14 Suspenseful Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down

Murder, mischief, and dangerous secrets.

For no reason whatsoever, we asked Goodreads to share some of its most popular page-turners. Below are 14 of this year's most-loved thrillers, mysteries, and suspense books, any (or all!) of which will keep you glued to the page.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Every detail of Jules and Will’s wedding on a secluded island off the coast of Ireland had been expertly planned — down to the designer dress and luxe wedding favors. But as the festivities begin, past slights, resentments, jealousy begin to surface: A bridesmaid ruins her dress, the groomsmen are getting inappropriately drunk, and the bride’s oldest male friend seems to think of her as more than a friend. And then someone turns up dead.

5-star review: "Lucy Foley's previous novel was a bit too slow of a burn for me, but this one was ON FIRE. This book was a super quick read, with short chapters that I flew through in less than 24 hours. That is my kind of thriller. There were several big twists that I never in a million years saw coming. Yet, they weren't insane. I knew something was off with each of the characters, yet for the life of me I couldn't figure out what they were hiding. Trust me — they were hiding a lot!" —Kim

And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

Grayson Sykes is a smart and relatable Black private investigator on her first solo case as she looks into the disappearance of a woman in Los Angeles. The woman’s boyfriend — the big-shot doctor who hired Grayson — is sure that she disappeared voluntarily and seems more concerned with finding his missing dog than his missing girlfriend. But as Grayson investigates, the case becomes less cut and dried. All the while, Grayson is grappling with her own past, which appears to parallel that of her target.

5-star review: "Well-developed, emotionally layered characterization; gripping, thrilling storytelling skills; and absolutely satisfying conclusion earned this book well deserved 5 stars and a shiny place [on] my top 10 thrillers of 2020! I TRULY LOVED IT!" —Nilufer Ozmekik

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

In a quiet retirement village, four friends in their seventies spend their Thursdays discussing unsolved crimes. When a mysterious death occurs right in their neighborhood, they see an opportunity to use their honed skills on an active case — but can they solve it before it's too late?

5-star review: "This is a charming mystery and what makes it really work are the characters. They are elderly, and all too aware of the Care Home and what can unfold as memories fail and the body becomes frailer, but they are all keen to use their wits and intelligence and are more than capable of using their age to their advantage. Osman treats his characters with respect and care; he understands the sorrow of losing a partner, the pride in children, and the joy in different periods of life. As well as poignancy, Osman is also capable of really clever, humorous dialogue, and this was a really funny read. I am hoping this becomes a series." —Susan

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

On a Native American reservation in South Dakota, both the US justice system and the tribal council often fall short. So Virgil Wounded Horse is known as the local enforcer, hired to deliver his own vigilante justice when other avenues fail. Things become personal when Virgil’s nephew overdoses on heroin that's being trafficked in, and he sets out with his own ex-girlfriend to find the source of the drugs. What they find is a complicated web of rapidly expanding drug cartels and a world of money, power, and violence.

5-star review: "I loved everything about this novel. The setting, the characters, the Lakota culture, the storyline — all of it worked for me, and I could absolutely not stop reaching for this book. Not only did I find it entertaining, humorous, endearing, and well written, I found it touched on many important issues that affect Indigenous people trying to decolonize while living in a colonized society that was built upon systemic racism on stolen Native land." —Dani

Read an excerpt from Winter Counts.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

It's 1634, and renowned detective Samuel Pipps is being carried as a prisoner overseas to be executed for a crime he may or may not have committed. But his trouble begins long before the ship reaches its destination. Monsters seemingly roam the decks, strange symbols show up on the sails — and a darkness threatens to sink the entire ship. Can Pipps and his loyal bodyguard solve the mystery before everybody on board is killed?

5-star review: "This is a fantastic, hugely entertaining read, superbly plotted, that will have you investing in the characters, holding your interest right from the get-go, having you avidly turning the pages until the sparkling reveal at the end." —Paromjit

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Today Beauregard “Bug” Montage is a hardworking, honest family man and mechanic. But not that long ago, he was known as one of the best getaway drivers in the Southeast. Bug has tried to put all of that behind him — but when his new life starts to fall apart around him and his financial obligations start to mount, he can’t turn down a lucrative gig as a getaway driver in a major jewelry store heist. Then the robbery goes sideways — and Bug’s life and family are in danger.

5-star review: "S.A. Cosby writes a superbly executed, gripping, and emotionally charged crime thriller. Make necessary arrangements, because once you start you won’t be able to set this one aside. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and without question one of the best books I’ve read this year!" —Kaceey

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

It's 1982 in the small town of Fell in upstate New York, and Viv Delaney works as the night clerk at the Sun Down, the local run-down roadside motel. She's saving up for a brighter future, and she's got her sights set on New York City — but there are dark secrets hidden in the Sun Down that threaten to ensnare her.

5-star review: "I loved this book! The atmosphere was thick! I felt every spine-tingling scare that the characters felt. I was there in that run-down motel, holding my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. The author created a storyline that completely engrossed me within the suspense and mystery. I felt like I truly knew the characters, the small town, and the motel. It kept me curious and hungry to read 'just one more chapter.'" —Lindsay

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Maggie Holt returns to Baneberry Hall, the Victorian house she lived in briefly as a child, made famous by her father’s bestselling memoir House of Horrors. These days, she restores old homes and doesn’t remember much about the mere three weeks her family spent in the house before fleeing. So when her father dies and she inherits Baneberry Hall, she decides to renovate and sell it. But although she doesn’t believe in ghosts, her return isn’t smooth. Maggie begins to experience strange occurrences much like those described in the book, causing her to question: Could the house really be haunted? Or is there a simpler — but more sinister — explanation?

