Psychological suspense falls under the “dark crime fiction” category. The stories are typically gripping and sometimes referred to as thrillers. They’re the type of novels or movies that make your heart race and keep you hooked from start to finish. The psychological aspects can really mess with your head (in an interesting or intriguing way). And it’s one of the most popular genres right now.
5 Classic Psychological Suspense Novels
The following are classic examples of stories (books and movies) that would fall under suspense, thriller or psychological suspense.
At the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, Maxim de Winter and his frightened new wife try to live with the haunting legacy of Maxim’s first wife, the beautiful and cold Rebecca, who died in a sailing accident. A true classic of suspense.
This classic Gothic novel published in 1938 was adapted into a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940.
James M. Cain, virtuoso of the roman noir, gives us a tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful story in “Double Indemnity,” an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches.
This classic crime novel was first published in 1935. It was adapted into a movie directed by Billy Wilder in 1944. The quintessential film noir starred Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.
To learn more about this fascinating genre, check out these articles and blog posts:
An artist who witnessed the disappearance of her bunkmates at summer camp as a young girl accepts an opportunity to return to Camp Nightingale as a painting instructor and tries to discover what really happened to her friends.
Struggling to put her life back together a decade after her beloved teen daughter’s disappearance, a divorced woman bonds with a charming single father whose young child eerily resembles the woman’s own lost daughter.
An agoraphobic recluse languishes in her New York City home, drinking wine and spying on her neighbors, before witnessing a terrible crime through her window that exposes her secrets and raises questions about her perceptions of reality.
Seventeen-year-old Charlie seeks to become a member of an elite secret society at her school by playing The Game, a semester-long, high-stakes scavenger hunt that will reveal the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.
A psychological thriller by a former BBC News producer depicts the harrowing experiences of a coma patient with shut-in syndrome who, while unable to move or speak, must listen to those around her to figure out what happened and who is responsible for her injuries.