To all the readers out there, no matter which genre you naturally prefer, once in a while, you definitely need some gut-wrenching thrillers to explore or just to have fun in the reading world. Thriller books have something in them that keep the readers hooked no matter what they do, and they do not stop until the book is over. I am sure you will find something in this list for yourself.
This latest list of the best psychological thriller and crime books has thrilling new titles from authors of various backgrounds and outlooks, along with many all-time famous classics in the respective genre. With the novels in this list, you will be on the edge of your seat, and all these books should definitely be on your read list.
Some of the books in the list are very modern, while some of them are exciting, documented fictional books and still rank with other well-written books. All the books in this list should be read once in their lifetime. If you get scared even by a little rustle of the wind, then you should not read these books alone. But if you like thrill and fun, then you should check the list patiently and add some of the books to your library. The list is in no particular order; just try to find out the book per your liking.
The Diviners Series [Libba Bray]
The Diviners is a series of four books written by Libba Bray, and the first book came out in 2012. It provides a chilling portrait of America in the years of 1920, from the genetic crime movements to New York City’s tremendous growth. You’ll cringe while falling in love with the varied characters and clever comedy since it has so many similarities to current politics and social conflicts.
The series has four books, and the first book has the story of a teenage girl, Evie, who is sent to live with her uncle. At the same time, an Ouija board has also awakened the ghost of Naughty John. After learning of numerous mysterious homicides, she uses her object-reading abilities to defeat the ghost serial killer with the help of her uncle.
At its core, though, is a suspenseful story about a flawed country coming to terms with its brutal history as it races toward a promising future that is still being imagined. All the books have captivating thriller stories with a dark and creepy vibe to them, which will keep the reader hooked. Libba Bray has done a good job in delivering her non-fictional stories in these books.
The Island [Adrian McKinty]
This novel came out in 2022 and was written by Adrian McKinty. A subtle family trip was planned, and the holiday destination was Australia. Newly married couple Tom and Heather are hoping this trip will give time for Tom’s kids to bond and get to know their new stepmother, Heather. But this planned trip goes into chaos when Tom and Heather get separated on that remote island. Now it is Heather’s job to save herself and her step-kids.
Heather must discover the strength she didn’t realize she possessed to save her family while maneuvering two children who don’t trust her at all, the merciless and deadly wilderness, and the uneasy, dangerous island residents who are eager to kill them and want each of them dead.
Yes, you read it right, the natives want them all dead, and this is the main thing in the book. It makes it so exciting and thrilling. You cannot hold back without knowing what happens with Heather and the kids.
These Women [Ivy Pochada]
This novel came out in January 2020 and was written by Ivy Pochada. The subject of this beautifully written mystery novel is a local serial killer, but it is really more of a tale of female strength and social reform. Five women— a mother, a dancer, a police officer, an artist, and a wife —who, like far too many women in the past and now, are compelled to live by a multitude of unwritten rules that they were not permitted to participate in creating.
They act in this way in order to survive, but two murders shatter their appearance of safety. While reading, you will realize that the way the author has put out the story in the book is a well-thought-out process.
The novel will keep you hooked, and the setup for each of the women is phenomenally done. You will love the characters and the surrounding plot. This Woman is a moving read that demonstrates that sometimes it is true that you should not judge a book by its cover.
Code 6 [James Grippando]
This novel will come out in January 2023 and is written by James Grippando. The story starts with Kate Gamble, who is a playwright, and she has been working on a piece she believes would be a masterpiece when it comes out. But there is a catch, the source material of her piece is based on her lovely father who is the CEO of a private data company.
Although Kate is aware that her father would be devastated by her play on the negative side of big data, she must look into the family business and her mother’s unsolved suicide. Following the kidnapping of her father’s right-hand man, Code 6 from the firm is demanded as ransom.
As Kate unearths conspiracies and hidden agendas in the tech sector and learns about its risky data manipulation, she is unsure of whom to believe. The compelling book by best-selling author James Grippando will force you to reevaluate using the same repeating password for all of your accounts across the internet, as he urges us to weigh the cost of giving up our privacy.
