14 Psychological Thrillers That Will Mess with Your Head

We’re always down for a horror movie, but for a dose of real terror, we turn to psychological thriller books. While ghosts and bloodthirsty creatures are certainly terrifying, the best scares are the ones that play with your head. After all, there’s nothing more freaky than being unable to trust your own mind, right?

The following books will keep you guessing (and more than a little creeped out), as friends, couples, families, and neighbors come to realize that appearances are deceiving and the truth isn’t always clear…

1. Damage By Josephine Hart

This gripping novel by Josephine Hart follows a man who seemingly has everything, but whose obsession with his son’s fiancée drives him into a reckless, unforgivable sexual frenzy. The basis for the 1992 movie adaptation starring Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche, Damage is a masterful psychological thriller that will make your blood run hot and cold. Read More.
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2. Mortal Memory By Thomas H. Cook

Purely by luck, Steve Harris did not meet the same fate of his mother and brother, who were murdered by his father in 1959. Since then, Steve has tried to move on with his life, though a new true crime book threatens to open old wounds. Still, Steve cooperates with author Rebecca Soltero, as she digs deeper into the events of that fateful day. What ensues is an eye-opening investigation that reveals painful truths about the crime, Steve’s father, and the family he loved and lost. Read More.
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3. Captured By Neil Cross

From the creator and showrunner of the BBC series Luther comes a gritty thriller about promises and second chances. Diagnosed with terminal cancer and approaching death, Kenny Drummond sets out to right all his past wrongs. But when he reaches the name of his former schoolmate Callie Barton, all his attempts to locate her come up empty. Kenny vows to find out what happened to Callie—but does he have enough time? Read More.
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4. Harriet Said By Beryl Bainbridge

Loosely based on the Parker-Hulme murder seen in the Kate Winslet film Heavenly Creatures, Harriet Said stars two bored teenage girls who go embark a disturbing mission: They’re going to woo the much-older and married Peter Biggs. But how far will they go to achieve their goal? Well, it’s up to whatever Harriet says—and what she says will surely incite life-shattering terror. Read More.
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