Top 15 Psychological Thrillers That You’ll Read In One Sitting by GBC Toronto Host, Sarah Wreford

9 min read


Have you ever read a book in one sitting? A book that makes you turn your phone off, allows you to throw out your daily to-do list, and forces you to stay up late fully disregarding your bedtime? Well, that has happened to me – exactly fifteen times over the past little while. 

No, I am not going to tell you that if you loved Girl on a Train or Gone Girl you will love these titles (like every other marketing campaign for psychological thrillers nowadays).  Instead, I’ll just say that if you are looking for a page-turner and a book that will leave you shocked and completely speechless after the last page, then these books are for you.

1. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh  |  BUY NOW

Jenna Gray witnesses a hit and run accident involving a little boy.  After a recurring nightmare, Jenna decides to move away to begin a fresh start.  Will her fresh start allow her to forget about the accident or will it continue to haunt her for the rest of her life?   

If you plan on reading just one book from this list, this is the book for you.  The twist in this novel was so great that I literally gasped aloud (please note that this has only ever happened in my life and it happened with this book). 

My Rating: 5 stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 4.09 stars

2. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena  |  BUY NOW

As parents of a six-month old baby, all Anne and Marco crave is a night out of the house.  Plus, they are only going next door so they can leave their sleeping baby at their own house, right?  With their baby monitor in tow and going next door for dinner, what could possibly go wrong? 

Get ready to begin having nightmares after reading this book. Caution: if you have a new baby at home you may want to avoid this one for a while.   

My Rating: 5 stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.74 stars

3. The Party by Robyn Harding  |  BUY NOW

Jeff and Kim Sanders are excited to be throwing their daughter Hannah a sixteen-year-old birthday party.  Besides, Hannah is such a good kid and has wonderful friends.  How much trouble can they really get into?  

This book is told through various characters recounting the night when something went horribly wrong.  If you want to read more about it, check out my in-depth review.

My Rating: 4 stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.47

4. I Found You by Lisa Jewell  |  BUY NOW

Alice Lake is a wonderful woman – she works hard, is an amazing mother, and is well known around the community for her giving nature.  One day, while looking out her window overlooking the beach, Alice spots a man standing alone.  After seeing him on the beach for hours she goes up to him and asks him who he is.  The only problem is that the man does not know his name or how he got to the beach.  Should Alice help him, call the police, or leave him alone? 

This book was really well written and I could totally relate to the character of Alice. It will have you questioning how giving one should be to others in need. 

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 4.04

5. A Beautiful Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite  |  BUY NOW

Okay so this is a memoir but I promise that it reads exactly like a psychological thriller.   

Jen Waite has just given birth to her beautiful baby girl when she discovers an email exchange between her husband and another woman.  Who is this other woman and why is her husband sending her emails? 

If you have ever wondered what the term “psychopath” means, you will want to check out this book.  Waite uncovers so many lies about her husband and will make you realize that psychopaths really do live among us. 

My Rating: 5 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.61

6. The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney  |  BUY NOW

All Emma wants is a nice place to live especially after she was robbed in her home in the middle of the night.  But what kind of place can Emma afford in order to create her fresh start?  All of the places she looks at are so expensive.  Suddenly, there is a place that is within her budget but she must apply to the architect of the building before moving in.  She must also follow certain rules within the house.  She has heard from the agent that many people have been turned down by the architect but will Emma be turned down as well? 

If you ever feel as though the housing market is too expensive in your area, take a read through this book and tell me whether or not you would have made the same mistake that Emma did. 

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.70

7. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall  |  BUY NOW

George Woodbury is known for being an incredible teacher and is loved by his community.  He has a wonderful wife named Joan and two amazing children.  Their life seems great until one day there is a knock on the door. It turns out that the knock is from policemen who are coming to arrest George for sexual assault involving a couple of his female students. Did he do it or was he set up? 

This book had my questioning the difference between “right” and “wrong.”  The entire time I read this book, I just needed to know if George was guilty or not but there is so much more to this book. 

