22 Best Authors Like Freida McFadden You Don’t Want To Miss

Discover our handpicked selection of authors like Freida McFadden. Dive into psychological thrillers and explore suspense and mystery.

We have selected 22 outstanding authors like Freida McFadden, who are master creators of novels that probe the human psyche. Their works feature depraved perspectives, compelling mysteries, and plot twists that keep readers guessing to the very last page. 

Freida McFadden is an accomplished psychological thriller novelist with a medical background as a physician specializing in brain injuries. She has three series and 15 standalone novels featured in the New York Times, Amazon Charts, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists. Some of her critically acclaimed works are The Housemaid and Never Lie.

In her interview with Writer’s Digest, McFadden shares that she “[wanted to] write a book where the ‘guilty’ party was thoroughly punished for their misdeeds.” 

McFadden delivers emotional rollercoasters and the satisfaction of justice where the villain gets their just deserts. If you like her style, you will love our top picks.

Craving high-stakes tension? Check out our list of the best crime thriller authors.

Authors Like Freida McFadden Ranked

1. Lisa Jewell, 1968 –

Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell used to write romantic comedies

Lisa Jewell is a prolific author in the psychological thriller genre, with 19 novels on the New York Times bestseller list. Despite her beginnings in romantic comedies, Jewell has found her niche in psychological thrillers, which have turned quite dark across her more recent novels. 

One of her most popular stories is The Night She Disappeared. It follows the disappearance of a young couple — Tallulah and Zach. Kim, Tallulah’s mother, and Sophie, a mystery writer, work together to find the missing pair.

Jewell has received offers to adapt one of her new releases for film or TV, None of This is True, but nothing has been finalized. 

“It’s very strange, looking back, how accepting children can be of the oddest scenarios.”

Lisa Jewel, The Family Upstairs
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02/08/2024 12:15 am GMT

2. Lucy Score, 1980 –

Lucy Score
Lucy Score grew up in a bookish household in Pennsylvania

Lucy Score, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling romance author, has also turned her hand to psychological thrillers. It seems it’s a short trip from romance to thriller. But this time, she pitches it on the lighter side of the psychological thriller genre. If you like the mental stimulation of this genre without the sinister undertone, read Score’s Riley Thorn series.

The first book in the series, Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door, offers readers a murder mystery. It centers around the “psychic” Riley Thorn and her neighbor, who has been murdered. Riley then meets Nick Santiago, the private investigator assigned to the case. Together, they need to solve the murder case before the killer comes back to “deal with” Riley.

“You’re the one who has to live your life. Don’t apologize to other people for the decisions you make for yourself.”

Lucy Score, Things We Never Got Over
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02/07/2024 09:56 pm GMT

3. Lucy Foley, 1986 –

Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley’s first book was released in 2015

Lucy Foley is the #1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of three psychological thrillers, including The Paris Apartment. Foley debuted as a historical fiction novelist but switched to murder mysteries. 

Her 2020 novel, The Guest List, was named Reese’s Book Club Pick and Goodreads Best Mystery & Thriller of 2020. It’s a classic whodunit set on a luxury remote island, where dark secrets and sinister motives are revealed. Readers’ reviews highlight Foley’s skill in switching between multiple character points of view, boosting the suspense.

“In my experience, those who have the greatest respect for the rules also take the most enjoyment in breaking them.”

Lucy Foley, The Guest List
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02/07/2024 10:01 pm GMT

4. Daniel Hurst

Daniel hurst
Daniel Hurst has been a regular KDP Select All-Star since 2021

Daniel Hurst is a top author of fast-paced psychological thrillers, including The Passenger, which became the #1 psychological thriller in the UK in 2021. Two years later, his novel, The Doctor’s Wife, topped the Amazon UK Kindle Chart. Hurst’s fans love his quick plot progression and unpredictable twists.

The Doctor’s Wife focuses on Fern, the perfect wife of Dr. Devlin, who tries to uncover her husband’s infidelity. Readers who enjoyed the story of a psych ward nurse in Freida McFadden’s Ward D will appreciate this novel. Both books deal with protagonists hiding secrets and offer backstories to help them understand the characters’ choices better.

“Don’t become a boss, whatever you do. It’s much easier at the bottom than it is at the top.”

Daniel Hurst, The Promotion
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02/07/2024 10:01 pm GMT

5. Riley Sager, 1974 –

Riley Sager
Riley Sager’s real name is Todd Ritter

Riley Sager has seven novels on the New York Times bestseller list, including Survive the Night and The House Across the Lake. Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, won the 2018 International Thriller Writers Award for Best Hardcover Novel. His two novels, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied, have been optioned for screen adaptations by Universal Pictures and Amazon Studios. 