The Lost Man [Jane Harper]
Jane Harper’s The Lost Man came out in 2019. His awaited book Exiles is gonna come out in 2023. But this book is gonna stay with you for a much longer time. The Lost Man is considered to be one of the best thriller books of recent times. More than any other work released in the previous few years, The Lost Man portrays place as a real-life, breathing character.
Although the brothers ultimately take center stage, the dry, moody Australian Outback plays a significant part as well. A string of family secrets emerges as the central theme of this expertly written literary thriller when one ends up dead. Both the thriller and the writing are excellent.
It is, therefore, a major letdown when, just before the story’s conclusion, the gritty tone and the fantastic atmosphere disappear, and we find ourselves in the thick of a tedious romance that was completely foreseeable. It is actually very well put on the Australian theme.
The 6:20 Man [David Baldacci]
This novel came out in January 2022 and was written by David Baldacci. Travis Devine is an ex-soldier. He takes the 6:30 am daily train to go to his basic analyst job in the most talked about investment firm. Everything was going well, but one day cops from NYPD arrived and started asking him hard questions about his ex-girlfriend, Sasha, who had died by suicide. One thing to note is that Sasha is also her colleague.
Even worse, he is being threatened with disclosure of his military secrets unless he surreptitiously investigates his company. David Baldacci, a brilliant storyteller, has written a stunning thriller that takes readers into the highest peak and darkest alleys of the financial and power worlds.
The final twist will have you gasping. It is so good a read. The financial bits and pieces and the dirty secrets of the industry are explained well, and of course, it has all the psychological thrill that you are looking for.
Wrong Place Wrong Time [Gillian McAllister]
This novel came out in 2022 and was written by Gillian McAllister. This is a twisting, mind-bending novel, and it became an instant hit when it came out and was seen as one of the best thriller novels of the year. It is based on Jen, who has an eighteen-year-old boy, and she is waiting for him to return home has missed his night curfew, and she finally sees him out of the window and what she sees is not an ordinary sight.
Her son is in prison, and she is clueless about the reason. The next day, when she wakes up, she realizes that the murder has not happened yet. Every day, when she wakes up, she goes one day back in time.
As everything is happening to her, she is the only one who can unravel the mystery and save her son from becoming murdered. But before all this, she may need to accept some of the harsh realities in her life. The plot is very cleverly written, and it will keep the readers entertained all along the book.
My Sister, the Serial Killer [Oyinkan Braithwaite]
My Sister, the Serial Killer is written by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and the book officially came out in 2019. As far as the best thriller novels go, My Sister, the Serial Killer is a bombshell of a read—sharp, explosive, and also humorous. The New York Times calls it less of a murder mystery and more of a study of the weird complex of sister bonds.
As this fascinating story unfolds as you learn if blood is indeed thicker than water, Oyinkan does a crazy good job of putting the chapters one after the other. These chapters will keep you at the edge, and you will feel like you are on a roller coaster ride; every chapter, each page is the drumbeat.
As you will go deep inside this well-put book, you will see the complexity of a simple relationship of sisters and how they make their way in all the chaos. Braithwaite uses brief, rhythmic chapters to march you along and make you feel as though a drumbeat is driving your page-turning.
A Mother Would Know [Amber Garza]
This novel came out in January 2022 and was written by Amber Garza. Do you believe that you know your kids well? If yes, then how well do you know them? The author Amber Garza is back with A Mother Would Know, and it is an unsettling sight on a bent relationship.
The mysterious novel focuses on Valerie, whose memory has been decreasing for quite some time now. She is a lone resident in her big Victorian home. As the story progresses, she invites her son to move in with her in the house for the company.
He’s grumpy, maintains odd hours, and doesn’t communicate much, so it’s not as fun as she might have thought. Nearby neighbors quickly accuse the son of the slain mother, and Valerie finds it difficult to defend him.
