HomeBooks45+ Best Fiction Books About Serial Killers, Ranked By Amazon Reviews

45+ Best Fiction Books About Serial Killers, Ranked By Amazon Reviews

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Looking for a new fiction book about serial killers? You’ve come to the right place. We here at Nerd Much? believe that there’s something endlessly fascinating about stories that explore the complexities and nuances of the most notorious characters in fiction – murderers. They’re not just about the chills and thrills; they offer a twisted mirror to society’s own demons and fears. From methodical maniacs to charismatic psychopaths, these books about serial killers keep us turning pages long into the night, with lighting fast pace and plots that twist more than a pretzel in a tornado.

Serial killer books have quite the cult following for a reason—they push the boundaries of traditional thrillers and take readers on a ride through the macabre and the morbid. Think about it: the Dexter book series by Jeff Lindsay doesn’t just present a killer; it dares to introduce a protagonist who’s both hunter and hunted. And novels like The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter challenge us to scrutinize innocence and complicity, making us question what we would do in the face of unspeakable evil. Then there are books like Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box that inject a dose of supernatural into the mix, proving that serial killer narratives can bleed into other genres and still keep you pinned to your chair.

The list we’ve got cooking for you has been curated by your fellow bookworms who live to discuss the darkest corners of fictional minds. So, let’s cut to the chase and dive into these tales of calculated chaos and sinister minds that leave an impression long after the last page is turned. Find over 45 of the best fiction books about serial killers below, ranked best to worst by their Amazon reviews.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Amazon Review Avg: 4.7

Thomas Harris penned a masterpiece of the psychological thriller genre with The Silence of the Lambs, first released in 1988. The novel introduces us to the young and ambitious FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, who is on the hunt for the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. To catch him, she seeks the help of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic murderer. The game of cat-and-mouse that unfolds is as much an intellectual tango as it is a descent into the darkest corners of human nature.

The Silence of the Lambs is often hailed as one of the best books about a serial killer because it doesn’t merely present evil; it dissects it. Harris delivers a meticulously crafted narrative that blurs the lines between hunter and prey, sanity and madness. Through Starling’s conversations with Lecter, Harris explores the complexities of the criminal mind with chilling precision and philosophical depth. The book’s ability to unnerve and provoke thought makes it a standout in the realm of serial killer novels, cementing its place in the pantheon of crime literature.

Measure Twice by J.J. Hensley

Amazon Review Avg: 4.7

Measure Twice by J.J. Hensley is a sharp, gritty crime novel that first hit the shelves in 2014. In Pittsburgh, a serial killer is meticulously executing victims, all while offering cryptic clues tailored to lead Detective Jackson Channing through a personal gauntlet. As Channing becomes entangled in the killer’s web, the case turns disturbingly familiar, prodding at his own ghosts and the darker recesses of his psyche. Hensley, a former police officer and Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, weaves realism into each twist of the investigation.

Perhaps one of the most underrated books about a serial killer, Measure Twice stands out for its raw authenticity and psychological complexity. Hensley’s background in law enforcement breathes life into the procedural elements, creating an atmosphere that’s both convincing and intense. Unlike the mainstream hits that often overshadow quieter releases, this book doesn’t rely on the shock value of its killings to captivate; instead, it delves into the emotional toll of the chase, making it a nuanced and engrossing read for anyone digging through the under-the-radar gems of the thriller genre.

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson

Amazon Review Avg: 4.6

James Patterson’s Kiss the Girls is a formidable entry in the realm of serial killer thrillers, initially hitting bookstores in 1995. This novel marks the second outing for the author’s iconic character, Detective Alex Cross, as he’s drawn into a nightmarish scenario: two serial kidnappers, dubbed “Casanova” and “The Gentleman Caller,” who are operating on opposite coasts of the United States. The stakes climb sky-high when Cross discovers his niece is missing, possibly ensnared by one of these predators, launching him into a desperate hunt to unravel their twisted game.

