The best realistic horrifying thriller books

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always addicted to the true crime shows on late at night; the real stories of good and evil in everyday life, around every corner. I was fascinated by why people do the things they do. It wasn’t always about the nature of crime itself, but how we get through it and overcome it, and survive it, and ultimately how it changes us… And what the power of love and hate can lead you to do, or to become. I now write about the harrowing and horrifying possibilities that could await any of us. And give you knowledge and food for thought that may help you, if hell finds you.

I wrote...

Angellove: We Were the Lucky Ones.

By Bronwyn Rust,

Book cover of Angellove: We Were the Lucky Ones.

What is my book about?

Everyone’s nightmare come to life. When sadness turns to anger… When the good become bad… “The line dividing good and evil runs through the heart of every human being.” What would you do if someone took your everything?

At its heart, it’s a universal story of love, loss, friendship, and faith. It’s chillingly mesmeric in tone, incorporating authentic forensic detail, with powerful intensity, and palpable emotion.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Holy Bible

Bronwyn Rust Why did I love this book?

It is the foundation of every story – believer or not – the battle between good and evil, love and hate, life and death, redemption and condemnation, mercy and wrath…

As a Christian, I have struggled with my faith, especially after a loss, and instead of turning away from God, I dove in heart first, for understanding, for answers.

It’s the book I have always turned to, no matter how young I was, or how old I get.

It taught me everything, from standing up for what I believe in…even if it’s alone; to sacrifice; to living a righteous life, and to not fear death.

By Unknown,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Holy Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an attractive new slipcase and binding, this compact Bible is an ideal gift and spiritual companion.

The full text of the ever-popular Authorized King James Version Bible, with all its literary beauty and poetic grandeur, in an attractive size and with beautiful binding and slipcase
making it an ideal gift.

Includes silver gilt edged pages and white marker ribbon.

Book cover of The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Bronwyn Rust Why did I love this book?

Not only is it one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s also one of the most helpful and useful.

As the physically weaker sex, fear is a constant – even if it’s in the back of your mind. Reading this book empowered me. I felt stronger.

Instead of fearing the fear, I listened to it, and it became a superpower.

Safe to say, this book probably saved my life, without me even realizing it.

By Gavin de Becker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gift of Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the US' leading expert on violent behaviour, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger - before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls;…

Book cover of Pet Sematary

Bronwyn Rust Why did I love this book?

Anyone who has ever lost someone wishes they could come back, that we could do something to bring them back.

It’s a universal story that crosses every boundary.

The beautiful idea takes a dark sinister twist with vivid eerie imagery that leaves you unsettled.

As the characters deal with death in the family, the grief process of guilt and anguish was too horrifyingly real.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Pet Sematary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture! Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller is a “wild, powerful, disturbing” (The Washington Post Book World) classic about evil that exists far beyond the grave—among King’s most iconic and frightening novels.

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the…

Book cover of 24 Hours

Bronwyn Rust Why did I love this book?

This was a fun and thrilling read about an intricate kidnapping plot. A seemingly perfect crime with the picture-perfect family; ‘Picture Perfect’, is only ever for the picture.

It taught me that even if the odds are stacked against you, you are not captive to your circumstance. This was a psychological and active fight for survival, not only for one’s own survival but for those whom you love.

Courage is contagious.

By Greg Iles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 24 Hours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Will Jennings, his wife and little girl are a happy American family, living in Mississippi. Hickey is a conman and kidnapper. He targets his victims very carefully and takes great pains to make sure no one is ever hurt. He has yet to kill. All his victims have come up with the money and the authorities have never been involved. His perfect record is down to two things: One, he always stays with the parents or person with the money. Two, he never asks for more than they can afford. But when he tries to rip Will's family apart, he…

Book cover of What Dreams May Come

Bronwyn Rust Why did I love this book?

This well-researched and thought-provoking book shook me more than I was prepared for.

It’s a love story about a man’s journey through death into the afterlife, and risking Heaven to save his love from the opposing fate… Because not even Heaven is Heaven without the one you love. And loving them so much that you would search through depths of hell for them.

The depiction of hell is so bone-chillingly vivid and creepy, that left me unsettled to my core.

I recommend this powerful heart-moving book to anyone going through a loss.

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What Dreams May Come as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected accident cut his life short, separating him abruptly from his beloved wife. Now Chris must discover the true nature of life after death. He also has to risk his very soul to save Annie from an eternity of despair.

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The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

Book cover of The Road from Belhaven

Margot Livesey Author Of The Road from Belhaven

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Secret orphan Professor Scottish Novelist

Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Road from Belhaven is set in 1880s Scotland. Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small girl that she can see the future. But she soon realises that she must keep her gift a secret. While she can sometimes glimpse the future, she can never change it.

Nor can Lizzie change the feelings that come when a young man named Louis, visiting Belhaven for the harvest, begins to court her. Why have the adults around her never told her that the touch of a hand can change everything? When she follows Louis to Glasgow, she begins to learn the limits of his devotion and the complexities of her own affections.

The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a novel about a young woman whose gift of second sight complicates her coming of age in late-nineteenth-century Scotland

Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small child that she can see into the future. But her gift is selective—she doesn’t, for instance, see that she has an older sister who will come to join the family. As her “pictures” foretell various incidents and accidents, she begins to realize a painful truth: she may glimpse the future, but…

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Interested in violence, the Bible, and kidnapping?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about violence, the Bible, and kidnapping.

Violence Explore 88 books about violence
The Bible Explore 332 books about the Bible
Kidnapping Explore 107 books about kidnapping