Hello everybody, In this article we talk about the Top 27 Best Psychological Thriller and Suspense Books to Read in 2023. I have not done an article over here, in what feels like forever because it might have been basically forever, but I'm back and I have another article for you.
Today I did an article once before this one and it was all about my rainbow bookshelf and some of the books that I have in my collection.
One of my big goals in December was to read a lot and I did. I read so many books about detectives, psychology, and horror. I have read an insane amount of psychological thriller books they have been my favorite genre lately,
so I wanted to share some of my favorites and not-so-favorites in the psychological thriller books genre with you. I have been sharing a lot about the different kinds of best psychological horror books.
I'm sharing my favorite psychological thriller and suspense books!! I have been reading a huge amount of thriller novels lately and I wanted to share my favorite novels with you! I love twisty thrillers!
The more unpredictable the storyline is the better in my books! I love a good plot twist and I'm sure you do too. We could all use a little mystery in our lives!
What is a psychological horror novel?
People always say psychological horror, psychological horror, and psychological horror. What exactly is a psychological horror novel? What is it specifically? Does it have any meaning? Can you give a few examples of psychological horror novels and explain them?
Let me give you an example. If you go home one day, everything will be fine. When you open the door, you find that the roses on the table have been cut off, and the petals are scattered all over the place.
The pets raised at home are cooked in a pot. The sheets were filled with red paint. The photo you put on the bedside table is inserted into your house's fruit knife. Although these might not pose a threat to you, you feel infinitely horrible, because there are many unknowns.
First, you don’t know how that person got in. Second, you don’t know what the purpose of the other person is and why does he do it? The unknown is the most terrifying thing in psychology. It is simple why people are afraid of death and why children are afraid of the dark because these are unknown.
If you go home and find that your door has been slid open, and a person is standing inside holding a knife, the fear you feel is far less than in the previous example. The fear at this time is short-lived but the fear in the previous example is infinite.
Unknown things are the most terrifying. Things that are often scary do not pose a threat to themselves or others, but people do not understand them.
For example, some people are afraid of going to hell after death, but there is hell in the world. Is hell really terrible? No one knows.
Everyone is afraid of death because no one knows what will happen after death, (because no dead person will stand up and tell you.)
Best Psychological horror novels use people's dreams fabricated from the fear of the unknown can alleviate the psychological pressure of people in modern cities.
Suspense novels have always been popular, and because of their exciting plots, they have been repeatedly filmed as film and television works. This article counts as the best suspense book of all time in the world for everyone.
27 Best Psychological Thriller and Suspense Books of All Time 2023
I've been reading over on my Instagram and by far people have been most interested in psychological thriller and Suspense books.
I am going to start with my favorites and tell you a little about them and why you should probably read them also all of my book recommendations will be linked down below even the ones I don't like because maybe you'll like them.
Here are some best psychological thriller and Suspense books for 2023. I love (read these!), some that I think are just okay, and some that are downright terrible. Plus a few bonus books that I have waiting on my bookshelf for me to crack open and read!
So what are your favorite psychological thriller books? Here we recommend the Top 27 Best Psychological Thriller Books to Read in 2023.
1. No Exit: A Novel
Okay, I'm going to start with my favorite psychological thriller lately I've literally read it in one single sitting I could not put it down so it's called No Exit it's by Taylor Adams and my gosh if you are looking for a super super super fast-paced thriller this is definitely for you it's absolutely wild.
This book from the very first page is going to keep you turning those pages because this book is about a young girl heading home from university to see her sick mother but she gets stuck in a wild snowstorm with I believe four strangers.
I don't want to give much away but it says it in the synopsis so I think I can she finds a girl and a child locked in a cage and the story is all about getting the child out and getting down to the bottom of what the heck is going on if you like a very fast-paced thriller this is for you.
2. The Silent Patient
Next sticking in the vein of books I really liked these are all the ones I really like I loved the silent patient I think this is just an amazing book here's where we encounter the issue that I'm really bad at pronouncing things so um so the name is Alex Michaelis Micah lines so the silent patient is about a woman who randomly kills her husband she shoots him five times and then refuses to speak kind of ever again so it is about why she refuses to speak and trying to get down to the bottom of what actually happened the night her husband died she's the silent patient get it she doesn't speak this book is also super twisty it's a super journey the ending I did not expect and I love that in a thriller.
