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Psychological Suspense: The Devious Depths of the Human Mind

Posted 4 months ago by April S

Posted in eBooks & eAudiobooks, Fiction, Literature, Poetry & Graphic Novels, Movies, Music, & Audiobooks, Mystery & Thrillers, New and Resources | Tagged with Crime Fiction, Databases, Gothic Fiction, Literary Fiction, Novelist, Psychological Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Read-Alikes, Readers' Advisory and Suspense Fiction

If you're a fan of Mysteries, Suspense or Thrillers - you may also enjoy Psychological Suspense novels. One of our popular databases, Novelist, provides an interesting definition:

Psychological Suspense novels focus on the devious depths of the human mind. Characters explore the cunning (often disordered) psychological motivations of others -- and question their own emotional stability.

Novelist is a database available to Toledo Lucas County Public Library cardholders. What do I love about Novelist? Their appeal terms are designed to help avid readers find their next great read by focusing on aspects most people can relate to like character, storyline, pace, tone or writing style. If you're looking for book lists, reviews or read-alikes - you'll love this invaluable resource, which is accessible through the library's Research page.

If you would like to learn more about this popular genre, check out our previous blog post on the topic - Psychological Suspense.

Recent Psychological Suspense novels available in Multiple Formats

Ill will : a novel / Dan ChaonIll Will by Dan Chaon
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Complex
Tone: Creepy
Writing Style: Compelling

A psychologist is unwittingly embroiled in two spectacular unsolved murders, three decades apart, when the foster brother convicted of killing their family years earlier is exonerated, making him question the testimony that led to the conviction. By the award-winning author of Among the Missing.

If you like Ill Will by Dan Chaon, you may also like The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.
My Husband's Wife by Jane CorryMy Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
Print | Large Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

Resolving to leave her secrets behind when she gets married, a young lawyer is strangely drawn to a convicted killer during her first murder case in ways that shape her psychologically charged relationship with a young neighbor years later.

If you like My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry, you may also like The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar.
The Girl Before by JP DelaneyThe Girl Before by JP Delaney
Print | Large Print | Audiobook
eBook | eAudiobook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

A psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another woman's mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

If you like The Girl Before by JP Delaney, you may also like The Apartment by S.L. Grey.
Dead letters : a novel / by Caite Dolan-LeachDead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Print | Audiobook | eBook

Character: Complex, Quirky
Writing Style: Compelling and Witty

Zelda Antipova--presumed dead--leaves a series of clues for her twin sister, Ava, which leads her on a scavenger-hunt-like quest to solve the mystery of Zelda's disappearance.

If you like Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach, you may also like The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
Little Deaths by Emma FlintLittle Deaths by Emma Flint
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Flawed, Sympathetic
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Atmospheric, Suspenseful and Thought-provoking
Writing Style: Compelling

A gripping suspense tale set in 1960s New York and inspired by true events follows the investigation of a cocktail waitress whose two young children have been brutally murdered and a rookie tabloid reporter who would uncover the truth.

If you like Little Deaths by Emma Flint, you may also like The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates.
History of wolves : a novel / Emily FridlundHistory of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Print | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Flawed
Tone: Atmospheric and Moving
Writing Style: Compelling and Stylistically complex

Living with her parents in a nearly abandoned counterculture commune, fourteen-year-old Linda finds her perspectives and desires changed by the arrest of a teacher and the secrets of a new neighbor family.

If you like History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, you may also like Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell.
The Widow's House by Carol GoodmanThe Widow’s House by Carol Goodman
Print | eBook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Creepy and Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

Moving to a Hudson River valley community to revitalize their marriage and literary ambitions, Jess and Clare confront a dark pall that hangs over the crumbling estate where they work as caretakers before Clare begins to have hallucinations about the house's anguished past.

If you like The Widow's House by Carol Goodman, you may also like Sweet Damage by Rebecca James.
Waking lions : [a novel] / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra SilverstonWaking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Print | eBook

Character: Complex; Well-developed
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

After neurosurgeon Eitan Green hits and kills an African migrant while driving on a deserted road late at night, the victim's wife tracks him down and confronts him the next day, and her price for silence shatters his safe existence.

If you like Waking Lions, you may also like Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell.
I see you / Clare MackintoshI See You by Clare Mackintosh
Print | Large Print | eBook

Character: Strong female and Well-developed
Pace: Intensifying
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

Spotting her own picture in a classified ad referencing a mysterious website, Zoe discovers that other women who have appeared in the ad have become the victims of increasingly violent crimes.

If you like I See You by Clare Mackintosh, you may also like I Am No One by Patrick Flanery.
Everything you want me to be : a novel / Mindy MejiaEverything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
Print | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Complex
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

When a civic-minded high-school senior is found murdered on the opening night of the school play, town sheriff and family friend Del Goodman discovers unsettling truths about the victim's mesmerizing nature and the secrets that led to her death.

If you like Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia, you may also like The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan.
The Possessions by Sarah Flannery MurphyThe Possessions by Sarah Flannery Murphy
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Tone: Haunting and Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

A young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances.

If you like The Possessions by Sarah Flannery Murphy, you may also like The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell.
Behind her eyes : [a novel] / Sarah PinboroughBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Print | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Disturbing and Menacing
Writing Style: Compelling and Stylistically complex

The secretary of a successful psychiatrist is drawn into the seemingly picture-perfect life of her boss and his wife before discovering a complex web of controlling behaviors and secrets that gradually reveal profound and dangerous flaws in the couple's relationship.