Right up to the very last page, this suspenseful book will have you keep guessing, again and again, multiple times about your decisions. It is a good read, and you will feel an unsettling plot surrounding the vibe of the story.
Bluebird, Bluebird [Attica Locke]
Bluebird. Bluebird was written by Attica Locke and came out in 2017. She was also a producer and a writer on a hit show, Empire. This East Texas-based noir thriller uses the setting’s distinctive characteristics and current racial tensions to tell the fictitious story of a guy whose world is imploding around him. It is rooted in America’s turbulent past and very dangerous present.
Its protagonist is Darren Matthews, an African-American Texas Ranger from the state’s east. He looks into the death of Michael Wright, an African-American lawyer from Lark, Chicago. Attica Locke knows how to write thriller books. If you like to read thrillers, then I am sure you have already heard about her and read more of her books.
Don’t Turn Around [Jessica Barry]
The book Don’t Turn Around came out in 2020 and was written by Jessica Barry. This aggressive thriller investigates White male extremism, cancel culture, the Me Too movement, and reproductive rights. This book, without a doubt, is very current and will cut right to the bone for anyone who has endured years of gaslighting and misogyny, and the boys will be the boys’ defense for heinous acts committed against them.
Two women are being sought after by an unidentified killer as this thrilling book begins on a lonely road in New Mexico. Secrets are uncovered during the process, and women who have previously had their confidence abused must develop a fragile trust.
The novel was very fast-paced, full of action settings, and hard chiller for avid readers. This frantic adventure will have your heart racing, just like the best thrillers. It was a good read, and Jessica did a great job with the story and plot the book will keep you occupied until you finish it.
Portrait of an Unknown Woman [Daniel Silva]
Daniel Silva’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman came out in 2022. It is Daniel Silva’s 25th novel. He is an experienced writer, and he has been writing for many years. His 22 novels with the former Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon should not be missed.
They rank among the best thrillers available right now. The most recent film follows Gabriel, who has since left Israeli intelligence and relocated to Venice with his family. A London art dealer asks Gabriel to look into a recently uncovered picture that might just be a fake, which sets the plot in motion. In a whirlwind adventure through the shadowy side of the art world, Gabriel is quickly lured into a challenging game of cat and mouse.
The major thing about the novels is the character, you can connect with the characters easily, and the vibe takes you deep into the novel and the story quickly. You will think that the story may become predictable, but that is not the case. It is an unexpected plot that will keep you occupied.
Lakewood [Megan Giddings]
Lakewood was written by Megan Giddings and came out in 2021. It became one of the bestsellers of that year. As you come to terms with the full depths of America’s dark past, you will be faced with not just horrors but also ethical issues. This is due to the fact that Giddings used actual nightmares, such as the use of black bodies for scientific research and abuse, to create a gripping fictional story.
It has a long history of conducting unfair experiments on black and brown bodies in order to progress science. Numerous instances like this have contributed to a well-known skepticism of medicine in lacking populations. If you read Lakewood quickly, are engrossed, and leave with questions for your book club and pals who are avid readers, then this magnificent work of psychological thriller tale has succeeded.
I am sure you will love the book’s intent behind what the author wants to say and deliver. The core message of the books remains intact if you look hard enough. There are many things to get lost in but make sure to end this book.
The Silence of the Lambs [Thomas Harris]
Thomas Harris’ 1988 release of The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological suspense and crime book. Clarice Starling, an aspiring FBI agent, is followed throughout the book as she gets more and more involved in the probe into serial murderer Buffalo Bill.
The second novel in the Hannibal Lecter franchise and the strongest, this one is an absolute masterpiece. If you enjoyed the movie, you’d enjoy this one just as much. If you enjoy thrillers with a touch of dreadful, you’ll also enjoy this.
The Darkness [Ragnar Jonasson]
The Darkness was written by Ragnar Jonasson, and it came out in 2018. It is a moody book that immerses you in the icy chilled climate of Iceland while telling the story of a Detective Officer who is forced into early retirement.