3. The Family Upstairs: A Novel
Next, we're going with another book that I just read this is Lisa Jewell's The Family Upstairs again such a good book these are all the good ones, of course, I'm gonna say that I feel like all of the books by Lisa Jewell that I've read have multiple narrators and it's the same with this one there's someone who's adopted and gets this giant house left to them by their biological family and it's figuring out the story of what the heck happened in that house in the family upstairs the main character Libby is found as a tiny baby crying in a crib by the police and everyone else in her family is either dead or missing so it's all about finding that family and figuring out also what the heck happened.
4. The Woman in the Window
next, a kind of a staple in the psychological thriller genre these days is The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. It is so good they're all so good I believe A Woman in the Window is about to be turned into a series if it hasn't already and I want to watch it is it a movie it's a series it's something it's going to be good the woman in the window is about a woman anna who is a recluse she lives in her apartment all by herself refuses to go outside so anna loves to spy on her neighbors and then one night she sees something that she shouldn't have seen and it is all about her unraveling and trying to figure out what actually happened across the street that night again it's a good one.
5. Into the Water
next, we are moving on to psychological thrillers that I think are pretty good. So here are some of my thrillers that are not topped here but they're pretty okay. Starting with 'Into the Water' by Paula Hawkins. This is another book that I just finished so this is another one of those books that follow multiple storylines and you're trying to put it all together and make it make sense.
In this book, you're also kind of jumping around in time so What Is Into the Water is about a single mother who is found drowned in this body of water in the town where all of these women drown so it is figuring out what is going on with that water what happened to this woman what happened to some of the other characters that are brought up into the story that also drowned and figuring out what is going on with this water Paula Hawkins is the author of the girl on the train which is a really popular thriller and this is a pretty good one I mean I read it if I were you.
6. I Found You
next, we have another Lisa Jewel book it is I Found You It's Just Okay we're getting to the just Okay thrillers it is about a man who shows up on a beach and has no idea who he is he has amnesia he has absolutely no clue what's going on this woman finds him on the breach invites him into her house and wants to help him figure out who he is and why he's there.
This is another book that flashes back and forth throughout time so we're also following some other stories like one that happened like 30 years prior and putting them all together to see if you can make sense of what actually happened to this man and who is he that's the big thing can you figure out who he is this thriller is rated okay we're middle of the pile now.
7. The Couple Next Door
and then we have the couple next door this is a thriller that I read a while ago it is by Sheri Lapena. So it is about a couple who leaves their baby home alone while they go to a party just next door with their neighbors they needed a break they come home and the baby is missing who took the baby where is the baby oh my gosh why would they leave the baby alone this is another one of those thrillers that we're seeing it's just okay I mean I'd read all of them.
8. The Favorite Daughter
except for the next one that's what I wouldn't read but I would add this to your read list all right rounding out the books that I've read we're going to go with my absolute least favorite psychological thriller I've ever read the favorite daughter this is by Akira Ruda.
I absolutely didn't like this book. I would really recommend you read it honestly it's so predictable that's one thing. I don't like a psychological thriller. I don't like when I can pick it up and figure out in the first little bit what happened and this is kind of one of those books for me that's why I like them really twisty and like something happens you don't see coming this was too predictable for me.
and it was an unreliable narrator that was obviously unreliable and in a way that you were like I know not to take this woman seriously so I wasn't a fan because I think you were supposed to be taking her seriously until the end so it's a no for me.
9. The Widow
and next, we have three psychological thrillers that are on my bookshelves that I have not read yet that are on my to-read list so first, we have the widow by Fiona Barton this is one Ali is currently reading my wife so I actually have no clue what this is about but I will be reading it and then I'll tell you what I think.
