Best Suspense Books That'll Keep You Turning Pages

Published on: Oct 28, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Best suspense books

Maybe you’re in a reading slump and ready to curl up with something you won't be able to put down. Want a dystopia or mystery that's not the one we're currently living in? How about getting lost in someone else’s nightmare? We rounded up our fave thrillers and crime fiction that’ll send chills down your spine. Reader beware. 

“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The author of “You Should Have Known” — the book that “The Undoing” was based on — dropped her newest thriller in May 2021. The gripping mystery centers on a washed-up MFA teacher at Ripley College who hasn’t written anything worthy in years. (“The Talented Mr. Ripley” vibes, anyone?) When one of his students tells him about the incredible plot of their future book and then turns up dead, however, he decides to steal the idea. But wait…someone knows what he did. And wants the truth out there. Dun dun dun. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides
“The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides

London-based therapist Mariana Andros is sure Cambridge University classics professor Edward Fosca is a murderer. And she's willing to risk everything — even her own life — to prove it. But as the body count grows, the truth only gets harder to pin down. Believe us when we say you will not see the end of this winding thriller coming. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“False Witness” by Karin Slaughter
“False Witness” by Karin Slaughter

Annnnd she does it again. Slaughter’s latest high-stakes novel follows a defense attorney whose dark past is coming back to haunt her — all thanks to a new client she’s called in to represent days before his trial. There’s deception, sabotage, violence, family secrets…all the stuff you could want from a fictional page-turner, really. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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"When No One Is Watching" by Alyssa Cole
"When No One Is Watching" by Alyssa Cole

Going on a treasure hunt...X marks the spot. This one follows a woman who's looking into the gentrification of her Brooklyn neighborhood. Turns out there's something a lot more sinister going on. Cue paranoia, suspense, and some "Get Out" vibes. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Falling” by T.J. Newman
“Falling” by T.J. Newman

High-stakes alert. The plot of this super-suspenseful debut novel goes a little like this: We’ve got 143 passengers on board a flight to New York. And the pilot in charge finds out his family’s been kidnapped soon after takeoff. To save his family, he’s supposed to crash the flight. The path toward a resolution? Well, it's...turbulent. It’s written by a former flight attendant who knows exactly how to make the hairs on your arm stand straight up. So buckle up — it’s about to get bumpy. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty
“Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty

Something is rotten in the state of this family. One of our fave authors (ahem, the one behind “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers”) is back with another prickly mystery. This time, she’s following the Delaney children and their father after the shocking disappearance of their mother. It’s part domestic saga, part psychological thriller — and the ending will shock you right to your core. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Mrs. March” by Virginia Feito
“Mrs. March” by Virginia Feito

“The Talented Mr. Ripley” meets Hitchcock meets Upper East Side high society in this buzzy psychological thriller. There’s Mr. March, a successful author who just put out his latest book. And his doting wife, Mrs. March, who finds out the unlikable protagonist in her husband's novel is actually based on her. Yikes. Cue her downward spiral and a wild, paranoia-filled journey that'll leave you on edge wondering what's next. The screen adaptation with Elisabeth Moss is already in the works too. You in? (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Survivors” by Jane Harper
“The Survivors” by Jane Harper

It's not always good to be home. In Harper's murder mystery, a body washes up on the beach riiight after Kieran Elliott, his girlfriend, and their baby arrive at the small coastal town where he grew up. The incident stirs up painful memories and threatens to reveal some old secrets. There's family drama, lots of suspense, and an unforgettable ending. See if you can predict it. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Turnout” by Megan Abbott
“The Turnout” by Megan Abbott

Things go from a pas de deux into a pas de don’t pretty quickly in this ballet-centered thriller. Abbott’s release follows two sisters who take over running their family’s dance studio after their parents' death. And right as they're prepping for their academy's annual “Nutcracker” performance, things take a dark turn. Come for the ballet references, stay for the family secrets and wild ending. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones
“How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” by Cherie Jones

