11 Heart-Pounding Thrillers About Kidnappings & Mysterious Disappearances

When a person goes missing, it can be devastating for their friends and family. Having no idea whether your loved one is safe or even alive is a tense experience. That sense of mystery and danger is captured perfectly in these suspenseful thrillers that cover everything from kidnapped children to entire families being held hostage. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Thrillers About Missing People: Our 11 Picks

Title Author
1. Maternal Instincts Kim Antieau
2. The Verona Exchange Lauren B. Grossman
3. The Blue Lucy Clarke
4. Find Me Melissa Pouliot
5. The Winters in Bloom Lisa Tucker
6. A Matter of Chance Julie Maloney
7. Father of Fear Ethan Cross
8. The Bones She Buried Lisa Regan
9. Losing Cadence Laura Lovett
10. Caribbean Rim Randy Wayne White
11. Unquiet Ghosts Glenn Meade

8 Great Thriller Movies

  1. Munich (2005)
  2. The Departed (2006)
  3. The Bourne Identity (2002)
  4. Heat (1995)
  5. Spy Game (2001)
  6. Black Swan (2010)
  7. Se7en (1995)
  8. Taken (2008)

How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful

In Depth

Mystery novels that revolve around unexplained disappearances often feature characters going on dangerous adventures as they frantically search for clues, avoiding murderers and deranged individuals in the process. If you're looking for exciting stories full of constant twists and turns, then you should check out these eleven heart-pounding thrillers about kidnappings and mysterious disappearances, listed in no particular order.

First up, at #1, we have Kim Antieau's "Maternal Instincts." Kicked out of the police force, ex-cop Katie Kelly retreats to Beauty Falls, where one of her friends disappeared when she was a teenager. One day, she encounters a kidnapped eleven-year-old girl, who she instinctively rescues. Now on the run, she must figure out who's after the girl and why before both of them end up dead.

Next, at #2, is "The Verona Exchange" by Lauren B. Grossman and Bernard Jaroslow. While in London, author Rainee Allen receives a surprise phone call from her long-lost son Joshua. She agrees to meet him in Italy, but shortly before their reunion, Joshua is kidnapped by a notorious terrorist group. Rainee suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between the authorities and Italy's Red Brigade, and she must do whatever it takes to get her son back.

She agrees to meet him in Italy, but shortly before their reunion, Joshua is kidnapped by a notorious terrorist group.

At #3 is "The Blue" by Lucy Clarke. Yearning for freedom and filled with wanderlust, Lana and her best friend Kitty are excited to learn that they've been invited onto The Blue, a yacht that's making its way from the Philippines to New Zealand. When a crew member disappears, distrust grows among the people on board, causing Lana to leave Kitty behind. When Lana receives news that The Blue has sunk, she discovers shocking revelations about the ship's crew.

Next, at #4, is "Find Me" by Melissa Pouliot. In 1988, several people all around Australia suddenly disappear without a trace. Despite her family's disapproval, young detective Rhiannon McVee leaves her country life behind for the hustle and bustle of Sydney. From the Australian outback all the way to the dangerous streets of Kings Cross, she tries to solve the mysterious disappearances happening around the country.

Next up, at #5, we have "The Winters in Bloom" by Lisa Tucker. When Kyra and David Winter's son, Michael, disappears, the married couple is left bewildered. David thinks that the kidnapper is his ex-wife, while Kyra believes that it might have been someone from her estranged family. As they set out to find their son, they learn more about each other's dark secrets, which threaten to drive them apart.

When Kyra and David Winter's son, Michael, disappears, the married couple is left bewildered.

At #6 is Julie Maloney's "A Matter of Chance." While at the beach with her daughter Vinni, single mother Maddy sees an elderly person named Rudy collapse. She leaves Vinni behind and runs back to her cottage to call an ambulance, but when she returns, Rudy is dead, and her daughter is gone. Desperate to find Vinni, Maddy goes on a dangerous journey, inadvertently catching the attention of the Russian Mafia.

Next, at #7, is "Father of Fear" by Ethan Cross. In Kansas City, the sadistic Coercion Killer kidnaps a father's family and convinces him that if he doesn't murder an innocent person, his loved ones will die. Desperate to stop this criminal, Marcus Williams of the Shepherd Organization enlists the help of his serial killer brother. They soon realize that the man they're looking for is their father, who could be planning something sinister for the brothers.

At #8 is "The Bones She Buried" by Lisa Regan. When detective Josie Quinn visits her partner Noah's countryside home, she finds his mother, Colette, lying dead in the back garden. As she tries to figure out who killed Noah's mother, she learns that Colette may have been involved in the disappearance of a man named Drew Pratt. Her search for answers leads her to Pratt's daughter, who is murdered shortly before they can meet. Now, Josie must identify and stop the killer before more innocent people die.

When detective Josie Quinn visits her partner Noah's countryside home, she finds his mother, Colette, lying dead in the back garden.

Next up, at #9, we have Laura Lovett's "Losing Cadence." After graduating from high school, Cadence Weaverly breaks up with her boyfriend, Richard White. A decade later, she's happily living in San Francisco with her fiance Christian. One day, she's abducted by Richard, who takes her to his luxurious mansion. He plans on marrying her and threatens to kill Christian if she tries to escape, leaving her with no choice but to stay. Will she be able to find a way to leave her obsessive ex-boyfriend and save both herself and her fiance?

At #10 is "Caribbean Rim" by Randy Wayne White. Treasure hunter Carl Fitzpatrick loses his logbook full of uncharted wreck sites after butting heads with Leonard Nickelby, the director of the Florida Division of Historical Resources. In order to get the book back, he enlists the help of marine biologist Doc Ford, who sets out to find Leonard and his assistant, Lydia. Throughout his journey, Ford meets a cast of secretive characters, pirates, and island natives.

Finally, at #11, we have "Unquiet Ghosts" by Glenn Meade. Eight years after her husband and children supposedly died in a plane crash, Kathy Kelly is surprised to learn that her loved ones may actually be alive. After receiving news that their bodies were not found in the wreckage, Kathy sets out to find clues about their disappearance. Along the way, she uncovers shocking secrets about her family and realizes that there are groups determined to prevent her from finding what she's looking for.