The best unputdownable thrillers to pull you out of a reading slump

Who am I?

I read to escape. Which is what I want my readers to do when they disappear into one of my psychological thrillers. One of the pure joys in life is getting so hooked on the plot of a book, you can’t tear yourself away. There can’t have been many recent times that our generation has more deserved a break from reality. A good thriller challenges the reader, turning a story on its head, and ties all loose ends together in its finale. The real world is messier. Things left unsaid. Answers never found. Maybe that’s why thrillers have become the number one bestselling genre in recent years. 

I wrote...

What She Left Behind

By Emily Freud,

Book cover of What She Left Behind

What is my book about?

He gave her everything. But can she trust him?

Lauren can't wait to leave London for a fresh start in the countryside with her new partner Paul and his two young children. She never thought she'd be so lucky. A dream glass house in the woods, a ready-made family, a second chance. But as dark rumours swirl about their new home, Lauren begins to question their happily ever after. When they met, she was at her most vulnerable. She would trust Paul with her life. But should she?

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The books I picked & why

The Island

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Island

Why did I love this book?

I’d not read McKinty before picking this up. It was the first book I read front to back, in a day, since having kids. As I feverishly turned the pages, I felt like I was on the Island – running from the terrifying locals that want the Baxter family dead. It doesn’t let up for a second and although it is more action-packed than my usual choice of psychological thriller, I’m so glad I gave it a chance. 

The Plot: This relentless suspense thriller is set on sweltering Dutch Island, deep in the Australian outback. A shocking incident propels a vacationing family into a horrific game of cat and mouse. 

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


A "brilliant and relentless" new thriller from the author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Chain (Don Winslow).

"Unrelenting suspense." —Stephen King

“Extraordinary.” —T. J. Newman, New York Times bestselling author of Falling

"You'll never go on vacation the same way again." —Don Winslow, New York Times bestselling author of City On Fire




After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom,…

Lie With Me

By Sabine Durrant,

Book cover of Lie With Me

Why did I love this book?

Sabine commits the crime of having a deeply unlikeable main character – but pulls it off superbly, in a central tenet of the book. This is a slow burn, but the incredible characterization pulls you through until you are so caught up in the plot, you can’t do anything but turn pages. I was devastated when it was over and wished I could start the experience all over again. 

The Plot: Paul is a washed-up has-been. He is superior, a womanizer who clings to his one success in publishing over twenty years ago. He manages to worm his way onto a family holiday to get away from his housing woes. There is something oh-so enjoyable about watching him tie his own noose. This masterfully written novel is so utterly surprising it took my breath away. 

By Sabine Durrant,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lie With Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The truth is, we all tell lies... take a deep breath and dive into the book everyone's raving about.

'If you've had a hole in your literary life since finishing Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this is the book to fill it' Grazia

It starts with a lie. The kind we've all told - to a former acquaintance we can't quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.

And the next thing…

Rock Paper Scissors

By Alice Feeney,

Book cover of Rock Paper Scissors

Why did I love this book?

I want to preface this by saying I am a huge Feeny fan. I accosted her at the Harrogate book fair this year, and she was kind enough to chat with me about writing for a glorious half hour. I love her writing. It is captivating and otherworldly. You never quite know when you’ll be able to come up for air or who to trust. 

The plot: A married couple spends their anniversary in the Scottish Highlands, a romantic trip away. But things begin to get disturbing. Peppered through the present-day narrative are letters the wife has written to her other half at the end of each year. Try not to get a paper cut when reading this excellent escapist read.

By Alice Feeney,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rock Paper Scissors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“Feeney lives up to her reputation as the “queen of the twist”…This page-turner will keep you guessing.” —Real Simple
Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts--paper, cotton, pottery, tin--and each…


By Catriona Ward,

Book cover of Sundial

Why did I love this book?

I love a little horror in my thrillers and this look at a deeply layered dysfunctional family is one of the creepiest I’ve read. Catriona’s writing is disturbing (in the best possible way), her use of metaphors evokes exactly the right image and I’m incredibly jealous of her talent. This book takes you places. Dark places. But it’s worth it. Even Stephen King himself said - “DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.”

The Plot: Rob is worried about her eldest daughter Callie. She collects bones and oddities and talks to imaginary friends. She decides to take her on a mother and daughter trip to Sundial, her family ranch where she grew up. But Callie begins to worry about her mother's behaviour - digging holes in the garden in the middle of the night and other unhinged behaviour...

By Catriona Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” —Stephen King

Sharp as a snakebite, Sundial is a gripping novel about the secrets we bury from the ones we love most, from Catriona Ward, the author of The Last House on Needless Street.

You can't escape what's in your blood...

Rob has spent her life running from Sundial, the family’s ranch deep in the Mojave Desert, and her childhood memories.

But she’s worried about her daughter, Callie, who collects animal bones and whispers to imaginary friends. It reminds her of a darkness that runs in her family, and Rob knows it’s time…

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides,

Book cover of The Silent Patient

Why did I love this book?

This book got me out of a huge reading slump during the pandemic. My concentration span was shot. I hadn’t been able to complete more than a few pages before discarding. This was a bestselling debut and honestly, it is easy to understand why. 

The Plot: Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who elbows himself into the opportunity to work with a secure forensic unit patient who hasn’t spoken since shooting her husband. Theo is determined to get her to talk. What a great hook. The chapters are short and punchy. Theo is incredibly likable, and you root for him. Plus, the ending is clever and satisfying. 

By Alex Michaelides,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Silent Patient as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"An unforgettable―and Hollywood-bound―new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
―Entertainment Weekly

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband―and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

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…

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