If you like Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, you may also like The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene.
The trap / Melanie Raabe ; translated by Imogen TaylorThe Trap by Melanie Raabe
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced

A reclusive best-selling author, haunted by the unsolved murder of her younger sister, spots her sister's killer on television and resolves to use the plot of her next novel to set an irresistible trap for him.

If you like The Trap by Melanie Raabe, you may also like The First Prophet by Kay Hooper.
Fever dream : a novel / Samanta Schweblin ; translated by Megan McDowellFever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Character-driven
Tone: Haunting and Menacing
Writing Style: Compelling

A first English translation by an award-winning Spanish author follows the nightmarish experiences of a dying woman and a boy beside her hospital bed, who explore the dynamics of broken souls, toxic relationships and the power and desperation of family.

If you like Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, you may also like The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler.
Never Let You Go by Chevy StevensNever Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Print | Large Print | Audiobook | eBook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Atmospheric and Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

When someone begins stalking her, intimidating her boyfriend, and shadowing her daughter, Lindsey Nash is convinced it's her abusive ex-husband, but his claims of innocence have her wondering if the threat is closer to home.

If you like Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens, you may also like Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry.
Her Every Fear by Peter SwansonHer Every Fear by Peter Swanson
Print | Large Print | Audiobook
eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Intensifying
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

A woman prone to panic attacks in the aftermath of a violent kidnapping relocates to a cousin's home in Boston, where a neighbor's murder embroils her in speculation about her cousin's nature and the intentions of an appealing stranger.

If you like Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson, you may also like Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald.
The Secrets You Keep by Kate WhiteThe Secrets You Keep by Kate White
Print | Large Print | Audiobook | eBook

“White weaves a story that is mesmerizing and thrilling...Mystery lovers will be well served with this novel, as it grabs the reader instantly and can be devoured in one afternoon.” - Booklist

A successful self-help author, recovering from a devastating car accident, finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control in the face of a caterer's murder and her husband's ominous secrets.

If you like The Secrets You Keep by Kate White, you may also like How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway.
A simple favor : a novel / Darcey BellA Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Print | eBook

Character: Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Writing Style: Compelling

A debut psychological thriller in the vein of Gone Girl or Girl On A Train that focuses on a mommy blogger, her best friend who disappears suddenly, and the latter's husband with betrayals and reversals, a dead body, and the ever-revolving question of who is duping whom.

If you like A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, you may also like The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.
It's Always the Husband by Michele CampbellIt's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

“Twists, turns, and a puzzling mix of suspects . . . will keep readers turning the pages.” - Booklist

A debut suspense novel by a former New York City federal prosecutor depicts an increasingly troubled friendship among three former college roommates who reflect on their shared experiences and growing animosity when one of them is found dead.

If you like It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell, you may also like A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.
Into the Water by Paula HawkinsInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
Print | Large Print | Audiobook
eBook | eAudiobook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: Menacing

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from--a place to which she vowed she'd never return. With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present. Beware a calm surface--you never know what lies beneath.

If you like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, you may also like The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry.
The Red Hunter by Lisa UngerThe Red Hunter by Lisa Unger
Print | Audiobook | eBook

Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

In this explosive new thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, a wronged woman becomes a vigilante seeking revenge on the men who destroyed her family.

If you like The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, you may also like Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.
Almost missed you : [a novel] / Jessica StrawserAlmost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Print | eBook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Suspenseful

A seemingly loving husband abruptly walks out on his wife, taking their baby with him, and turns up at the home of his best friend, who faces an impossible choice between calling the police and allowing him to stay when he threatens to expose a terrible secret.

If you like Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser, you may also like The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer.
The perfect stranger : a novel / Megan MirandaThe Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Print | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Menacing
Writing Style: Compelling

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston, when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later. Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case.

If you like The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, you may also like The Widow by Fiona Barton.
The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen DionneThe Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne
Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Character: Well-developed
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Disturbing and has a strong sense of place
Writing Style: Compelling

A woman whose birth occurred as a result of her teen mother's abduction and imprisonment in an isolated marshland cabin risks the adult family that does not know her past when she uses survival skills honed in childhood to track down her murderous father.

If you like The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne, you may also like Night Film by Marisha Pessl.
The Lying Game by Ruth WareThe Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Print | Audiobook

Character: Flawed
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

In the wake of a woman's horrifying discovery of human remains along a scenic tidal estuary, the members of a once-inseparable clique from a second-rate boarding school near the English Channel reflect on their participation in a dangerous game of deception that contributed to the death of a teacher. By the best-selling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood.

If you like The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, you may also like A Dark Matter by Peter Straub.
Every Last Lie by Mary KubicaEvery Last Lie by Mary Kubica
Print | Audiobook

Character: Sympathetic and Unreliable narrator
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Intensifying
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Compelling

A woman who loses her husband in a car crash that her daughter survived unharmed, begins to suspect his death wasn’t an accident. By the best-selling author of The Good Girl.

If you like Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, you may also like Good As Gone by Amy Gentry.

Recent Psychological Suspense - Print Only

This is not over / Holly Brown The trophy child / Paula Daly Different class / Joanne Harris The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
Gone without a trace / Mary Torjussen The fire child / S.K. Tremayne I Found You by Lisa Jewell Dark Saturday by Nicci French
The last night at Tremore Beach : a novel / Mikel Santiago ; translated by Carlos Fri̹as Follow me down : [a novel] / Sherri Smith The shimmering road : [a novel] / Hester Young Don't Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon
Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke He Said She Said by Erin Kelly

After reading this blog post, you might be asking yourself -- what does the Novelist appeal term "unreliable narrator" refer to anyway?

Readers may not be able to trust the version of events narrated to them in these complex and sometimes disturbing stories. - Novelist

Give 3 Get 3 (personalized recommendations)

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