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.
12 Very Creepy Thrillers That Will Haunt You
By Brandon Miller
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?