The best psychological thrillers to keep you up all night

Why am I passionate about this?

Human psychology – particularly the “abnormal” kind – has always fascinated me, enough to study the topic at university. What makes us tick? Why do seemingly ordinary people commit terrible crimes? Psychological crime thrillers allow me to explore our dark side further, and I sprinkle nuggets from that research throughout my novels. Memories and relationships may appear in disguise. Stories are our way of sharing our experiences – the ones too intense and intimate to express in other ways. Born and raised in South Africa, I now live in Israel with my wife and daughters. When I’m not writing my next thriller, you’ll find me writing computer code and generally being curious about the world.

I wrote...

You Did This

By Jamie Millen,

Book cover of You Did This

What is my book about?

“A consistently exciting debut” (Kirkus Reviews): Only Claire sees the sinister nature behind the sweet face of her sister, Tina. But Tina is brutally murdered at 14, and 12 years later, as more teenage girls turn up dead, investigators consider the possibility of a serial killer—leaving Claire, now a detective, at the top of their suspect list…

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Jamie Millen Why did I love this book?

If I don’t mention this book, the literary police will lock me up. Harris’s iconic novel (and the highly acclaimed movie it inspired) molded our conceptions – and misconceptions – of serial killers.

The book’s creepy atmosphere and slowly building tension remind us why we can’t resist a good psychological thriller, and the novel’s disturbing questions remain long after The End: How do people become monsters? And would we survive a close encounter?

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

Book cover of The Housemaid

Jamie Millen Why did I love this book?

I listened to the audiobook edition on a long bus ride and almost gave up halfway. (On the book, that is, not the bus.)

The story’s direction seemed clear. The resolution was inevitable. Why continue reading? Man, was I wrong! A massive twist upended everything, leaving me reeling and desperate to turn the pages. I came away with renewed respect for both the author and dental hygiene.

(Sorry, no spoilers. You’ll have to read the book.)

By Freida McFadden,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Housemaid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the New York Times and USA Today bestseller and addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist that’s burning up Instagram and TikTok--Freida McFadden’s The Housemaid is perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, and Verity.

Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.

I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies…

Book cover of Verity

Jamie Millen Why did I love this book?

Some books stir up feverish discussion among readers, and this is definitely one of them. (Don’t believe me? Check out the novel’s Facebook group!)

As an author, I found plenty of inspiration here. Maybe inconclusive endings do work, after all? The cracked skull at the start got me thinking, too. What if the first victim dies in chapter one? (Both ideas found their way into my new release.)

Warning: Verity contains explicit sex scenes, so reader discretion is advised.

By Colleen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Verity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you ready to stay up all night? Rebecca meets Gone Girl in this shocking, unpredictable thriller with a twist that will leave you reeling . . .

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, 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…

Book cover of Until I Met Her

Jamie Millen Why did I love this book?

I don’t like blood. That may surprise readers. My novels don’t dwell on gore, but I’ve written my share of grisly murders. (Maybe it’s just my blood that disturbs me?)

Anyway, a few years ago I found myself hospitalized overnight and in desperate need of a distraction. Barelli’s book caught my attention. (A writer who’s just killed her mentor/friend? Perfect!) The story transported me from that miserable ward to a murderous character’s fictional world. Who said crime doesn’t pay?

The book taught me the allure of a criminal protagonist and the healing power of thriller escapism. And it sparked an idea for another book. (Hm. Can you see a pattern developing here?)

By Natalie Barelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Until I Met Her as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you were asked to put your name to a novel you didn’t write, would you?Meet Emma Fern, celebrated author of a literary best-seller, adored by legions of fans everywhere, shortlisted for the prestigious Poulton Prize. But it wasn’t always this way, a year earlier you would have met Emma Fern, unremarkable beige wife, running a small housewares store, thinking of starting a family. And maybe it wasn’t the perfect life, but to Emma, it was pretty close.But when Emma meets Beatrice, the doyenne of crime fiction and Emma’s favorite writer, life suddenly becomes a lot more exciting. Then Beatrice…

Book cover of My Sister's Grave

Jamie Millen Why did I love this book?

It’s every author’s worst nightmare. You’ve just discovered that a famous author has a book that sounds uncannily similar to your new and unpublished masterpiece. Yikes!

Dugoni’s series starter featured a feisty female detective investigating her sister’s past murder. I had to read it. Thankfully, that’s where the similarities ended. The novel is a gripping read with meticulous forensic details and an expertly laid twist. And both our stories warn against the dangers of old secrets. Are some doors better left closed?

By Robert Dugoni,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Sister's Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in the series that has garnered millions of readers across the globe, from New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah's disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn't believe that Edmund House-a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah's murder-is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah's remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains…

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The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

Book cover of The Midnight Man

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

What is my book about?

A historical thriller set in south London just after World War II, as Britain returns to civilian life and the men return home from the fight, causing the women to leave their wartime roles. The South London Hospital for Women and Children is a hospital, (based on a real place) run by women for women and must make adjustments of its own. As austerity bites, the coldest Winter then on record makes life grim. Then a young nurse goes missing.

Days later, her body is found behind a locked door, and two women from the hospital, unimpressed by the police response, decide to investigate. Highly atmospheric and evocative of a distinct period and place.

The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

What is this book about?


Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

‘A mystery that evokes the period – and a recovering London – in…

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