20 Must-Read Thriller Books from Authors Like Jess Lourey

Jess Lourey is known to experiment with genre and style, so her books cannot be pigeonholed into one category. However, the one thing that ties all of her books together is secrecy. Lourey claims to be fascinated by the things people hide from the world and has made a successful career out of it.

20 Must-Read Thriller Authors Like Jess Lourey

Some of Jess Lourey’s most famous thrillers include Unspeakable Things (2020), Te Quarry Girls (2022), and Bloodline (2021). Each book is inspired by real events and ranges in character age and period. 

The Quarry Girls follows the secrets and revelations of a tight-knit friendship group. Unspeakable Things tells the stories of a group of boys who disappeared, until one by one they return, but none of them are the same. Bloodline follows a couple who slowly uncover the dark truth of the town they recently moved to. An archaic organization still controls the town and a sinister secret of a missing boy is revealed. 

Her books frequently tackle the psychological issues faced by her characters and the twists and turns are guaranteed to take you off guard. 

Regardless of whether you’re a hardcore Jess Lourey fan or you’re just looking to branch your reading list into the world of thrillers, this article is for you. Below are 20 suggestions of the best thrillers out there. It will include some classics you may recognize and new titles that you may not have heard of.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In)

You may recognize this title from the gripping drama series starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Reece Witherspoon. This star-studded cast has increased the popularity of Moriarty’s original novel significantly. 

It follows a close group of women who are all so different, with their own lives, personalities, relationships, and secrets. But they have one thing in common – they’re all, in one way or another, involved in the murder that shattered their perfect little town.

Much like Lourey’s interest in secrecy, Big Little Lies entangles a complex web of lies, deceit, and secrets to uncover the real women underneath the facade.

You can find the book here.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Wife Between Us

This immediate New York Times bestseller has swept many readers off their feet. It divulges into the psyche of an ex-wife, seemingly envious and obsessed with her replacement. She still loves her ex-husband and hates the idea of him remarrying.

But what she fails to recognize are all the small truths she dismissed when blinded by love. This chilling novel will expose the danger of trust and love and unravel the complexities of marriage.

You can find the book here.

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

We Were Never Here: A Novel

Emily and Kristen are in the mountains of Chile on their annual reunion trip. Feeling closer than ever and enjoying their vacation, what could go wrong?

After finding blood and broken glass in their hotel suite, Emily is forced to confront Kristen, who claims she was attacked by a backpacker and had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. But this is all too familiar for Emily – this happened last year when another backpacker was found dead.

Emily is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her friend and their relationship and decides to maintain her distance from Kristen. But Kristen is determined to keep Emily close and will make sure that she doesn’t go down alone.

You can find the book here.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room: A Novel

Also known for the chilling film adaptation starring Brie Larson, this novel is a disturbing, psychological crime thriller, innovative in its premise.

Five-year-old Jack has been born and raised in one tiny room. To him, that’s the world. But when Ma devises a plan to help them both escape from the man keeping them hostage, she doesn’t consider how the outside world may impact Jack. 

Told from Jack’s intriguing and innocent perspective, Room will raise your heart rate and may even trigger a tear or two. 

You can find the book here.

The Favor by Nora Murphy


Leah has learned that what’s inside a house may be more dangerous than what’s outside. She can’t save herself, it’s too late. But when she notices McKenna, who seems to be embarking on the same path she’s on, she must try and save her. 

Although they’ve never met, Leah does everything in her limited power to stop McKenna from falling into the same trap. 

You can find the book here.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

A number one New York Times bestseller and now an award-winning film adaptation starring Emily Blunt, Lisa Kudrow, Luke Evans, and Justin Theroux. This story is not one to miss. 

Rachel commutes via the same train every day. She closely watches the regulars and is particularly interested in the seemingly perfect couple she names Jess and Jason. 

One day she witnesses something she’ll never forget. She goes to the police and entangles herself within the investigation and everyone else involved. Did she go too far? 

You can find the book here.

Misery by Stephen King

Misery: A Novel

No list of thriller novels is complete without a mention of the ‘King’ himself. This novel is one of his best-sellers and grew even more popular with the release of the 1990 film adaptation starring James Caan and Kathy Bates.

When famous novelist Paul Sheldon is left severely injured after a car crash, he is discovered by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. She promises to nurse him back to health, but Paul soon realizes he is her prisoner. 

A psychological story of torture, insanity, and consequence, this King novel is a must-read.

You can find the book here.

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Dear Child: A Novel

This novel has been showered with awards like Amazon.com’s ‘Best Books of the Year’ 2020, Bustle’s ‘Best Books of Fall 2020, and Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers of Fall 2020.

After disappearing 14 years prior, Lena returns and fits the description. But Lena’s parents are convinced it’s not her.

The girl that escaped with her knows Lena isn’t telling the truth. Gripping, clever, and filled with psychological twists, Dear Child will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page. 

You can find the book here.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List: A Reese's Book Club Pick

This New York Times bestseller follows a picture-perfect wedding on an island off the coast of Ireland. 

But things quickly turn sour, the groomsmen begin their traditional drinking games and unleash dangerous secrets and one of the bridesmaids deliberately ruins the dress. And then a dead body is found. 

Someone is out to ruin their day – but who and why?

You can find the book here.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window: A Novel

A widely anticipated film adaptation starring Amy Adams and Gary Oldman is set to increase this book’s sales dramatically. 

Anna lives alone in New York City, unable to go outside. So, she spends her time drinking and spying on her neighbors. When new inhabitants move in across the street, Anna is intrigued. 

