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Psychological thriller books are one of the most popular genres in 2022. Maybe it’s because they let you fully escape into someone else’s mind. You can forget your to-do list for a while when you’re busy figuring out who to trust and what really happened in a thriller.
What Defines a Psychological Thriller?
Psychological thrillers are twist-filled mystery novels that make you unsure who to trust. Lies and secrets are prevalent, which could mean a secret past or unreliable narrators in the present.
The most common sub-genre is domestic thrillers, in which things aren’t what they seem. They take place within marriages, extended families, close friend groups, or between neighbors. While crimes like murder are almost always involved, the story’s focus is on finding the truth of what happened, not as much on the acts themselves. Along the way, expect plenty of suspense-filled plot twists! You’ll also find dark psychological thrillers. These crime novels often feature the quest to find a serial killer before there is another victim. In these books, someone is doing a deep dive into the human mind of the killer to predict the next move.
The prevalence of these books means new releases are filling the display shelves in bookstores and libraries. That can make it hard to narrow it down and decide which to read. Whether this is one of your favorite genres, or you’re just looking for one of the best spooky books to read in the fall and don’t regularly read modern thriller books, we have you covered!
We curated our recommendations for best mystery thriller books of 2022 just for you.
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The Best Psychological Thrillers
by Alice Feeney
It's Nana's 80th birthday, and her party will be in her crumbling gothic family home, which is on a tiny, isolated island. Daisy has been avoiding her family members for years but agrees to attend the gathering to celebrate Nana.
At midnight, Nana is killed, followed by another family member an hour later. They're all trapped together until the tide comes in, and it's time to reconcile past secrets with the present danger before it's too late.
The Book Girls Say... This one is said to be a nod to the classic "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. Check out our Locked Room Mystery Books list if you enjoy this style of suspense thriller.
The Last Lie Told
by Debra Webb
Bestselling author Debra Webb has released the first book in a brand new series about legal investigator Finley O’Sullivan. She’s haunted by her past and uses it to drive her obsession with the truth. When the police overlook evidence, she’s there to find answers. But, throughout all her investigations, she's unable to escape her own trauma.
This case in this book centers on an imprisoned man recanting his confession. He claims he wasn’t the guilty party and was just trying to clean up a mess for her girlfriend. However, she is the victim’s daughter. During her investigation, Finley discovers that the victim had identical twin daughters, and the sisters have vastly different accounts of the crime.
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/2022.
The Family Game
by Catherine Steadman
Edward Holbeck was born into a highly eccentric, old-money family in the 1%. He left them behind to escape being under their control and forge his own path. His wife, Harry, is a novelist on the brink of stardom, and their life is good.
However, the family’s eyes and ears are everywhere. They’re not okay with Edward’s separation from the family because he’s still set to be the sole heir to the fortunes. When the head of the family, Robert, slips a shocking taped confession to Harry, their world beings to spin. As she searches for the truth, she finds herself involved in the Holbeck’s savage Christmas tradition, even though she knows losing the game can be deadly.
All Good People Here
by Ashley Flowers
When main character Margot was just a kid, her six-year-old neighbor, January, was found in a ditch. Twenty years later, the killer has never been found. Margot still lives with the terrible feeling that she could have been the victim instead of January.
When journalist Margot returns to her hometown, it feels just as stifled and secretive as it did when she left. While she is still there caring for her sick uncle, another young child, Natalie, in the next town disappears in a similar fashion to January two decades earlier. Margot vows to find Natalie, no matter how much resistance she faces from the townspeople.
The Book Girls Say…We love it when a book’s ratings live up to the pre-publication hype, which has been the case for All Good People Here. It’s the debut novel from Ashley Flowers, the host of the #1 true crime podcast, Crime Junkie.
The It Girl
by Ruth Ware
April, Hannah, Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily became inseparable friends during their first term at Oxford. April was the ultimate It girl, bright, vivacious, and sometimes vicious. But, but the end of their second term, April was dead.
Hannah and Will went on to get married, and ten years later, they are expecting their first child. The man convicted of killing April has just died in prison, and Hannah is excited to start her new chapter in life and leave the past behind.
But when a journalist shows up claiming to have evidence that the man might have been innocent, Hannah reconnects with old friends and realizes more happened in the past than she previously realized.
Things We Do in the Dark
by Jennifer Hillier
When Paris is suspected of killing her celebrity husband with a straight razor in their bathtub, she has more to worry about than a possible charge for this crime. Media attention is bringing back people from the past she’s tried so desperately to leave behind.
Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby was convicted of a similar murder. She’s the one who knows who Paris really is, and she’s just been released from prison. After Ruby threatens to expose all of Paris’ secrets, Paris must confront her dark past before she ends up with not just one, but two, murder charges.
The Family Remains
by Lisa Jewell
This new release is the much-anticipated standalone sequel to the domestic thriller, The Family Upstairs. Although they can be enjoyed separately, most reviewers recommend reading The Family Upstairs first to get acquainted with Henry, Lucy, Libby, and Phin.
