20 Thrillers That Will Mess With Your Sleep Schedule
As recommended by Goodreads users.
BuzzFeed Books recently asked Goodreads about the thrillers their users have been loving lately. Below are 20 titles (recent and upcoming) which have been getting high ratings and ample attention from the site's many lovers of mysteries and thrillers.
Fiona Lawson and her estranged husband have a unique method of coparenting, keeping their sons in the same family home, each taking turns staying there with them. But one day Fiona comes home to find strangers moving in — and her husband and sons are nowhere to be found.
Promising review: "With exceptionally well-developed characters that brought this story to life, this unique, modern and fresh offering to the domestic noir genre had me thoroughly enjoying my first read by Louise Candlish! I eagerly look forward to reading more of her work." —Bibliomaniac MJ
Stay-at-home mom Suzette is starting to suspect there's something wrong with her 7-year-old mute daughter Hanna — so much so that she's started to fear for her own safety. But Suzette's husband doesn't believe her; Hanna's an angel around him. And she loves him so much she doesn't want to share him with anyone else.
Promising review: "First off, this was one of the most chilling books I’ve read in quite a while. We’ve all known someone who is manipulative, mean, and downright evil but what do you do if it’s a child? Your child? And she’s deceptive enough to never let anyone see her manipulation? Alternating between the child's and mother's stories gives you a chilling look into this creepy-as-shit thriller!" —Laura Rash
As a young girl, Emma Davis witnessed her three cabinmates at Camp Nightingale sneak out in the middle of the night and never return. Now a famous artist, Emma is asked to return to Nightingale as a painting instructor — and when she arrives, she decides to look into her old friends' mysterious disappearance. But the deeper she digs into the camp's past, the darker its history becomes.
Promising review: "THAT ENDING! I can’t say much more because I refuse to spoil even a second of this wonderful ending, but boy-oh-boy was I paging back and forward, processing what I just read. I can’t wait for readers to discover this book for themselves! The entire book is a masterpiece, and one I already am planning to read again." —Mackenzie
The US is in danger: Its enemies are threatening an unprecedented attack, and the country is in mass paranoia as whispers of cyberterror and treason spread through the Capitol and beyond. And when the President himself goes missing shortly after becoming a suspect, the stakes are raised.
Promising review: "When two highly intelligent individuals cooperate on a political thriller (and I say that without prejudice) the result is a story so riveting, so breathtaking, so pulse-racing, and which took me behind the machinations of US politics into a world of subterfuge and nail-biting tension. I recommend The President Is Missing without reservation." —Mike Sumner
More than a decade after cutting ties with her high school best friend, Kit Owens discovers they're competing against each other for the same highly coveted research position. But Kit knows a chilling secret about Diane — and Diane knows she knows it — and the former friends quickly find themselves dangerously entangled.
Promising review: "Such a good book! Lots of twists, lots of great characters, lots of fabulous story! I had no idea the whole way through how this was going to end! This whole story was fascinating — the medical research, the back and forth between Diane and Kit and all of Kit’s coworkers, the commentary on womanhood, feminism, marginalization of women in the workplace, the psychology of Diane and Kit’s relationship with each other and Dr. Severin. Run out and get this book!!!!!!!!" —Heather Warner
Isaiah Quintabe (aka IQ) is a high-profile private investigator around Long Beach, California, but his success has brought along some loneliness. So when a new client arrives with a case — a young painter trying to find her missing mother — he's excited to take it on, to really help someone who needs it. But soon he finds himself vulnerable — a confidant has dangerous secret ties, the gangster responsible for his brother's death is now on IQ's tail, and even while all of this is happening, romance (with a new love interest) is in the air.
