11 Psychological Thrillers Full of Tension & Suspense

If you're looking for a compelling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you've come to the right place. The eleven novels listed here are full of hair-raising action and troubling mysteries that will keep you glued to the pages late into the night. Fans of thrillers should definitely consider adding these books to their collection. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Psychological Thrillers: Our 11 Picks

Title Author
1. The Paynes Prairie Murders Harmony Stalter
2. Only the Truth Adam Croft
3. The Right Side Spencer Quinn
4. The River at Night Erica Ferencik
5. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore Matthew J. Sullivan
6. The Grave Blogger Donna D. Fontenot
7. Rise of the Dark Angel Carol Brearley
8. What She Doesn’t Know Andrew E. Kaufman
9. Song of the Damned Sarah Rayne
10. Black Water Louise Doughty
11. Tell Me Everything Emma Rowley

8 Great Psychological Thriller Films

  1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  2. Duel (1971)
  3. Taxi Driver (1976)
  4. The Shining (1980)
  5. Memento (2000)
  6. Black Swan (2010)
  7. Se7en (1995)
  8. Jacob's Ladder (1990)

How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful

In Depth

If you've ever had the pleasure of getting lost in a great mystery, you know what it's like to feel the thrill of clear and present danger lurking around every corner. In some of the most intriguing, well-plotted novels about shady, desperate characters and heroes on a search for the truth, the drama doesn't let up until the very last page. If you're looking for your next thrilling fix, here, in no particular order, are a few suspenseful reads that are sure to do the trick.

In the #1 spot is "The Paynes Prairie Murders" by Harmony Stalter. Someone is targeting women by the hundreds, making unsuspecting victims all across the country terrified for their lives. But who is it, and how can one person have such a far-reaching criminal empire? That's the question Florida policemen Peter Michaels and Dave Weston have to find out before the killer strikes again. With one particularly deadly suspect in mind, the officers will have to tread lightly if they don't want to have another murder on their hands.

For #2, we get Adam Croft's "Only the Truth." Dan might not be an ideal husband, but that doesn't make him guilty of his wife Lisa's shocking murder. When the cops find Lisa's body in the bathroom of Dan's hotel room while he's on a business trip, he's got some serious explaining to do. Dan knows he's being framed, but no matter how far he runs, he can't get away from the awful suspicion that the death is his fault. Maybe if he can catch the culprit himself, he'll find the answers he needs.

Dan knows he's being framed, but no matter how far he runs, he can't get away from the awful suspicion that the death is his fault.

For #3, we have "The Right Side" by Spencer Quinn. Nobody goes to war and comes back unscathed. LeAnne Hogan learned that the hard way. After recovering from severe injuries caused by an attack she can't remember, she's shocked to learn that the woman she shared a hospital room with has been killed and her eight-year-old daughter is missing. As LeAnne digs into the facts, she sees that something sinister is connecting all these events. The question is, what?

At #4 is Erica Ferencik's "The River At Night." When Wini and three of her closest friends decide to take a five-day whitewater rafting trip in the wilds of Maine, they're excited to get going. While the journey seems like a welcome break from the women's boring, everyday lives, it doesn't take too long for the four of them to realize that they've gotten in way in over their heads. Their tour guide has a history of drug abuse, and no one's sure whether he can be trusted. Will the friends make it through the rapids, or end up in a watery grave?

Coming in at #5 is "Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore" by Matthew J. Sullivan. Librarian Lydia has been working at her beloved neighborhood bookshop for years. She doesn't think anything of the strange, solitary behaviors of the group of "Book Frogs" who roam the shelves each day, until one of them meets an untimely end. And not just anyone: the handsome, charismatic Joey, who didn't show any signs of distress before killing himself. Lydia doesn't know why this happened, but she's about to find out, and the truth may be too shocking for her to handle.

Librarian Lydia has been working at her beloved neighborhood bookshop for years.

For #6 we have Donna D. Fontenot's "The Grave Blogger." Some cold cases were meant to stay that way. But when crime blogger Raya stumbles across a particularly fascinating Louisiana murder involving the slaughter of an entire family, she's instantly hooked. There's something else about the story, though, something that feels eerily familiar. Why is the young detective on the case holding out, and why does it feel like there's something the townspeople of St. Felicity don't want her to know?

At #7 is "Rise of the Dark Angel" by Carol Brearley. One foul deed can turn everything around. For New Yorker Aingeal, it was a fateful run-in with a truly sadistic man. After narrowly escaping her torturer, she made a promise to herself that she would become an avenging angel, hunting criminals and making them pay for their sick crimes. But Aingeal also wants to live a normal life with her boyfriend and put all the darkness behind her. The question is, can she let go of the past, or is that violence a part of her forever?

For #8 we find Andrew E. Kaufman's "What She Doesn't Know." Almost ten years ago, Riley Harper was falsely convicted of a crime that sent her away from everything she knew. The stress of prison life left her with trauma and mental health issues, and now all she wants to do is start over with a clean slate. But her new neighbor, a captivating woman named Samantha Light, keeps catching her attention. The feeling is mutual. Is Riley safe from the mysterious woman across the way, or is it Samantha who needs to watch her back?

The stress of prison life left her with trauma and mental health issues, and now all she wants to do is start over with a clean slate.

At #9 is Sarah Rayne's "Song of the Damned." The Cresacre Abbey School is no stranger to scandal. In the wake of a plagiarism controversy, an outsider is asked to step in to make sure the school doesn't run afoul of the law. But researcher Phineas Fox is about to learn a lot more than he bargained for as he uncovers a strange incident from 200 years ago, when some of the school's teachers vanished completely. The more Phin learns, the more the headmistress's version of events seems to diverge from the truth.

At #10 is Louise Doughty's "Black Water." John Harper just wants to hide away from the world. He's ashamed of his past and the horrors he committed during wartime. He's also convinced that someone is out to get him, even if it's just his own guilt playing tricks on him. Enter Rita, a wounded, complicated woman who captivates Harper instantly. As they embark on a relationship, the lovers want the chance to start over. But both have fears, regrets, and unfinished business standing in the way.

Maybe their past deeds will catch up with them at last. Or maybe they just need to run faster.

Maybe their past deeds will catch up with them at last.

Finally, at #11, is "Tell Me Everything" by Emma Rowley. When ghostwriter Nicky gets the chance to write the autobiography of glamorous Internet celebrity Olivia, she's excited to get to work. Featuring a host of scandals, a tragic accident, and a less-than-perfect marriage, this story couldn't be juicier. But once the two women meet, Olivia makes it clear that she doesn't want the troubling parts of her past exposed. How far will Nicky go to get the story, and what will her employer have to do to keep her silent?