Chief Detective Samuel Owusu is investigating bones that have been recently found and tied back to a 30-year-old cold case murder.
Rachel’s husband has been found dead in France, and the police have questions about his past that she doesn’t want to answer.
Lucy returns to London for the first time after fleeing 30 years ago. But, just as she gets settled with her family, her brother takes off to find a boy from their past who still haunts their memories.
These seemingly unrelated groups of people, each dealing with their own mysteries, end up colliding in a way they couldn’t have predicted.
by David Ellis
This roller coaster domestic psychological thriller pulls you into the lives of a wealthy Chicago couple, Simon and Vicky. He’s a law professor, and she’s an advocate for domestic abuse victims. Their life and marriage looks perfect, and maybe even dull.
Except that one of them may be a killer. After the death of a socialite, Simon and Vicky’s secrets begin to unravel. From affairs and trust funds to long grudges and revenge, their life is a complex web of lies and deception. But who is conning who?
by Freida McFadden
Millie has a chance to start fresh when she gets a job working for Nina and Andrew Winchester as a live-in housekeeper and cook. She tries to ignore the annoyances of the job, like Nina constantly making messes just to watch her clean them up. Despite the beautiful wife, dreamy house, and fancy cars, Andrew seems more broken each day. His eyes are full of pain behind his outward appearance of a perfect life.
When Millie can’t resist trying on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses, she has no idea want the small act will set in action. Soon, she realizes her attic bedroom door only locks from the outside. The Winchesters may have even darker secrets than her own.
This page-turning thriller is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/22.
The Secret Witness
by Victor Methos
Former prosecutor Soloman Shepard was brutally attacked in the courtroom, which ended his previous career. Now he stays away from the action and teaches seminars about serial murders and psychopathology.
Toole County sheriff Elizabeth Gray leads the investigation after a young couple is murdered. An anonymous letter published in a Utah newspaper after the murder claims to be from the Reaper, and the letter leads to the discovery of a third victim.
Elizabeth needs to find the killer quickly and turns to her old friend Soloman for help. But, as they begin to unravel the mystery in this dark psychological thriller, they face an unexpected enemy.
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/22.
The Good Lie
by A. R. Torre
Six teens have been murdered by a predator known only as the Bloody Heart serial killer. But the killer’s 7th victim managed to escape. He has identified a teacher from the local school, Randall Thompson, as his captor.
Dr. Gwen Moore has spent her psychiatry career working with some of the most depraved murderers in California and trying to understand their motives. Based on her expertise, she believes that Randall is in fact the culprit. Unfortunately, Robert Kavin isn’t convinced. He’s the defense attorney who has agreed to represent Randall. But Robert isn’t just a lawyer - he’s also the father of one of the Bloody Heart serial killer’s victims.
Robert wants Gwen to interview his accused client. He believes that if she creates a psych profile of the killer and his victims, it could help to clear Randall’s name. As Gwen becomes more entangled in the investigation, she becomes closer to Robert. The more she learns, the more questions she has.
The Book Girls Say… A.R. Torre is the dark alter ego of author Alessandra Torre, and the pen name under which she writes suspense novels. Alessandra, on the other hand, writes spicy romance novels. Reviewers praise her ability to write both genres so well. In The Good Lie, she’s managed to mix just a bit of romance into this dark psychological thriller to make the plot even more complex.
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/2022.
The Golden Couple
by Greer Hendricks
Marissa and Matthew Bishop’s perfect marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears from the outside. Work and lack of intimacy have come between them, and Marissa has been unfaithful. But they have an 8-year-old son, and they still love one another, so they’re willing to work on the relationship.
They seek help from a therapist named Avery Chambers. Despite losing her license, she continues to counsel those in need. Her methods are unconventional, but the Bishops are willing to try anything.
One of the Girls
by Lucy Clarke
Lexi’s getting married - but before the big day, she’s celebrating her bachelorette weekend on a picturesque Greek island. She and her friends are soaking in the sun and ocean views while exploring the whitewashed streets and tavernas.
But things aren’t as postcard-perfect as they appear. Below the surface of the friendships, each of the six women is hiding a secret. Someone is determined to stop Lexi’s wedding, and one of them won’t leave the island alive.
The Lies I Tell
by Julie Clark
This psychological thriller, from the author of The Last Flight, tells the story of a con woman with many aliases. Depending on the town, she might be a college student, a life coach, or a real estate agent. She tells you what you need to hear, and nothing is real. By the time she’s disappeared, you’ve likely lost everything.
And that is what happened to Kat Roberts. Kat has been waiting for ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. Now that she’s finally back, Kat wants to be the one to expose her. But, in order to do so, she’ll first have to get close to her. And that changes everything.
A Flicker in the Dark
by Stacy Willingham
Twenty years ago, when Chloe was just twelve years old, six teenage girls went missing in her small hometown in Louisiana throughout one summer. Chloe’s father was arrested - accused of being a serial killer - and imprisoned for the murders.