While Patterson may be a household name, Kiss the Girls often flies under the radar when discussing the most impactful serial killer books, making it an underrated jewel. The novel’s dual-threat narrative cleverly entwines the fates of two distinctly horrifying villains, delivering double the tension and intrigue. Cross’ relentless search through an America held hostage by fear showcases Patterson’s knack for ramping up the suspense, while also dealing with themes of power, identity, and obsession. It’s this combination of page-turning excitement and psychological depth that cements Kiss the Girls as a book that deserves more buzz in the annals of twisted killers and the heroes who hunt them down.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Amazon Review Avg: 4.6

No Country for Old Men, penned by the acclaimed Cormac McCarthy, was first published in 2005, thrusting readers into a tense and violent chase through the desert landscape of 1980 Texas. When Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong and takes off with a suitcase full of cash, he triggers a merciless pursuit by Anton Chigurh, an enigmatic hitman with his own brand of justice, as the aging Sheriff Bell laments the increasing violence of the modern world.

This novel is often celebrated as a good book about a serial killer due to McCarthy’s ability to craft a narrative that’s not just about the cold bloodedness of Chigurh’s killings but also a meditation on fate, morality, and the changing American landscape. Chigurh’s chilling philosophical calmness juxtaposed against the rough-hewn pragmatism of Moss and Bell’s old-school decency creates a multifaceted exploration of evil that transcends the traditional confines of the genre. McCarthy’s sparse, impactful prose and the existential weight behind the relentless cat-and-mouse game elevate No Country for Old Men to a masterpiece of literary fiction with a killer at its heart.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Amazon Review Avg: 4.5

Red Dragon, the novel that introduced the world to the brilliant but chilling character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a cornerstone of the thriller genre. Authored by Thomas Harris and released in 1981, it stands as a prequel to the famed The Silence of the Lambs. The plot centers around former FBI profiler Will Graham, who is lured back into service to track down a new, highly disturbing serial killer known as “The Tooth Fairy.” With his own psyche scarred from capturing Lecter three years prior, Graham must confront his demons to end the Tooth Fairy’s reign of terror.

As a foundational work in the genre, Red Dragon earns its reputation as one of the top serial killer books. Harris masterfully constructs a narrative that’s not just about the pursuit of a murderer but a deep dive into the fraught relationship between hunter and hunted. The novel’s influence is evident, with its complex character development and meticulous attention to forensic and psychological detail setting the stage for countless others. It’s the kind of gripping, character-driven story that doesn’t just focus on the crimes but on the haunting repercussions they have on those who solve them, ensuring Red Dragon’s enduring resonance within the thriller canon.

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

Amazon Review Avg: 4.5

The Bone Collector, first published in 1997, marks the debut of author Jeffery Deaver’s iconic quadriplegic detective, Lincoln Rhyme. The story kicks off with a bang when a horrifying discovery is made in New York City—a piece of bone is uncovered, left by a sadistic serial killer who leaves scant clues at the scenes of his gruesome tableaus.

Tasked with the challenge, Rhyme, a brilliant forensic criminologist now bound to his bed, teams up with the tenacious and resourceful Officer Amelia Sachs to unravel the labyrinthine puzzles the killer presents, leading them on an intense manhunt.

The Bone Collector is frequently touted as one of the best serial killer books for good reason. Deaver brilliantly melds the intricacies of forensic science with the high stakes of a ticking-clock narrative.

The unique dynamic between Rhyme, with his mind razor-sharp but his body immobile, and Sachs, acting as his eyes and ears in the field, offers a fresh take on the detective genre. Combined with the enigmatic serial killer who turns murder into a macabre art form, this novel not only thrills but also challenges readers with intricate plotting and edge-of-your-seat suspense, securing its place as a standout in the genre.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Amazon Review Avg: 4.5

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the gripping first novel in Stieg Larsson’s international bestselling Millennium trilogy, which exploded onto the literary scene in Sweden in 2005 and subsequently took the world by storm. The story intertwines the lives of Mikael Blomkvist, a discredited journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a reclusive but brilliant hacker with a complex history.

