Thrillers are packed with highs and lows, making for some exciting book club discussions.
By Jessica Dukes
A thriller is a mystery with a twist. There’s a problem to solve, but the stakes are impossibly high and failure is always a breath away. Choose a thriller for your next book club meeting, and you’ll have plenty to talk about as you question the hero’s actions, dissect the villain’s motives, and wonder what you would do under such extreme circumstances.
Check out these thrillers and get ready for some page-turning suspense!
A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson
Imagine your teenage daughter being accused of brutally murdering a businessman 15 years her senior. All the hard questions must be asked, but in the end the only one that matters is how far you’d go to protect your relatives. It’s a riveting family and courtroom drama. Discussion questions are here.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Tom and his young son, Jack, move to a new town in hopes of leaving a tragedy behind them. Little do they know that their new home harbors a secret pain of its own. A serial killer who has been locked up for years seems to have returned, and local children are once again in danger. Discussion questions here.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Theo, a criminal psychologist, has waited years to handle Alicia’s case. No one can explain why she would kill her husband and ruin their storybook life, much less why she stopped talking after the murder. The longer her silence, the more notorious her crime becomes to the public. It’s the most important case of Theo’s life, but her silence is a danger to them all. Discussion questions are here.
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Adam and Emily are in love and plan to spend their lives together, but Adam’s mother has other ideas. Pammie seems to be every woman’s nightmare — a controlling mother who insists on meddling in her son’s life. Emily endures Pammie’s schemes at first, but realizes too late that she’s caught in a dangerous love triangle, although not the one she expects.
The Last by Hanna Jameson
World War III brings the nuclear annihilation of four major cities, effectively ending global communication and stranding the attendees of an academic conference at a hotel in Switzerland. Two months later, the twenty survivors each have to decide their part, if any, in rebuilding civilization. But first, the death of a young girl in the hotel could derail any hopes of peace. Discussion questions are here.
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Fourteen years ago Angela disappeared in high school. Now, her remains have been found near her best friend’s property and a new investigation drags old secrets into the light. Arrests are made, but are they justified, especially now that new and similar murders have begun?
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Grace, Lia, Sky, and their mother live on a secluded island. They can never leave, but they’re also protected from all the violence and misogyny of the mainland. One day, three people land on their shores — two men and a boy — threatening to destroy their safe world and their identities forever. Discussion questions are here.
The Troop by Nick Cutter
Scoutmaster Tim Riggs is deep in the Canadian wilderness on his annual camping trip with a troop of young scouts when an uninvited visitor crashes their campsite. What follows is an evil infection, and a truly horrifying and gory struggle to make it out of the woods alive.
Those People by Louise Candlish
If you’ve ever had annoying neighbors (and who hasn’t?) you’ll identify with this story … to a point. The neighbors here take their revenge a bit too far, which makes it difficult to explain themselves when a baffling murder happens on the block. Discussion questions are here.
Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Written by the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, this murder mystery takes place in a remote Polish village. A killer is on the loose, and the dead bodies are piling up with no leads in sight. If only the local police would pay attention to Janina, a reclusive scholar, who probably knows who’s terrorizing them all.
The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth
Lucy has never had a comfortable relationship with her mother-in-law, the ever-perfect Diana. Suspicions run wild when Diana is found dead, her suicide note mentioning terminal cancer, although an autopsy finds no trace. If Lucy didn’t kill her, who else would want the family matriarch out of the picture? Discussion questions are here.
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
The memory police have one job: ensure that whatever disappears is forgotten, including people. A young writer challenges their authority when her troubled friend “disappears” into hiding in her basement. Telling the story of a disappearance is dangerous, but it may break the memory police’s hold on society once and for all.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
Rowan’s well-paying job as a live-in nanny in a splendid home seems too good to be true. Indeed, when she’s accused of murdering one of the children in her care, her dream job becomes a nightmare. Told from her prison cell, Rowan tries to explain what happened. Other employees, the children, and even the house itself are all suspect. Discussion questions are here.
The Guardians by John Grisham
Grisham’s 2019 release is one of the most exciting legal thrillers since A Time to Kill. A young, black man is sentenced to life in prison for killing his own attorney, and his only glimmer of hope comes 22 years later when a small non-profit agrees to reinvestigate his case. His new attorneys soon find themselves a target, as a murder case evolves into a full-blown hunt for corruption.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Ivy League secret societies are heavy with power and violence … and magic. Alex, a high school dropout, can’t understand why she’s given a free ride to Yale until she’s told the conditions. She’s to infiltrate and report on the university’s occult practices — an education beyond any she’d get in a classroom, and one that endangers her life.