15 Best Authors Like Ruth Ware for Thriller Genre Fans to Discover

Discover our list of the best authors like Ruth Ware. Each one has page-turning books that will keep you guessing who committed the crime until the last page.

Ruth Ware is the pen name for Ruth Warburton, a psychological thriller author from England who has multiple bestsellers. Born in 1977 in Lewes, Ware attended Manchester University, and while in college, she became fascinated with Old and Middle English literature. After graduation, she worked several odd jobs as a waitress, bookseller, and publicist.

Before taking on the Ruth Ware name, she published five young-adult fantasy books, starting with A Witch Alone in 2013 and ending with Witch Hunt in 2014. In 2014, she published In a Dark, Dark Wood, her first psychological thriller, and her success began to take off. The book was named an NPR best book of the year, which made Ware a well-known name in the thriller genre.

One year later, Ware published The Woman in Cabin 10, followed by The Lying Game in 2017. All three of these original works were given film and television adaptations, and her first two books were on The New York Times bestseller list and UK’s Sunday Times bestseller list. One by One, her 2020 novel, was shortlisted for an Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. Zero Days, her 2023 book, and The It Girl, her 2022 book, are her most recent. If you’re a fan of the psychological thrillers of this author, then authors like Carl Hiaasen and Ruth Ware are worth exploring.

Best Authors Like Ruth Ware Ranked

1. Agatha Christie, 1890 – 1976

Authors like Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie

Dame Agatha Christie wrote 66 detective novels and many short stories, most featuring whodunnit mysteries. In some ways, she is considered the creator of the detective and crime thriller genre, and her books have been outsold by only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible. This makes her the best-selling novelist of all time. The British author was born in Torquay and was homeschooled.

Her first six potential works were rejected, but in 1920 The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced the world to Hercule Poirot, was published. And Then There Were None, her 1939 work, has sold over 100 million copies, making it one of the bestselling books in any language. The Mousetrap, one of her plays, is the world’s longest-running play, continuously performing in London’s West End since 1952. You might like these authors like Christopher Moore.

“Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.”

Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None
  • Christie, Agatha (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 05/03/2004 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

2. Lucy Foley, 1986 –

Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley writes mystery novels and both contemporary and historical fiction. This English author studied at the University College London and Durham University, where she earned degrees in English. After graduation, she worked as an editor for two publishing houses before launching her full-time writing career after publishing The Book of Lost and Found in 2015. In 2020 she published The Guest List, a thriller novel on the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists. The Paris Apartment was her 2022 novel and was named one of the most anticipated books of the year by Goodreads.

“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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The Guest List: A Reese's Book Club Pick
  • Hardcover Book
  • Foley, Lucy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - William Morrow (Publisher)

3. Joyce Carol Oates, 1938 –

Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates

Novelist and short story writer Joyce Carole Oates started her literary career by publishing With Shuddering Fall in 1964. A resident of New York, she attended Syracuse University, the University of Wisconsin Madison, and Rice University. Her writing abilities were clear as a teenager, and she won the Scholastic Art and Writing Award while still in high school.

Among the awards she has earned for her 58 novels and many short stories are two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, and the Jerusalem Prize. Three of her novels and two short story collections were Pulitzer Prize finalists, though she has not won the award. Today, Joyce teaches as a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. Her book them was one of her most well-known and award-winning novels.

“Her face was full, and there was a slight mischievous puffiness about her cheeks that made her look younger than she was.”

Joyce Carol Oates, them
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Them (Modern Library)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 592 Pages - 09/12/2006 (Publication Date) - Modern Library (Publisher)

4. Luanne Rice, 1955 –

Luanne Rice published her first poem in the Hartford Courant when she was just 11 years old, and then followed that up with a short story in American Girl magazine when she was 15. In 1985, she published Angels All Over Town, her debut novel, and launched her literary career. In 2002, Rice was awarded an honorary degree from Connecticut College, and the school invited her to donate papers to their Special Collections Library. St. Joseph College also offered her an honorary doctorate.

In 2014, she was given the Connecticut Governor’s Aarts Award for her lifetime achievement. Her novels, including Crazy in Love and Blue Moon, have been adapted for television. The Shadow Box is her most recent work, and she has 36 novels for adults and young adults with works in 30 languages.

