Is anyone else out there obsessed with creepy psychological thrillers, true crime, and perhaps… the My Favorite Murder podcast? 😉
I have no idea why I love to completely freak myself out with chilling books, but here are my recent faves and recommended thriller reading list for spring! (You can find my past reading thriller reading list recommendations here.)
And, since I’m a highly-sensitive person who has a hard time with disturbing images and stories involving violence (WHY am I into psychological thrillers again?!), if this is you too, you’ll find my notes below helpful as I try to warn about images of violence and abuse that others may be sensitive to. 😉
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
“On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old realtor, had three goals―sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.”
Still Missing is written in second narrative and flashes back between Annie’s experience of being held captive, and her present-day counseling sessions. Like Stevens’ other books, the plot is solid, twisted, and will keep you guessing the entire time.
(Note: This book contains a lot of scenes with abuse/sexual violence.)
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
“Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.”
I’ve had this book on my list for awhile and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. The Girl Before centers around One Folgate Street – a technologically-advanced apartment designed by a minimalist architect, and the two women who lived there. Although there is a long list of rules to abide by in order to rent the apartment, a woman named Emma agrees and moves in after recovering from a traumatic break-in.
Years later, a new tenant, Jane, moves in after dealing with a devasting personal loss. She soon learns the history of the apartment and begins trying to unravel the lies from the truth.
This book will definitely keep you on your toes, but just know that – like most good thrillers – it’s pretty twisted. 😉
(Note: This book has references to domestic abuse/violence.)
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
“Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. It was a belief that helped shape her own childhood and that of her brother. It shaped her view of her family and their dynamics. It influenced her entire life. Now, more than twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina, cleaning out his house when she finds evidence that what she has always believed is not the truth. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why, exactly, was she on the run all those years ago? What secrets are being kept now, and what will happen if those secrets are revealed?”
This was my first Diane Chamberlain book and after reading this one, I’m excited to read more of her work. The characters were solid, and I love how the plot kept unfolding. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but I somehow guessed a couple of the major plot twists right of the bat, and even so, this book was still worth reading.
(Note: This book has references to sexual abuse/violence.)
It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell
“Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver―brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.
But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.”
Even though this book had great reviews, at the beginning, I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. From the first couple of chapters, I got the sense that most of the plot would center around Kate, who is weathy, self-centered, and seems to drag others into her troubles. Sure enough, that turned out to be the case. 🙂 However, this book has a solid plot with a couple of great twists that make it worth reading. If you want a solid thriller without the gritty crime/violence, this is a good read!
The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
“You’re not paranoid if they’re really after you.”
Let me start by saying this: I started this book during a “ten-minute study break” and suddenly, found myself finishing it, breathlessly, three hours later. In order words: don’t start reading this book unless you intend to finish it that day. 😉
The Safest Lies centers around a seventeen-year-old girl named Kelsey. Kelsey was raised to be aware of danger because her mother was kidnapped and held captive as a teenager. Although Kelsey’s mother may seem paranoid to others, Kelsey knows she has reason to be worried. When her mother suddenly goes missing, Kelsey is the only one who can figure out what really happened to her.
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
I really love books told from multiple perspectives, but sometimes they can be a hit or miss. This one is definitely a hit.
I Found You is three stories intertwined together. The first is about a single mom, Alice, who finds a man sitting outside on the beach near her home. He has suffered memory loss and his no recollection of his name or where he’s from.
The second story is from the perspective of newlywed, Lily, whose husband goes missing one evening. When she reports this to the police, she comes to find out that the man she thought she knew never existed in the first place.
The third story is about siblings Gray and Kirsty and takes place twenty-three years earlier when they’re on a summer holiday with their parents. When Kirsty starts seeing a boy that makes Gray uncomfortable, it quickly unfolds into a series of unexpected events.
This book is a little twisted and heart-breaking, but very unpredictable and I promise you won’t be able to put it down!
(Note: This book has references to abuse/sexual violence.)
Faithful Place by Tara French
This is Tara French’s third novel, and although you don’t have to read them in order, I think it’s helpful since they involve similar characters. This book centers on detective Frank Mackey, who in 1985 was planning to run away with his girlfriend, Rosie. However, she never shows. Now twenty-two years later, her suitcase shows up in an abandoned house in Faithful Place and Frank must determine what really happened to her.
Faithful Place is another wonderful Tara French novel, with great writing and a strong plotline. For some reason, this one didn’t resonate with me as much as her first two books did (a lot of the plot focuses on Frank’s family and family feuds), but it’s still a stellar read!
Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon
In 1995, fifteen-year-old Amy Stevenson was attacked and she’s been in a coma for the past fifteen years. Her case has remained unsolved until now when journalist Alex Dale stumbles upon Amy and wants to figure out what really happened. This book shifts from past to present, including multiple perspectives that will keep you in suspense. Even though I had a few clues about who might have committed the crime, this book kept me engaged the whole time and had a solid plotline.