5-star review: "This was just absolutely brilliant storytelling with flawless pacing, a horrifying plot, and terrifying scenes that will linger to haunt you." —Nursebookie

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

When Sydney Green returns to the historically Black neighborhood in Brooklyn she grew up in, she's dismayed by what she finds: It's overrun with high-rise condos, the demographics are changing, and a major pharmaceutical company has received permission to open a research facility. After taking a whitewashed historic walking tour, she decides to start a rival tour to tell the real history of the neighborhood. As Sydney and Theo — her new neighbor who offers to help with research — delve into the history of the area, they realize their rapidly departing neighbors might not be leaving by choice. Are their disappearances a coincidence or part of a sinister conspiracy?

5-star review: "Yes! Yes! Yes! If you love a mind-F kind of thriller....look no further! This book had me saying out loud, several times, What?!, and, No!!!, and, What?! No!. It's not only a thriller, but you learn parts of history, social injustice, and what it means to really love thy neighbor. Cole has quickly become an auto-author for me: Whatever she's writing, I'm reading." —SheLovesThePages

Read the first chapter from When No One Is Watching.

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

Thirty years ago, Wilde was discovered living feral in the woods with no memory of who he was or how he got there. Unable to find his family, the police put him in the state's care, but once he reached adulthood he moved back to the woods on the outskirts of town, comfortable as a loner. When a local girl goes missing, Wilde is asked to use his unique skills to help find her — and he's forced to return to the community that never fully accepted him, where he must uncover its dangerous secrets.

5-star review: "This is a whirlwind, complex, action-packed, and definitely wilder-than-expected train ride, including: political scandal, secret tapes, school bullying, a disappearing teenager, a man’s stunning story who has been found in the woods, fighting to gather the pieces of his past. This seems like Mr. Coben juggling too many balls at the same time, but thankfully he doesn’t drop any of them and we get our answers to each detailed mystery, to finish the remarkable puzzle." —Nilufer Ozmekik

White Ivy by Susie Yang

Ivy Lin's parents moved from China to the US when she was 2, and she spent the next three years in the care of her offbeat but doting grandmother. When she follows her parents to the US, she barely recognizes them. Luckily, her grandmother is soon able to join them — and when she arrives, she senses an urgent need to teach Ivy “two qualities necessary for survival: self-reliance and opportunism.” So Ivy learns the skills of deception, which she uses as a child and teen to steal what she can’t afford, and then, when she’s an adult, to slip into the upper-crust world she’s always been obsessed with but never had full access to. But the flip side of deception is distrust, and when she starts dating Gideon, a local politician’s son and the very embodiment of privilege, she can’t stop second-guessing their relationship — especially when an unwelcome reminder of her past turns up on the first vacation she takes with Gideon’s family.

5-star review: "Holy hell! This book knocked me out. A kind of modern Great Gatsby meets Parasite, White Ivy offers a look at the perversity of the American dream and the unrelenting costs of upward mobility and social striving. I can’t remember the last time I read a debut where I felt like I was in such sure hands — the prose is deliciously sharp, the plot as tight as a drum, and the pacing (emotional and otherwise) is tuned to such perfection that the 'oh shit' moments hit you right where it hurts. I ripped through this one because it’s just that good, but I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long, long time." —Claire Reads Books

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

The exclusive women-only coworking space "the Herd" is the place to be for young women looking to connect with the right people and make their way up in the world. Katie Bradley is being considered for membership, leaning on her sister — best friend of Eleanor Walsh's, the Herd's founder — for acceptance. But when Eleanor goes missing, the police suspect foul play — and everyone is a suspect.

5-star review: "I was immediately drawn in by the dark and beautiful writing in the opening pages, and the story zoomed on from there, pulling me along on an atmospheric and eerie ride with delicious twists and reveals. The book also deals with themes both timely and timeless — the masks of perfection that women are pressured to wear; female ambition in what is still a man’s world; the price of success for a woman — and I appreciated the opportunity to sit with the ugly but important insights this story brought to light." —Megan Collins

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram's hometown of Del Sol, New Mexico, is not used to being in the spotlight, but it suddenly attracts national attention when a teenage girl goes missing and a kidnapper is on the loose. To complicate matters, Sunshine must work with US Marshall Levi, who also happens to be Sunshine's very attractive "one that got away." Can she keep her cool and save her beloved home through the drama and the danger?

5-star review: "This book took me out of my head and gave me reprieve from the craziness we're experiencing at the moment. I can't wait for the next installment — I'm already deeply in love with these characters and completely invested. It's a breath of fresh air, full of wit, suspense and light angst." —Astrid

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Shay Miller is wholly unsatisfied in life — she can't find love, she hates her job, and she never quite feels like she belongs. That changes when she meets sisters Cassandra and Jane Moore, who lead glamorous and enviable lives and, against all odds, invite Shay into their circle. But what is Shay willing to sacrifice to stay in their favor?

5-star review: "As soon as I started it, I knew I was going to be addicted, and I was right. I listened to You Are Not Alone in just a couple of days, and it was another one of those books where I found every excuse possible to listen to it. Short chapters, multiple viewpoints, a mix of past and present, and for the most part I had no idea what was going on or where it would all end. I liked Shay a lot and I thought she was one of the most likable characters by far. This is a unique novel full of surprises and I highly recommend it, especially on audio." —ABookwormWithWine

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