As Editor’s Picks in Amazon, Sager’s The Only One Left and Lock Every Door have a healthy dose of suspense, mystery, and intrigue. Read his books if you’re looking for real-life tragedies. 

In an interview with Collingswood Book Festival, he said of his writing style: “I always refer to it as sneaking in vegetables into the dessert. There is a special treat but there also is a message there.”

“Even a prison becomes comforting if it’s the only thing you know.”

Riley Sager, The Only One Left
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02/09/2024 12:57 am GMT

6. Sarah Alderson

Sarah Alderson
Sarah Alderson writes romance under the pen name Mila Gray

Sarah Alderson debuted with her 2011 book Hunting Lila. It won the Kingston Book Award and marked the bestselling author’s successful start in the field. 

Alderson has over 20 psychological thrillers and young adult books to her name. Aside from being a successful writer, she’s also a screenwriter for the drama series S.W.A.T.

Her thriller, The Weekend Away, became a Netflix movie adaptation starring Leighton Meester just two years after its publication. This novel follows Kate and Beth and their annual weekend trip away. But a supposed recreational vacation turns dark when Beth becomes a suspect in a murder. 

Alderson is a self-confessed obsessive of action movies, 90s thrillers, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a “morbid curiosity” about the dark ages. These factors strongly influence her writing style.

“But, like most things in life, unless you really work at it, anger’s a hard thing to hold on to.”

Sarah Alderson, Hunting Lila
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02/09/2024 01:02 am GMT

7. Jeneva Rose, 1989 –

Jeneva Rose
Geneva Rose also writes crime fiction under J.R. Adler

Jeneva Rose is the New York Times bestseller of four thriller novels optioned for screen adaptations. One of her bestsellers, The Perfect Marriage, tells the story of Sarah Morgan, a successful attorney, and her husband, who allegedly killed his mistress. Sarah becomes her husband’s defender in court to find out the truth… or does Sarah already know what really happened?

The Perfect Marriage resembles Freida McFadden’s The Housemaid’s Secret. Both books center around a seemingly perfect marriage, manipulation, and survival. Rose offers promising plots and engaging storytelling that keeps readers hooked. 

“People that get their way think they’re the ones in control. But the ones that give are the ones that rule.”

Jeneva Rose, One of Us Is Dead
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02/09/2024 01:07 am GMT

8. Lucinda Berry

Lucinda Berry
Lucinda Berry is a clinical psychologist turned full-time psychological thriller author

Dr. Lucinda Berry uses her expertise as a clinical psychologist and researcher on childhood trauma to create page-turners. She has published over 20 novels, all translated into multiple languages. According to her website, Berry “enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche.”

The Perfect Child is her best book on Amazon, earning almost 63,000 ratings. It’s about a married couple and the six-year-old orphan child they adopted. Berry’s novels are available in all formats, including paperback and Kindle.

“I didn’t want to die, at least I don’t think so. I just didn’t want to feel anything. Everything was just too heavy.”

Lucinda Berry, Appetite for Innocence
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02/07/2024 10:00 pm GMT

9. Alice Feeney, 1990 –

Alice Feeney
In 2021, Alice Feeney’s Rock Paper Scissors was optioned to be a Netflix series

Before becoming a full-time author, Alice Feeney was a BBC journalist for 15 years. Feeney became an accomplished New York Times bestselling writer of four thrillers through the skills she honed in her previous career. Her novels are tightly crafted and put readers through a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Her His & Hers was optioned for film and TV adaptations by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films, while Sometimes I Lie was optioned to be a TV series by Warner Bros. 

Feeney’s influences include Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, and Stephen King. She cites one of her favorite books, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, as a novel that “had a huge effect on me both then and again now.” 

“A good book can be a light in the darkness. A good book can cure loneliness, change minds, or even change the world. A good book is nothing less than magic.”

Alice Feeney, Good Bad Girl
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02/07/2024 10:00 pm GMT

Margaret Atwood has influenced generations of writers; check out our Margaret Atwood Masterclass Review

10. Stacy Willingham, 1991 –

Stacy Willingham
Stacy Willingham was a brand strategist and copywriter

Stacy Willingham’s interest in true crime and criminal psychology led her to write about a serial killer in her 2022 novel, A Flicker in the Dark. Although it was her first book, it bagged the Goodreads Choice for Best Debut & Mystery & Thriller and International Thriller Writers Best First Novel.

Willingham’s tales revolve around extreme real-life scenarios where she builds suspense to almost boiling point. Such as in one of her most popular reads, All the Dangerous Things. It follows Isabelle Drake, a mother whose child is kidnapped from his crib, and her desperation to find him. 

Do you enjoy reading about true crime? See our best true crime books!

“It’s the realization of how many hidden bodies could be buried beneath my feet at any point in time, the world above them completely oblivious to their existence.”