Set in a fictional beach town in Barbados during the summer of 1984, the book tackles race, class, and cycles of abuse. In it, you'll follow two families after a robbery gone wrong. There’s Lala, a pregnant local hair braider who’s trapped in a violent marriage. And Mira, a rich former local who’s vacationing on the island with her British husband. The women’s lives cross and the fallout gives a devastating new meaning to pink sands and paradise. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Pretty Little Wife” by Darby Kane
“Pretty Little Wife” by Darby Kane

Lila Ridgefield appears to have the perfect life...until her husband goes missing. The news shocks their small town, especially Lila. She thought she killed him, and now his body is nowhere to be found. This twisted thriller's got serious "Gone Girl" vibes. As in, the main character is deeply flawed, you won't always know what's real, and you won't be able to put it down. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Husbands” by Chandler Baker
“The Husbands” by Chandler Baker

Welcome to Dynasty Ranch. Where domestic bliss is on the menu…until it isn’t. This exclusive Austin suburb is different than anything Nora has ever known. It’s where accomplished women aren’t burdened by household chores. And instead, their husbands assume those responsibilities — happily. So when Nora, a successful lawyer, takes on a case that brings her deeper into this upside-down “Stepford Wives” universe, she’ll soon discover that everything isn’t always as it seems. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave
“The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave

Just before Hannah's new husband disappears, he sends her a note: "Protect her." Hannah knows he's asking her to take care of his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. But she has no idea what she and Bailey are about to uncover together. Cue a whirlwind of suspense, surprise, and emotion. It's a Hollywood-worthy story. And the TV adaptation is already in the works. You don't wanna miss it. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“While Justice Sleeps” by Stacey Abrams
“While Justice Sleeps” by Stacey Abrams

Chaos? In Washington, DC? Groundbreaking. The novel centers on a resourceful young law clerk who becomes her boss’s power of attorney after he falls into a coma. And because this is DC he’s not just any boss, he’s a Supreme Court justice with a powerful swing vote. Now let’s add in a global conspiracy plotline that threatens to undermine the country, and you get this incredible legal thriller. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Too Good to Be True” by Carola Lovering
“Too Good to Be True” by Carola Lovering

Twists, lies, cons, oh my...from the author of “Tell Me Lies.” In her latest, a successful NYC book editor gets engaged to her boyfriend after only a few months of dating. Her friends aren't convinced he's Mr. Right. And turns out, they're onto something. Because Prince Charming’s hiding a biiiiig secret. No spoilers, but you'll be guessing the ending until the last twisty page. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Impostor Syndrome” by Kathy Wang
“Impostor Syndrome” by Kathy Wang

Calling all 007 fans. How about a female-led corporate espionage story instead? We’ve got Julia, a COO who’s infiltrating a Google-like organization in Silicon Valley on behalf of a Russian intelligence agency. And Alice, the tech company’s low-level employee who starts to put all the pieces together after some suspicious activity pops up during a server check. Their cat-and-mouse chase is electrifying. And you’ll be glued to the pages the entire time. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Push” by Ashley Audrain
“The Push” by Ashley Audrain

An unreliable narrator with a traumatic history of family abuse becomes a mother. After giving birth, she questions whether her difficulties connecting to her daughter are due to her past, or because there's something more sinister going on. It's a chilling psychological look at the dark, uncomfortable parts of motherhood and a provocative page-turner. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Verity” by Colleen Hoover
“Verity” by Colleen Hoover

Talk about a page-turner we’re still not over. Hoover, who also wrote one of our fave books “It Ends With Us”, centered this one on a struggling writer who accepts a job from the husband of a bestselling author named Verity. He tasks his new hire with completing the remaining books in a book series his injured wife is unable to complete. But when she starts looking through Verity’s notes...what she finds is completely disturbing. Cue the seductive mystery that has one of our all-time fave twists. Run, don’t walk. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley
“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley

The last thing you want at a wedding is an uninvited guest. What about a storm that keeps everyone trapped? Or a dead body? In this buzzy 2020 release, the perfect couple is set to marry off the coast of Ireland. Everyone in their inner circle is keeping secrets, and you’ll be guessing who ends up dead — and why — with each and every page. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris
“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris

You’ll be able to cut the tension here with a knife. Meet Nella, a hardworking 26-year-old assistant who’s fed up with being the only Black employee at her NYC book publishing job. When she hears that her company has hired another young Black woman, she’s thrilled. That is, until things begin to take a turn and she receives an unsettling note telling her to leave her job immediately. It’s been compared to “Get Out” and “The Devil Wears Prada” and has already been scooped up for a TV adaptation too. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Hunting Wives” by May Cobb
“The Hunting Wives” by May Cobb

A woman leaves behind big-city life to settle down with her husband and son in Texas. It at first seems like the perfect idyllic community. But she soon feels boredom start to kick in...until she meets the Hunting Wives — an alluring secretive group of women that lead her directly into trouble. The plot twists? They keep on coming. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt
“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

This 1980s-set campus drama for the win. If you’ve read Tartt’s other masterpiece “The Goldfinch” and haven’t picked up this one yet, this is your cue. And if you haven’t entered the Tartt universe...welcome. This book is the perfect spooky-season novel: it’s got mischievous, reclusive students who break bad at a liberal arts college in Vermont. They all study Greek under an eccentric professor, and before you know it these ultra lived-in characters are self-destructing (read: participating in devilish misconduct). Even though it was published in 1992, trust us when we say it’s still a page-turner almost 30 years later. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Leave the World Behind” by Rumaan Alam
“Leave the World Behind” by Rumaan Alam

This book goes from Airbnb goals to...something quite different. When a family of four heads to Long Island for a dreamy weekend away, their hosts return to the house panicked from a blackout in NYC. Cue this apocalyptic thriller and you leaving all your responsibilities behind to finish it. Oh, and NBD, but Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali are reportedly set to star in the movie version. Casual. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

In this 2019 bestseller, a famous painter violently and inexplicably kills her husband — and never speaks another word. She’s then sent away to a psychiatric unit in London, where she meets a criminal psychotherapist who sought her out in an attempt to get answers about her heinous crime. It has Agatha Christie meets modern Hitchcock vibes, and the insane ending will make you want to talk to anyone and everyone about it once you finish. What are you waiting for? (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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"The Glass Hotel" by Emily St. John Mandel
"The Glass Hotel" by Emily St. John Mandel

The author of one of our favorite dystopian novels, “Station Eleven,” is back. Her latest follows a Ponzi scheme gone wrong and a bartender who gets caught up in it. It jumps from gorgeous luxury hotel to federal prison to underground club and beyond. A good pick for anyone struggling to focus. You won’t be able to look away. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“The Perfect Mother” by Aimee Molloy
“The Perfect Mother” by Aimee Molloy

You’ve read “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train.” Now try this. It’s focused on a group of Brooklyn moms after a wild night out. Cut to the next morning...and one of their kids is missing. There’s a media circus and secrets, plus some poignant commentary about the expectations of mothers. Kerry Washington’s reportedly set to star in the movie version — so there’s your cherry on top if you weren’t sold already. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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“Pretty Things” by Janelle Brown
“Pretty Things” by Janelle Brown

Get ready for Nicole Kidman’s next book-to-screen adaptation. In this book, there’s one grifter, one heiress, and one complicated heist. It’s set in Lake Tahoe and will give you echoes of the Anna Delvey scandal and “The Bling Ring.” Scammer season wasn't over — it still isn’t over. (Amazon, Apple Books, Bookshop)

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If you buy anything from this article, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by Lindsay Schneider, Emmy Favilla