yourself and find yourself in the most unlikely places.)
6.) “The Kept Woman”, by Karin Slaughter
This book was a very crime based thriller. Told from the perspective of the Detectives, etc. It’s very fast paced, with lots of action and intrigue. I really loved Karin Slaughter’s other book “Pretty Girls”, so when I saw this at the shop I picked it up without knowing anything about it. I like going into a book blind sometimes, it’s pretty exciting. This book has it all murder, detailed police procedure, dark pasts, and a solid mystery at it’s heart. Some of the characters made me SO mad that I wanted to throw the book across the room, but I guess that’s a sign of an amazing book isn’t it?
Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.
(The author of the acclaimed standalone Pretty Girls returns with this long-awaited new novel in her bestselling Will Trent series—an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges the Georgia detective into the darkest depths of a case that just might destroy him.
With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.
Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.
Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.
But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.
Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a searing novel of love, loss, and redemption. A seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller, it marks Karin Slaughter’s triumphant return to her most popular series, sure to please new and diehard fans alike.)
7.) “I Let You Go”, by Clare MacKintosh
This book is heartbreaking. It centers around a mother and her child, and a horrific accident.. a hit and run, that has devastating consequences. Jenna moves away to try and cope with what happened, and the story then takes a turn into a full blown twisty thriller. What really happened? You will be SHOCKED by this book. I don’t want to say anything else and risk giving anything at ALL away. It was that good. Also very sad, keep that in mind if you decide to check it out.
(Now in paperback the next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl… a finely-crafted novel with a killer twist (Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl on the Train).
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.”)
8.) “A Game for All The Family”, by Sophie Hannah
This book is CREEPY as fuck. This is the story of a woman who moves away for a fresh start in life, with her young daughter. Soon afterwards her daughter starts acting really weird, and says it’s because her new friend “George” was expelled from school. Her mother then finds out that George DOES NOT EXIST. So right away creepy chills with that. Then anonymous calls start harassing the house.. someone who claims they know this Mother.. that they did something in the past… and that they have a very messed up secret in common. This book gets all kinds of weird and it’s seriously one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read.
(Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…)
9.) “Those Girls”, by Chevy Stevens
This book was fantastic, but I found it very disturbing. I love everything Chevy Steven’s has written, and I love how this book was mainly set in my home of Vancouver B.C!
This is the story of three sisters, who are on the run from something awful that they did… when their car breaks down, and they end up being kidnapped. What happens next is very very disturbing, and it should be noted that this book deals with some pretty serious topics, like abuse and rape. Trigger warning for anyone who may be reading this. It’s a very powerful and ultimately uplifting story, but it does deal with some disturbing parts. This story is told from a few different POV’S and does some time jumps as well. Overall a really well written book, and fans of books like “Room”, will enjoy this. I read it in a few hours, it was gripping.
(Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge.
Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.
Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.
This time there’s nowhere left to run.
As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.)
10.) “Hidden Bodies”, by Caroline Kepnes
This is a sequel to the book “You” by Caroline Kepnes. I won’t tell you the plot because you ABSOLUTELY MUST READ THE FIRST BOOK “YOU”. Sorry for the aggressive Caps, but it’s my favorite book of 2015/2016. “You” is a story of a man named Joe, who is completely obsessed with a woman named Beck… who he proceeds to stalk and insert himself into her life. The entire story is told from Joe’s perspective, in his voice. I know hes the “stalker” and he’s actually pretty deranged and evil.. but my GOD he’s funny. I absolutely loved Joe, and this book is just fucking fantastic. Read this.
I will attach the plot for “You”, and not “Hidden Bodies”, because it’s a sequel and I don’t want to spoil the first one.
(When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.)
11.) “Pretty Baby” by Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica is one of the most fantastic writers, and I have loved all of her books. “The Good Girl” was the first one I read, and it blew my mind. This book “Pretty Baby” was so amazing as well. It had everything I love in a thriller. A mystery, a mildly unstable main character, and was very well paced and tense. I read this one so fast, and I was so sad to finish it. A very heartwarming story in parts, and also nail biting thriller in others. You should check out her books if you haven’t already. I also have a full review of “Pretty Baby” a bit further back on my Blog, if you are interested.
(A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…
Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.
Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.)
Thanks for Reading, xoxo