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8 Thriller Books for Fans of The Undoing

We could see Nicole Kidman starring in any of these twisty reads.

nicole kidman and hugh grant in the undoing
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  • Photo Credit: HBO

HBO’s The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, was one of the true TV hits of 2020. Based on the book You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, the series delved deep into the seemingly perfect life of wealthy Manhattanite psychologist Grace Fraser and how her world disintegrates when her husband becomes entangled in a murder case. 

It's not hard to see why audiences were won over by this glossy, soapy thriller featuring marital tensions, eroticism, and multiple plot twists. If you're left in need of something to fill the gap left behind by The Undoing, we have eight books to recommend to you.

Related: 31 Psychological Thriller Books to Mess With Your Head

The 6:41 to Paris

The 6:41 to Paris

By Jean-Philippe Blondel

Translated from the original French by Alison Anderson, this quick-bite of a thriller follows Cécile, a 40-something cosmopolitan woman who bumps into a familiar face on the train to Paris. She and the alluring Philippe Leduc had a passionate affair when she was a teenager, one that ended in abject humiliation. 

Now they're sharing a train compartment, and he's sitting right next to her. Should they speak? If so, what on earth do they say to one another? This is one for readers who love tales of candid romantic strife.

Related: 12 Heart-Pounding Foreign Thrillers in Translation 

More Like Not Running Away

More Like Not Running Away

By Paul Shepherd

Paul Shepherd's languid tale of youthful desperation across the landscape of Americana melds together an old-school gothic-esque thriller with a more piercing psychological approach. Levi is a lost young man forced from state to state by his constantly moving family. His only solace comes from the voice of God in his mind. 

But now there are other voices, ones who make much scarier demands, and his own father, the man he's idolized his entire life, has secrets of his own that are sending his family to a dark place.

The Optician's Wife

The Optician's Wife

By Betsy Reavley

Paul Shepherd's languid tale of youthful desperation across the landscape of Americana melds together an old-school gothic-esque thriller with a more piercing psychological approach. Levi is a lost young man forced from state to state by his constantly moving family. His only solace comes from the voice of God in his mind. 

But now there are other voices, ones who make much scarier demands, and his own father, the man he's idolized his entire life, has secrets of his own that are sending his family to a dark place.

All That Was Lost

All That Was Lost

By Alison May

Three tales intertwine in this story of grief, family secrets, and deception. As a child in the 1960s, Patience Bickersleigh had a knack for performance, which she spun into a wildly successful career as a medium. 

Fifty years later, now known as Patrice Leigh, she is nationally beloved but deeply controversial. Leo is a journalist who's been hired to write her biography, but she's less than willing to reveal the details of her past. Patrice has spent her whole life putting up a convincing smokescreen, and Leo's ready to tear it to pieces.

Lacey's House

Lacey's House

By Joanne Graham

The debut novel of Joanne Graham is a moving and achingly sad tale of murder, loneliness, and isolation. Lacey Carmichael is known to her neighbors as the crazy old lady who lives at the end of the lane. She's seen as harmless, a local novelty, right up until she's arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Rachel Moore, a new arrival to this seemingly quaint village, soon befriends the accused killer, and wants to prove her innocence. The truths that are revealed during her quest for justice, however, leave her with far more questions than answers.

books_like_the_girl_on_the_train

The Silent Wife

By A.S.A. Harrison

When the late A.S.A. Harrison's only novel debuted in 2013, most critics compared it to Gone Girl. The reality, however, is that The Silent Wife has more in common with the works of Shirley Jackson crossed with Liane Moriarty. Told in alternating voices, the novel follows a seemingly perfect upper-middle class marriage on the verge of dissolving. 

Todd cheats and wants to leave his wife for his much younger mistress. Jodi has no desire to let him off the hook so easily. This clinical, slow-burn tale of betrayal and psychological manipulation will certainly appeal to those who wanted The Undoing to take a different turn in its climax.

Related: 10 Thrilling Authors Like Liane Moriarty 

the upstairs room, a thriller book like the undoing

The Upstairs Room

By Kate-Murray Browne

Eleanor and Richard have spent every penny they have on their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in the heart of East London. While Richard is eager to renovate it, Eleanor becomes increasingly unnerved by the building's curious atmosphere. She's falling ill, her kids are acting weird, and the walls of one of the upstairs rooms is covered in a child's frenzied handwriting. 

The Upstairs Room carries heavy shades of Victorian ghost stories and the work of writers like Susan Hill. It keenly evokes the highly specific plight of many a young person trying to scramble onto the property ladder at a time when doing so has become increasingly impossible, and it taps into the fear of something as supposedly comforting as your own home turning against you. While the paranormal aspects of this tale may be rather ambiguous, the thriller at its heart is decidedly not, particularly as the personal trauma between Eleanor and Richard grows ever-more foreboding.

the southern book club's guide to slaying vampires, a book like the undoing

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

By Grady Hendrix

Don’t let the kitschy title fool you. Grady Hendrix is a writer who specializes in quirky set-ups that seem much more parodic than they actually are. His latest novel was described by many critics as Steel Magnolias meets Dracula, but that glib high-concept line doesn’t do this truly horror-thriller justice. 

Patricia is a smothered stay-at-home mother whose husband is becoming increasingly distant. Her one freedom from the banal pressures of her life is her book club, where she and other local housewives share in their love of tawdry true-crime paperbacks. After she is brutally attacked, a strange man moves into town and charms everyone, but Patricia isn’t convinced of his apparent wholesomeness.

What The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires particularly succeeds at is in developing the stifling fear that comes with being gaslit. There is a monster in town but none of the men are willing to listen to their wives. They’d rather be charmed by him, and Hendrix captures that terror greater than many traditional thrillers. The cover may seem cute, but this is a book with an unnervingly dark edge.

Keep Reading: 10 Domestic Thrillers That Make You Read Between the Lies 

Featured still from "The Undoing" via HBO