Promising review: "Ide's storytelling style is fantastic! The book is loaded with the laugh-out-loud one-liners that initially attracted me to Joe’s work. What I like most, however, is the cinematic feeling the novel evokes." —Andre Hardy
Forensic psychologist Zoe Bentley is called to Chicago to help with a gruesome case — three women have been found strangled, embalmed, and presented in lifelike poses. Her partner doesn't appreciate having her around, but the two must join forces despite their clashing as they dive into the dark mind of a serial killer, trying to stop him before he strikes again.
Promising review: "I feel this is how all thrillers, crime, and mysteries should be written. I found the characters endearing, and the story draws you in with not just the investigations and crimes, but also the humor, character interactions, and amazing twists you do not see coming. There was even an 'oh my god' moment that pushes a thriller from good to extraordinary." —Stacey
When wealthy wife and mother Meredith Price suddenly goes missing, it's hard to believe she would have just abandoned her happy life. But her car is found in a parking lot, her purse and phone inside and undisturbed, and there's no evidence of foul play. So her sister Greer, who's arrived in town desperate to find her, has to face an upsetting question: Did she ever know her sister at all?
Promising review: "This book gave me a plethora of emotions that will stay with me for some time. I'm usually pretty good at guessing plot twists but I will happily admit this one definitely kept me on my toes throughout. I absolutely loved the love Greer had for her sister, and the strength she had to not give up on getting her sister back. That bond is unbreakable and was beautifully written." —Linda Barrett
The Otis-Winbury wedding is poised to be the event of the (very lively) Nantucket wedding season — until a body is discovered in the harbor just hours before the ceremony, and everyone becomes a suspect.
Promising review: "I hate to play favorites, but in this case, I don't feel like I have a choice. In my humble opinion, this is Elin Hilderbrand's best work yet. Combining her signature backdrop, riveting cast of characters and penchant for teasing the local fare, with the suspense of a murder mystery — you better believe I soaked up every moment in the Nantucket sun." —Melissa
When tarot card reader Hal receives a letter meant for someone else — a letter telling the recipient she's inherited a lot of money — she decides to drop by the funeral to see if she can trick her way into claiming the money anyway. But once she's there, she quickly discovers the situation is much stranger — and darker — than she'd thought.
Promising review: "The Death of Mrs. Westaway is the book I have been waiting for Ware to create!! It is an immediate classic and the story of mistaken identity is an absolute perfect fit to Ware's charming, gothic style." —Books Bejeweled
Kaitlin Roe witnessed her cousin's abduction 14 years ago, but her survivor's guilt still haunts her. She mitigates her guilt by interviewing anyone even remotely connected to the unsolved crime for a podcast which she hopes will finally close this cold case. But when a woman she interviews is murdered, Kaitlin worries she's tempted a retired killer — and that she might be next on his list.
Promising review: "I had a blast reading this and will definitely be looking up more by this author. I was hooked from the very first chapter and the snippets of the killer's POV had me freakin the hell out! It was a ton of suspense with a little bit of romance." —WishfulMiss
A decade after being placed in solitary confinement for a crime he didn't commit, former cop Joe King is a private detective. While working for a Black radical journalist being accused of killing two corrupt cops, King receives a letter from a woman who admits she was paid to frame him — and suddenly King is desperately trying to save not only his client's life, but also his own.
Promising review: "Mosley doing what he does best, weaving a complex story that is at once over-the-top and utterly believable. As usual, there is a diverse and entertaining cast of characters, each of whom bring something important to the story and slowly, slowly untangle the mystery. It's Mosley's writing that I always look forward to." —Robin Mandell
Lydia Fitzsimons has a charmed life — her husband is a respected judge in Dublin, they live in a stunning house, and their son, Laurence, is the light of her life. But when Laurence meets someone who leads him toward a dark secret in his parents' past, the veneer of Lydia's perfect life starts cracking.
