15 Awesome Psychological Thriller Book Ideas for Book Club

by Meghan

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This month’s book selection for Mom’s Book Nook is a psychological thriller.  This genre is often overlooked when searching for book ideas for book clubs, unless the book tops every best selling list out there – like Gone Girl. But they make  for great book club picks: quick read, mentally and emotionally engaging, with plenty to pick apart and discuss.

Psychological Thrillers Make Great Book Ideas for Book Club

What makes a psychological thriller? More than just a mystery novel or horror story, psychological thrillers often put you into the unstable mind and emotional state of the characters. They are page turners that will keep you up at night, not necessarily because you’re afraid of the dark after reading it, but because they leave your mind, and heart, racing.

While the typical, whodunnit mystery novel may deserve to be overlooked as a book club pick, psychological thrillers make for perfect book club selections. The intensity of the character development, mental and emotional complexities, complicated relationships and the tortured dynamics they create leave plenty of fodder for reading group discussions.

August 2016 Mom’s Book Nook Selection

The psychological thriller selected for this month’s Mom’s Book Nook, our virtual book club, is Wreckage by Emily Bleeker.

About the Book

Lillian Linden, the main character, is one of ultimately just two plane crash survivors. Rescued from a deserted island in the South Pacific after missing for more than 2 years, she and her fellow survivor, Dave, return to their life and families. And forced into the insanity of the media spotlight.  They can’t tell the real story – no one would understand… and so their lies begin. A story of survival, secrets and redemption.

About the Author

Emily Bleeker is a former educator who discovered her passion for writing after introducing a writer’s workshop to her students. She soon found a whole world of characters and stories living inside of her mind. It took a battle with a rare form of cancer to give her the courage to share that amazing world with others. Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and four kids. She is also the author of When I’m Gone.

Join us for Mom’s Book Nook

Want to join the discussion? All our welcome – all that’s required is to read the book, and join in on our monthly discussion. The monthly book is announced the first Monday of the month, and our discussion is held on the last Monday (8/29) at 9PM ET in our Mom’s Book Nook group on Facebook!

14 More Great Psychological Thrillers for Your Next Book Club

Once you’ve read your first mind racing thriller, you will be on a quest to find more. Here are a few of my favorites, and some on my to be read list!

Thrillers by Liane Moriarty

You already know from last month’s list of great authors to follow, that I have a bit of an addiction to Liane Moriarty.  Several of her novels, while not as dark as some psychological thrillers, definitely fit the genre. Dark and twisty mentally complex characters and relationships more than make up for the lack of suspenseful moments.

Her latest, Truly Madly Guilty, is currently THE top seller in the category on Amazon! I pre-ordered it, it hit my Kindle last week, and I’m just waiting for a spare moment to start reading.  I’d also highlight Big Little Lies, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, and The Husband’s Secret all as psychologically compelling reads.

Learn more about Big Little Lies, last month’s selection for Mom’s Book Nook, here. The Hypnotist’s Love Story is about a stalker and crazy love triangle – and the third party is the last person you suspect! The Husband’s Secret is about a long buried adolescent crime by a now seemingly perfect husband, and what happens when the past comes to light.

Darker Thrillers by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn, with her highly successful Gone Girl, brought psychological thrillers back into the mainstream as a category sought out by women readers. It tells the story of a young married couple, seemingly living the perfect marriage – until the wife suddenly disappears. And all signs point to the husband as her murderer. It is now a major motion picture, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Flynn has also written two other thrillers: Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Similar in story structure to Gone Girl, flashbacks to the past inform the narrative occurring in the present, all revolving around mysterious murders.

More Psychological Thrillers for Your Book Club

Whether you enjoy the emotional thrillers from Liane Moriarty or the dark and twisty variety from Gillian Flynn, you will also want to check these books out as you search for potential book ideas for book club in this genre.

Another past Mom’s Book Nook selection turned movie, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, walks a line between the dark and twisty narratives of Flynn and the lighter, more emotional thrillers of Moriarity. Rachel struggles to reconstruct the drunken night her former neighbor disappeared. As the life she lost comes back to focus through a series of flashbacks, you’ll relive her own tragic past and uncover a murderer.

A recurring theme in psychological thrillers is uncovering the truth about someone you thought you knew well. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale follows just such a theme, as the main character seeks to reconstruct her life following the untimely death of her fiance.

The Good Girl, the a debut novel by Mary Kubica, draws analogies to Gone Girl. Told from four perspectives, it tells the tale of a normally good girl, whose impulsive decision to go home with a one-night stand leads to her being kidnapped. Following her debut novel’s high acclaim, Mary Kubica has since published two more thrillers: Pretty Baby and Don’t You Cry.

As I mentioned last month, the end of our monthly Mom’s Book Nook discussion is my favorite part… all my fellow book lovers throw out their book recommendations and top picks from their ‘waiting to read’ lists. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens was on the list last week, and while it may not have been this month’s final selection, it’s still been added to my personal reading list. College student Joe Talbert is tasked with writing the biography of a stranger. His stranger, Carl, is a dying Vietnam veteran… and a convicted murder. Joe dives into Carl’s history, and uncovers more than he bargained for in the process.

And saving my top pick of the bunch for last… What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan. Another debut novel (love finding new great authors to follow!), just reading the description makes my heart panic. Rachel and her son, Ben, go for a walk in the park, when he runs ahead… and vanishes. The investigation begins to point blame at her, while she continues the search for her missing son.

What psychological thriller tops your favorite reads list? How do you find book ideas for your book club? Looking to find a book club of your own? If Mom’s Book Nook doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, check out the tips from Sunny Day Family to find a book club, virtual or local, just for you!

For more awesome book recommendations and to catch our monthly pick for Mom’s Book Nook, be sure to follow our Mom’s Book Nook board on Pinterest, join our Mom’s Book Nook group on Facebook and catch quotes from our monthly reads on Instagram!

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Searching for the next great book idea for your book club? Psychological thrillers, often overlooked as a book club genre, make great picks - full of intrigue, mental and emotional complexities, lots of fodder for great discussion. And page turners too! You wont' want to miss these 15 great psychological thrillers, including this month's pick for Mom's Book Nook, our virtual book club | Great Reads | Great Books | Book Club | What to Read | Best Books to Read | Book Lover |


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