23+ Psychological Thriller Books (Ordered) For 2023 – To Kill Your Nerves
Are you looking for the best psychological thriller books? It's your list to choose your favorite one!
Most people like reading love stories, and some go for the weird twists of suspense and mystery novels. We all have our preferences, but let’s be honest, we all know that there is nothing more satisfying than grabbing the edge of your seat whenever you are reading a well-written psychological thriller, right?
What Are The Most Important Characteristics of Psychological Thrillers?
Psychological thrillers is a subgenre of thrillers books that focus on the mental and emotional states of its characters. These books often explore the dark side of human nature, and can be quite disturbing. Here are some characteristics that make a great psychological thriller:
- A strong sense of unease or foreboding
- Characters who are deeply flawed and may even be sociopathic
- Dark, often oppressive atmosphere
- Elegant, elitist writing style to point out the contrast between words and the story itself
- Descriptions of violence or other disturbing scenes that may make readers uncomfortable
- Stories with multiple layers, you could easily find yourself routing for the wrong side
- A plot that is full of twists and turns, keeping readers guessing until the very end
What Are The Subgenres of Psychological Thriller Books?
- Workplace, Existence Psychological Thrillers
- Supernatural Psychological Thrillers
- Alternative Reality Psychological Thrillers
- Mental Health, Loosing Reality Psychological Thrillers
- Crime, Serial Killer Psychological Thrillers
- Family life, Domestic Life Psychological Thrillers
Getting a bunch of books in this genre can complete your reading list, and whenever you want to start your collection of them, here are the best psychological thriller books from the last years to start it out! The book list is in reverse chronological order.
What Are The Top Psychological Thriller Books? (Ordered)
(Find Further Upcoming Psychological Thriller Books)
Buried Secrets, by S.F. Baumgartner (2023)
In the realm of psychological and domestic suspense, S. F. Baumgartner's Buried Secrets emerges as a compelling tale, intertwining the nuances of Christian suspense. The novel centers around Dylan Roche, a 25-year-old grappling with the uncertainties of adulthood, further complicated by the recent death of his mother. His unassuming life is upended by the appearance of attorney Charles Townsend, a link to his mother's mysterious past, propelling Dylan on an introspective journey fraught with existential questions about his identity and lineage.
Baumgartner's narrative prowess is evident in the way the story swiftly captures the reader's attention, maintaining a taut grip through an intricate web of family secrets and deceit. The plot, rich with twists and turns, offers a labyrinthine journey through hidden corridors of familial ties and concealed truths.
The blend of suspense, familial intrigue, and spiritual undertones has resonated with a wide audience, establishing Buried Secrets as a promising opener to what could be an enthralling series. This novel not only satisfies the appetite of thriller aficionados but also posits Baumgartner as a notable voice in the genre, adept at weaving complex tales of suspense and human emotion.
The Coworker, by Freida McFadden (2023)
In the gripping narrative set in Vixed, a nutritional supplement company, two women find themselves entangled in a web of secrets leading to a heinous crime. Dawn Schiff, an accountant perceived as odd and friendless, is always punctual, so her unexpected absence one day raises eyebrows, particularly of her coworker Natalie Farrell. Natalie, admired for her beauty and success, receives a disturbing anonymous call that reveals a sinister reality: Dawn, far from just being an awkward loner, was a target of a malicious plot within their office.
As Natalie gets drawn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, she grapples with the chilling realization that Dawn was despised enough to be murdered, leaving her to question the true identity of the victim in this twisted scenario.
Strangers We Know, by Elle Marr (2022)
Strangers We Know is one of those trusts no one psychological thriller books with a relatable but horrifying story. Ivy Hon is searching for answers, but she gets caught up in a dangerous investigation.
She was adopted after birth, but she never felt the urge to learn about her biological lineage. However, a genetic test became necessary when a mysterious illness struck Ivy, leading to an FBI attraction that revealed her relationship with a serial killer who horrified the Pacific Northwest for many decades. Ivy became the FBI's only hope to stop the serial killer from further killings.
An online search links with her younger cousin, and that’s when she goes to Rock Island for a meet-up. Her motivation is a hidden desire to expose a murderous relative, and she decides to reach out to contact her remnant stranger relatives.
As she exposes herself to danger in the serial killer’s home, it dawns on her that she could be the next victim of her dangerous ancestry.
