13 Underrated Thriller & Horror Novels I’ll Scream About Until You Read Them

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day, and while other people are getting mushy-gushy by talking about books they love or listing the reasons why they love books or their favorite ships in books, I shall stand out by talking about thriller and horror books I’ve fallen in love with, and you really must read immediately.

Because I like to think of myself as a lover and expert of the genre, I thought the best way to express that love was to recommend some books. This is my Valentine’s Day, people

I shall never stick to the status quo.

1.) pressure by jeff strand

 [goodreads]

THIS BOOK. I absolutely love this book so much. And it seems like no one else has read this one. I’m offended.

Basically, this is a book that travels through the past and the present to talk about the life of a man who is constantly haunted by a murderer. He seems to be just a creepy little kid, but once they become adults, it’s clear that it wasn’t just a fluke, and it turns into a cat-and-mouse thriller. This was absolutely addicting and thrilling and took me for a wild ride.

Clearly, all that I want in a book.

2.) the trap by melanie raabe

 [goodreads]

I physically could not put this book down. Okay, I was reading it on my phone, BUT YOU GET WHAT I MEAN.

Basically, an author who has stayed inside her home for years after witnessing the murder of her sister ends up spotting the face of her murderer on television and creates a plan to lure him to her house and prove he did it. And that’s all I tell you, because everything that happens after the fact is basically a spoiler. JUST READ THE DAMN BOOK.

3.) the magpies by mark edwards

 [goodreads]

Okay, so in general, I HIGHLY recommend Mark Edwards’ books. They are all fantastic and have the craziest plot twists of ever.

But, I think this is one of my favorite books of his, so I chose this one to spotlight! I’m a fan of the “terrible neighbors” trope in thrillers, but I feel like this one was popular for, like, five seconds, and then domestic thrillers about marriages and twisted friendships ended up taking over. It’s a one hundred percent guarantee that this book will make you super angry, but you also won’t be able to stop turning pages.

(Or maybe that was just me. Who knows?)

4.) reconstructing amelia

 [goodreads]

As soon as I read the premise for this one, I knew I was hooked – a mother gets a call that her daughter killed herself by jumping off the top of the school building but doesn’t know why? I AM SOLD.

But who knew how much this book was going to HURT. We get to the see the point-of-views of both her mother in the present and Amelia in the past, and, okay, I was crying a bit when I reached the end. I LOVE AMELIA SO MUCH.

And I got my mom to read this one. That’s how much I loved it.

5.) i let you go by clare mackintosh

 [goodreads]

Fun Fact: I actually almost gave up on this book. Literally all my thriller-junkie friends said it was amazing, but when I first read it, I was just not into it. I made it about one hundred pages in and decided that I’d pick it up another time because everyone loved it so much.

And, boy oh boy, I’m so glad I did. The second time around, I was just glued to the pages, and I couldn’t stop. And that plot twist? One of the best I’ve ever read. The hype is real with this one.

6.) all is not forgotten by wendy walker

 [goodreads]

Another book I almost skipped out on! This was mainly because I stumbled upon it, and all I saw were really bad reviews, so I assumed I wouldn’t like it as well. Well, Goodreads was wrong. No surprise there.

I ended up reading this from start to finish in only a couple of hours. I literally could not put this book down. I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. I just needed to reach the end. And it’s not even much of a traditional thriller; it feels more literary, but it was oh-so-good. That ending took me by surprise. I WILL SCREAM MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK TO THE HEAVENS.

7.) the butterfly garden by dot hutchinson

[goodreads]

This book is definitely a bit different, since it’s so dark and deals with such a tough subject of women being kidnapped by a creepy guy, but it’s SUCH a great read. I absolutely loved the main character and felt for her, not to mention I loved the undertones of sisterhood and female friendship among those who were all stuck in a really crappy situation. The way the story was told with the rescued main character telling the story of what had happened really kept me interest.

Is it a hard book to read? Definitely. But is it worth it? Oh hell yes.

8.) slasher girls & monster boys by various authors

[goodreads]

Summer Days and Summer Nights who? My True Love Gave To Me what? This is clearly the superior YA short story anthology, and I will forever be annoyed at the fact that it seems like absolutely no one has read this gem of a book.

But, seriously. This anthology definitely has some duds in it, but a large majority of the stories hit it right out of the park. Especially Carrie Ryan’s story, which was an actual living nightmare. Just read it, please.

9.) i’m thinking of ending things by iain reid

[goodreads]

The fact that this book is so low-rated on Goodreads is probably the biggest reason why I find the whole “I only read books that average 3.5 or above” to be stupid. There are tons of mediocre books above that rating, and tons of good books below it. And then you’re going to outright rob yourself of this genius of a book.

It’s just so incredibly smart. The entire time you read the book, you have this creeping sense of anxiety and unease about the whole thing, which is so hard to capture via writing, but Reid does so incredibly well. And the book is so short that you can’t help but turn the pages to figure out what the heck will happen and how does everything fit together and WHAT IS HAPPENING. And then you reach the end and die because it’s just so good.

I CAN’T SING MY PRAISES ABOUT THIS BOOK ENOUGH.

10.) night film by marisha pessl

[goodreads]

I’d like to personally thank Marisha Pessl because this book is literally the reason why I love mysteries and thrillers to this day. This was the first hyped one I had ever read, and I fell in love, and now here I am, writing an entire post about it. So a genuine thanks to this book.

