The best psychological thrillers with toxic friendships

Who am I?

Before becoming a writer I was a divorce lawyer, so I have plenty of personal experience about the dark side of relationships and I admit to a slight obsession with the human psyche, what goes on behind closed doors and beneath people’s façades! Consequently I love to tell stories about relatable characters who get caught up in extraordinary situations, relationships, pressures, dilemmas or crime. I also enjoy performing a literary sleight of hand in my novels and hopefully surprising my readers!


I wrote...

Betray Her

By Caroline England,

Book cover of Betray Her

What is my book about?

Best friends . . . better liars. A dark and addictive psychological thriller about who you can trust, and the damage the past can do. A compelling tale of love, jealousy, betrayal - and a devastating secret at the dark heart of a lifelong friendship.

The books I picked & why

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Obsession

By Amanda Robson,

Book cover of Obsession

Why this book?

The book starts with a wife asking her husband who else he would sleep with, if he could. I loved this hook which any one of us might ask in a casual way, anticipating our partner to say ‘only you, darling!’ When the husband doesn’t give the expected reply, it unsurprisingly opens a can of worms which kept me turning the pages. This compulsive, sexy, roller coaster of a story didn’t disappoint me.


Behind Her Eyes: A Suspenseful Psychological Thriller

By Sarah Pinborough,

Book cover of Behind Her Eyes: A Suspenseful Psychological Thriller

Why this book?

Two women become unlikely friends. Who can the reader really trust? The betrayed wife or the woman who is falling in love with her husband? I really enjoyed this intriguing, addictive thriller because it was beautifully written but also the concepts were highly unusual and inventive. It left me thinking about what exactly had happened long after the story ended.


Force of Nature

By Jane Harper,

Book cover of Force of Nature

Why this book?

Five women go away on a corporate retreat in remote bushland and one of them goes up missing. All of Jane Harper’s books are brilliantly written but in this one, I enjoyed the duplicities and simmering tensions between the characters as well as trying to work out who the real villain was in this slow-burn mystery.


The Family Upstairs

By Lisa Jewell,

Book cover of The Family Upstairs

Why this book?

A young woman inherits a multi-million-pound house where three people were found dead and four children missing. This was a really easy, smooth read and I couldn’t wait to untangle the past, which includes a toxic friendship and unrequited love, and see if my guesses were correct.


Notes on a Scandal

By Zoe Heller,

Book cover of Notes on a Scandal

Why this book?

I first read this story of a friendship between an older and a younger woman years ago and it has stayed with me. The relationship appears to be supportive, but it is actually manipulative and dangerous. It’s a creepy and compelling tale of who not to trust, but it also gave me much food for thought in terms of morality. Who did I side with? The unstable older teacher or the one having an affair with an under-aged pupil?


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family secrets, romantic love, and unreliable narrators?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about family secrets, romantic love, and unreliable narrators.

Family Secrets Explore 74 books about family secrets
Romantic Love Explore 367 books about romantic love
Unreliable Narrators Explore 12 books about unreliable narrators

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Verity, Stay with Me, and Next Year in Havana if you like this list.