10 Twisty Thriller Books About Female Friendship

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

twisty thriller books about female friendships

There is nothing quite like the intricacies and intimacies of female friendship. And from classic novels like Mary McCarthy's The Group to contemporary bestsellers like Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, we know that examining the complex layers of female friendship can make for fantastic literature.

This same closeness also makes female friendship an excellent device for thriller novels. Because of course, while there are plenty of wonderful aspects of having female friends, there can be downsides: jealousy, competitiveness, manipulation, lies.

Intrigued? Keep reading to discover 10 of our favorite twisty thriller books about female friendship.

only if youre lucky, a thriller about female friendship

Only If You're Lucky

By Stacy Willingham

Margot had always been quiet and shy. She's not sure why Lucy Sharpe—magnetic, addictive, bold Lucy Sharpe—set her sights on her at the end of their college freshman year, and asked her to be the fourth roommate in their off-campus house. But she says yes anyway, and spends the first half of her sophomore year becoming best friends with Lucy.

But then, one of the fraternity boys from a neighboring house is murdered. And Lucy Sharpe is nowhere to be found. An “exceptionally smart” psychological thriller about the nature of friendship and belonging, this is a novel you don't want to miss out on (The Washington Post).

The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger

By Wendy Corsi Staub

When she was going through the hardest time of her life, Landry Wells spilled her soul to a group of blogger friends, telling them things that even her husband and children don't know. Now, one of her online friends is dead, and she regrets having been so vulnerable. 

Landry decides to travel 1000 miles to attend the funeral and finally meet in person the women she grew so close to online. They know her better than anyone in the world—but one of them might be a murderer.

The Lightness

The Lightness

By Emily Temple

After her father leaves for a meditation retreat and never returns, Olivia decides to trace his path. She arrives at the Levitation Center and enrolls in their program for troubled teens, and quickly becomes enmeshed with another trio of girls: Serena, their leader; and Janet and Laurel, her aloof followers. 

Together the girls decide this is the summer they will finally achieve enlightenment and levitate their bodies. But as they become closer, it also becomes clear one of they may not survive the summer.

The Paper Wasp

The Paper Wasp

By Lauren Acampora

If you loved Saltburn (or its arguable predecessor, The Talented Mr. Ripley), then you should read this feminine twist. Small town girl Abby Graven has given up on her artistic ambitions, and now spends her days as a supermarket cashier, where, to add insult to injury, she regularly sees her former best friend Elise gracing the covers of magazines.

When Elise shows up to their high school reunion, Abby is surprised to learn she still thinks of her as a friend and a great artist. And when Elise tells her to let her know if she's ever in LA, Abby jumps at the chance. But once she's there, the dynamic shifts between the two women—and Abby can only see one way to secure the future she wants.

The Lies We Tell

The Lies We Tell

By Meg Carter

The last time Katy saw Jude was on a school trip 25 years ago. To her shame, Katy watched Jude get attacked by a stranger. And instead of helping, she ran away.

Now, Jude is back. Her sudden reappearance in Katy's life has dovetailed with multiple concerning incidents: someone broke into her downstairs apartment; her house was vandalized, her mother was mugged. 

And Jude knows a lot more than she should.

Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies

By Janet Woods

This historical thriller is set in 1933 London. Best friends Esmé and Minnie have just graduated from nursing school, and decide to offer their services in exchange for passage on a cruise ship to Australia. But while they're having the adventure of their life, Esmé's niece Minnie is digging into her past, unearthing a mystery that will upend all their lives.

The Three Women

The Three Women

By Valerie Keogh

Beth, Megan and Joanne are the closest of friends in college, and would do anything for one another—including keep the secrets of one horrific night.

Now in their forties, each of the women has processed the past in their own way. But when Megan betrays their trust and tells her fiancée the truth about that night, they're all in danger.

mystery and thriller books we're dying to read in 2020

The Herd

By Andrea Bartz

Eleanor Walsh seems to have it all. She's the CEO of an elite women-only coworking space in NYC, has close friends, and a wonderful husband. And then on the night of a press conference, she vanishes—and the police suspect foul play.

Now Hana, the head of PR for Eleanor's company and her best friend, is in a tailspin. She and her sister Katie, a journalist, launch their own investigation into what happened to Eleanor. Soon, they realize there's a lot they didn't know about Eleanor.

just between us

Just Between Us

By Rebecca Drake

Fans of Big Little Lies, this one is for you. 

Alison, Julie, Sarah and Heather are four friends and mothers living the ideal suburban life. Until Alison notices a bruise on Heather's wrist. Eventually Heather admits her husband is abusing her, but she refuses to leave him. Her friends dread the phone call that will tell them Heather's been killed. But when the call finally happens, she's not the one who's dead. And now the women must decide how far they're willing to go to protect her.

mysteries and thrillers set in new york city

Social Creature

By Tara Isabella Burton

Latvinia has it all, while Louise has nothing. After meeting by chance, the two become inseparable, spending their time together in New York drinking on the High Line and day dreaming about trips to Paris and Rome. But if Louise has her way, Latvinia won't be going anywhere.

"Social Creature is a wicked original with echoes of the greats (Patricia Highsmith, Gillian Flynn)." —Janet Maslin, The New York Times