After spending years dealing with the aftermath, Chloe has finally pieced together a happy life for herself in Baton Rouge. She’s preparing for her wedding and has a fulfilling career as a psychologist.
In her psychology practice, she works with troubled teens. When first one local teen girl and then another goes missing, the memories from that terrifying summer in her childhood comes crashing back. She sees parallels - but are they really there, or is she just being paranoid? Is she about to unmask a killer for the second time in her life?
Mother of All Secrets
by Kathleen M. Willett
Jenn is a sleep-deprived and overwhelmed first-time mom. On top of the challenges of a newborn, she’s grieving her mother's death, and frustrated that her loving husband isn’t being as attentive as she’d hoped. Feeling isolated and depressed, she joins a new moms’ group that begins to help her feel seen and connected.
But when the group’s leader, Isabel, suddenly disappears, Jenn is consumed with worry. She attempts to investigate, and the clues she uncovers take her down a slippery slope from concern to obsession to paranoia. She’s forced to look closer at herself, her marriage, and the other women in the group. It also means unearthing secrets that were supposed to stay buried. How much is Jenn willing to risk to save a woman she barely knows?
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/2022.
What She Did
By Kate Gable
Detective Charlotte Pierce is new to Mesquite County. It appears to be a quiet suburban community where nothing ever really happens, until she’s called to the scene of a terrible crime. A couple expecting their first child has been brutally murdered in their bed. The prime suspect is the ex-wife, but this is not an open and shut case. Things just aren’t adding up, and Charlotte refuses to overlook the inconsistencies. She’ll soon learn that ths community is filled with secrets - some within her own police department.
The Book Girls Say… This 2022 novel is also listed on Goodreads until the title What She Did. It is the prequel to the Charlotte Pierce Mystery series. Two additional books are already available and included with Kindle Unlimited. Another is set to be released soon.
The books in this series are currently available with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/2022.
by Minka Kent
Merritt and her husband Luca have a picture-perfect life - a growing family and a coastal home. But their promising future is suddenly called into question when Luca’s first wife, Lydia, shows up at their door late one night.
Lydia has been missing for 10 years and had been presumed dead. She says she was kidnapped, and after a decade-long torturous confinement, she finally escaped despite being weak and malnourished.
Merritt and Luca feel guilty for the new life they’ve built, and they agree to help Lydia rebuild her life. But the more Merritt learns, the more questions she has. Why hasn’t Lydia told the police about her kidnapping? What does Lydia really want from Luca and Merritt? Lydia is not the only one with secrets, and the truth is terrifying.
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 8/30/2022.
by Katy Hays
Ann Stilwell is a post-grad student from the Pacific Northwest who has been looking forward to her summer internship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. When she arrives, she’s surprised to learn that she’s been assigned to The Cloisters to assist a group of researchers studying the history of divination. This is outside of Ann’s area of study, but after she discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards, her academic curiosity quickly becomes an obsession. Do these cards hold the key to predicting the future?
When there’s an unexpected death at The Cloisters, everyone is a suspect. Ann finds herself caught in a dangerous game of power and ambition.
This book has been compared to Donna Tartt’s classic, The Secret History. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, this atmospheric and suspenseful mystery belongs to a sub-genre called Dark Academia.
The Book Girls Say… The Cloisters Museum & Gardens is a real branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. This Gothic museum opened in 1938 and is dedicated to the art, architecture, and artifacts of medieval Europe.
This Supernatural Psychological Thriller is set to be published on November 1, 2022, and is available for pre-order now.
Wrong Place Wrong Time
by Gillian McAllister
In this newly released thriller, Jen is waiting up for her 17-year-old son to come home one night in late October. Through the window, she witnesses the unthinkable. Her son kills a man right in the street outside their home and then is taken into custody.
Jen goes to sleep that night, wishing it was all just a bad dream. Then, she wakes up yesterday. The next day, she wakes up the day before yesterday.
Day after day, she wakes up another day earlier and has another opportunity to stop the murder if she can figure out what caused her son to commit the crime in the first place.
The Book Girls Say… This twisty thriller also made our list of best books to read in the fall. Check out our fall reading list for a wide variety of genres - from thrillers and mysteries to historical and contemporary fiction. The fall list also includes books set in the autumn, back-to-school themes, Halloween-inspired titles, and lighter readers with fall vibes.
We limited this list to the best psychological thriller books for adults published in 2022. If you’re looking for older thriller books to read, try Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Liane Moriarty also writes psychological suspense novels that cross the line between contemporary fiction and domestic thrillers.
Additional Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Book Lists
Ready for more thriller, suspense, and mystery book recommendations? Here’s an index to all our other related book lists!
- 17+ Winter Thriller Books to Read in 2022
- Best Culinary Cozy Mysteries
- Best Psychological Thriller Books for 2022
- Books Like We Were Liars
- Halloween Cozy Mysteries
- Locked Room Mystery Books
- Mystery Books Set in the 1920s
- Summer Cozy Mysteries Set on the Beach
- Summer Mystery Books & Beach Thrillers for 2022
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