12 Best Authors Like Shari Lapena Who Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats

Dive into the thrilling worlds crafted by authors like Shari Lapena, who blend psychological suspense, unforgettable characters, and jaw-dropping twists.

Shari Lapena is a prominent figure in the world of psychological suspense novels, a genre that captivates readers with its complex plots, intriguing characters, and unexpected twists. These stories delve into the human psyche, exploring the hidden motivations and dark secrets that lurk beneath seemingly ordinary lives. Often filled with tension, atmospheric settings, and shocking revelations, psychological suspense novels have become increasingly popular among readers who enjoy the thrill of a mystery and insight into the complexities of human nature.

Shari Lapena, a Canadian author, has made a name for herself in this genre with her gripping, “unputdownable” stories that have earned her numerous accolades and spots on bestseller lists. For example, Lapena’s debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was an instant success, garnering critical acclaim and becoming a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller.

Her subsequent novels, such as Stranger on a Train and An Unwanted Guest, have only solidified her reputation as a master storyteller who expertly crafts suspenseful narratives that keep readers guessing until the very last page. Here are authors like Robert Ludlum and Shari Lapena, who also excel at delivering psychological suspense.

Best Authors Like Shari Lapena

1. Ruth Ware, 1977 –

Ruth Ware
Photo of Ruth Ware in eyeglasses and a black suit

Ruth Ware is an accomplished British author known for her captivating psychological thrillers that have earned her a spot on the New York Times bestseller list multiple times. With her exceptional talent for creating atmospheric and suspenseful stories, Ware has established herself as a leading voice. Her novels have been featured on various book lists and received numerous book recommendations, making them unputdownable reads for many thriller enthusiasts.

One of Ware’s most celebrated novels is her twisty 2015 debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood. This suspenseful thriller follows the story of Nora, a crime writer who receives a mysterious invitation to a bachelorette party in a remote cabin. As the weekend progresses, long-hidden secrets and resentments begin to surface, leading to a chilling conclusion that keeps readers guessing until the end.

“I suppose the things that scare you are the things that are almost normal, but not quite.”

Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood
In a Dark, Dark Wood
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ware, Ruth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 375 Pages - 08/04/2015 (Publication Date) - Gallery/Scout Press (Publisher)

2. Paula Hawkins, 1972 –

Paula Hawkins
Photo of Paula Hawkins at Gothenburg Book Fair

Paula Hawkins is a British author best known for her psychological suspense novels. She rose to fame with her debut novel, The Girl on the Train, quickly becoming a New York Times bestseller and a popular book club pick. Hawkins’ gripping and suspenseful writing style has captured readers’ attention worldwide, securing her spot as a must-read author in the thriller genre. Her works have been praised by the Sunday Times, and her novels have appeared on various best-book lists.

Hawkins’ second novel, Into the Water, is a gripping psychological thriller that revolves around the mysterious death of a single mother in a small town. The story delves into the complex relationships between the characters as they come to terms with their loss, unearthing dark secrets and hidden traumas along the way. Hawkins masterfully weaves a tale of intrigue and suspense that keeps readers engaged until the end.

“Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.”

Paula Hawkins, Into the Water
Into the Water: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hawkins, Paula (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 394 Pages - 05/02/2017 (Publication Date) - Riverhead Books (Publisher)

3. Lisa Jewell, 1968 –

Lisa Jewell
Official author photo of Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is a British author renowned for her psychological suspense novels that have consistently landed on the New York Times bestseller list. Jewell’s work has been praised for its intricate plotting, compelling characters, and unpredictable twists, making her a standout writer in the thriller genre. With multiple book recommendations and an ever-growing fan base, Lisa Jewell has become a go-to author for readers who crave gripping stories.

One of Jewell’s best books is the 2017 release, Then She Was Gone. The novel follows a mother named Laurel, who is still grappling with her daughter’s disappearance ten years prior. When she meets a man with a daughter who looks eerily similar, Laurel is drawn into a web of secrets and lies that threaten her world. The novel is a masterful blend of psychological suspense and emotional depth, keeping readers enthralled from start to finish.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget that just because you haven’t heard from someone, it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about you.”