Only two weeks remain for Hulda Hermannsdóttir to serve on the force, and she may choose any cold case to look into. She decides to focus on the death of a Russian immigrant, only to uncover a more complex and intriguing aspect of the initial case.
She finds herself competing with her own peers and working against the ticking clock as she tries to figure out why another woman vanished around the same time. If you liked the first book, then you should have a look at this one. The character of the detective is very well placed in the setup alongside the supporting characters. The story may take a hit here and there, but it makes up as the investigation moves forward.
People Like Her [Ellery Lloyd]
People Like Her is written by Ellery Lloyd, and it came out in 2021. It is a book full of suspense, and the timing is so perfect, as something like this book is only possible in the current century. One crazy person has threatened the real life of a social celebrity and online influencer mother who makes a killing by commercializing family life and has millions of fans.
This utterly contemporary book investigates the more hidden and murkier side of this social influencing culture, the real-world risks of oversharing personal information about oneself and one’s children online, and our desperate want to be understood, acknowledged, and valued. This psychological thriller is from husband-and-wife literary team Paul Vlitos, also known as Ellery Lloyd and Collette Lyons.
The duo will certainly put an end to any celebrity fantasies you may have had because of following them online or because of social media. This book has a hidden message about the current social media setup and how influencers sell whatever they want to. Everyone, no matter what age group you belong to, should definitely read this book once.
The Whisper Man [Alex North]
The Whisper Man came out in 2019 and was written by Alex North. This book is full of suspense; a duo of father and son moves to a new town after the death of the wife or mother. They are unknown of this fact but went years ago, there was a serai killer who devasted the same town that they had moved in.
The children would report to their parents that someone was eerie speaking to them just outside the house and then go missing shortly after; he was known as the Whisper Man. The previous case is revisited with concerns, and people thought that there was a helper who was helping the Whisper man in killings, despite the fact that the perpetrator is still in prison, another child has vanished, the son is being whispered to, and so on.
With a father and son managing their grief at its center, this eerie thriller employs a number of viewpoints to construct a horrific image that will keep you entertained throughout. You’re left wondering who committed the gruesome murder and who will come after them. Aside from the spooky criminals with personal difficulties and terrible circumstances, there should be likable individuals.
The Burning Girls [C.J. Tudor]
C.J. Tudor’s The Burning Girls came out in 2021, and it follows two females. Without their consent or request, a priest and her daughter are dispatched to a little English town with terrible secrets. This community roasted eight of its own citizens at the stake hundreds of years ago. Then, 30 years ago, two local girls vanished, and the vicar of the church hanged himself moments before they found them.
Although the pacing was moderate nor too slow or fast, I still really like this book. It is well-written and not overly complex, but there is suspense and excitement on every page. The beginning drags but quickly picks up speed, and the ending is excellent. This spine-tingling book will leave you trembling and curious about what’s going on.
The Stand [Stephen King]
The post-apocalyptic book by Stephen King is a timeless classic that came out in 2012. It’s also one of the best thriller books that are more eerily familiar today than it was when it was first published, when the master of horror published a longer, “uncut” version in 1990, or when the paperback edition debuted in the summer of 2012. This is because it is based on a virus that has the ability to wipe out the majority of the world’s population. The Stand during a pandemic may add interest to the story.
Stephen King takes his time revealing the story’s intricate tapestry. He takes you to places you’ve never been and helps you visualize them. The book’s opening grabs your attention right away with its interesting setting. It’s not unusual to follow the story of a cast of characters who are in unusual circumstances. I thought the characters were very flat. Women bear children, and males are hunters and builders.
Long Bright River [Liz Moore]
The Long Bright River came out in 2020 and was penned by Liz Moore. The fourth and most recent book by Philadelphia resident Liz Moore, set in the City of Brotherly Love, focuses its literary lens on two sisters and the connection, interconnection, and hidden love with soft connections. Mickey is a police officer and a single mother who patrols an area devastated by the drug crisis.
