Can You Recommend Underrated Thriller Books to Read?

The thriller genre has a vast array of bestsellers that dominate the charts and gain mainstream attention. However, there are many underrated thriller books that provide just as much excitement and suspense. Here, we delve into some hidden gems that thriller aficionados should not miss, proving that some of the best suspense thriller books are often those that fly under the radar.

The Appeal of Underrated Thrillers

Underrated thrillers often fly under the radar, overshadowed by blockbuster hits. Yet, these books can offer unique narratives, innovative plot twists, and fresh perspectives that set them apart. Discovering an underrated thriller is like unearthing a treasure; it provides a sense of satisfaction and a story that stays with you long after the last page.

“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

While “The Silent Patient” has received some recognition, it still deserves more widespread acclaim. This psychological thriller centers on Alicia Berenson, a famous painter who shoots her husband and then stops speaking. Theo Faber, a forensic psychologist, becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind Alicia’s silence. Michaelides weaves a compelling narrative that keeps readers guessing until the very end, making it a must-read for thriller enthusiasts.

“The Kind Worth Killing” by Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson’s “The Kind Worth Killing” is a modern take on Patricia Highsmith’s “Strangers on a Train.” The story begins with a chance meeting between Ted Severson and Lily Kintner on a flight. After Ted confesses his desire to kill his unfaithful wife, Lily offers to help him. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse, filled with deceit, manipulation, and unexpected turns. Swanson’s skillful writing and complex characters make this book a gripping read.

“Before I Go to Sleep” by S.J. Watson

S.J. Watson’s debut novel, “Before I Go to Sleep,” is a psychological thriller that plays with the concept of memory. Christine Lucas wakes up every day with no recollection of her past due to a traumatic accident. She relies on her husband and a journal she keeps to piece together her life. However, as she uncovers more about her past, she begins to question everything she thought she knew. Watson’s tight narrative and suspenseful pacing make this a standout thriller.

“The Girl with a Clock for a Heart” by Peter Swanson

Another gem by Peter Swanson, “The Girl with a Clock for a Heart,” tells the story of George Foss, who encounters his long-lost love, Liana Dector, years after she disappeared. Liana’s reappearance brings danger and intrigue into George’s life, pulling him into a web of lies and crime. Swanson’s ability to craft engaging plots with surprising twists ensures this book is an enthralling read.

“The Reversal” by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly is best known for his Harry Bosch series, but “The Reversal” featuring defense attorney Mickey Haller is a gem worth exploring. Haller is recruited to prosecute a high-profile case, switching sides from his usual defense role. Teaming up with his ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie McPherson, Haller navigates a complex legal battle with far-reaching implications. Connelly’s deep understanding of the legal system and his talent for building tension make this an excellent thriller.

“The Stranger” by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben’s “The Stranger” revolves around Adam Price, whose perfect life unravels when a stranger reveals a devastating secret about his wife. As Adam delves deeper, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens everything he holds dear. Coben’s knack for creating relatable characters and suspenseful plots shines in this underrated thriller.

“The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes

“The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes combines elements of thriller and science fiction. The story follows Harper Curtis, a drifter who discovers a house that allows him to travel through time. To continue his travels, he must kill “shining girls,” young women who possess a special light. Kirby Mazrachi, one of Harper’s intended victims who survives, becomes determined to track him down. Beukes’ inventive storytelling and blend of genres make this a thrilling read.

“The Nowhere Child” by Christian White

Christian White’s debut novel, “The Nowhere Child,” is a gripping thriller about identity and family secrets. The story follows Kim Leamy, an Australian photographer who discovers she might be Sammy Went, a child who disappeared from Kentucky 28 years earlier. As Kim travels to the U.S. to uncover the truth, she unravels a dark and twisted history. White’s compelling characters and intricate plot make this a standout thriller.

“Descent” by Tim Johnston

“Descent” by Tim Johnston is a literary thriller that explores the aftermath of a family tragedy. When the Courtland family goes on a mountain vacation, their daughter Caitlin disappears during a run. The novel delves into the emotional and psychological toll on the family as they search for Caitlin. Johnston’s poetic prose and deep character exploration set this thriller apart.

Why You Should Explore Underrated Thrillers

Underrated thrillers offer fresh and unique perspectives that can be more daring and innovative than mainstream bestsellers. These books often provide deeper character development and more intricate plots, making for a satisfying reading experience. By exploring underrated thrillers, readers can discover new authors and stories that might otherwise be overlooked.


While popular thrillers often dominate the genre, many underrated books offer just as much excitement and intrigue. From psychological puzzles to gripping legal battles, these hidden gems provide thrilling experiences that deserve more recognition. Dive into these underrated thrillers, and you might just find your next favorite read.


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