Skip to main content

Bestselling Mystery Thriller Books You Shouldn't Miss

Reading is a series of human emotions. Writing is the gift of sharing these emotions.



You won’t believe how many books I’ve read since the pandemic broke out in 2020. I’ve read 103 books that year, and so far, I’ve read 49 this year. My great love for books started when I was nine, but as soon as I had my adorably wonderful kids, my time had been mostly dedicated to them and at work, so I only read at least one or two books a year since then. But last year was different, I had to divert my mind somewhere and escape from reality at least a few hours a day or else, I might’ve lost it.

On top of Netflix and Spotify, Kindle has been added to my primary sources of entertainment. But the number of books I read don’t matter because I don’t remember them all as accurately as I could remember the ones that really stuck; the ones that I loved reading the most. And amongst all genres of books that I read, my most preferred genre is thriller. Whether it’s mystery, psychological, horror, or suspense thriller, name it, as long as it’s thriller, I’ll read it.

While there are way too many awesome thriller books, there are few that I’ll never forget because of the kind of feeling they engraved in me. In this article, I am thrilled to share the top New York Times bestselling mystery thriller books I’ve read that you absolutely shouldn’t miss.


1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age mystery thriller debut novel written by Delia Owens and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on August 14, 2018. It’s a Reese’s Book Club Pick, and Reese Witherspoon proudly quoted that she cannot express how much she loved this book. It’s the #1 New York Times Bestselling Phenomenon and A Business Insider Defining Book of the Decade. New York Times described it as “Painfully beautiful.” To this day, this book sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. The story is about Kya aka “The Marsh Girl” who have disrupted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. When news about Chase Andrews’ death shocks the town, they immediately suspect Kya, but did she really kill him?

I’ve been quite indecisive about which genre I love the most because I can read anything, but after reading this book, I have decided that my most favorite genre is mystery thriller. Not only that, this book also got me back to reading because it reminded me of how much I love to read. And what I’m most impressed about this book is its flow. It’s slow, but there’s a consistent emotional pull from beginning to end. I also like its dual timeline where the present and past progressively unravels Kya’s coming-of-age story, as well as the truth behind Chase Andrews’ possible murder.


2. Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity is a romantic suspense and psychological mystery thriller written and independently published by Colleen Hoover on December 10, 2018. B.B. Easton, a bestselling author, described this book saying, “This isn’t a book, it’s a visceral experience.” The story begins when a struggling writer named Lowen Ashleigh accepts an offer made by Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author, Verity Crawford. Due to an accident, Verity couldn’t finish the remaining books to her series. To fulfill this project, Lowen needs to stay at their home where Verity’s office is. But upon staying, she unravels shockingly disturbing facts about Verity through a hidden autobiography that Lowen accidentally found.

I had chills from start to finish! I literally could not put this book down because of the intricate and emotionally disturbing details it contained. It felt like I didn’t want to know what’s going to happen because I’m scared, but then I couldn’t get my fear get in the way of this very dark but beautifully-written novel, so I had to continue reading. There is absolutely 100% assurance that this book will leave you shocked and emotionally unstable, most especially towards the ending.


3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is a psychological mystery thriller and debut novel written by Alex Michaelides and published by Celadon Books on February 5, 2019. Entertainment Weekly described it as, “An unforgettable and Hollywood-bound new thriller…” The story revolves around a famous painter named Alicia Berenson, wife and primary murder suspect for her husband whom she shot five times in the face. She never spoke again after that incident, but Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, is determined to get her to talk and unravel the mystery behind her husband’s death.

This is another book with a shocking ending that I will never forget. Every chapter had me questioning so many things because as I read further, my curiosity got bigger and bigger. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what’s keeping her from being silent, and what triggers her sudden outrage. Then, towards the end, I finally understood why, and my mind was blown-away. I had goosebumps when I learned the mystery behind the murder of Alicia’s husband, and you will too.

Scroll to Continue

4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors is a debut psychological thriller novel written by B.A. Paris and published by St. Martin’s Griffin on July 3, 2017. Bustle described the book as, “guaranteed to haunt you.” The story revolves around a seemingly perfect couple named Jack and Grace. Jack is a lawyer that protects women, but as Grace’s husband, you’ll wonder why Grace never answers the phone, why she can never meet a friend for coffee, why she doesn’t have her own phone or email address, or why she remains so slim despite her elaborate meals.

I had nothing but hatred for Jack here! He’s a two-faced son of a…Okay, so it’s clear that this book infuriates me, but what got me through it was Millie’s character. She’s Grace’s sister who has a down syndrome and always refers to Jack as George Clooney whom she very much dislikes. This book made me curious if the author dislikes George in real life. Now, I don’t want to provide more details to prevent spoilers, but I assure you that the ending is very satisfactory.


5. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone is a mystery suspense thriller written by Lisa Jewell and published by Atria Books on November 6, 2018. People described it as a “family drama with bone-chilling suspense,” while Bustle described it as “the perfect distraction.” The story revolves around Laurel Mack, who can’t move on with her daughter’s disappearance. Ellie Mack was only 15 when she disappeared and no one ever found her. 10 years later, she met a charming man and started dating. When she met her daughter, Poppy, she couldn’t believe her uncanny resemblance to Ellie. She knows that Poppy isn’t Ellie, but why does she look so much like her?

This is another book with a shocking ending, and this book is memorable to me because it kept me sane during the destructive typhoon last year. I even wrote my individual review of this while there was no electricity, so I will never forget it. This story has dual timeline, and a mind-boggling twist that will ruin your inner peace, so read this book at your own risk.


6. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel is a paranormal mystery suspense thriller written by Simone St. James and published by Berkley on October 20, 2020. The New York Post described this book as “a creepy delight.” The story revolves around Vivian Delaney’s disappearance in 1982 while working her shift at the Sun Down Motel and was never found. 35 years later, her niece, Carly, decides to play detective and unravel the mystery behind her aunt’s disappearance.

Another book with a shocking ending! Really, the shocking endings of these New York Times Bestsellers are what made them unforgettable. Though there are ghosts involved in this story, I didn’t get scared because I don’t think this book was written to scare readers, I think it was written to purely entertain and stimulate minds.


© 2021 Shey Saints


Lady Dazy from UK on June 02, 2021:

A good selection of books. Mystery Thrillers are always popular.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 28, 2021:

Well compiled.

Related Articles