Moore skillfully transitions between images from the sisters’ childhood and the current mystery when Mickey’s sister, who saw and fought the street life and severe addiction and goes missing. Having been published in 18 different languages to date and being called one of Barack Obama’s favorite books and a top book by NPR.
The book is very well written and is filled with compassionate storytelling; at the same time, it is very thrilling and captivating. A very beautiful and precisely written art that you should consider reading to pass your time. The book will keep you hooked, and I am sure you will not stop before completing it.
The Circle [Dave Eggers]
Dave Egger’s The Circle came out in 2014, yes, it is old, but it deserves mention on this list. This is a contemporary, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will get you to consider where society is today and where it might be going in the future. This book, which is set inside the largest social media organization on the planet, sets one idealist against the goals of a rotten system.
When you’re done, you might decide to remove your Facebook’s unnecessary permissions that your account asks about your location or privacy, political view, democracy, or your personal life. There is a follow-up novel called The Every, and Tom Hanks and Emma Watson starred in the 2017 film adaptation.
Nobody will be shocked that this book closely mirrors the present. This novel is intriguing to read because of the unspoken societal criticism and what it reveals about humanity and life on social media in general.
The Good House [Tananarive Due]
Tananarive Due’s The Good House came in 2004. The book is an interestingly contemporary and very current retelling of the traditional haunted house tale. Angela Touissant, a Haitian-American, battles a mysterious evil that is pushing individuals to act violently and commit suicide.
The fact that she also has to deal with her own identity and belonging issues makes it a must-read for any reader who is interested in reading psychological thrillers or not. The book is also considered to be very realistic in the step when it was released.
The Chalk Man [C.J. Tudor]
Tudor is an expert in this respective genre of psychological thriller; even Stephen King recommended one of her works to his devoted readers; he even said that if the readers like his books, then they will surely appreciate C.J. Tudor’s work.
As a result, Tudor has earned a second mention on our list of the finest thriller books. This book, which takes place in the middle of the 1980s, opens with a group of teens trying to pass the time during a dull summer by secretly sketching each other stick figures in chalk.
The story abruptly shifts into the present when the friends discover a teenage girl’s body after receiving the identical chalk-man message that directs them into the woods. They are adults now and no longer in communication, but one day, they all get a fresh chalk message.
Now that everyone is back together, a new, scary scenario is set into motion. As soon as you begin reading this novel, you are caught in the fantastically eerie atmosphere that the author has created. Highly recommended.
Into Thin Air [Jon Krakauer]
It came out in 1999, but it is still relevant and will always be relevant. This is a writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer’s timeless thriller about the true gripping account of the deadly 24 hours on Mount Everest that nearly cost his own life.
Fans of the very greatest thriller novels must read this terrifying, perceptive, excellent work. In my perspective or personal experience, it does require you to read it more than once to properly comprehend or understand.
To get a better understanding, at least in my language, it hops around and is somewhat confusing, but it is an autobiography of a man who had the worst climbing accident to date. Include any euphoric high from engaging in what you love, high altitude sickness, and confusion that accompany with high altitude climbs.
Down the River Unto the Sea [Walter Mosley]
Walter Mosely is an artist, and his latest piece, Down the River Unto the Sea, was released in 2019. In the past, he has brought a number of characters alive such as Leonid McGill and Easy Rawlins and others. This is a very good mystery thriller that focuses on a new character, Joe King Oliver. He is a black man who worked for the NYPD until his colleagues accused him of committing a crime.
He is operating a private detective business with the assistance of Aja Denise, his teenage daughter, when we first see him outside of Rikers Island. Oliver is now charged with solving a case involving a Black journalist who is suspected of killing two dishonest police officers. Oliver now has to deal with his own case and the dishonest detectives that broke him so many years ago while also trying to keep them both safe.