They seem like a perfect little family, until one day she sees something she shouldn’t. Unearthing secrets she shouldn’t know, Anna’s life is forever changed, but what can she do from the inside?

You can find the book here.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacey Willingham

A Flicker in the Dark: A Novel

When Chloe was a child, six teenage girls went missing in her Louisiana town and her father was jailed for it. 

Now twenty years after and finally moving on from the trauma of her childhood, another series of girls go missing. Did they jail the wrong person all those years ago? Or is she about to find another killer?

You can find the book here.

Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Long Road to Mercy (An Atlee Pine Thriller, 1)

This gripping novel is the first in a 4-book series following the same character desperate to find his missing sister.

Atlee has spent 30 years trying to find her and won’t quit until she has answers. Although the closest suspect already resides in a high-security prison, there was no confession and Atlee is determined to find clarity.

You can find the book here.

Darkest Day by Håker Nesser

Darkest Day

Set in a small, quiet Swedish town, this novel follows Inspector Barbarotti, challenged with finding two members of the Hermansson family.

It’s down to Barbarotti to unravel the mysteries of that night, but will the discovery of deep, family secrets hold him back?

You can find the book here.

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris

Anywhere You Run: A Novel

This novel is set in 1964 when three men were killed for trying to secure the right for Black Mississippians to vote. Racial discrimination is commonplace and intensifying under Jim Crow Laws, but after being attacked, 21-year-old Violet is determined to seek revenge.

She kills the man who attacked her, knowing that the color of her skin would condemn her to death. So she decides to run. 

After falling pregnant outside of wedlock, Violet’s sister runs from social shame to join her sister. But what the two don’t realize is that someone is watching their every move. A man with his own motives for finding the two women. 

This novel combines thrill, secrecy, and race to create an enthralling read, different from many on this list. 

You can find the book here.

Dead Simple by Peter James

Dead Simple

Now an unmissable British TV drama, Dead Simple follows Detective Superintendent Roy Grace as he searches for answers. 

After a stag night, the groom disappears and his friends are all dead – but who’s responsible, and what happened that night?

You can find the book here.

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma 

The Fishermen: A Novel

Told from the perspective of the youngest brother, 9-year-old Benjamin, this story follows four brothers, growing up in a small Nigerian town. They frequently skip school to go fishing and one day meet a madman who tells the oldest of the brothers that one of his siblings will kill him. 

As the following events unravel, we learn more about his destiny, the individual brothers, and the tragic, thrilling lives they lead.

You can find the book here.

The Interview by C.M. Ewan

The Interview

From the author of the bestselling book Safe House, The Interview takes a new, disturbing psychological angle. 

An interview for your dream job sounds like the best opportunity right? But when everyone’s gone home and you’re alone with the interviewer, things get a little uncomfortable. As the questions get more and more disturbing, escape routes narrow and it’s clear that there’s only one way out – answering an impossible question. 

But when you can’t… What happens then?

You can find the book here.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife

This novel was an immediate international bestseller and is a soon-to-be film. My Lovely Wife uncovers the dangers of a boring marriage. 

After getting the dream house, having the dream kids, and meeting the one, what else is there to do? Many couples spice up their marriage in different ways, but this couple chose murder.

You can find the book here.

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones 

The Other Woman: A Novel

Adam is Emily’s perfect man. He’s devoted, kind, and interesting. But another woman shares a bond with Adam. 

When you throw in crazy mother-in-law Pammie, Emily starts to realize that Adam’s life is more complicated than she thought. Pammie is willing to go to any lengths for her son, but Emily is desperate to stay with him. 

The real question is – how many women will she have to fight off?

You can find the book here.

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen

If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

New York Times bestseller, Amazon bestseller, and Washington Post bestseller – everyone’s talking about Olsen’s new, gripping novel.

After suffering the trauma of physical and emotional abuse from their mother, three sisters have an unbreakable bond that can survive secrecy, deceit, and even murder. Can they fully move on from their childhood together? Or will they be forever trapped in the dark and evil trap their mother forced them into as children?

You can find the book here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Jess Lourey?

Jess Lourey is a crime fiction, YA adventure, children’s fiction, and nonfiction writer. Some of her books are inspired by the crimes committed in her hometown in Minnesota and her books are well-recommended for thriller and mystery fans.

How many books has Jess Lourey written?

In total, Jess Lourey has written 42 books. They span across genres and many are children’s books, so be sure to filter through her selection to find the thrillers.

What is a ‘thriller’?

‘Thriller’ is a literary subgenre that is typically fast-paced, action-packed, mysterious, and suspenseful. The plotlines usually follow the events after a crime and the best thrillers use the psychology of the characters to intensify the read.

Who is the most famous thriller writer?

This is difficult to answer because there are so many thriller writers out there now. However, the thriller writer with the most copies sold is Agatha Christie.

What are the different types of thrillers?

Psychological thriller, crime thriller, horror thriller, action thriller, spy thriller, mystery thriller, science fiction thriller. However, these can often overlap.

What are the most popular thriller books?

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
4. The Outsider by Stephen King
5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
8. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
9. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
10. The Stand by Stephen King

What are the most popular thriller book sub-genres?

1. Psychological Thrillers
2. Crime Thrillers
3. Techno Thrillers
4. Legal Thrillers
5. Financial Thrillers
6. Medical Thrillers
7. Political Thrillers
8. Spy Thrillers
9. Conspiracy Thrillers
10. Action Thrillers

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Colton Cowie