The Housemaid, by Freida McFadden (2022)
The housemaid in this book is Millie. She has gotten a housekeeping job at Nina and Andrew Winchester’s house. She has been on parole, and this job is what she needs and her last opportunity to start fresh.
Every day Millie cleans the house, picks up Cecilia from school, and cooks a meal for the family before heading out to her tiny room. Millie ignores how Nina makes a mess just to observe how she will handle it. Nina tells unusual lies about Andrew and their daughter. As every day passes, Andrew seems to become more broken. His eyes are full of pain, but he must play the perfect husband.
Everything will take a twisted turn when Millie tries one of the pristine white dresses that belong to Nina. She only wants to experience what such outfits feel like, and she will find out.
She will discover that her room’s door locks only from outside. The only problem is that it is too late. The Winchester secrets are more dangerous than hers.
Sundial, by Catriona Ward (2022)
This psychological horror is a real nerve-wrecking book, where nothing is what it seems.
English teacher Rob, mother of two children. Her husband cheats her and has anger issues. When Callie acts weirdly like collecting bones or conversing with ghosts, Rob starts to feel anxiety. But when she realizes that Callie may hurt her younger sister, she gets into panic mode.
Who is the monster in this story, readers may find out the dark hidden past of the family.
If you feel you are ready for a good psychological horror thriller than Sundial will be a perfect read!
The Resting Place, by Camilla Sten (2022)
Eleanor evinces horror at the thought of this awful, heartless woman, who raised her. Vivianne's incessant calls go unanswered most of the time to try and keep away from listening to Eleanor's disillusionment with the voices in the walls coming to get her.
You will learn only a few of the characters that are present in the diary throughout the narrative. But they will be revealed fully and accurately giving you a true sense after truly experiencing the uncanny appearance and impression of the characters.
The monstrous part of the grandmother's story is spine-tingling, and the surprises at the end could even be even more exciting.
Hot House, by Lisa Towles (2022)
Hot House is a new page-turning psychological thriller book with great twists.
Mari Ellwyn is a private investigator and a former CIA operative who starts to dig into a federal appellate judge’s blackmail case. However, she becomes a target for one van following her, receives threatening notes in her mail, and her home is breached.
Mari will team up with Derek Abernathy, a former detective and a seasoned investigator, and begin to look into the unlawful death of Sophie Michaud, a mentally ill college student. They work on this case alongside another one about two journalists. One is missing, and the other one is dead.
These journalists were writing about the dead girl’s story and her connection allegations with the federal judge. Mari and Derek will have to work to unravel the truth before Sophie’s killer make them the next targets.
Mari is also caught up in her dad’s search and wants reconciliation with her family and broken past.
Her Perfect Family, by Teresa Driscoll (2021)
It’s their daughter's graduation day and Rachel Hartley is expecting one of her family's happiest days. Unfortunately, it turns into a nightmare when the girl loses balance during her graduation ceremony. Her sister Adam, who was standing next to her, realizes what has happened first. When she falls down on stage during the ceremony, instead of delivering her speech with gratitude, her future is now running parallel with this grim reality right before everyone’s eyes.
Page-turning suspense story, that won't let you switch off the lights. Put everything on pause and get ready for some nerve-wracking psychological thriller.
Good as Dead, by Susan Walter (2021)
Susan Walter writes some of the best psychological thriller books, and her new novel Good as Dead is one of them.
Holly Kendrick is a mother whose husband Mr. Kendrick has died of a heart attack. During a hit-and-run, Ms. Kendrick saw the car accident, and she can’t forget what she has witnessed. Throughout her trauma of her husband's death, Mrs. Kendrick finds a note with an offer from a mysterious stranger to pay for any help that will let her pay off all the hospital bills from Mr. Kendrick’s passing on. She accepts gladly because she needs the money for payday loans to get through the month without him in her life anymore. In return for this deal, Mrs. Kendrick and her daughter Savannah have to move into California so they can live in their new house made especially for them by their wealthy sponsor.
As excitement comes over the neighborhood in Calabasas when they arrive in town, some neighbors feel curious about who these newcomers are who came in after the everyday routine people knew before they moved in across the street!
The Cry of the Lake, by Charlie Tyler (2020)
When she was six years old, Lily suddenly found something interesting by the lake near their house. Surprised and excited to meet the new “mermaid” friend she suddenly found, she rushes into the shallow waters only to find out that it is actually a dead body. Being a young girl with a sharp memory, Lily locks the sight within her mind, and she carries this terrible secret all the way to her adulthood.
