You’re probably getting pretty bored and more than a little stir crazy if you’re doing the right thing and self isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I can’t stop the isolation or the pandemic. I’d be happy to if I could. In light of that, what you really need is a book that you just can’t put down. I can suggest these 25 enthralling thrillers to read while you’re lounging around at home. I don’t think you need a list this long, but it never hurts to have options.
Josie Buhrman has spent the last 10 years trying to escape her past. Josie ran away to New York where her live-in boyfriend, Caleb, doesn’t even know her real name, let alone her history. But Josie can’t hide any longer.
An investigative reporter named Poppy Parnell has launched a podcast about the murder of Josie’s father 13 years ago. Since the murder, Josie’s mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister, Lanie, married Josie’s high school sweetheart. More importantly, there’s a man on death row for their father’s murder and the reporter is using the podcast to prove his innocence.
Christine suffered a head trauma and loses all of her memories each time she goes to sleep. Christine wakes up every morning knowing who she is, but not much else.
When Christine starts keeping a journal to remind herself of what she learned the day before, she starts to understand that the pieces of her life her husband, Ben, is providing for her don’t fit together.
The more contradictions she discovers, the more she wants to uncover what really happened to her and to understand why Ben isn’t telling her the truth.
Flora Dane was kidnapped during a college Spring Break trip. Flora was held hostage for 472 days before police found her.
It’s been seven years since her kidnapping, but Flora still hasn’t adjusted to “normal” life. Instead, she’s become a vigilante of sorts. She seems obsessed with finding other missing girls.
When Flora goes missing for the second time, Detective D.D. Warren knows she must find her quickly. The detective is almost certain that her obsession with finding kidnapped girls is what got Flora kidnapped again and will result in her murder if she isn’t found quickly.
Maggie Sparkes, a rich philanthropist, comes to New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after the woman committed suicide.
But Maggie isn’t convinced that Celine killed herself.
The more she discovers in her apartment and through her friends, the more convinced Maggie becomes that Celine was murdered and her lover was involved. Unfortunately, Maggie also finds herself attracted to Celines former lover.
Kate Priddy is trying to start her life anew after being kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend who locked her in a closet and killed himself.
The London native decides to push herself through her anxiety by switching apartments with her cousin from Boston. She thinks the temporary change might be just what both of them need to reset.
Unfortunately, Corbin’s neighbor is murdered right after Kate arrives and she finds herself entwined in a mystery, wondering if history is repeating itself.
Kaitlin Roe was the only witness when her cousin, Gina, was abducted 14 years ago while the two teenagers walked home from a party. All these years later, Kaitlin is reviving her cousin’s cold case through a true crime podcast.
But soon women Kaitlin interviews are found murdered or missing, leaving her and authorities thinking that perhaps she’s drawn her cousin’s killer out of hiding.
Ella Longfield overhears two young men flirting with two teenage girls on a train. Her maternal instincts kick in and she almost intervenes, telling the girls to stay away from the boys. In the end, she decides to mind her own business and says nothing. The next day, she sees on the news that one of the girls is missing.
A year later, Anna Ballard still is missing and Ella is riddled with guilt about what she should have or could have done to save the girl. As the anniversary of Anna’s disappearance gets closer, what really happened that night begins to become apparent.
If your mother is a serial killer, what might that say about you
Lilith Wade was arrested 15 years ago for murdering six woman. Her now 30-year-old daughter, Edie Beckett, is just trying to live her life out of the spotlight.
But Edie also has a secret. She’s obsessed with the families of Lilith’s victims and spends most of her time learning everything about them.
When the husband of one of her mother’s victims is found murdered, Edie’s strange hobby comes to light and she is the prime suspect.
Lacy Eye is about a couple, Joe and Hanna, and their daughters, Dawn and Iris.
Iris is the stereotypical beautiful, popular teen. She’s the daughter Joe and Hanna don’t have to worry about.
Dawn is plain, awkward and frequently teased at school. She’s the daughter that gives the couple constant worry.
The couple is happy when Dawn seems to be settling in at college, and they hope she’s finally found a place where she fits in. They are less-than-impressed when Dawn brings her boyfriend, Rud, home for her sister’s wedding. There is just something off about the first man in their daughter’s life, although they try not to focus the possibility that it’s because they can’t figure out why someone so handsome would be with Dawn.