“When I get to heaven and it’s full of angels, I won’t meet anyone better than you.”

Luanne Rice, The Shadow Box
The Shadow Box
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Rice, Luanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 367 Pages - 02/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Thomas & Mercer (Publisher)

5. Shari Lapena, 1960 –

Canadian novelist Shari Lapena writes thriller novels that often make it to the bestseller list. Before she started her writing career with her 2008 book Things Go Flying, she worked as a lawyer and an English teacher. Her debut novel was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award, which made her a popular author.

Her 2016 novel The Couple Next Door was her first domestic thriller genre book, and it was a global bestseller and sold 4 million copies. In 2017, it was named the UK’s Number One Adult Fiction Title. She has six suspense novels, three of which have been Richard and Judy Book Club Picks.

“I was crying when I fed her because I was sad about being fat and unattractive, and Cynthia—who is supposed to be a friend—had been flirting with my husband all evening.”

Shari Lapena, The Couple Next Door
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The Couple Next Door
  • The Couple Next Door Hardcover – August 23, 2016
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lapena, Shari (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 08/23/2016 (Publication Date) - Pamela Dorman Books (Publisher)

6. Jean Hanff Korelitz, 1961 –

Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jean Hanff Korelitz

Born to Jewish parents in New York City, Jean Hanff Korelitz attended Dartmouth College and Cambridge’s Clare College. At Clare College, she earned the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for her work. In 1996 she started writing, publishing A Jury of Her Peers, a legal thriller about a jury tampering plot. In total, she has eight novels, including The Latecomer, her 2022 novel. Korelitz also publishes essays in Real Simple and The New York Times.

In 2015 she started a theater production company, Dot Dot Productions LLC, and began producing live theater performances. Admission, her 2009 book, is the source material for a 2013 movie of the same name starring Paul Rudd and Tina Fey. Korelitz founded BookTheWriter, a pop-up group service in New York City where readers can talk about their favorite books with their authors.

“A young thinker, untainted by current indoctrinations. Someone who might do some real good in the world.”

Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Latecomer
The Latecomer: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Korelitz, Jean Hanff (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 05/31/2022 (Publication Date) - Celadon Books (Publisher)

7. Alice Feeney

With over a million copies of her books sold, Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author with books translated into over 30 languages. Before she launched her writing career, Feeney was a journalist for the BBC. The British novelist writes both mystery and thriller books, and she currently has five books in publication, starting with Sometimes I Lie, her 2018 novel, and ending with Daisy Darker, her 2022 novel. Since she started writing, she has written one book a year. Rock Paper Scissors, her 2021 novel, is being made into a Netflix television series.

“Enjoy the stories of other people’s lives, but don’t forget to live your own.”

Alice Feeney, Rock Paper Scissors

8. Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda writes both young adult and adult fiction, primarily focusing on thriller and mystery books. Before she started writing, she earned a degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked as a science teacher and biotechnology professional.

In 2012, she published Fracture, her first young adult novel, and has continued writing approximately one book a year since. All the Missing Girls and The Last House Guest, her 2012 and 2019 adult fiction works, were on the New York Times bestseller list. The Last to Vanish, her most recent publication, was an instant bestseller.

“But that was the thing about loving someone—it only counted when you knew their flaws and did it anyway.”

Megan Miranda, The Last House Guest

9. Lisa Jewell, 1968 –

Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell

Born in London, Lisa Jewell attended Barnet College as a teenager and then earned a fashion degree from Epsom School of Art & Design. With that degree, she worked in fashion retail as a young woman, then was challenged by a friend to write three chapters of a novel to get dinner out at her favorite restaurant. The challenge went so well that she published the full work, Ralph’s Party, in 1999 – it was the UK’s bestselling debut novel that year.

She continued writing, and in 2008 she won the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance for the novel 31 Dream Street. Some of her novels, like The Night She Disappeared, Then She Was Goneand Invisible Girl, are thriller genre works. You might also be interested in our guide on authors like W.E.B. Griffin.