Years later, Lily becomes best friends with Flo, a charismatic girl who seems quite simple whenever you look at her. However, things take a dark turn when Flo’s dad gets accused of murdering a schoolgirl, and this event triggers Lily’s past that keeps on haunting her. Will she be able to suppress the cry of the lake, or will the best friends be able to solve this horrifying mystery together?
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn (2018)
If you liked Gone Girl or any other book by Gillian Flynn, then Sharp Objects will not disappoint.
The book was recently adapted into an HBO Limited Series that follows an investigative journalist, who returns to her hometown after years away and uncovers more than she bargained for – but if you haven’t yet caught Amy Adams' award-worthy performance as a traumatized reporter as she gains information about what events unfolded in the wake of a murder in her Kansas City neighborhood as a child by hunting down those related to the crime or involved with it directly now as adults, give yourself some time so you can read the book first!
This psychological thriller book is a must-read for any fans of the tightly-structured thriller.
The End of the Day, by Bill Clegg (2020)
This book is the perfect portrayal of how a significant event in a single day can unleash a ripple effect that could last for years. If you are fortunate enough to do good deeds in your life, then you can expect a long-lasting peace within your latter years. However, for the characters in this book, their past lives will haunt them soon enough when a single man discovers a collapsed body on a hotel floor.
By the end of the day, will you be able to release yourself from those horrible secrets, or will you let the years go by, only to find them coming back to you in the most dreadful way possible? Read on and discover the secrets these seemingly disconnected people are about to introduce to you!
His & Hers, by Alice Feeney (2020)
This psychological thriller book is one of the most intriguing reads you will ever find, and thanks to Alice Feeney’s surprising twists around every corner, you will certainly find yourself questioning the events you just witnessed in the middle of the night!
As a woman gets murdered in a secluded British village, Anna Andrews (newsreader) does not want to cover the case because of her personal reasons. However, when Jack Harper (detective) gets suspicious of Anna’s involvement, he snoops around to look for clues, that is until he becomes a suspect in his own investigation. With all the lies bursting all over the place, how will these two dig out the secrets that are circulating around them?
The Golden Cage, by Camilla Läckberg (2020)
Ever since they were both students in business school, Faye and Jack have loved each other with all their hearts. Jack grew up in a rich family, while Faye had to work hard to bury her dark past. With Jack’s business growing continuously in the field, Faye decided to quit school and help him by waitressing during the day and strategizing by night.
As the lovely couple has a baby, Faye suddenly finds herself staying at home all the time and neglecting her duties in the business world. It also doesn’t help when she finds out that her husband is having an affair. Filled with fury and vengeance, Faye decides to resurrect her dark past and give Jack the treatment he truly deserves.
If you are looking for fresh psychological thriller books, The Golden Cage is a great choice!
Utopia Avenue, by David Mitchell (2020)
A psychological thriller book about the rise and fall of a United Kingdom rock band in the 1960s.
If you are a fan of biographies, this book is kind of like that, except that it’s all about the hit band Utopia Avenue! What? You’ve never heard of this band in your life? Well, it’s a good thing that you have access to this book because, within this excellent read by David Mitchell, you will enjoy the life and times of the bands members during their entertaining yet mysterious journey.
Feel the vibe of their music as they unravel the world’s maddening whispers within their ears, one page at a time.
The Wife Who Knew Too Much, by Michele Campbell (2020)
Connor Ford is the type of guy that will definitely sweep you off your feet, and that is justifiable because there are actually two Mrs. Fords that came into his life. The first Mrs. Ford was a beautiful and accomplished woman, and she is already enjoying her life with a younger man. However, along with a surprising turn of events, she is now dead.
The second Mrs. Ford is a waitress from a small town. She is now married to the man she had a summer romance 10 years ago, and her life went uphill ever since they got together. How is this possible, though? Find out the surprising timeline of events in this amazing thriller, and let Michele Campbell take you on an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
After reading Michele's book you will definitely have the urgency to read more psychological thriller books.
A Good Marriage, by Kimberly McCreight (2020)
As Lizzie Kitzakis is working one late night, she suddenly gets a call from an old friend that wants her help as a federal prosecutor. Zach Grayson’s wife, Amanda, suddenly turns up dead at the bottom of their stairs, and Zach turns out to be the primary suspect.
