I’ve always enjoyed reading, but in the past few years since having kids, I’ve found it hard to do. I like reading certain types of books – I’m not the type that can pick up just anything and enjoy it, as much as I wish I were. My #1 favorite genre is psychological thrillers. I love a good twisty-turny, suspenseful book. If something doesn’t pique my interest quickly, I’m probably going to give up on it.
Back around my sister’s birthday in August, I wanted to get her a good book because she loves to read, so I turned to Communikait’s ultimate list of psychological thrillers to see what she recommended. In the process of finding a book for Kayla Beth for her birthday, I managed to order a few for myself. I’ve read 14 books in the last 3 months, which is probably more than I’ve read in the last 5 years!
Most of the books on this list are thrillers, however there are a few that are other forms of fiction that I may not normally pick, but I very much enjoyed. If you are looking for a book to cozy up with over the holidays, I’d recommend any of these on this list!
Holy Mackrel! This book is responsible for kicking off this reading frenzy of mine. It was the first one I picked up and I barely put it down for the next 24 hours until every page was turned. This one sucks you in because you just have to know why this person is the way that he is and what will happen. It’s twisted and disturbing, but so so good!
“Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.
One of David’s favorite books, he asked me to read it, and I’m glad he did. It was written in the 50’s but it has a timeless feel and an endearing main character named Charlie. Charlie is mentally handicapped and has the opportunity to have an operation to increase his intelligence. It is told from his perspective in the form of progress reports (initially spelled out “progris riports”) and you can see his mind grow by the way that he writes and the things going on around him that he begins to understand. This book had me in tears at a few points, but it’s so interesting and you can’t help but love Charlie.
Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence – a procedure that has already been highly effective when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.
As the treatment takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphisis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?
This one had a few interesting little twists. The main character is mentally unstable and it makes you wonder what’s real and what’s not. Definitely worth the read!
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Another one that makes you wonder what’s real, what’s imagined, and has an interesting twist that keeps you holding on until the last page. The main character is on the verge of a breakdown and at some points I felt like she was being a bit paranoid and dramatic, but I would say it’s still worth a read because of the way it ends.
If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods. It was on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, and a woman was sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm, and she probably would have been hurt herself if she’d stopped. Not only that, her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home.
But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing. Where she left the car; if she took her pills; even the alarm code.
The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.
And the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…
David suggested I read this one as well. It is from the perspective of a teenage boy with autism. The author has quite a bit of experience working with autistic children and this book has been praised for accurately depicting the autistic mind. It’s a funny read, with a mystery about a murdered dog, and very interesting to see into the mind of autism. Don’t listen to this one on audio book though. There are little drawings and graphs throughout the book that give it the full effect.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.
Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.
And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.
Ruth Ware may be one of my new favorite authors. I’ve read two of her books so far and can’t wait to read more. This one did not disappoint. This one was hard to put down!
In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant.
But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.
I’ll admit, this one wasn’t my favorite. There were twists that I didn’t see coming, but it wasn’t as jaw dropping as I like my thrillers to be. Maybe it’s just me because there are others that really liked it.
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.
Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
This one lived up to the hype for me. It was a beautiful read with a story of resilience – of a girl in touch with the nature of her home, the marsh, trying to protect her heart but also learn to love.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life—until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
I found this book by Shari Lapena much better than A Stranger in the House. I didn’t want to put this one down. When a guest at a remote cabin dies under suspicious circumstances, and the rest of the guests end up snowed in for the weekend and unable to leave, it leaves everyone on edge wondering if there is a killer among them. More guests start to die and everyone becomes more and more on edge. I couldn’t put it down until I found out who was responsible, and it’s not what you would expect. One of my favorites in this group.
It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.
So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.
Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.
Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm. . . and one another.
Have you read any on this list? Are there any books you’ve read recently that you’d recommend?