My Rating: 5 stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.61

8. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty  |  BUY NOW

Did you watch Big Little Lies on HBO?  If so, you should know it was written by the incredibly talented Liane Moriarty.  In all honesty, I think The Husband’s Secret is actually much better than Big Little Lies.

Cecilia Fitzpatrick leads a beautiful life with her husband and kids.  One day she comes across a sealed letter that reads “For my wife – to be opened only in the event of my death.”  Should Cecilia read it and if she does, will it change her life forever? 

My Rating: 5 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.92

9. Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda  |  BUY NOW

 Paul and Mia have the perfect life and need a little escape from suburban life and being parents to two kids.  When Paul presents his wife with a little romantic weekend at their cottage on the lake, he promises her it will consist of the “best day ever.”  Will this hold true or does Paul have something else in mind? 

The chapters in the book are divided by different times throughout the day.  I couldn’t put it down because I needed to know how the “perfect day” ended.  If you want to read more about this book, I’ve reviewed it for Girly Book Club here.

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.93

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart  |  BUY NOW

A wealthy family has a beautiful cottage on an island and is visited by four teenagers as well as their families.  Then something horrible happens.  What has happened and who is the real “liar” in the group? 

This book will leave you speechless and is great for a quick read. Although it is considered Young Adult Fiction, it should be read by absolutely everyone. 

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.85

11. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult  |  BUY NOW

Sterling is a town where nothing really happens.  It seems everyone knows everyone and every day is extremely predictable. That is until a school shooting occurs that changes the lives of the members in the community forever. 

This book will have you questioning so many things and will make you look at the tragedies of Columbine and Sandy Hook in a different way. 

My Rating: 5 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 4.10

12. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware  |  BUY NOW

If you were ever to read a text sent from a friend stating, “I need you” what would you do?  Four close friends have made a pact stating that if one of them sends that text, they all need to be there for one another.   

As adults, they seem very innocent but before long it is revealed that as teenagers they were responsible for something called “the lying game.”  Are they good people and exactly how many lies have they told throughout their lives? 

If you want to read more about this book, check out my review on the GBC blog here.

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.62

13. The Widow by Fiona Barton  |  BUY NOW

Jean Taylor’s husband has just passed away and Jean is working hard on dealing with her grief.  She has always supported her husband trying to be a really good companion and wife.  But now that he is gone does she still have to keep up her façade or is she ready to expose her husband for who he really is? 

If you want a really creepy novel, you must check this out.  It really makes you evaluate your perception of other people and how many secrets actually go on behind closed doors. 

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.49

14. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris  |  BUY NOW

Everyone has that friend – that friend that won’t do anything without his/her partner.  This is especially true when it comes to Grace and her husband.  Everyone loves being around Grace and Jack as a couple but when trying to make plans with Grace she is never available.  Is she actually busy or is she actually keeping a secret she doesn’t want to share? 

This book really showed me that you can’t have it all and that so many of us hide things we never really want to share. 

My Rating: 4 Stars  |  Rating on Goodreads: 3.93

15. I See You by Clare Mackintosh  |  BUY NOW

What would you do if you saw a picture of yourself in a classified section of a newspaper with a mysterious number posted underneath the picture?  For Zoe Walker, this nightmare has become her reality. It becomes clear that someone is watching Zoe and is tracking her every move. But who is taking these pictures and why does she keep seeing women she knows from her commute appearing each day in the Gazette? 

Although this is not as good as “I Let You Go”, I still found this novel full of twists and turns and contained an ending I never expected. 

My Rating: 5 Stars  | Rating on Goodreads: 3.90

 Recommendations from our Girly Book Club Toronto host, Sarah Wreford

Girly Book Club

1 Comment

  1. Betty P. Notzon says:

    I have written what I regard as psychological and suspense fiction with a book blurb beginning with: “How could 15-year-old [female protagonist] know when she wakes up on page one of [title of book] that that night she’s coming face-to-face with evil?” Is there any possibility of its getting a review or a slim chance of some notice? It has more than a dozen 5-star reviews going for it. People also tell me they’re staying up late to finish it. (I hope you don’t regard this as spam. I’ve tried to remove as much identifying info as I can without totally gutting the description, but I’ll understand if you reject this)

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