With the current negative state of Lizzie’s marriage to her husband, will she be able to assist this old friend in time of need? Discover the terrible secrets and haunting mysteries that their group of friends is hiding from each other all along in this fantastic thriller novel!
The Guest List, by Lucy Foley (2020)
Within the beautiful sceneries of Ireland, a lovely couple is having the perfect day celebrating their wedding. With their loving friends and family around, they could ask for nothing more. However, things took a dark turn when their guest list was modified, because a dead person suddenly showed up on their premises. How will they be able to solve this surprising turn of events?
Read on as the bride, the best man, the plus one, the wedding planner, and the bridesmaid find their way into fixing a horrifying wedding experience.
The Silent Daughter, by Claire Amarti (2020)
The author's best-seller novel is a women's psychological thriller.
Sadie Kelly lost her best friend, Fiona, in high school and still hasn't fully recovered from the loss. Fast forward to the present day, Sadie has just lost her job at the reputable Horton College and is living with Fiona's mother.
She's having trouble finding a new work due to the circumstances of her job loss and has turned to Benzos to help her cope. On top of all that, one of her former students from Horton College has just gone missing, and Sadie has a personal tie to the missing girl's father.
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (2019)
The Silent Patient is the bestselling thriller novel about a woman who murders her husband and then becomes silent via psychotherapeutic treatment, in which her doctor, Theo, is obsessed with uncovering her motives.
Alex proves with this book, that psychological thrillers are more than just some twist in the story. This book has a style, it doesn't really want you to swallow anything, it simply shocks you when you don't expect anything.
I was blown away by this book and its cool twists and turns. It was a page-turner. Anyway, The Silent Patient is one of the most talked-about psychological thriller books of the last years.
The Silent Ones, by K.L. Slater (2019)
This book is a thrilling ride with full of twists and turns. The family drama in this book digs deep under your skin. The two girls' story captured us.
Juliet's shocked mother cannot forget because her smiling daughters Maddy and Brianna are responsible for such a shocking event. Where did Maddy and Brianna get the plans to commit the crime, and the community recoils in fear?
Life tumbles out of control as the small village's residents react to this stunning turn of events.
Trespassing, by Brandi Reeds (2018)
Trespassing is a 2018 novel, and it is a masterpiece of psychological suspense.
A young mother follows a perilous course to track her missing husband.
Veronica Cavanaugh's grip on the world is dropping. Her most recent round of fertility treatments not only failed but had side effects.
The book utilizes shorter chapter length, which makes you wonder all day long “What will happen next?”.
The Accident, by Natalie Barelli (2019)
Katherine will give anything to go back in time. If anyone ever found out about the crime, it would ruin her life. But nobody should find out, as Eve is present, too, and she'll do everything in her power to throw it under the rug.
It is a well written thriller: fast-paced, strong twists, and memorable characters. At a certain point in the book, we even felt sorry for Katherine. First, you think Katherine is a weak character but never find yourself at that position of Kathrine in life.
This psychological thriller book surprised us in a good manner.
The Butterfly Girl, by Rene Denfeld (2019)
Finally a heartbreaking story by Rene Denfeld who is a very popular author in our book club not accidentally. Rene puts us into the sad world of children who are trying to survive their everydays. Hope is a gift in this book, and Rene doesn't want us to lose it.
Rene Denfeld shares his compelling experiences with homeless children, clearly exploring what exactly getting a fast-food hamburger means to their lives. Taking things at face value, one terrible individual circles for his next victim.
An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (2019)
Jessica takes part in a psychological study to earn some extra cash for her life.
When the study starts Jessica begins to question what kind of experiment she has become involved in. Reality becomes blurry and ethics isn't something that has any meaning in this story.
In my opinion, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen did extremely well with this novel.
This suspenseful psychological drama starred memorable characters and explored twists and turns that kept us hurtling through the pages.
Final Thoughts on Psychological Thriller Books
Every once in a while, it’s nice to tickle your mind for a bit and enjoy the well-written puzzles of books in this genre even if these books could be a little bit dark! With this list of the best psychological thriller books, you will surely find the perfect book that can pique your interests and leave you up all night.
If you are into thrillers, check out our all-time selection of the best thriller books.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.