Stacey Willingham, A Flicker in the Dark
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02/09/2024 01:11 am GMT

11. A.R. Torre, 1987 –

A.R. Torre
A.R. Torre is the founder of INKERS CON, which promotes indie fiction authors

A.R. Torre’s debut novel, Blindfolded Innocence, jumpstarted her writing career. It brought Torre her first print deal with Harlequin HQN, followed by a six-figure deal with Redhook for her Deanna Maddern trilogy. 

Torre is now a multiple New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller writing contemporary romance and dark fiction. Her novels have solid characters who are easy to relate to and understand. She also writes short chapters that make her books more digestible. 

Another great read from this American novelist is her A Familiar Stranger. It’s about Lilian Smith’s secret affair, exposed via social media. The book delves into the effects of loneliness and anger.

“He was naming the reasons he didn’t have a pet, which were all valid, if you were considering pets as sterile objects and completely discounted the joy they brought to your life.”

A.R. Torre, The Good Lie
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02/09/2024 01:22 am GMT

12. L.G. Davis

L.G. Davis
L.G. Davis wrote her first book at 18

L.G. Davis is best known for creating fast-paced, unpredictable, small-town psychological thrillers. She’s an Amazon UK Kindle and Audiobook bestseller. 

Davis spent the first eight years of her life in a refugee camp in Angola before moving to her home country of Namibia. She now resides with her family in Austria. Davis wrote her first novel at 18 and several others followed quickly. 

Her most popular book on Goodreads, The Midnight Wife, tells the story of Kelsey Bloom, who’s running away from a traumatic past. She thinks she has moved on and has a good life until her past catches up to her. It’s a gripping read that you won’t be able to put down.

“Sometimes we think we know someone, but we really don’t. All too often we’re all just familiar strangers.”

L.G. Davis, The Janitor’s Wife
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02/09/2024 01:21 am GMT

13. Gillian Flynn, 1971 –

Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn is an avid reader of comic and graphic novels

Gillian Flynn’s books are consistent chart toppers in bestseller lists, bagging numerous awards. Only three novels are on her Goodreads profile, but all already have screen adaptations, and for good reason. She’s skilled at creating dark tales centering around deceit and masterful manipulation.

Her most famous work is Gone Girl, a story of a “missing” wife and her husband’s torment. The novel has already sold over 25 million copies since its first release. In 2014, it was adapted into a movie starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. This adaptation earned a Golden Globe screenplay nomination. 

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”

Gillian Fynn, Gone Girl
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02/09/2024 07:36 am GMT

14. Dennis Lehane, 1966 –

Dennis Lehane
Dennis Lehane is a former writer-producer of HBO

Dennis Lehane’s writing stands out because he doesn’t shy away from the ugly side of humanity. Specifically, Lehane taps into aspects of society, such as hive mentality and racism. 

Four of Lehane’s bestsellers have already been adapted into films, including the award-winning Mystic River in 2003. The novel also won the Anthony Award, the Barry Award for Best Novel, and France’s Prix Mystere de la Critique. Another must-read book of Lehane’s is Shutter Island, which was turned into a 2010 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. 

“This world can only give me reminders of what I don’t have, can never have, didn’t have for long enough.”

Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island
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15. Minka Kent

Minka Kent
Minka Kent is a Stephen King fan

Minka Kent is an eight-time Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her first-person point of view and detailed narrative keeps her readers utterly immersed. Most of Kent’s novels include characters who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

One of her most notable works is Unmissing. The plot follows a seemingly perfect family until one day, Luca Coletto’s first wife returns home, having been missing for ten years. She said she was kidnapped, but how will everything play out when Luca now has a new, pregnant wife?

“Fear does that to you, though. It makes you question what you want and what you think you want.”

Minka Kent, The Stillwater Girls
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02/09/2024 01:36 am GMT

16. Noelle W. Ihli

Noelle W. Ihli
Noelle Ihli published her first book in 2021

When Noelle Ihli is not plotting her next thriller, she’s scaring herself with true-crime documentaries. She applies what she learns from these documentaries to her novels well — they are fast-paced and suspenseful from start to finish. As a result, her books, The Thicket and Ask For Andrea, are consistently at the top of the Amazon Kindle marketplace.

Another page-turner from Ihli is Run on Red. It’s about two women driving through rural hills when they notice a group of men following them. It’s a secluded area with no cell service, so they must outsmart them and make it out alive.

“For the ones who made it out alive. For the ones who didn’t. For the ones still fighting somewhere in between.”

Noelle Lhli, Run on Red
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02/09/2024 01:47 am GMT

17. Miranda Smith

Miranda Smith
Miranda Smith was a newspaper staff writer

Miranda Smith writes domestic and psychological thrillers featuring “ordinary people in extraordinary situations.” She debuted in 2020 with her book Some Days Are Dark. Three months later, she released her second book, What I Know.

