What are psychological thriller books?

If there’s one secret in this world that I can’t keep worth a damn, it’s that I absolutely, unequivocally, am an absolute slut for a good psychological thriller book. They are better to me than a nap and a mug of tea. Both the analytical nature and the rollercoaster of emotions as the plot pulls you along–a good psychological suspense can twist into my brain in all of the right ways.

These are the books I started out reading, when I went from reading YA horror and drama books as a teenager to more sophisticated, but still scary, books as an adult. From R.L. Stine Fear Street and Louis Duncan to Iris Johansson.

I craved books that made me think in a different way. Books that made me gasp aloud when they revealed some foreshadowing that was deeply buried, but made total sense.

To me, psychological thrillers aren’t all about murder and whodunit. Instead, they push my brain through a meat grinder of characterization, human emotion, and normally plot points that leave me stunned.

I won’t lie, feel free to hate me, some of my favorite psych thrillers use psychological disorders as plot points. But please don’t come for me. I didn’t write them. I only like them.

Excuse me as I hide forever under a fort of paperbacks and blankets.

So what is a psychological thriller as a troupe? What can you expect when you pick up one of these books?

“Psychological thrillers generally emphasize the unstable or delusional mental and emotional conditions of the characters, and focus on the devious depths of the human mind. The story is often told from the point-of-view of psychologically stressed characters, revealing their distorted mental perceptions, and sometimes featuring a “dissolving sense of reality” or a sense of spinning out of control.” (Source)

Most often using elaborately constructed plots with multiple layers that peel away like an onion of suspenseful, beautiful pain. Although sometimes authors enjoy throwing in unresolved or ambiguous endings, which can leave me grinding my teeth at night.

I feel as though my dentist owes me money with how much these books contribute to my dental bills.

Within each psychological thriller there is more focus on a deeper point of view of the main characters or character with tones that range from unsettling to straight up hiding under the covers with the knife when you sleep for the next week.

These books invoke a mental state that leaves a reader on edge with a chilling, foreboding feeling. Even after you finish the book, you may be thinking about it. (Source)

Well beloved psychological thriller books include:

The Silent Patient

Gone Girl

Big Little Lies

Alias Grace

The Woman in the Window


And Then There Were None

My Lovely Wife

Pretty Girls


Now that you know the creepy magic of psychological thrillers, go forth, and read!

Keep Reading Book Fam,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s