(Note: This book has references to sexual abuse/violence.)
I See You by Claire Macintosh
O.M.G. I try not to play favorites, but I See You is definitely worth reading! I’ve had this one on my list for awhile since I enjoyed her other book, I Let You Go, and I’m so glad I finally read it.
I See You is about Zoe Walker, a middle-aged mom, who one day sees her photo in the classified section of a London newspaper along with the web address FindTheOne.com. She begins to look at the ads each day and finds a different woman’s picture. Although she tries to convince herself the photo isn’t her, when one of the women from the ads is murdered, she decides it’s time to contact the police. The story shifts from Zoe to Kelly, a cop who begins working the case. This book has lots of good twists and the suspense steadily builds to a stellar ending.
(Note: This book focuses on stalking and has references to sexual violence.)
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
One day Stephanie’s best friend, Emily, asks her to pick up Emily’s son after school. However, Emily suddenly goes missing. Stephanie is a single mom and runs a mommy blog so she begins asking her readers for help in locating Emily. She then reaches out to Emily’s husband, Sean, and they both receive the news that Emily is dead. However, there’s always more to the story…
The start of the book and some of the “mommy blog” posts really bugged me, but I promise it’s a good read if you can get past that. This story reminded me of The Girl On The Train and will definitely have you sitting on the edge of your seat until the end!
Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen
How would you feel to come home and find all traces of your significant other have vanished? One evening Hannah Monroe comes home to find that her boyfriend Matt and all of his possessions are not only gone, but he’s replaced all of her belongings exactly as they were before he moved in. The longer Matt is missing, the more distressed Hannah becomes and the more insistent she is on finding him. Some parts of the plot seemed a tad unbelievable, but overall this book is definitely a roller coaster with a very gripping ending!
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
It’s the summer of 1999, and a young couple, Laura and Kit, are at a festival in Cornwall to watch a total eclipse. They expect the experience to be magical, but shortly after the eclipse ends, Laura stumbles upon a rape in progress. The man claims that Laura doesn’t know what she saw and it becomes her word against his. The story alters between 1999 and present life in 2005, where Laura and Kit are happily married and expecting twins.
The story alters between 1999 and present life in 2005, where Laura and Kit are happily married and expecting twins. We find out that they have been living in hiding for the past fifteen years because of what happened during the trial in 1999 and Laura’s later friendship with the victim. This book is full of amazing twists and turns and leads you to question whom you can truly trust. Such a good read!!
(Note: This book has graphic imagery of sexual assault.)
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica remains one of my favorite thrillers to this day so I was really looking forward to reading this book. Don’t You Cry is written from two perspectives: Quinn and Alex. One day, Quinn’s roommate, Esther, mysteriously disappears from their Chicago apartment. As Quinn begins searching for answers, we start to hear the story from Alex’s viewpoint. Alex is an eighteen-year-old boy working in a coffee shop in a small town outside of Chicago. He becomes entranced by a woman who visits the coffee shop and starts following her to find out who she is. This story has all of the twists and turns you’d expect from Kubica’s other novels and overall it’s a great read!
Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet
This isn’t your typical thriller as part of it seems like a fictional novel and other parts seem more sci-fi. Let me say up front that this wasn’t my favorite thriller, but it was such an odd and intriguing story that it makes you want to keep reading. The story follows a mother (Anna) and her daughter who are on the run and hiding in a motel from Anna’s husband, Ned. The rest of it is a bit hard to explain, especially without giving away key parts of the plot, so this is one you’ll just have to read for yourself.
The Lie by C.L. Taylor
Five years ago Jane Hughes went on a trip with three of her best friends. However, only two of them come back. Now she’s living in rural Wales with a great boyfriend and a job in an animal shelter. She thinks she’s left the past behind her, but now someone knows the truth about what happened and her life may be in danger.
This book is definitely addicting, especially with the way it’s written in a “flashback” manner. My only complaint was that the ending seemed a tad predictable, but it’s a good read nonetheless!
(Note: This book has references to sexual assault.)
Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
By now, I really should know that Chevy Stevens’ books (based on the three I’ve read) are pretty graphic and terrifying… but boy, I was not prepared for this.
First of all, I have to say that this book is thrilling and immensely well-written. Secondly, I have to warn you that it will definitely make you have nightmares, and if you are sensitive to descriptions of sexual violence, *this is not the book for you.*
Those Girls is the story of three sisters, who are forced to run from their home in Western Canada. However, the situation they soon find themselves in is far worse than the one they left. The entire time I was reading this book I just kept thinking that life has to get better for them after everything they’ve been through, but clearly, that may not always be the case.
(I’m calling this out here again in case you didn’t see it above: this book has lots of graphic sexual abuse/violence so please be aware.)