Her highest-rated book on Goodreads is Not My Mother. It’s a gripping psychological thriller about Marion and her mother, who’s accused of abducting Marion as a child three decades ago. The novel also probes the debate about “Nature Vs. Nurture.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s this: children don’t hear what you say; they watch what you do.”

Miranda Smith, The Family Home
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02/09/2024 01:55 am GMT

18. John Marrs, 1970 –

John Marrs
John Marrs is a former freelance journalist

John Marr’s books cover a broad spectrum — from light suspense novels to sinister fiction. His literature can be shocking, emotional, and insightful. He writes both psychological thrillers and speculative fiction. 

Marr became a full-time novelist in 2013 with The Wronged Sons, but his bestseller came seven years later. In 2021, What Lies Between Us won the International Thrill Writers Best Paperback Original Novel. That same year, Marrs’ The One premiered as a series on the streaming platform Netflix. 

John Marr self-published his first books, promoting them himself, which drew the attention of several publishers who subsequently offered him contracts. 

His inspiration includes the Hardy Boys books, JRR Tolkien, The Beach by Alex Garland, Gillian Flynn, and Stephen King.

“I thought that having a baby meant that I would always be loved by someone until the day I died. I was wrong. Being a mother is no guarantee of anything.”

John Marrs, What Lies Between Us
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02/07/2024 10:00 pm GMT

If you are interested in self-publishing, check out our guide to self-publishing on Amazon.

19. Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages

Mary Kubica is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, selling over two million copies worldwide. Kubica’s first book, The Good Girl, and the 2021 novel, Local Woman Missing, earned various awards and nominations from Indie Pick and Goodreads. Her books have also frequently appeared in Amazon’s Best Books of the Month.

Kubica’s suspense novels have been called hypnotic, thrilling, and illuminating.

If you like Freida McFadden’s The Perfect Son, read Kubica’s When the Light Go Out. Both psychological thrillers have a similar theme, centering around secrets and how far a mother’s love can go.

“Sometimes being scared makes you do things you didn’t know you could do.”

Mary Kubica, Local Woman Missing
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02/09/2024 01:57 am GMT

20. Ruth Ware, 1977 –

Ruth Ware
Ruth Ware started writing stories when she was seven years old

Ruth Ware started scribbling little stories in second grade. Now, she’s a critically acclaimed psychological thriller author with eight novels on the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller lists. A notable Ware’s book, In a Dark, Dark Wood, was shortlisted for Debut of the Year in the British Book Industry Awards. 

In her novels, Ware focuses on women as they fight and survive. She offers her readers distinct mysteries and twists in each book. 

Ware says, “by far the most interesting thing about me is my books, which are full of murder, family secrets, toxic friendships and things that go bump in the night.”

“I always thought that being self-sufficient was a strength, but now I realize it’s a kind of weakness, too.”

Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood 
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02/09/2024 02:36 pm GMT

21. Nicola Sanders

Nicola Sanders
Nicola Sanders published her first book in 2021

Nicola Sanders is a rookie author of two psychological thrillers with high ratings on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audiobook. She’s a gifted writer who creates fast-paced, standalone novels.

Her most popular book on Goodreads, Don’t Let Her Stay, follows Joanne, her newborn Evie, and her lover Richard. Then, Richard introduces his daughter Chloe to Joanne, which sours the family dynamic. Now, Joanne has to protect her family and fight to keep her perfect life despite her two-faced stepdaughter’s taunts.

“I’m going to make sure she’s happy and well-adjusted, even if it kills me.”

Nicola Sanders, Don’t Let Her Stay
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02/09/2024 02:11 am GMT

22. Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides
Alex Michaelides says Agatha Christie inspired him to be a writer

Alex Michaelides is a novelist and screenwriter who debuted with The Silent Patient. It became #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list and has sold over six million copies worldwide. This 2019 thriller is about Alica Berenson, a renowned painter who turned mute after witnessing her husband’s murder.

Michaelides was first exposed to literature via literary giants like Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Margaret Atwood, and Henry James; however, he found true inspiration from Agatha Christie as an early teen.

After pursuing various career paths, Michaelides studied therapy for a short while at the post-graduate level, and at 36, having settled on the dream of becoming a detective novelist, he started on his first novel. He made his hero a psychotherapist investigating a psychological crime, given his knowledge and experience of therapy.

Michaelides keeps his readers engaged throughout his novels via intrigue, demonstrating the worth of his most influential role model.

“You know, one of the hardest things to admit is that we weren’t loved when we needed it most. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved.”

Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient
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02/08/2024 06:25 pm GMT

Author

  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.