I’ve been passionate about psychological thrillers since my mind was blown by Gillian Flynn’s 2012 seminal thriller, Gone Girl, and that twist that I never saw coming.
I’ve since written six of my own psychological thrillers and I’ve become fascinated to understand why we’re so drawn to ordinary characters propelled into extraordinary worlds.
A mash-up of the crime, thriller, and horror genres, psychological and domestic thrillers often feature husband and wife couples in ordinary neighbourhoods where children and adults go missing, serial killers lurk among us, and real evil lurks behind the front door of innocent-looking homes.
It often makes for traumatic reading – but we love them.
Why? Because I think it helps us navigate some difficult problems, as well as drawing us out of our, for the most part, humdrum, everyday lives.
It’s what story is ultimately all about – teaching us a life lesson. It’s why we’re all pre-programmed at birth to respond to stories, and why they’ll always continue to be popular whether as books, films, plays, or TV series.
For example, in Gone Girl, one of the key themes is about manipulation – and the message to readers is that you can’t manipulate people against their will and expect to achieve happiness.
In The Girl on the Train, another of my favourites, the theme is arguably about society’s expectations of women which often pushes them to breaking point.
I’ve picked five of the best psychological thrillers to showcase why readers love psychological and domestic thrillers.
You can read my thoughts on why I’ve picked these books at Shepherd.com who invited me to take part in their excellent series in which authors showcase the books they love.
The books I picked:
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Behind Closed Doors – BA Paris
Before I Go To Sleep – SJ Watson
The Last Mrs Parrish – Liv Constantine