Lisa Jewell, Then She Was Gone
Then She Was Gone: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jewell, Lisa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 04/17/2018 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

4. Alice Feeney, 1976 –

Alice Feeney
Sometimes I Lie book cover image

Alice Feeney is a British author recognized for her chilling psychological thrillers. Feeney’s ability to craft intricate, twisty plots and create well-developed characters has earned her a reputation as a rising star. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was met with widespread acclaim and appeared on numerous book lists, garnering the attention of thriller enthusiasts worldwide.

In her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, Feeney introduces Amber Reynolds, a woman who wakes up in a hospital, unable to move, speak, or open her eyes. As the story unfolds through alternating timelines, readers are drawn into a complex web of deception and intrigue that keeps them guessing until the end. This gripping psychological thriller showcases Feeney’s exceptional storytelling skills, leaving readers eager for more of her work.

“My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me. 1. I’m in a coma. 2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie.”

Alice Feeney, Sometimes I Lie
Sometimes I Lie: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Feeney, Alice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 264 Pages - 03/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Flatiron Books (Publisher)

5. Liane Moriarty, 1966 –

Liane Moriarty is an acclaimed Australian author whose psychological suspense novels have garnered international recognition and a loyal following. Before becoming a full-time writer, Moriarty worked in advertising and marketing. Her breakthrough novel, Big Little Lies, was a New York Times bestseller and adapted into a successful HBO series. Moriarty’s captivating storytelling and keen insights into human nature have made her books entertaining and thought-provoking, earning her a reputation as a must-read author.

One of Moriarty’s most exciting works is The Husband’s Secret, a novel that intertwines the lives of three women struggling with their issues. The story takes a dramatic turn when one of the women discovers a letter from her husband, revealing a life-altering secret. This gripping tale of love, betrayal, and the consequences of our actions keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken.”

Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret
The Husband's Secret
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Moriarty, Liane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 498 Pages - 07/30/2013 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

6. B.A. Paris, 1958 –

B.A. Paris
Photo of B.A. Paris is standing in a grove of trees

B.A. Paris is a British author who has quickly gained prominence in psychological thrillers. Before becoming a novelist, Paris worked in finance and as a teacher. Her debut novel, Behind Closed Doors, became an instant bestseller, earning her a reputation for crafting intense and suspenseful stories that delve into the dark side of seemingly perfect lives. Paris’s talent for creating intricate plots and unforgettable characters has made her a favorite among fans of the genre.

Behind Closed Doors, Paris’s debut novel, tells the story of Jack and Grace, a couple who appear to have the perfect marriage. However, as the novel unfolds, it becomes evident that their happy facade hides a sinister secret. This suspenseful thriller takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, exploring the power dynamics within relationships and the lengths people will go to maintain control.

“The door opens and he stands in the doorway, my handsome, psychopathic husband.”

B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

7. Liv Constantine, 2017 – 

Liv Constantine
The Last Mrs. Parrish book cover image

Liv Constantine is the pen name for the sister duo Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who have made a name for themselves in the psychological thriller genre. Their collaboration allows them to combine their talents and create gripping, suspenseful stories that captivate readers. Their debut novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish, quickly became a New York Times bestseller and garnered significant praise from critics and readers alike.

The Last Mrs. Parrish follows the cunning Amber Patterson, who sets her sights on the seemingly perfect life of socialite Daphne Parrish. As Amber becomes more deeply involved in Daphne’s world, dark secrets are revealed, leading to a shocking conclusion. This twisty, unputdownable thriller showcases the sisters’ talent for crafting complex characters and intricate plots that keep readers guessing until the very end.

“Some people just need killing. It’s really quite simple.”

Liv Constantine, The Last Mrs. Parrish

8. Gillian Flynn, 1971 –

Gillian Flynn
Photo of Gillian Flynn at the New York Film Festival

Gillian Flynn is an American author known for her chilling psychological suspense novels that often explore the darker side of human nature. Before becoming a full-time writer, Flynn was a television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her breakthrough novel, Gone Girl, was a massive success, topping the New York Times bestseller list and inspiring a popular film adaptation. Flynn’s engaging storytelling and unique perspective have solidified her status as a leading voice in the thriller genre.

Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects, centers on Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown to cover the brutal murders of two young girls. As Camille investigates the crimes, she’s forced to confront her troubled past and the secrets that still haunt her. This dark, atmospheric thriller showcases Flynn’s ability to create complex, multi-layered characters and gripping narratives.

“Every time people said I was pretty, I thought of everything ugly swarming beneath my clothes.”

Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

9. Gilly Macmillan, 1968 –

Gilly Macmillan
What She Knew book cover image

Gilly Macmillan is a British author known for her psychological suspense novels that expertly blend tension, emotion, and vivid character development. Macmillan, who holds a degree in art history, worked as a lecturer in the voluntary sector before turning to writing. Her debut novel, What She Knew, quickly garnered praise and appeared on various book lists, solidifying her reputation as a skilled storyteller in the thriller genre.

In What She Knew, Macmillan tells the story of Rachel Jenner, a mother whose world is shattered when her eight-year-old son disappears during a walk in the woods. As the investigation unfolds, Rachel faces suspicion and scrutiny from the police and the public. This suspenseful thriller examines the impact of tragedy on a family and explores the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.

“I couldn’t trust my own judgment, and that was worse than having bad judgment.”

Gilly Macmillan, What She Knew

10. Riley Sager, 2017 –

Riley Sager
Final Girls book cover image

Riley Sager is the pseudonym for American author Todd Ritter, who has gained widespread acclaim for his psychological thrillers. Sager’s novels have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, and he has become known for combining classic thriller elements with a modern, fresh perspective. His writing has been praised for its atmospheric settings, suspenseful plots, and engaging twists.

One of Sager’s most successful novels is Final Girls, which follows the story of Quincy Carpenter, the sole survivor of a horrific massacre. As Quincy struggles to move on from her traumatic past, she’s forced to confront her memories and faces a new threat when another survivor dies. This suspenseful thriller pays homage to classic horror films while delivering a unique, contemporary narrative that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end.

“I don’t know what’s going on. And maybe that’s the scariest thing of all.”

Riley Sager, Final Girls

11. Agatha Christie, 1890 – 1976

Agatha Christie
Black and white photo of Agatha Christie in a contemplative pose

Agatha Christie was a legendary British author who became synonymous with the mystery and suspense genre. Her prolific career spanned over five decades, during which she wrote 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. Christie’s work, which includes iconic characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, has been celebrated for its clever plotting, attention to detail, and psychological depth. Her books have been translated into over 100 languages, making her one of the best-selling authors ever.

One of Christie’s most famous works is And Then There Were None, a suspenseful thriller that follows ten strangers lured to an isolated island off the coast of England. As the guests are killed off one by one, the survivors must confront their guilt and uncover the identity of the murderer. This classic whodunit showcases Christie’s unparalleled ability to craft a captivating, tension-filled narrative that keeps readers guessing until the end.

“The little boat, driven by a capable hand, was round the bend and out of sight.”

Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

12. Lucy Foley, 1986 –

Lucy Foley
Photo of Lucy Foley bundled up in a cardigan

Lucy Foley is a British author known for her enthralling psychological suspense novels that blend immersive settings with complex characters and gripping plots. Before becoming a full-time writer, Foley worked as an editor for a leading publisher in London. Her ability to create atmospheric, tension-filled narratives has quickly established her as a rising star in the thriller genre. Her books became popular picks for book clubs and earned spots on various book lists.

Foley’s best-selling novel, The Guest List, takes place on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, where a glamorous wedding quickly turns sinister when a body is discovered. As the story unfolds, the perspectives of various guests reveal hidden secrets and simmering tensions, keeping readers on edge until the shocking conclusion. This engaging, twisty thriller demonstrates Foley’s skill at crafting a suspenseful, intricately woven narrative. Check out these authors like Grady Hendrix.

“No one is safe, not when everyone has something to hide.”

Lucy Foley, The Guest List

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best spy thrillers!

Author

  • Kate has been writing since she was 10 years old, tapping away on an old typewriter in her childhood bedroom. Today, Kate is a seasoned freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing for print and online media. She’s an avid reader and believes in the power of words to transport readers to new worlds, and inspire and nurture creativity. Kate is also a published author and is currently working on her next project.