“When I read a book it feels like real life and when I put the book down it’s like I go back into the dream.”

Lisa Jewell, Then She Was Gone

10. Simone St. James

Simone St. James writes mystery, true crime, and historical fiction novels from her home in Canada. Before she started writing, she worked for two decades in television while writing and having her works rejected by publishers. Her debut novelThe Haunting of Mady Clare, was a huge success, winning two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. Her book The Sun Down Motel was a New York Times and a USA Today bestseller.

“Being with people was easy, but being alone was hard. Especially being alone in the dark.”

Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel

11. Sarah Pearse

English author Sarah Pearce studied writing at the University of Warwick, then took a job in brand PR for several companies. After finding her writing passion, she released The Sanatorium, an instant Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. The book drew on her experiences living in the Swiss Alps as a young woman and has been translated into 30 languages. Though she is a relatively new author with just two books to her name, they have been so widely read that she deserves a spot on this list of book recommendations for Ruth Ware fans.

“Grief is like a series of bombs exploding, one after another. Every hour, a new detonation. Shock after shock after shock.”

Sarah Pearse, The Sanatorium

12. Gilly Macmillan

Internationally bestselling author of What She Knew and The Perfect Girl, Gilly Macmillan, was a photographer and historian from London. Her writing debut came with What She Knew, a book nominated for an Edgar Award and an Indie Next Pick nomination. It was also a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award. Her 2020 novel To Tell You The Truth was named one of the best thrillers of the year by the New York Times. Books by Macmillan are known for their riveting plots that keep people invested until the very last page.

“Trust is like that. Once you lose it, you begin to adjust your attitudes toward people, you put up guards, and filter the information you want them to know.”

Gilly Macmillan, What She Knew

13. Alexis Schaitkin

Alexis Schaitkin attended the University of Virginia, where she earned a master’s in fiction and was named a Henry Hoyns Fellow. The author made a name for herself with Elsewhere, her 2022 book, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and an ALA Notable Book of 2023. The novel was longlisted for the Carol Shields Prize. Saint X, her first book, published in 2020, was a New York Times Notable Book and has been translated into seven languages.

Though Schaitkin has only two books so far, she is a notable author of psychological thriller books and will likely be one that fans of Ruth Ware enjoy as she continues writing. Her short stories are also found in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies.

“I thought how careless of them, how indulgent, to let their children out of their bodies, while I kept mine secreted away inside me, deprived myself of them to keep them safe.”

Alexis Schaitkin, Elsewhere

14. J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison
J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison writes bestselling domestic noir and psychological thriller books, including a series starring homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens. When Ellison was in college, she started out studying writing, but her advisor told her that her writing wasn’t good enough for publication. She changed her major to fine arts and entered the political scene.

Ellison never gave up on writing and published an FBI series she co-authored with Catherine Coulter in 2012. In 2016 she published No One Knows, her first standalone novel, followed by Lie To Me, which received high criticism. The Jayne Thorne CIA Librarian series, a fantasy thriller series, is published under Joss Walker. She has 25 books with millions of copies in print in 28 countries. You also enjoy these authors like Fredrick Forsyth.

“Breaks signaled many things to her, freedom most of all. Freedom to go her own way for a bit, to explore, to read, to gather herself.”

J.T. Ellison, No One Knows

15. Laura Lippman, 1959 –

Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman

Author Laura Lippman has over 20 detective novels in her name. She started writing as a reporter for a San Antonio area newspaper, followed by a stint with The Baltimore Sun. Many of her first novels are set in Baltimore and feature Tess Monaghan, a reporter who turned private investigator. What the Dead Know, her 2007 novel, was her first New York Times Bestseller and was shortlisted for a Dagger Award.

She has also won Agatha, Anthony, and Edgar awards for her book. Every Secret Thing, her first standalone novel, was adapted into a movie in 2014. Lippman earned her degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has lived most of her life in Baltimore. You might also be interested in our list of authors like Sophie Kinsella.

“Ask questions. Keep an open mind. Listen to the other person. Focus on finding common ground, areas of agreement. Anger is one letter away from danger,”

Laura Lippman, Every Secret Thing

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Harlan Coben!

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