After a Thanksgiving dispute among the four, Hanna and Joe are attacked in their home. Joe is killed and Hanna is beaten severely, causing a head injury and memory loss. Rud is convicted of the crime and, while Dawn initially is thought to be involved, she is not indicted by a grand jury.
When Rud is given an appeal, Dawn returns home to live with her mother, who desperately tries to remember what happened that night so she can keep Rud in jail and exonerate her daughter for good.
No visitors, nights spent away from the apartment or bothering the guests. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Aside from her best friend, Jules doesn’t have anyone who would want to visit or anywhere to go, so the job seems like a great fit.
Jules, who is broke and sleeping on her best friend’s couch, sees the apartment sitting job as a way to press reset on her life. The pay is excellent, the location is one of her dreams and the offer seems too good to be true. Maybe because it is?
As Jules learns more about the Bartholomew, she begins to discover that apartment sitters there disappear. Will she be one of them?
My Lovely Wife is about a suburban tennis coach and his realtor wife, Millicent. The couple and their two teenagers live what looks like a perfect, cookie cutter life in their upscale neighborhood, until you find out that they’re murderers.
Millicent was supposed to have killed and dumped Lindsay, a woman who went missing a year before she was found in an abandoned hotel. The couple kidnapped Lindsay to spice up their marriage, but Millicent apparently held her captive for a year without her husband knowing. Millicent says she tried to throw police off of their crime by adopting the methods of a local serial killer, Owen Oliver Riley. Her husband thinks this is a good idea initially, until he learns more about Riley and realizes that the story won’t work.
Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, but she has no idea the trouble the simple post will bring. She deletes the photo, but it’s too late. Lauren begins being harassed and threatened by someone wanting to know who the woman is, someone who seems to be watching Lauren and her daughters.
Lauren has to confess to the woman, later joining forces with her to try to determine who this dangerous online stalker is.
Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister, Julia, disappeared more than 20 years ago. The two women haven’t spoken since. Claire is the beautiful trophy wife of a millionaire. Lydia is a single mother and former drug addict who dates an ex-con.
A secret brings the women back together after Claire’s husband is killed, but they never imagine it will led them to their sister’s murderer.
Megan’s 6-year-old son Daniel disappeared when his abusive father picked him up from school and went on the run.
Six years later, after searching endlessly for him, Megan gets the call she’s been dreaming of. Daniel was found. He walked into a police station in a remote town just a few miles away.
Megan is thrilled that her son is coming home. But home is different from what he left. Not only does Megan live in a new house, she also remarried and has an infant daughter.
Megan isn’t the only one who’s changed. Daniel is just not the same. Daniel was able to escape his father after police say the man died in a fire. Megan is left to try to rediscover her son and help him heal.
Cass wasn’t sure if she should pull off of a deserted road in the middle of a rainstorm to help a stranded motorist. She pulled over and waited for the driver to flash the headlights for help. When that didn’t happen, she assumed the driver already had called someone and headed home. The next morning she finds out that the driver was murdered and she knew the woman.
As Cass struggles with her secret guilt, she starts forgetting things. She can’t remember where she left her car, if she took her pills, who she invited to dinner, or how to work the coffee maker. Cass is afraid something is seriously wrong with her. Even more so, she’s terrified by the silent calls she’s suddenly receiving at certain times of day and she’s certain the murderer is watching her. Cass’s husband thinks she’s losing her mind, but is she?
When Rachel answers the phone, the caller’s message isn’t anything she expected. Her daughter has been kidnapped from the bus stop on her way to school.
Rachel is now part of The Chain.
If Rachel doesn’t kidnap another child, her daughter will be murdered. If she follows through with the demand, and so does the person after her, her daughter will be released.
Rachel has to decide if she can do the unthinkable to continue the chain and save her daughter’s life. Or is there another way? A way to break the chain?
Kate Waters, a journalist, is investigating the discovery of a baby’s skeleton at a construction site in London.
As Kate tries to figure out the baby’s identity, she discovers that it could be a baby stolen from a maternity ward decades earlier.
The reporter ends up discovering one woman who desperately hopes the baby is hers and one who doesn’t.
It’s a normal evening at the Quinn house until two armed men appear in the family’s kitchen on a mission against the father, a controversial local defense attorney. They murdered the mother and forced the two girls into the woods. Charlie ran. Samantha was shot and buried alive. Both were changed forever.
