Best Psychological Thriller Books

Isolated psychologically unwell woman

Having your mind messed with is often worse than being physically attacked: your emotional psyche can only take so much before you snap.

Terrifying as it is in real life, experiencing that anguish and terror through the safety of a great book is exhilarating—and, truthfully, a little addictive.

Unlike some of the best horror novels where you dread the next page, these psychological thriller books will keep you on the edge of your seat. You never know what will happen next, and they’ll stay with you long after you close the book.



Misery (1987)

Stephen King

Genre: Psychological thriller, plot twister, drama
Rating: 10/10

You already know Stephen King can mess with your mind. Misery is a good read no matter how many times you read it, or if you’ve already seen the film adaptation.

Famous romance novelist Paul Sheldon is sick of the books that brought him fame, wishing to move on to crime novels.

After finishing his first foray into the new genre, he closes off his romance series for good: Sheldon kills off the beloved main protagonist, ensuring his past work will, indeed, be left in his past forever.

After a car accident, Sheldon wakes up in a strange room to find he has two broken legs, among other injuries—but that’s only the beginning of his problems.

His savior-turned-captor, Annie, is a reader and huge fan of his romance series. She refuses to take him the hospital, manipulates him with pain pills, and decides to read his latest manuscripts.

Upon discovering he’s killed off her beloved heroine, Annie forces Sheldon to write the character back to life…and she’ll stop at nothing to get the ending she wants.

Find it on Amazon here.


Micro (2011)

Michael Chrichton

Genre: Psychological thriller, medical drama
Rating: 10/10

If you saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids and realized how scary it would really be to be that small, this book gets you.

A team of graduate students are lured into a dangerous experiment in which they’re made just half an inch tall.

The dangers of the enormous world around them would be scary enough, but the novel definitely doesn’t stop there: conspiracies, foul play, and god complexes abound, turning what could be a trite premise into another Crichton homerun.

Micro was discovered, unfinished, on Crichton’s computer after his death and completed by Richard Preston for a posthumous publication.

A film adaptation has been in the works for several years, developed by none other than Steven Spielberg.

Find it on Amazon here.


Your Son is Alive (2018)

James Scott Bell

Genre: Psychological thriller, suspense, drama
Rating: 10/10

Just the thought of having your child disappear is bad enough. But imagine receiving a note, 15 years later, that claims your son is still alive.

The endless plot twists in this fast-paced thriller will keep you hanging on to the very end.

Find it on Amazon here.


All Against All (2019)

Nathan Allen

Genre: Psychological thriller, mind bender, plot twister,
Rating: 10/10

Alice and 99 others get an invitation to enter a game where the last one living wins $100,000.

Alternatively, they can take $2,000 and forgo the game altogether.

Those who choose to try for the big money get put into a lottery where 27 people are chosen. Alice is one of them.

When the contestants start dying, Alice gets worried—but the allure of that grand prize might prove too much to resist….

Find it on Amazon here.


Gone Girl (2012)

Gillian Flynn

Genre: Psychological thriller, drama
Rating: 10/10

When his wife goes missing, Nick becomes the main suspect. The authorities find blood, reports of abuse, and financial troubles. They also learn that Amy was pregnant.

There’s far more to the story than what meets the eye, however, and nothing’s as it seems in this riveting portrayal of a marriage gone horribly wrong.

Find it on Amazon here.


The Silent Patient (2019)

Alex Michaelides

Genre: Psychological thriller, plot twister, drama
Rating: 10/10

Successful artist Alicia shares a huge and gorgeous home with her husband, a fashion photographer. Her idyllic life screeches to a halt when, one day, she shoots her husband in the face five times…then never speaks another word.

Her paintings grow in popularity due to the scandal and tragedy. The mystery deepens as a criminal psychologist attempts to bring Alicia back from her silence.

This twisted tale has a serious shocker at the end.

Find it on Amazon here.


3:00 AM (2013)

Nick Pirog

Genre: Psychological thriller books, mind bender, plot twister, drama
Rating: 10/10

What would you do if you only had one hour a day?

Henry Bins has the incurable Henry Bins Disease: he sleeps constantly, save for one precious hour between 3:00 and 4:00 AM every day.

One morning, Henry hears a woman scream, then sees a man leave her house across the street. But not just any man: it’s the President of the United States.

Henry has a huge mystery to solve—and only one hour a day to figure it out.

Find it on Amazon here.


That Game You Played (2016)

Anni Taylor

Genre: Psychological thriller, mind bender, drama
Rating: 10/10

After Phoebe’s two-year old son, Tommy, disappears at the park, the devastated mother starts receiving rhyming notes that uncover Tommy’s fate.
That Game You Played is similar to Your Son is Alive, but even more twisted.

Find it on Amazon here.


Cage of Bones (2013)

Tania Carver

Genre: Psychological thriller, drama, plot twister
Rating: 10/10

When detective Phil Brennan finds a feral child in a cage made from human bones, his world is turned upside down.

To make things worse, the predator who caged the boy…wants him back.

Brennan teams up with psychologist Marina Esposito to find the killer before it’s too late. This is a creepy and horrifying thriller with a twist you will not see coming.

Find it on Amazon here.


Before the Fall (2016)

Noah Hawley

Genre: Psychological thriller books, mind bender, mystery
Rating: 10/10

When a small plane crashes into the ocean, only two people survive: a four-year-old boy, and a struggling artist named Scott.

Everyone else on the plane was incredibly rich and powerful. Was the plane crash an accident, or did someone kill these people on purpose? How did Scott and the boy survive?

Scott becomes the famous hero for saving the boy, but he just wants to know what happened.

This book won an Edgar award in 2016 for the best mystery, so it is a must-read for mystery lovers.

Find it on Amazon here.


If you enjoyed these psychological thriller books, check out the best psychological thriller movies to stream on Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and HBO Go for your next movie night. Or, while winding down for the night on the couch these true crime documentaries  that will be sure to command your attention. Lastly, these true crime and murder podcasts are guaranteed to mess with your head and thoroughly entertain any true-crime or pyscho-thriller seeker on-the-go anytime.

About Post Author