But Pessl’s writing is so magnificent. She’s also fantastic at creating a great atmosphere, especially with Cordova, who I actually searched up to see if he was real (he is not, unfortunately). The characters are fantastic, and I really grew to fell in love with the whole gang by the ending. And the mystery itself. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. This book has so many twists and turns and endings. And I know so many people don’t like it, but the ending is absolutely perfect for the book. GOD I LOVE IT.

11.) the troop by nick cutter

[goodreads]

This is probably one of the grossest books I’ve ever read. BUT that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much? It’s not afraid to GO THERE, and I dig that. Not to mention that this one so addicting. I read this in a day because I can’t help myself, and I forever needed to know what terrible things were going to happen to my boys next.

AND THAT ENDING. OH BOY.

12.) dark matter by blake crouch

[goodreads]

THIS IS ONLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF EVER, OKAY? I realized that I haven’t talked about this book in over a year? So, I decided to fix that.

Once again, this is another one of the few books that ended up being a romance disguised as a sci-fi thriller, but I didn’t even care? The romance was so freaking beautiful. The sci-fi was so well done and kept my interest. I wanted to cry buckets at the ending. Just go into this book blind; it’s actually the best.

13.) into the darkest corner by elizabeth haynes

[goodreads]

Holy crap, what a roller coaster. This book juggles between the past – where a woman is caught up in an abusive relationship – and the present – where a woman finds out her abusive partner is out of jail and thinks he’s tracked her down.

It is so freaking good. The flashbacks are absolutely chilling, and there was one scene in particular that I thought was so clever; I can’t even. And it was such a compelling read; I literally read this entire 800 page e-book in one day. COMMITMENT.

do you like thriller and horror novels? what are some of your favorites? do we share any of the same ones? do you have any recommendations for me?

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21 thoughts on “13 Underrated Thriller & Horror Novels I’ll Scream About Until You Read Them

  1. It’s definitely not “my” genre but I do like a thriller once in a while. Horror? I’m suuuuch a pussy. I have a pile of King-books but I have yet to pick them up. The Shining freaked me out so much, haha.

    I did read another novel of Wendy Walker, though! Emma in the Night! Got the chance of reading an eARC and bought myself a physical copy afterwards because narcissism is something I’m pretty familiar with [thanks, father], so that book really hit me in a way I didn’t expect it to!
    Lately I’ve been tempted more and more to pick up a few thrillers though. Who knows; maybe in a year I’ll have said goodbye to contemporary and be all about the thrillers. 😛

    *And now I’m going to read all the books’ blurbs and hope I’m not adding to much to my TBR.*

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  2. Ok, so literally all these books are amazing!
    I LOOOOVE Mark Edwards and the Magpies were feakin’ awesome.
    Butterfly Garden was super creepy too and i’m planning to read the whole series.

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  3. Thank you SO much for the recs!! I’ve bee reading a lot of slow books, and I NEED book-caffeine : D
    They really sound interesting, and the best part is they don’t cross the horror level I can stomach. BTW, if you like thrillers then you should check out The Sleeping Beauty killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz (if you haven’t read ’em already).

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  4. I’ve read one suspenseful thriller and that’s Blue Heaven by C.J. Box but I like thriller and I like to try horror. I pretty much have half of this list on my TBR so I’m very excited! Thank you for the recs!

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  5. i have slasher boy and monster girl on my tbr! i find thriller and mysteries are hard genre to read, the build up can be painfully slow and the ending can be easily underwhelming 😀 these all sounds very interesting, especially the first two. i’m adding them to my tbr, thanks for sharing mikaela!

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  6. Oh I loved that blog post!! I was a bit tired of seeing all the romance recommendations, so I’m really glad you decided to talk about something else!

    Thriller and horror novels aren’t really my thing BUT i read The Frozen Dead the other day, which is a thriller, and I adored it. It freaked me out though, I couldn’t read it outside, but it was so cool. I’m really glad you made that list: that way I have many new thriller and horror novels to add to my list if I ever want to read some more! and they all sound so interresting though!!

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  7. i read my first stephen king and entered the world of thriller and horror novels last year and love them! i have always been a big fan of laughing at scary movies, so i’m not sure why it took me so long to read this genre; but i’m so glad i did! i haven’t read any of these; but i just finished king’s christine last week!

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  8. My number one goal of the year is to reduce my physical tbr slightly, but this makes it so difficult. I want to read them alllllllllllllll. Thankfully I actually own Black Matter and you just made me so excited to read it, it might be my next read!
    Awesome recommendations!

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  9. I remember seeing Reconstructing Amelia at the thrift store a couple weeks ago, and while the blurb sounded interesting I was a little put off by the first couple pages. They just seemed a little…hmm, dull? Difficult to get into? But now I’m sort of regretting not just buying it anyway and giving it a chance. I think I’ll be giving it a second look 🙂

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  10. I absolutely loved I Let You Go! The twist was so shocking that I thought I’d misread it and had the reread the entire chapter before it to try and make sense of what was going on🙈🙈. It’s nice to see someone else who loved it, because I don’t think it got enough attention!

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  11. I haven’t read any thrillers in a while and I really want to get back into the genre! I’ve had Night Film on my to-read list for quite a while now so I may have to hunt around my library for it 🙂

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  12. I ADORE thrillers but I haven’t seen a book in your list that I’ve read and loved! I tried to read Night Film but I didn’t like the writing style and it was too hyped for me… I prefer a more detective-based, scientific mystery novel myself, something like Patricia Cornwell 🙂

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