Psychological thrillers are one of the most exciting and well-read genres out there. It covers a multitude of subgenres and can hone in on psychopathic behavior, domestic abuse, or mental health issues.
For that reason, some people may find these books triggering. If you struggle with any of the above themes, please refrain from reading these novels.
Behind Closed Doors fits into both the ‘domestic thriller’ category and the psychological thriller category. As a result, this list will incorporate books from both genres and will also touch on some that flirt with both.
These books are typically gripping and very interesting, providing fascinating protagonists and top-quality plot lines that are unpredictable and will leave you on the edge of your seat. While domestic thrillers typically concentrate on a couple or a family and their issues, psychological thrillers as a whole are much broader and can encapsulate psychopaths, abuse, hospitalization, and even violence, crime, and death, depending on the character’s tendencies.
Psychological thrillers are usually quite twisted and dark and may get you thinking a little more than you would be reading other genres. Not only does this genre toy with the psychology of its characters but it’ll also play with the reader’s mind, so be aware of that.
Behind Closed Doors was written by B.A. Paris and follows an idyllic couple, one that seems to have everything and to be filled with happiness. However, Paris gives us an insight into the private lives of her protagonists, and from there, we can understand how different their reality is.
It covers themes of domestic abuse and manipulation and is jam-packed with suspense. B.A. Paris has written a plethora of psychological thrillers and is a well-recognized author within this genre, so we recommend any of her novels to the psychological thriller fan – if you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors her repertoire is the first thing you should delve into.
If this genre sounds like something you’d enjoy or if you’ve read and enjoyed B.A. Paris’s fantastic repertoire, here are 20 psychological and domestic thrillers that will keep you hooked.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
In this fantastic and twisted novel, Delaney knits an intricate web of deceit, secrecy, and death. The Girl Before is set in one creepy and dark house. Although minimalistic and appealing from the outside, the house has been a nightmare for numerous tenants, including Emma and Jane.
It comes attached to regulations and is restrictive in every way. Both women must uncover the truth before they start to lose themselves.
The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin
If you’re after a story riddled with domestic chaos, this is your book. Louise is a young mom with two energetic daughters and a baby, so her hands are pretty full. When the household’s new lodger moves in, Louise is automatically suspicious but her husband just blames her sleep deprivation.
Is Louise slowly going mad? Or is there truth behind the angst? The Hours Before Dawn is a creepy, psychological domestic that will keep you hanging until the last page.
Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
This book is extremely similar to Behind Closed Doors, as it follows Sutton and Ethan, a seemingly perfect couple on the outside that holds a dark, hidden reality.
Lie to Me is a gripping story that gets going after Sutton goes missing, leaving a note advising that no one should come looking for her. Lies, deceit, mystery, and a whole lot of drama are just a few things to expect from this one.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Ellie Mack was 15, beloved by everyone who knew her, and had a very promising future ahead. So when she suddenly disappeared the entire town was shocked and frightened at the prospect that someone dangerous could be responsible.
Now 10 years on Laurel is still grieving and still determined to find out what happened to her little girl. But with Floyd’s emergence in her life, Laurel transformed from an emotional wreck to a happy, loved-up woman again. However, when Laurel meets Floyd’s daughter for the first time and she looks just like Ellie, a whole new can of worms is opened for Laurel.
Then She Was Gone is emotional, mysterious, and riddled with thrill and anticipation – it’s a brilliant read for anyone!
The Wife by Alafair Burke
Angela and Jason married quickly after they met. It was a love-at-first-sight type of relationship that you see in the movies. This marriage gave Angela and her son a chance at a new life and an opportunity to escape their tragic past.
For six years they were happier than ever until Jason rose to fame and Angela’s life was placed under the microscope. When allegations begin cropping up about Jason, Angela’s life is thrown into turmoil and she is forced to reconsider who she actually married.
The Wife has frequently been compared to Behind Closed Doors and certainly follows a similar plot line and provides a similar reading experience.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is one of the most well-known and reputable psychological thrillers out there. It follows Nick, who is desperately trying to find his missing wife who disappeared on their wedding anniversary.
They had a troubled marriage and Amy was never really open about her issues, so when Amy’s diary comes into the mix, all eyes turn to Nick.
Gone Girl is a fantastically-constructed novel, overflowing with intensity, murder, violence, psychological complexity, drama, and relational issues. A must-read for any thriller-lover.
Too Good to be True by Carola Lovering
This is a whirlwind story of perspective that’s bound to keep you on your toes. 3 different stories, two marriages, and only one true story. But which one is it?
Too Good to be True is a brilliant tale of misunderstanding, deceit, psychological issues, and romance. Through complex characters Lovering creates the ultimate untrustworthy narration, forcing readers to doubt characters and perspectives in every chapter.
The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica
Shortly after moving to a small village on the coast of Maine, Sadie and Will soon find themselves at the epicenter of a local scandal. Morgan Baines, their new neighbor, is found dead and as the investigation becomes more suspicious, heads begin turning in Sadie and Will’s direction.
The Other Mrs is told from Sadie’s perspective and follows her thoughts, insights, and conversations as she tries to uncover what happened and prove herself innocent. But the more she finds out about Mrs. Baines, the more she involves herself with deep, dark secrets and soon she’ll wish she never even moved there.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This is one of the most well-recognized psychological thrillers of all time and has since been made into a high-grossing film starring Emily Blunt.