10. The Widow Next Door
And then we have another book about a widow next door. It kind of seems like a cross between the widow and the woman in the window I think Ally read this and actually didn't like it so we'll see what I think it sounds like some people move into a house they get a new neighbor this little lady she becomes a friend of theirs and then she grows a little too interested in the couple and watches them constantly so I'm gonna read it I know my wife didn't like it but we'll see what I think.
11. The Next to Die
and then, we have Sophie Hannah the next to die. I got this book because I was really excited I thought it sounded super interesting but I just haven't been able to get into it if we look we can see that I've started it but I found it super wordy which isn't necessarily something.
I like a thriller, I like them fast-paced I like it like unpredictable, and easy to read if I'm looking for something that's going to take more thought I'm not going to reach for a thriller that's just me personally so it started being a little too much a little too wordy a little too intense of a read for me for what I like to read but we'll see I'm going to try to dive into this again and see what happens.
12. Phantom Limb
First up is Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry. Phantom Limb follows the story of a pair of twins Emily and Elizabeth they were subject to horrific childhood abuse by their mother heavily until they were eight years old and they were rescued by a foster family and were adopted the story begins when they're in their 20s kind of early college-age and Emily is doing very poorly and Elizabeth is kind of trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move on and make a life for herself.
Emily is really struggling with depression and a lot of other issues and she's really unable to move on with her life a series of events unfolds and one day Elizabeth wakes up in a psych ward in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there only that the last thing she remembers was finding Emily's body in their bathroom well Elizabeth is left in the hospital to figure out what happened how she got there and she also has to deal with all the events of her past and her horrible abusive childhood her relationship with her mother and kind of come to terms with everything as a whole this one is a crazy ride like so crazy.
I could not put this book down so I was immersed and invested this is a story about the intense bond between twins and what happens when that intense bond is severed or broken in some way it's also dealing with a lot of the effects of abuse on a very small child and how that impacts someone as an adult and it just there's so many plot twists and craziness that happens that I did not see coming at all.
It's just really well done the pacing is amazing there's never a dull or slow moment I was constantly wondering what was going happen I just needed to turn the pages I read it so fast it is so good and completely unforgettable this book is jarring and I had chills the whole time it is just so real and raw Lucinda Berry is actually a psychologist so all of her discussions on mental illness and psychology are very informative as well as chilling and she really blurs the lines between psychology and realism and fiction and you know dramatics the way that she writes is just so entertaining but also informative and really makes you question and think and it's just mentally a journey.
13. Still Missing
Next up is still missing Chevy Stevens. This is a story of a woman named Annie who is in her 30s and has just been rescued from being abducted she was taken by a psychopath brought to a cabin in the woods and held there for a year before she escaped and this story bounces between her sessions with her therapist a few after being rescued as she's trying to put her life back together and figure out where she stands in her new reality after this has happened to her and between the events after immediately after she escaped.
I really love the way this one was woven together with the two different timelines this one was extremely chilling and actually had me sobbing like literally sobbing this is the only book that has ever done that to me so that happened it's like kind of a mixture of like a train wreck you cannot look away from when she is as this captive and this crazy psycho that she stressed calling the Freak and just the wit the things that he does and then mixed with her really struggling with who is she now and her post-traumatic stress and depression and just trying to become somebody again after this horrible event and there's a plot twist at the end.
I was like I didn't see it coming at all and it really wrapped up this story in a great way that I loved I read this one year ago and it is completely unforgettable I need to read it again.
14. The Butterfly Garden
The next book is The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson. This one is probably the most messed up and traumatizing to read it is about a woman who escaped from captivity by a man who has this garden like a dome-like a greenhouse kind of and keeps young women there and calls them his butterflies and he tattoos butterflies on their backs and just keeps them captive in this garden.
It's extremely graphic so I know I said I wasn't gonna talk about content warnings but this one is in a different sphere bordering on the horror genre, I would say it's impactful but it's really good it explores the kind of relationships that all the different girls develop while they're there and just the desperation that they have you know Stockholm Syndrome and just the camaraderie that they have even though that they are miserable and captive.
The story follows a woman named Maya who has escaped from the garden and survived the aftermath of it they're trying to kind of put together the pieces of exactly what happened there and she slowly reveals more and more about it and they start trying to figure out like what is she hiding and what exactly went on here who is this and it keeps you guessing till the end the plot twist wasn't too intense I mean it was kind of left something to be desired but the rest of the book made up for it for me I really enjoyed reading this one even if it kept me up at night free.
15. Sharp Objects
the next one is Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This is a less horrifying but still chilling book about a journalist who travels to her hometown to help investigate the murders of two preteen girls that took place in her hometown she goes to stay with her estranged mother half-sister and stepfather and they're weird the story starts after Camille.
Our main character has just completed a stay in a psychological treatment place in a hospital and so she's kind of struggling with her past with her difficult mother and kind of her childhood and so she's returning to her hometown which is very difficult for her but she really wants to return to a normal life after her stay in the hospital and she just wants to do something right so she goes to this town starts investigating and trying to figure out what happened to these two young girls she starts to unravel different things about her mother and her half-sister and her sister that passed away when she was a kid.
This one kept me guessing I really enjoyed that the main character was very self-deprecating in both her actions and her dialogue Gillian Flynn writes very messed of characters and very fun and entertaining ways to read as weird as that might sound I love the way that they are so relatable in their voices and they also just have these deep and twisted past and insides and thought processes going on and who it's just a ride to read about.
hey someone's pretty chilling and has a lot of graphic scenes in it unraveling the puzzle was really fun with this one and I really enjoyed it I hadn't recommended the audiobook this one has a very murder mystery feel to it trying to figure out whodunit and I love that but it also did the psychological aspect very well as well.
16. The Perfect Child
the next book is The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry. This is a story about a young toddler who was found in a parking lot covered in blood and screaming they don't know where she came from who her mother is and what happened her wildest girl is in the hospital.
Her doctor starts to form kind of a very intimate bond with her and his wife is a nurse there they take a great interest in her and offer to take her in as a fair foster child while the police kind of try and figure out where she's gonna go, this one is so creepy child done so well I have heard so many duds of like the creepy child trope and this one is the ultimate psycho child book.
I had this overhanging sense of dread the whole time I was reading to the point where even when I stopped reading I was just anxious and freaked out just to be living my life it was so weird and I had to it like really quickly. so I could just know what happened and move on it was so good at first you just fall in love with this little girl who is just vomiting eyes and broken and then listens to Barry just build on this creepiness so slowly.
But it just is so intense and you read from the perspectives of the mother the father and their social worker so you get a very multi-layered perspective of this girl and the family and the mother is the one who is mainly dealing with the psycho child being home with her alone during the day while the dad's at work and she just is targeted by this girl and it's just so so freaky it's so freaky oh my god and I just I loved it.
I liked the ending I thought it wrapped up really well and just left me chilled it locked me really chilled not happy at all I'm just saying don't read this if you're trying to if you're thinking about adoption or just don't.
17. Those Girls: A Novel
finally, we have those girls by Chevy Stevens so this is the story of sisterhood and we followed three sisters. who are bonded together in their avoidance of their father and his Buse of rages? one night something happens that forces them to leave home and run away so the three of them rush out in the middle of the night get into a truck and just start driving the truck breaks down and they're forced to pull over in this unknown small town and get the help they kind of run into some troublesome people and they're thrown into this very horrific and desperate situation.
Then I won't spoil for you so after that night they are forced to change their names and run away once again and start a new life and eighteen years later they're still struggling with the things that happened that summer. when one day one of the sisters goes missing and they are forced to come back into contact with it all and confront their pasts.
So this is another very graphic very disturbing book but I really liked it talks a lot about the bond between the sisters and their close intense ride-or-die love for each other there's a lot of mystery and just trying to figure out exactly what happened to them and where they are now and I just like it's a really good story about love and family with some jarring and chilling elements thrown into it and just the desperation and revenge and loyalty and it's really good it's freaky but it's good.
So those are my 17 best psychological thriller book recommendations.
18. Perfume (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"Perfume" is a novel published in 1985 by German writer Patrick Suskind. "Perfume," tells the story of a wizard and geek murdering 26 young girls. Each murder has a purpose: just because of their unique taste.
