While often wary of psychological thrillers myself, sometimes they're the only books that scratch that itch in my brain. You know the feeling; maybe you've had a long day at work and you need to read something with mounting tension that finally comes to a resolution. Or maybe you've been in a slump and you need a book that immediately pulls you in.
Whatever the reason may be, you want to pick up a psychological thriller that's not going to bore you. If so, don't worry: we've put together a list of some must-reads to add your 2024 TBR list.
Eve and Nate are a married couple who both work as teachers (math and English, respectively) at Caseman High school. Though on the surface everything is as it should be, Eve knows that people wonder how she coerced such a charming man into marrying her, especially with her mediocre looks. And now that she thinks about it, he really only touches her once a month…and it seems like a chore as opposed to what people who are equally in love would do. Really, it seems like they grow more estranged each day. But that's just what marriage becomes, after a while.
But when Addie, a problematic student who forced one of Eve's favorite fellow teachers to resign last spring due to some salacious rumors about inappropriate behavior, is placed in both Eve's and Nate's classes, Eve begins to worry. She always wondered if there really was an affair going on, or if Addie's goal was simply to ruin the man's life. Everyone knows how charismatic Nate is…what if he's her next victim?
But nobody knows the real truth, the same way nobody knows the real Addie. And she'll do whatever it takes to make sure it stays that way.
Splinter the Silence
When outspoken feminists who use the internet to voice their opinions about the behavior of certain men begin committing high-profile suicides, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Tony Hill are on the case. Though the women had been subjected to abhorrent cyber bullying due to speaking out, Tony isn't convinced that it's reason enough for all these suicides—he suspects murder.
Carol has her own issues to contend with—her relationship with the bottle first among them—but when she's given an unexpected second chance, she can't pass up this case. Together, the two embark on a journey to track down the online predators and answer once and for all whether it's suicide, or murder.
The Innocent Wife
Dennis Danson, the supposed murderer of a young girl from Florida, is a convicted killer on death row. But for twenty years he's been claiming his innocence. Now he's the subject of a true-crime documentary about his case which has a huge online following, and the people want to know the truth.
Samantha, a schoolteacher in the UK, becomes enamored with him and his case. She thinks he's innocent and contributes often to online discussion forums full of other people who also think he's innocent and are looking for the truth. When she begins exchanging letters with him, his charisma quickly wins her over and she leaves her life behind to marry him. They campaign for his release, and it's a success; but then Sam discovers new details about the case that make her wonder if really is innocent, after all.
If she trusts the man she loves so much, why is she so afraid to know the truth?
I Know Where She Is
Francine's daughter Autumn was abducted ten years ago, destroying her and her husband's life forever. They've chosen to cope in different ways; Francine turning to the comfort of both psychics and the bottle, and her husband, Will, by turning Autumn's disappearance into an industry. But then Francine receives a hand-written note on the anniversary of the abduction that reads: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS.
Francine will do whatever it takes to get her daughter home, no matter how dangerous, horrifying, or sinister. She's just hoping that the gut instinct to follow the note is more than a cruel hoax.
The Beautiful Dead
The Beautiful Dead follows Eve, a TV crime reporter, and the killer who may or may not kill her. Eve is already at the end of her rope: she's battling other younger, prettier reporters to keep her spot on TV as she ages, and then on top of it all, she needs to return home to care for her ailing father. When walking home alone one night, she gets the feeling that someone is following her…but instead of running away, she asks him to walk her home. Unbeknownst to her, she just avoided becoming a serial killer's next victim.
Also unbeknownst to her, she becomes the killer's muse. He takes his slaughtering very seriously. In an attempt to teach his community about what death really means, he goes around killing people in the hopes that someone will notice and air it on TV for the public. Eventually, he baits Eve into exposing all his crimes publicly by ensuring that she can be the first reporter on the scene…after all, they both rely on death to live.
But while this works for a time, Eve puts herself in a situation that causes her and everyone she loves to become the next targets. Will she end up just another art project?
The Perfect Marriage
Sarah Morgan, a successful and powerful defense attorney, has just been named partner at her firm at 33 years old. Her life is going exactly as planned…but her husband Adam can't quite say the same. Adam is a struggling writer who hasn't had much success in his career, and is irritated that Sarah can't ever find time to spend with him.
For their tenth anniversary, the two had planned to stay at their second home, a lovely place secluded in the woods, but Sarah ditches Adam for work. Again. So Adam goes by himself; and engages in a passionate affair with Kelly Summers while he's there.
But then Kelly is found stabbed to death in their vacation home, and Adam is arrested as the prime suspect. So while it breaks both their hearts when he tells Sarah about the affair, she finds herself playing the defender for her own husband a man accused of murdering the woman he cheated on her with. But is Adam guilty or is he innocent?
4 Riverside Close
Riverside Close, a small cul-de-sac in North London, consists of just six properties. While most are currently inhabited, number four is up for grabs, with real estate agent Mr. Herriott looking to lock in a sale. On the outside, but not too far away, live Caroline and Jason Swinton, the owners of a social networking site in Highgate. Their company is called “Join Me,” and it pairs like-minded people together to go on outings.
The residents of Riverside Close enroll in the seemingly innocent social network, but then Jason's body is discovered in a house on the close, and suddenly everyone becomes a suspect. They all wants to know who did it and why, but the closer they get to the answer, the clearer it becomes that someone has a secret that they'll stop at nothing to protect…
A Carnivore's Inquiry
A modern gothic novel, A Carnivore's Inquiry follows the story of an unreliable narrator, 23 year-old Katherine Shea. A pretty girl born into wealth, Katherine embarks on a journey of discovery that leads her from Italy, to New York, to rural Maine, and she has no problem making friends. Though her journey is a free-spirited one, she finds that a string of unexplained murders begins to follow her wherever she goes…
The victims begin to pile up, robbing her journey of its free-spirit nature, and she finds solace in gory manifestations of cannibalism in literature, art, and history. But as she comes to realize that a nefarious, unpalatable truth is at the center of all these deaths, she begins to stitch together the real reason for her own appetite for savage behavior.
A Final Reckoning
Twenty three years ago, the Weston Lodge was the private country house of Clio Palliser, a convicted murderer of her own sons and her au pair, Sabine. The only one to escape with their life was a childhood friend of the victims. Chantal Frazer, Sabine's sister, returned to the Weston Lodge in an attempt to make peace with the loss of her sister.
But instead of peace, Chantal, among local authorities, Sabine's former boyfriend, and other guests of the Lodge, start looking for answers. What happened that night? And where did Clio go after she escaped from the asylum? But the closer Chantal gets to the truth, the closer she gets to someone who will do anything to make sure her questions remained unanswered.
All I See Is You
If you can't remember doing something bad, does that make you good? M works in publishing and enjoys watching people. She also suffers from memory lapses, which she sees a therapist for. And she lives across the street from her boyfriend Caleb…who doesn't know she exists.
M is a mentally-disturbed voyeur who quickly becomes obsessed with Caleb. She stalks him and goes on weekly “dates” where she dresses up, makes a nice dinner, and puts on some music, all to sit down in her living room to watch Caleb's sexual escapades through his window.
But then Caleb goes missing, and M tries to retrieve her memory gaps to figure out what happened to him that night. But the more things she remembers, the bigger the gaps in her memory become. Is M dangerous, or just disturbed?