The next time Samantha got the chance, she ran. She’s nursing her disabilities and wounds while living a wealthy, successful life, despite her past.
The next time Charlie got a chance to run, she stayed. She still lives in Pikeville and is a lawyer sharing an office with her father.
Now, 28 years later, tragedy strikes the town again, bringing the sisters back together to deal with the present while coping with the past.
Joe Talbert is just trying to get an A in English. He is supposed to interview a stranger and write the person’s biography. He goes to a nearby nursing home to find a subject and meets Carl Iverson.
Carl is convicted of raping and murdering a teenage girl who lived next to him. He spent 30 years in prison before being medically paroled to the nursing home with terminal cancer.
As Joe learns more about Carl, he realizes that he’s found more than just an interesting topic for an English paper. He believes Carl was wrongfully accused and the girl’s murderer is still out there. But how can Joe prove Carl’s innocence before the man dies?
Abi Knight gets the middle-of-the-night call that no parent wants to receive. Her daughter, Olivia, was in an accident and is in the hospital.
Olivia’s “accident” doesn’t seem right to Abi for many reasons. Her daughter is said to have fallen off a bridge and is brain dead. She also is pregnant, which is a shock to her mother. And, if Olivia was alone and fell, why are their bruises around her wrists like someone grabbed her?
Police rule Olivia’s fall an accident, but Abi doesn’t believe it. She does what any mother would do, she sets out to find out what really happened to her daughter.
Kate Waters is sent to cover the story of two British teenage girls missing in Bangkok. She later finds out that the girls were killed in a fire at their hostel.
But the reporter becomes part of the story when it’s determined that her estranged son, Jake, was living at the hostel and may have been involved with the fire.
Now Waters has to step away from the story and try to protect her son, the primary suspect.
Tom Kennedy is trying to start over after his wife’s sudden death, so he moves to Featherbank with his son, Jake. But Featherbank may not be the best place to start anew.
Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. The killer, Frank Carter, was dubbed “The Whisper Man” because he whispered through his victims’ windows at night.
A boy vanishes just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home. Then Jake starts hearing whispers, suggesting that The Whisper Man may not have been caught after all.
How much did she know? That is the question everyone is asking about Jean Taylor. Jean’s husband died last week, but not before being accused of a terrible crime. Now that he’s dead, will Jean feel able to tell the truth. Does she know what happened to a missing little girl?
Six university friends, some of whom are married to each other, get together after 20 years for a sort-of reunion weekend at Ali and Mike’s house.
The night seems to be going well, with laughter, the sharing of old stories and perhaps a bit too much wine.
Most of the group has gone to bed when Karen, Ali’s best friend, stumbles into the kitchen, bleeding and claiming that Mike, Ali’s husband, raped her.
Karen is taken to the hospital, the police are called and Ali, a sexual assault victims’ advocate, has to decide who she believes, her best friend or her husband.
It seems that none of the relationships between the friends are what they seemed, but Ali is about to know more about her “friends” than she ever wanted to.
The body of a newborn baby found in the woods near a university campus seems like the beginning of a book full of mystery, and it was. But, in Where They Found Her, Kimberly McCreight took too long to develop that mystery, leaving the reader bogged down and pushing through the text until about mid-book.
Molly Sanderson, a reporter for the local newspaper, is charged with covering the mystery of the baby’s death, which, as you would imagine, is the talk of the college town of Ridgedale. Molly, whose husband is a professor at the college, usually covers entertainment for the newspaper and is pretty far out of her element in covering crime. Molly also is dealing with her own personal issues, having moved to Ridgedale after the death of her own baby and the depression that followed.
The police chief, the creepy university security officer, the professor, the reporter, the dean of students, a society wife, a crazy friend, a local has been, a poor girl, a blessed girl, a traumatized youth, a questionable teen, a suspicious newspaper editor, and a foreign maid are just some of the characters in this book. Perhaps that’s the problem. The reader gets so bogged down in everyone and their backstories that it’s difficult to sludge through to the action. But, when those stories all start to come together, the book is a page-turner. The question is whether you can make it that far.
There they are, 25 thrillers you won’t be able to put down. Again, I don’t think you’ll need this many books to get through self isolation, but it’s always good to have options, right?
As always, happy reading!