Promising review: "It is brilliantly plotted to ratchet up the tension and suspense. It crawls beneath the surface of obsessive love and lays bare its darkness. The insights into this mother and son relationship are mesmerizing." —Paromjit
FBI special agent Clarke Sinclair has been trailing serial killer Simon Cross across the country, piecing together key elements of his pattern (Cross murders red-headed women, and doesn't kill a new victim until Clarke has discovered his previous one) as she closes in. But then Simon breaks the pattern, and Clarke has to reconsider everything she thought she knew as she falls further and further into this life-threatening case.
Promising review: "Although this may be Brianna's first published novel, I think it is nothing short of outstanding: extraordinarily well-written, nicely paced, intricate, credible (scenarios, characters, dialogue, psychology) and intriguingly presented through alternating past and present accounts of villain and victims. I haven't rated many books with five stars lately, but this one deserves it IMHO!" —Ken Bour
Maggie is thrilled when her 17-year-old daughter Anna moves back in with her, even though her new husband Noah seems less than thrilled about her arrival. When Anna is murdered, all eyes are on Noah — and Maggie has to survive not only the loss of her daughter but potentially of her husband, too.
Promising review: "Never in a million years did I guess the turn of events that made this one of the best books I have read this year. Lisa Scottoline has truly outdone herself with this one." —Nancy McFarlane
When a wealthy woman is murdered just hours after planning her own funeral, a disgraced police detective turned private investigator begrudgingly takes on the case, and brings along the man he's hired to document his life — a writer named Anthony Horowitz.
Promising review: "The Word Is Murder is a delight of a novel and easily one of the most creative endeavors I've read all year. It's incredibly self-aware and meta, and half the fun is trying to pick out the truth from the embellishments from the flat-out fiction. I absolutely loved the ending and found it befitting of the tone of the entire story and Hawthorne and Horowitz's tumultuous relationship. This is one book that will be sticking with me for awhile." —Kaila
Ten years after Laurel's 15-year-old daughter goes missing, Laurel falls hard and quick for a charming man named Floyd. But when Floyd introduces her to his 9-year-old daughter, Laurel is floored — the girl looks exactly like Laurel's missing daughter at that age. Suddenly Laurel is facing all of her unanswered questions about this traumatic unsolved mystery.
Promising review: "This author just writes so well. Her characters are always so real that I can imagine them living out in the real world. I flew through this book, because I just had to keep reading, literally could not stop — I needed to find out what was going to happen. Easily one of my favorites of the year." —Mandy
In 1921 India, Sam Wyndham is trying to quiet his memories of the Great War with an opium habit which is rapidly becoming an addiction — one he needs to hide from his fellow officers in the Calcutta police force. When he's called in for a case, he realizes he's seen the grisly work of this murderer before. The only problem is he saw that corpse while high in an opium den, and now he has to solve the two murders without letting his secret out.
Promising review: "Cracking dialogue, immersive scene setting, beautifully crafted. I do think actually that Smoke and Ashes is the best [in the series] yet." —Liz Barnsley
In the years following a devastating mass shooting at a mall in Portland, Maine, the survivors funnel their trauma through different outlets: pursuing careers in law enforcement, cultivating an artistic side, generally trying to move on in some level of peace. But while the city is healing and rebuilding itself, one person believes the shooter didn't go far enough — and plans an attack that will leave no survivors.
Promising review: "This story, which touches so many current horrors and ancient truths, has all of Nora Roberts's trademark attention to character development and detail. I simply love the way she takes me into the story." —Chris Conley
It's San Francisco in 1947, and just as bartender Sammy Tiffin is about to make his move on a mysterious, beautiful lady, he's interrupted by an Air Force general who desperately needs his help. After all, Sammy has some serious connections on the street. Soon he's wrapped up in a situation that only gets weirder and weirder, and when the same woman he was originally interested in goes missing, he realizes he's in too deep to walk away.
Promising review: "Christoper Moore is like a fine wine — he gets better as time goes on. He’s one of those authors that never disappoints and this book is now in my top three favorites of his." —Stacy Fetters
(Goodreads reviews have been edited for clarity and/or length.)