The Girl on the Train follows Rachel, who takes the same train every day to work. She passes the same houses and couples every day, intrigued by their day-to-day lives and taking an avid interest in their relationships. But when she accidentally witnesses something she shouldn’t, her curious nature leads to a deep investigation.
Keep It In the Family by John Marrs
This psychological thriller flirts with the horror genre, so it’s perfect for those looking for a haunting, spine-chilling read.
Keep It In the Family follows Mia and Finn, who are in the midst of renovating their new house. But when Mia discovers a dark secret that lies in the attic, she is unable to think about anything else. She knows protecting her family means leaving the house but Finn thinks she’s mad and is it too late?
One Last Secret by Adele Parks
One Last Secret is a brilliantly-constructed novel that dives into the psyche of Dora. She is a complex character and has always struggled with romantic relationships.
When she finds herself involved with Daniel as an escort, it isn’t long before she realizes she’s in far too deep. Dora must risk everything for secrecy and will go to great lengths to get revenge.
I See You by Clare Mackintosh
This is a mysterious, complex book with a fantastic premise. I See You concentrates on Zoe, who one day sees her picture in an ad for a website called FindTheOne.com. She does some research and realizes that the other women listed in these ads before became the victims of murderous crimes.
Zoe must team up with the police to find who’s responsible for this before she becomes the victim.
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
This is less of a domestic and more like a psychological thriller but if you enjoy the genre, you’re sure to love this one.
Made particularly famous by the film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs is known for its extremely complex and intriguing protagonist. Hannibal Lecter is a psychopath and criminal genius. His thought processes are mind-boggling and his character demonstrates how fine the line is between genius and madness. A true must-read for anyone!
Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
Shari Lapena is known for her gripping domestic and psychological thrillers, so anything written by her is a great choice.
Someone We Know is set in a mysterious New York neighborhood in which a teenage boy has been wreaking havoc. Anonymous letters are thrown about and the situation intensifies as the crimes get more violent.
When a woman is found dead, all hell breaks loose. There’s an obvious suspect but would he go this far? Or is the explanation something a lot more sinister?
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
This is a stunning book, excellently written and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. It follows the U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels who is sent to an isolated island on which a high-security mental hospital is in despair.
He is challenged with finding a missing patient but as he uncovers more about the hospital, the patients, and the staff working there, the reader is forced to doubt Teddy’s legitimacy.
Shutter Island is a classic psychological thriller that everyone should read. If you’re looking for a gripping, intense, and complex book, this is the one for you!
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
What started as a harmless game turned into the mysterious appearance of a group of young girls. Emma witnessed the whole thing but has since tried her best to forget the whole thing and immerse herself in her bustling career in New York.
The Last Time I Lied follows Emma as she battles with herself, forced to uncover the secrets that led to disaster.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
From the same author that wrote the best-selling psychological thriller The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides brings a whole new story, also filled with intensity and suspense.
The Maidens is a story of murder, mystery, deceit, and secrecy. It follows Mariana, a therapist whose niece is murdered and as a result, she becomes fixated on a secret society of female students who call themselves the Maidens. Sinister rituals and ancient traditions are just two of the odd things this group gets up to but Mariana is convinced that they aren’t responsible for the murder of her niece, the question is – who is?
The Maid’s Diary by Loreth Anne White
Kit is a maid known for snooping around her wealthy employers’ houses. But when she sees something she shouldn’t have, she is sent down a spiral of secrets that will immerse her in a whole new world of danger.
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Envious of Daphne and her perfect, wealthy lifestyle, Amber makes it her ambition to become her closest friend and confidante – keep your enemies closer, right?
But when Amber travels to Europe with Daphne’s family for the summer, her past secrets begin catching up with her and her plan is hanging on by a thread.
The Last Mrs. Parrish is a gripping, gossipy tale that is jam-packed with twists and turns, guaranteed to keep you addicted until the last page.
Someone Else’s Life by Lyn Liao Butler
After a failed job and an accident that disturbs the whole family, Annie decides it’s high time to pack up her life and move to a new slow-paced, safe town.
But when strange objects that she left behind start randomly appearing, Annie is certain that someone is watching. Someone Else’s Life is an unpredictable story that delves into women’s struggles, female relationships, family trauma, and secrecy.
Psychological and domestic thrillers are rightfully two of the most praised genres in literature. They are also some of the books that are most likely to be transformed into film or television adaptations due to their fast-paced and complex nature. Any of these 20 novels will give you the intensity and complexity that you may be craving after finishing Behind Closed Doors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a domestic thriller book?
Domestic thrillers focus on the psychological attributes of relationships and families. They are typically set within a ‘picture perfect’ couple or family dynamic and tell of the dark underbelly of their relationship.
What are the themes in a domestic thriller book?
Crime is typically featured within these novels but is not guaranteed. Other themes include complex psychology, relational breakdown, family troubles, secrecy, and mystery.
Why are domestic thrillers so popular?
People love reading intense stories set within realistic boundaries. Using relationships and families as a base for the plot will be relatable for many readers, which makes the twisted, psychological, or crime-related subthemes that much more exciting and gripping.
What is the difference between a psychological and a domestic thriller?
Domestic thrillers are a type of psychological thriller but typically center around a family or relationship. Whereas psychological thrillers are much more broad-ranging, encapsulating individual mental health issues, psychopaths, criminal masterminds, and psychological mysteries.
How many books has B.A. Paris written?
She has written around 10 books, all of which are highly recommended if you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors.