12 Very Creepy Thrillers That Will Haunt You

By Brandon Miller
A collage of thriller and mystery novel covers displayed on an orange background, showcasing the works of various authors.

There’s nothing like curling up with a chilling read before bedtime. Some of these books are spine-tingling psychological thrillers, others creep into the supernatural realm. Each is sure to linger in your mind long after you’ve turned out the lights.

granite harbor cover alex michaelides quote

Granite Harbor

By Peter Nichols

Die-hard thriller lovers who think they’ve read it all, take note: Publisher’s Weekly hails Peter Nichols’s Granite Harbor as a “grisly and fiendishly inventive murder mystery that will rattle even seasoned genre fans.” In a tight-knit coastal Maine community, failed novelist and single parent Alex Brangwen adjusts to his new life as the town’s only detective. It’s a quiet place to oversee — until a teenager is found sadistically murdered at a nearby archaeological site. When a second teenager is found dead, a wave of panic roils the community. A serial killer is on the loose. As Alex strives to keep the peace and unmask the culprit, he must also work with fellow single parent Isabel to protect their children. Alex’s daughter and Isabel’s son were close friends with the victim, and both parents fear that their child may be next. Atmospheric and unsettling, this very dark thriller will have you on the edge of your seat.

Cover art for "the shadows," a novel by alex north, featuring an eerie, shadowy figure with drip-like appendages against a stark black background, creating a sense of foreboding and suspense.

The Shadows

By Alex North

North delivers “another terrifying spine-tingler” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) in his bestselling follow-up to The Whisper Man. At the heart of this supernaturally tinged tale is the case of Charlie Crabtree. Crabtree was just a teenager when he committed an appalling murder and then vanished without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Paul Adams, who knew both Crabtree and Crabtree’s victim, returns home to care for his ailing mother. But all is not well. Paul’s mother senses a sinister presence in the house, while Paul gets the creeping feeling he’s being watched. When an all-too-familiar act of violence strikes in a nearby town, Paul realizes that the blood-soaked nightmare of his youth is not over quite yet.

A gripping novel by alex michaelides, 'the maidens': a mix of classic art, mystery, and psychological intrigue, as signified by the fragmented statue and the hint of blood.

The Maidens

By Alex Michaelides

In his latest tale of psychological suspense, Alex Michaelides delivers a dark academia thriller steeped in Greek mythology. A mysterious campus slaying sends shockwaves across Cambridge University. The victim was a member of The Maidens, an all-female secret society of students devoted to Edward Fosca, Cambridge’s beloved Greek tragedy professor. Mariana Andros, a brilliant but troubled group therapist who attended Cambridge, knows in her bones that Fosca’s to blame — but how far is she willing to go to expose the truth? As Andros investigates the disturbing crime, her spiraling fixations threaten her livelihood and her life. 

A book cover for "the whisper man" by alex north, featuring an artistic representation of a butterfly formed by black fingerprint patterns against a white background, with the silhouette of a man standing at the bottom.

The Whisper Man

By Alex North

Alex North’s New York Times bestselling novel will get under your skin with its twisted plot and haunting atmosphere. The narrative follows Tom Kennedy, a widower who decamps with his young son Jake to Featherbank, a small English village with a grisly past: Twenty years ago, a serial killer murdered multiple residents in Featherbank, luring children from their homes by whispering at their windows at night. Authorities eventually caught the killer. But when a local boy goes missing, rumors swirl that the Whisper Man is back. As two detectives set out to investigate the disappearance, Tom and his son are pulled into the town’s nightmarish mystery.

A book cover of "the silent patient" by alex michaelides, featuring a partial face with lips sealed, hinting at the theme of silence or secrecy.

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides’s blockbuster debut is a “dark, edgy, and compulsively readable” (Library Journal) psychological thriller packed with twists and turns. It centers on Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who’s desperate to get to the bottom of a brutal murder. Faber already knows who committed the crime: Alicia Berenson, a famous painter who shot her photographer husband in their well-to-do London home. The problem is, Berenson has not spoken a word since her act of violence. As Faber strives to break through to his silent patient, his escalating obsessions lead him deeper into his own mind and to the very edge of darkness.

A shattered lollipop on a cover of 'baby teeth' — where innocence meets ominous undercurrents in a chilling novel.

Baby Teeth

By Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage’s breakout psychological thriller centers on a mother–daughter relationship with truly sinister undertones. Hanna is a seemingly sweet seven-year-old girl, but Hanna’s mother, Suzette, is convinced that Hanna is wicked and plotting against her. Suzette’s husband, Alex, dotes on their child and sees nothing amiss — but then again, he isn’t Hanna’s target. Baby Teeth is a twisted tale of shifting family bonds that will keep you guessing until the last page.

