9 Harrowing Thrillers with a Twist of Family Drama

A great thriller is full of heightened emotions and high stakes. And there's nothing like complicated family relationships to bring these elements to a whole new level. Not being able to trust a friend or colleague is one thing, but when you doubt the motivations of your own flesh and blood, it can be impossible to trust anyone at all. These nine family-driven thrillers will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Harrowing Thrillers with a Twist of Family Drama

Title Author
1. No Further Questions Gillian McAllister
2. Bourbon & Blood Garrard Hayes
3. The Echo Killing Christi Daugherty
4. Bangkok Burn Simon Royle
5. The Other Twin Lucy V. Hay
6. The Mountain Man's Badge Gary Corbin
7. Paper Ghosts Julia Heaberlin
8. Come Home Patricia Gussin
9. The Bullet Mary Louise Kelly

8 Great Thriller Films

  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)

The Philosophy of Family Obligations

In Depth

There's nothing more terrifying than a dysfunctional family, especially when you've tried your whole life to escape the more frightening aspects of your heredity. In these slow-burning psychological reads, family drama takes center stage, pushing questions about trust, loyalty, and upbringing to the forefront. Is blood truly thicker than water? Here, in no particular order, are some of the most haunting stories of treachery, loyalty, and family ties to help you find out.

In #1 we find Gillian McAllister's "No Further Questions." Two sisters are pitted against each other in this searing drama. When Martha leaves her sister Becky in charge of her 8-week-old baby, she believes she's putting her child in safe hands. When baby Layla suddenly stops breathing, the police suspect that Becky had something to do with it. Should Martha trust her sister when she says she's innocent, or will she have to face the truth about their complex relationship?

Following up at #2 is "Bourbon and Blood" by Garrard Hayes. Veteran Bill Conlin is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. His cousin wants him to get "mobbed up" with the local Irish gang, but Bill isn't so sure. He reluctantly agrees to bust up a prostitution ring in Harlem, but his involvement with mob boss Mr. Sullivan doesn't end there. It can't. Featuring a torn, complicated hero and a seedy gangland setting, "Bourbon" is a fast-paced read with a slam-bang finish.

It can't.

For #3, we find Christi Daugherty's "The Echo Killing." A cold case from fifteen years ago comes back to haunt Savannah, Georgia when a copycat killing is committed. Harper is a crime reporter desperate to find the truth about her mother's unsolved murder. This latest crime just might be her chance. Or it might lead her down a path from which she can't return unscathed.

At #4 is Simon Royle's "Bangkok Burn." Thai orphan Chance was brought up by a mob leader who expects him to carry on the family business. But Chance wants more for himself than a life of crime. Before he can tell his adopted father his intentions, a bomb goes off and throws everything in Chance's world into chaos. Suddenly, he's at the center of a huge gang battle for dominion over Bangkok. Will Chance live to see another day, or become just another casualty of his father's criminal empire?

At #5 is "The Other Twin" by L.V. Hay. Poppy returns to her hometown to investigate the suspicious death of her sister India. The police say it was an accident, but Poppy isn't buying it, especially after doing some digging. While on the case to find out what really happened, she discovers a whole underworld full of mysterious characters and suspicious socialites who use social media to order up murder.

The police say it was an accident, but Poppy isn't buying it, especially after doing some digging.

Coming in at #6 is Gary Corbin's "The Mountain Man's Badge." Lehigh Carter took the job of country Sheriff as a favor to the town. But in Mt. Hood, nothing is as simple as it seems. Within months, newlywed Carter is investigating his father-in-law for murder and quickly finds himself ostracized from his community. Still, he knows he has to find the truth, even if it puts him in the line of fire.

For #7 we have "Paper Ghosts" by Julia Heaberlin. Once upon a time, Carl Louis Feldman was the toast of the art scene. His photographs were displayed in museums all over the world. That was all before he was tried and acquitted for the murder of a young girl. Now, Carl is older and just wants to finish out his life in peace. Unfortunately for him, a young woman claiming to be his daughter is going to make sure that doesn't happen. This intense story of broken trust will have you guessing until the final chapter.

At #8 is Patricia Gussin's "Come Home." Nicole and Ahmed have a perfect life in America. At least, they did, until 9/11 unleashed a torrent of anti-Arab sentiment that started to make life harder for the couple. With Ahmed's family money tied up in the Mubarak dictatorship, he finds himself torn between worlds. Should he, at the request of his father, go back to Egypt and to the family, or should he stay on home turf and risk everything?

With Ahmed's family money tied up in the Mubarak dictatorship, he finds himself torn between worlds.

At last, at #9 is "The Bullet" by Mary Louise Kelly. Caroline has never been shot. So why is there a bullet embedded near her skull with seemingly no point of entry? How did it get there, and what does it mean? Now, as an adult, Caroline has to face the truth of her parents' brutal murder and her traumatic childhood scars before confronting the killer who's responsible, and still at large. Former NPR contributor Kelly weaves a fascinating tale of haunting, loss, and age-old wounds.