When he was falsely accused of assault while pursuing a well-known vehicle thief, he was soon imprisoned on Rikers Island doing time for something that he did not do. The movie takes a deep dive into social issues, which becomes a must-read for people who are fond of such a setup.
From Russia with Love [Ian Fleming]
Yes, he is the same Ian Fleming that gave us James Bond. There are a total of fourteen James Bond books, and this is the fifth book from that series. From Russia with love came in 1957. It follows James Bond, a secret agent, as he thwarts a Russian agency called SMERSH plot to kill him and involve him in a sex scandal.
After being held accountable for a number of high-profile failures, senior officials of SMERSH, a hidden Soviet agency, discuss how to gain favor with the Soviet government as the book opens. For this murder, they decide to target James Bond. Bond has been labeled a state enemy for his part in preventing multiple prior Soviet schemes.
The film adaption, with Sean Connery playing Bond, has long been recognized as one of the most famous Bond films and one of the greatest action films ever made.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold [John le Carré]
John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold came out in 1963 and was written ages ago. It is a very good book and goes down in the list of best thriller books from the 20th and 21st centuries. This fascinating story still enthralls readers with its spellbinding description of the world of undercover agents and spies as it takes place in East Germany.
Behind the newly constructed Berlin Wall during the Cold War. In order to get revenge, he uses himself as bait and is eventually caught and killed. What gives the novel its value is the substantial amount of building that occurs across the majority of the book. Relates a story about politics, spies, and the basic flaws of human nature. A movie has also been made, and both the book and the movie are fantastic.
The War of the Worlds [H.G. Wells]
English author H. G. Wells’s classic science fiction book The War of the Worlds was first published in 1897. The story’s anonymous narrator gives a first-person description of the Martians’ invasion of the area around London and their subsequent destruction of central England. Human civilization is completely destroyed within days by Martian technology.
The Martians are completely wiped out by terrestrial microbes before they can spread their destruction beyond Great Britain. It has a very intriguing scientific correctness in its representation of the alien invasion, a very compelling tone and action, and a fantastic setting. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction books since it has excellent pacing, setting, and plot. A movie has also been made starring Tom Cruise.
Presumed Innocent [Scott Turow]
Presumed Innocent is Scott Turow’s first novel which came out in 1987. This is the ultimate legal thriller, with great characters, a cleverly developed narrative, and amazing legal understanding. The book’s ability to accurately capture the insides of the legal system makes it remain relevant today. The body of Carolyn Polhemus is found at the start of the book.
She seemed to have been raped before she was discovered dead in her apartment. It is first believed that her passing was caused by an S&M scenario gone too far. Although she has sustained severe head damage from the hard force, there was no weapon present when the crime was committed. Rusty is given the case even though she was a co-worker of the district attorney.
A Study in Scarlet Women [Sherry Thomas]
There have been too many copies and rip-offs of Sherlock Holmes. But this one features a genius lady, sherlock, Charlotte, written by Sherry Thomas, who is a woman of color, and this book came out in 2016. Charlotte takes the role of Detective Sherlock Holmes in this historical mystery when her father and sister are accused of being responsible for three murders.
In place of Watson, Charlotte is assisted by a sympathetic widow, a police inspector, and a lover of hers. You’ll find yourself craving more as she violates social norms to solve the case. It was a good take on Sherlock Holmes, and the way in which Sherry maintained the pace of delivery was also good. A different take on the classic detective setup was something new that many readers would like.
The Ghost Bride [Yangsze Choo]
A young girl married to a ghost is the main character in Yangsze Choo’s young adult paranormal fantasy The Ghost Bride, which came out in 2013. She must preserve her deceased husband’s soul before it is taken by other evil creatures. Li Lan plays the lead.
Li is completely dependent on her family’s riches because she is a girl and isn’t expected to develop a career of her own. Sadly, her father, a prosperous former businessman, is now an addicted drug user. It won’t be long until they become poor because there isn’t much of the family’s riches left.
Also Read: 36 Books Like One Of Us Is Lying