Cover of "the chalk man," a novel by c.j. tudor, featuring vibrant red autumn leaves as the background.

The Chalk Man

By CJ Tudor

With her debut novel, C. J. Tudor conjures a dark and creepy thriller that unfolds “with the nightmarish inevitability of the Grimmest of tales” (Publishers Weekly). The novel is set in a quaint English village where, in 1986, young Eddie and his friends use figures drawn in chalk to communicate with one another. When a chalk man appears on its own, it leads Eddie and his crew to a dismembered body in the woods. The grisly discovery forever alters their lives. Flash forward to 2016: Eddie’s past comes back to haunt him when he receives a letter with a chalk man scrawled across it. His friends receive the same unsettling note. As Eddie works to save himself in the present, he and his childhood friends must finally uncover the truth about their traumatic past.

A chilling book cover for "the troop" by nick cutter, with a haunting forest scene enveloped in mist, and a bold endorsement from stephen king that sets high expectations for horror fans.

The Troop

By Nick Cutter

Horror maestro Stephen King recommends this award-winning horror thriller by Nick Cutter, hailing it as “old-school horror at its best” — and if that’s not an endorsement, then what is? The Troop follows a group of teenage boys who venture into the Canadian wilderness with their scoutmaster for a weekend camping trip. But after a freakish intruder descends upon their campsite, the boys are thrown into a frightening fight for their lives — one where survival is not guaranteed.

A novel titled "the only good indians" by stephen graham jones, with a dark cover featuring an atmospheric image of antlers against a black background, accompanied by a laudatory quote from the new york times describing it as "gritty and gorgeous.

The Only Good Indians

By Stephen Graham Jones

In this New York Times bestselling novel, Stephen Graham Jones skillfully crafts a terrifying revenge story with sharp social commentary. The novel centers on four Native American men, all of whom experienced a shocking event as children that continues to haunt them to this day. When someone — or something — appears in their lives with their sights set on revenge, the men must grapple with the disturbing events of their youth and the culture they left behind. Rich with dark humor and bone-chilling scares, The Only Good Indians is an insightful supernatural tale that will scare your socks off.

A chilling book cover for the novel "penpal" by dathan auerbach, featuring a lone figure standing in a foggy, eerie forest, evoking a sense of mystery and suspense.


By Dathan Auerbach

In Dathan Auerbach’s cult psychological horror novel, a man plagued by disquieting memories attempts to reconstruct his personal history piece by piece. Chapters are stitched together in non-chronological order, heightening the narrative’s creep factor and allowing the reader to experience each discovery right alongside the narrator. As the chilling puzzle finally comes into focus, you’re left with an ending that you won’t soon forget.

A book cover featuring a close-up of an intense gaze with a moth superimposed over the mouth, for thomas harris's novel "the silence of the lambs," acclaimed as superb by the new york times.

Silence of the Lambs

By Thomas Harris

Every fan of psychological suspense must consume The Silence of the Lambs at some point in their lives, and for those who’ve already read it, a delicious re-read is always a treat. FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling is on the hunt for Buffalo Bill, an elusive serial murderer who skins his victims. For help, she turns to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a gifted psychiatrist and convicted cannibal killer currently serving life in a Maryland mental institution. Together, the pair develop a strange and dangerous relationship full of mind games and cryptic clues as Starling races to stop Buffalo Bill before he claims another life.

Cover of the book "in the woods" by tana french, a new york times bestseller and the inspiration for the dublin murders starz series, featuring a backdrop of stark tree branches.

In the Woods

By Tana French

Make no mistake: Tana French’s In the Woods is about as far removed from a Broadway fairy tale as you can get. The New York Times bestselling mystery novel is set in a suburb of Dublin, where in 1984, a terrified young boy is found splashed with blood and clinging to the trunk of a tree. He has no idea how he got there, much less what happened to his two missing friends. Twenty years later, that boy — Rob Ryan — is now a detective on the Dublin murder squad, dealing with a mysterious murder that eerily mirrors his past tragedy. As he and his partner investigate the wicked acts of the present, Ryan must also confront the terrifying, long-buried memories of his childhood.

Cover art of "night film," a novel by marisha pessl, featuring a stylized, dark-toned portrait with text overlay.

Night Film

By Marisha Pessl

Critics from NPR to Cosmopolitan hailed Marisha Pessl’s hypnotic page-turner as one the best books of the year when it was published in 2013. It centers on the mysterious demise of Ashley Cordova, daughter of Stanislas Cordova, a reclusive cult horror filmmaker who hasn’t been seen in public in over 30 years. Journalist Scott McGrath refuses to buy the story that Ashley committed suicide, and so he plunges headlong into the strange and secretive world of the Cordova clan. The last time McGrath tried to track down Stanislas, he lost his job and ruined his marriage. What will happen now?

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