For Grenoye, every time is love, but what he loves is not people, but the fragrance of them; murdering them is just to possess them forever, and have the feelingless and lifelessness that he loves "fragrance". "Perfume" has been translated into nearly 40 languages, and the total circulation of various editions in the world is as high as 12 million copies.
19. The Silent Lamb (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"The Silent Lamb" is a novel published by Yilin Publishing House in 2013, authored by Thomas Harris. The novel tells the story of the protagonist Starling accepting the task of arresting the perverted murderer "Bison Bill" from his boss.
In order to understand the psychology of the criminal, she sought clues from the evil genius Doctor Lecter and launched a story of a desperate fight with this cruel murderer.
The heroine is FBI intern agent Clarice. Starlin was born in a humble background. Her father was a patrolman in a small town in her hometown. During a night patrol, she encountered two thieves and addicts and died in the line of duty.
20. Girl with the dragon tattoo (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a book published by People's Literature Publishing House in 2010. The author is Stig Larson. The book mainly tells the story of magazine publisher Michael Bronvist's career and life and accepts the invitation of the former president of the Van Yell Group Henry Van Yell to investigate the disappearance of his grand-niece Hailey. During the investigation,
I met Lisbeth Salander, who had a dragon tattoo on her right shoulder. With her help, she solved a mystery, but the identity of the girl with a dragon tattoo became a mystery.
In 2006, he won the "Glass Key" award for the best crime novel by the Nordic Crime Fiction Association and was adapted into a movie twice in 2009 and 2011.
21. Murder on the Orient Express (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"Murder on the Orient Express" is a novel written by British reasoning writer Agatha Christie. The book is one of the works of Hercule Poirot and is also the most famous one.
The work was first published by the British Collins Crime Club on January 1, 1934, and the American Dudmead Company was released in the United States later in the same year.
The book is titled "The Murder in the Calais Carriage". This book is widely regarded as one of Agatha Christie's most outstanding and famous works and has been adapted into films and stage plays many times.
It tells the various stories that happened after the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot broke an internal case for the French army in Aleppo, Syria.
22. The 13th hour (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"The 13th Hour" is a brilliant masterpiece by Richard Dawsh, a best-selling suspense novelist in the United States. It cleverly combines horror, suspense, traversal, science fiction, love, and many other elements.
Any one of the choices will trigger a butterfly effect, aggravate the suspense of the story and the uncertainty of the ending, and the compact rhythm of the story makes people afraid to catch up.
The constant rewriting of the ending makes people feel completely unpredictable, and will never be willing to close the book until the last moment. The whole reading process is full of excitement! The book was published by Chongqing Publishing House in 2014.
23. The Girl on the Train (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"The Girl on the Train" is a book written by Paula Hawkins (English), published by CITIC Publishing House in October 2015. "The Girl on the Train" adopts a psychological thriller plot and the main storyline of marriage and family.
It is praised by the media as a combination of Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and the novel "The Lost Lover", ruthlessly revealing that the perfect marriage covers the truth.
A phenomenal novel that astounded the global literary world in 2015, breaking the best-selling record of "The Da Vinci Code". The British version sold 3 million copies in five months.
The peeping eyes behind the car window always make you scream silently. After reading this book, you may never dare to look out at the unusual scenery outside the car window.
24. The Complete Works of Detective Sherlock Holmes (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"The Complete Works of Detective Sherlock Holmes" is a collection of novels created by British writer Arthur Conan Doyle. The protagonist is Sherlock Holmes. There are 4 full-length and 56 short stories.
The first full-length "Study of Blood Characters" was completed in 1886, and was published in the "Beton Christmas Yearbook" the following year with other works. It has been adapted into movies and TV series many times.
The background of the story is fully integrated with the political and economic conditions of the United Kingdom at that time. Conan Doyle's creative writing style and narrative angle are becoming more and more sophisticated and changeable, and many people even think that it is true.
This novel, in addition to the thrilling and sensational detectives, is more about jealousy, suspicion, and hatred between people.
25. Rebecca (novel)
Reasons for recommendation:
"Rebecca", a novel by the British female writer Daphne Du Maurier, was published in 1938. Daphne Du Maurier succeeded in portraying a mysterious female Rebecca in this book.
The protagonist, Rebecca, died at the beginning of the novel and never appeared in the book, but he was always full of voices and could continue to control the Mandiri Manor through his loyal servants and lover until the manor was burned down.
On the one hand, there is the lingering nostalgia of nostalgia, on the other, the gloomy and suppressed horror of despair, coupled with the continuous suspense of the whole book, makes the book a romantic masterpiece that has been selling well for many years.
26. "The Maltese Falcon", Dashiell Hammett.
Reasons for recommendation:
There are many genres of mystery novels with side branches, but the puzzle-solving book always occupies the position of the orthodox mainstream. The only ones who can stand against the courts are the tough guys supported by Dahir Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Hammett was not the first writer to write a tough guy novel, but he was the first writer to inject literary quality and psychological depth into a tough guy novel, opening up another battlefield for mystery novels.
Hammett wrote five novels in his life, and four of them were selected into the top 100 list (except for "The Dane's Worship"). "The Maltese Eagle" is the first masterpiece of the hard-line, which is said to be "better than any Hemingway novel", and ranks 56th in Random House's Top 100 English Novels of the 20th Century; the other three are "Skinny" (31), "Bloody Harvest" (39) and "Glass Key" (88).
The movie version of this book starring Humphrey Bogart ranked 23rd among the 100 best films of the 20th century in the United States.
27. Tales of Mystery and Imagination
Reasons for recommendation:
This collection of Poe's best stories contains all the terrifying and bewildering tales that characterize his work. As well as the Gothic horror of such famous stories as 'The Pit and the Pendulum', 'The Fall of the House of Usher, 'The Premature Burial', and 'The Tell-Tale Heart, all of Poe's Auguste Dupin stories are included.
These are the first modern detective stories and include 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue, 'The Mystery of Marie Roget' and 'The Purloined Letter.
FAQ about Best Psychological Thriller Books
Are there any psychology books recommended for people with anxiety, fear, and extreme insecurity?
Anxiety, fear, and insecurity are caused by more complex reasons. They are not only the influence of life experience from childhood to adulthood but also the things encountered in the social environment are closely related. In addition, the factors of individual character and temperament cause this aspect.
If this is the case, the best way is to read books in this area to understand the general psychological development model. It does not necessarily mean that you have to read more professional books and then guide yourself in what to do but from other people’s stories. Get some inspiration, and bring empathy and experience.
What is morbid anxiety?
Answer: Morbid anxiety is a kind of anxiety that is not in line with reality and is unnecessary. Many people themselves know that many of their annoyances are unnecessary, but they are still scared of the turmoil.
How does morbid anxiety form?
- Childhood shadows and lack of a stable sense of self, a person's negative experiences when they are weak will have a lifelong impact, which is why many rich people are still so stingy and calculating every day. In addition, the lack of the heroic image of the psychological father and the mirror image of the psychological mother will also make people lack a sense of self-worth and healthy narcissism. Therefore, such children are more likely to be in turmoil.
- The negative experience after entering the adult world with complex and changeable interpersonal relationships is a socialization problem that many people cannot complete in their lifetime.
- Personality factors. Many people are born pessimistic and sensitive. Such people are more likely to fall into negative emotions and cannot extricate themselves. Everyone's perception of the world is a belief brought by personality, so how to overcome one's innate beliefs is the homework of a lifetime.
I don't think recommending books can be cured, because the cognitive level of understanding only works on consciousness, and the perfect therapeutic effect must be felt and realized in the relationship between people.
Therefore, in addition to my explanation of pathological anxiety theory, I suggest that you watch some good movies that reflect pathological anxiety. Many protagonists' epiphany plots can directly hit the soul and see their own shadows, which can serve as a cure in the counseling relationship.
Conclusion of best psychological thriller books to Read in 2023
So those are some best psychological thrillers books that I love or I don't love so much and some that I plan on reading. Thank you so much for reading this article.
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