The Best Thriller Books for You | Best of BookTok

Have you been looking for a way to ease back into reading? We know first hand how hard it can be to read when most of your energy is going into your family, but when you can find pockets of time, picking up a good book is a great way to practice self-care.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’re shining a spotlight on some great thrillers: shocking twists, unreliable narrators and dark themes we can’t get enough of. With several nail-biting books taking off on BookTok, we’ve curated our top 3 picks we think you need to move up your TBR. Check out our edit of must-read psychological thrillers below.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

  • Book rating: ★★★★☆ – 4.25 stars

With over three million copies sold worldwide and a movie in the works, The Silent Patient is a gripping psychological thriller full of complex characters, misdirects and a twist you won’t see coming.

The story follows Alicia, a famous painter who shoots her husband and then never speaks again. No explanation is given, until six years later when an intrigued psychotherapist named Theo asks to be assigned to Alicia’s care. As Theo starts to pull back the layers of Alicia’s psyche, we learn there may be more to her silence than meets the eye.

Whether you’re a fan of suspenseful thrillers or not, The Silent Patient is an absolute page-turner you can devour in one sitting. Michaelides uses multiple POVs to build a tense and unreliable narrative, and he layers in dark themes that cause conflict between our two leads. The story has masterful pacing that keeps you hooked from the first page and as secrets are revealed, we build to an explosive conclusion that will shock even seasoned thriller readers. I loved this book when I first read it and it definitely set the curve for what a psychological thriller should be.

With complicated characters, fantastic suspense and twists that will keep you guessing, it is easy to see why The Silent Patient has taken BookTok and the world by storm.

Book synopsis

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him ….

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The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

  • Book rating: ★★★★☆
  • Now a movie starring Amy Adams: streaming on Netflix

The Woman in the Window is a twisted psychological thriller that explores mental illness and obsession. An easy one-sit read, this is the kind of book you can devour on a cosy Sunday afternoon.

The story follows Anna, an agoraphobic woman who spends her days drinking wine and watching her neighbours. One day, Anna witnesses a crime that sends her spiralling into a world of deception. As her obsession grows, Anna struggles to differentiate between reality and delusion, leading to a plot twist that will take you by surprise.

With an unreliable narrator at the helm and several chilling moments, I found myself frantically turning the pages to find out what was going on. Finn does a great job at crafting characters you sympathise with but don’t entirely trust, and as more of Anna’s past is revealed, every theory you’d built gets thrown out the window.

If you love a thriller that keeps you guessing, this is one to add to your TBR.

Book synopsis

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times … and spying on her neighbours.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one – and nothing – is what it seems.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

  • Book rating: ★★★★☆ – 4.25 stars
  • Spice rating: 2/5

The leg. IYKYK.

This book is unhinged. Hoover takes a departure from her usual romance books with Verity, a psychological thriller that will chill you to your bones.

The story follows Lowen, a writer who is commissioned to co-author the remaining books in a series by popular author, Verity. Verity has been in a serious accident and is unable to complete the books herself, so Low moves in with her family so she can finish it on her behalf. With an eviction notice, no money and little movement in her own career, what does she have to lose?

Verity will shock you with how disturbing, deceptive, and heartbreaking it is. A bit of a slow burn, the book takes time to establish the characters before it hits you in the face with twists on twists. Hoover layers in themes of loss, betrayal, and mental illness to flesh out these characters and as the mystery builds, an unexpected turn will leave you questioning everything.

If you’re looking for a thriller with dark themes and a chilling mystery, Verity is definitely the book for you.

Book synopsis

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, the husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

Honourable mentions

Once you’ve made your way through those, here are a few other popular BookTok thriller books we recommend you read.

  • The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
  • In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead
  • The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
  • If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

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