9 Psychological Thrillers That Will Make You Trust No One

    Lock the doors all you want—there's no escaping the human mind.

    As kids, we’re told horror stories of ghosts haunting grandma’s attic and of goblins lurking beneath our beds. It’s only after we grow up that we realize the greatest evils are never the boogeyman or the flesh-eating zombies we see on TV—but the thoughts inside our heads.

    Whether it’s the neighbor across the street or the sister just down the hall, we can only know someone on the basis of what they present to us. But who’s to say they aren’t lying? The nine psychological thrillers below remind us that even if we think we’re friends, neighbors, lovers, or family, we’re all still strangers in the end. And the most unpredictable, vindictive monsters never hide inside the closet, but behind the eyes of those very strangers we claim to know. 

    Buy If She Only Knew at Amazon

    If She Only Knew

    By Lisa Jackson

    Two victims. One survivor. Zero memory...Ever since Marla survived a fatal car crash, her life hasn't been the same—in fact, it doesn’t feel like her life at all. Suffering from severe amnesia, she must take everything her family says as fact. But why do their stories seem more like lies than shared memories? And are they even her family in the first place? If She Only Knew is a breathless, can’t-turn-the-pages-fast-enough maze, as Marla assembles the vanished puzzle pieces of her life, and tries to discover if a killer truly lives right down the hall.

    If She Only Knew

    By Lisa Jackson

    Buy Nemesis at Amazon

    Nemesis

    By Joyce Oates

    When young Brendan Bauer is raped by his professor-slash-genius composer, the crime is swept under the dean’s rug—until the accused is found murdered. While everyone believes it was Brendan's act of vengeance, his teacher believes he's innocent. As she tries to find the real killer, uncovering the secrets behind the pristine exterior of the Forest Park Conservatory of Music, Nemesis takes on the eerie twistedness of David Lynch’s creepiest films.

    Nemesis

    By Joyce Oates

    Buy Come Winter at Amazon

    Come Winter

    By Evan Hunter

    While most teenage friendships begin with boozy nights in a parents’ basement or lazy days at the pool, Sandy, David, and Peter’s began with blood. Lots of it. Five years after committing a horrific crime, they’ve reunited at a ski resort for another hedonistic weekend. Soon enough, they're once again at the center of a vindictive game of cat and mouse—though, this time, they're the victims of someone else's manipulations. Fans of The Secret History will find themselves in familiar (and uncomfortable) territory, as author Evan Hunter paints a portrait of three sociopaths not unlike Donna Tartt’s group of boarding school misfits.

    Come Winter

    By Evan Hunter

    Buy As Far as You Can Go at Amazon

    As Far as You Can Go

    By Lesley Glaister

    Cassie and her boyfriend, Graham, have just accepted jobs on a farm in western Australia, and they couldn’t be more excited. But there’s something unsettling about the isolation of the outback, where there’s nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. Combined with their employers’ odd habits, Cassie and Graham feel as though invisible eyes are forever on their backs—and that “til death do us part” may be more imminent than they ever imagined.

    As Far as You Can Go

    By Lesley Glaister

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    Buy A Dark Devotion at Amazon

    A Dark Devotion

    By Clare Francis

    Everyone loved Grace Dearden. Beautiful, kind, and caring, her Norfolk community is beside itself over her sudden disappearance. When her husband, Will, calls Alexandra O’Neill—a London attorney, longtime friend, and scorned childhood crush—to help crack the case, Alexandra flings herself into the investigation—hoping to do more than prove his innocence. But it soon becomes clear that the murky marsh water of Norfolk isn’t the only thing concealing its secrets, as Alexandra learns that the Deardens’ golden marriage is rotten from the inside out.

    A Dark Devotion

    By Clare Francis

    Buy The Roanoke Girls at Amazon

    The Roanoke Girls

    By Amy Engel

    Lane comes from a line of “Roanoke girls,” generations of women who either disappeared from the family’s Kansas estate, or fled. When Lane discovered the reasons why, she escaped to L.A. and never looked back—until now. Her cousin, Allegra, has vanished; and while Allegra could have simply run away, Lane has a hunch: a bone-deep, stomach-twisting inkling that something far more sinister is at work. “Disturbing” is the operative descriptor for Amy Engel’s gothic thriller—but just how disturbing is it? To put it simply: People have drawn comparisons to a darker Flowers in the Attic...so you get the idea.

    The Roanoke Girls

    By Amy Engel

    Buy Not a Sound at Amazon

    Not a Sound

    By Heather Gudenkauf

    Two years ago, Nurse Amelia Winn lost everything: her marriage, her family, her job—and her hearing. Though being a single deaf woman is difficult, she manages with the help of her spunky canine sidekick. But Amelia’s new life begins to crumble when she discovers a fellow nurse murdered in the woods, and the surrounding investigation becomes a bit too close for comfort. Not a Sound is a twisty thriller with high emotional stakes—and it’s brand new, which means you can say, “I told you so,” when it becomes the next Girl on the Train.

    Not a Sound

    By Heather Gudenkauf

    Buy You at Amazon

    You

    By Caroline Kepnes

    Check those privacy settings! Caroline Kepnes’ chilling debut will have you thinking twice about “over sharing” on Twitter. From the minute Joe Goldberg spots Guinevere Beck at a New York bookstore, he’s obsessed. Who is she? Where does she live? A simple look at her online profile reveals everything he needs to know. So begins a grand-scheme manipulation that brings Beck into his arms—and, quite possibly, to her death. More than a terrifying mash up of Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Misery, You is a cautionary tale about the dangers of our social media age. Post your picture on Facebook, and you might just find yourself on the side of a milk carton.

    You

    By Caroline Kepnes

    Buy Night Film at Amazon

    Night Film

    By Marisha Pessl

    The daughter of a reclusive horror film director is found dead in a warehouse, and investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects it was foul play. As Scott and his partners dig deeper into the case, things get, well, frightening—par for the course when you’re dealing with the Cordova family…whose films are too horrifying for mainstream consumption. Scott’s investigations reveal long-kept secrets and dabblings in black magic, proving that the line between Cardova reality and Cardova fiction is blurred (by blood, no less). This New York Times bestseller is like a detective noir novel that has been possessed by Stephen King: addictive, haunting, and capable of some serious mind-f*ckery.

    Night Film

    By Marisha Pessl

    This story first appeared on The Lineup.  



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