Together, they are drawn into the cold case of a missing heiress, which unravels into a tapestry of family secrets, corruption, and a string of unsettling murders anchored in Sweden’s wintry landscape.

Larsson’s novel rightfully earns its acclaim in the pantheon of great books about serial killers, combining rich character depth with chilling suspense. What sets it apart is the distinctive partnership of its protagonists, especially the enigmatic Salander, whose own dark past and resourcefulness lend a unique dimension to the narrative.

Through meticulous plotting and a sharp critique of societal injustices, the book delves into the darker nature of humanity, uncovering the monstrosities that can lurk beneath a veneer of civility. Its combination of psychological intrigue, stark realism, and moral complexity makes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a compelling and thought-provoking read that stands out in the genre.

The Poet by Michael Connelly

Amazon Review Avg: 4.5

Released in 1996, The Poet by Michael Connelly introduces readers to crime reporter Jack McEvoy as he navigates through the darkest story of his career—the apparent suicide of his twin brother, a detective. When McEvoy digs deeper, he uncovers a pattern of police suicides across the country linked to one eerily literate serial killer.

Connelly spins a relentless web of intrigue as McEvoy, teaming up with FBI Agent Rachel Walling, becomes entangled in a case that questions the very nature of justice and evil.

The Poet stands out as a great book about serial killers due to Connelly’s masterful blend of raw emotion and intricate plotting. What escalates this novel is the palpable authenticity brought on by Connelly’s own experiences as a crime reporter. The eponymous Poet is a villain who uses the verses of Edgar Allan Poe as a haunting signature, adding an intellectual layer to his crimes and the investigation thereof.

This literary touch, combined with the emotional drive of McEvoy’s personal connection to the case, crafts a narrative that’s as emotionally engaging as it is intellectually challenging, earning The Poet its well-deserved praise in the genre.

The Night Stalker by Chris Carter

Amazon Review Avg: 4.5

The Night Stalker by Chris Carter is the third book in the Robert Hunter series, gripping readers with its intense narrative since its release in 2011. In this installment, Detective Robert Hunter of the Los Angeles Homicide Special Section is thrust into a complex case involving a series of brutal murders. The killer’s methods are meticulous and savage, baffling the police with his ability to enter homes undetected and leaving behind a gruesome calling card: the dead bodies of his victims posed as if alive.

What solidifies The Night Stalker as a good book about a serial killer is Carter’s ability to inject his expertise as a criminal psychologist into the narrative, offering chillingly accurate insights into the mind of his killer. The novel excels in building suspense and evoking a palpable sense of dread that is the hallmark of the best in the genre. Hunter’s dogged pursuit of the elusive killer, juxtaposed with the spine-tingling thrill of the hunt, creates a high-octane reading experience that delves into the darkest depths of human depravity, keeping readers riveted until the very last page.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter #1) by Jeff Lindsay

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the first novel in the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, presents readers with a chilling yet sardonic take on vigilante justice when it was released in 2004. The story delves into the mind of Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro Police by day and a disciplined serial killer by night.

Dexter’s unusual code of ethics that directs him to target only other murderers sets the stage for a deeply complex character study draped in the cloak of a thriller.

This debut Dexter novel offers a unique take on serial killers by positioning Dexter as both protagonist and predator, subverting typical genre expectations. Lindsay’s sharp, darkly humorous prose and Dexter’s wry first-person narration give readers a voyeuristic look into the mind of a killer who grapples with human connection and his own monstrous nature.

The stark contrast between Dexter’s day job and nocturnal activities not only provides a fresh narrative perspective but also raises thought-provoking questions about morality and justice, distinguishing Darkly Dreaming Dexter as an inventive and compelling outlier in the world of serial killer fiction.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis plunges readers into the grotesque underbelly of 1980s yuppie culture with its release in 1991. This controversial novel follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a suave Wall Street investment banker who moonlights as a psychopathic killer. His seamless transition from boardroom to bloodshed paints a disturbing portrait of dual identities amidst the excess and apathy of the era.

Dubbed a good serial killer novel, American Psycho‘s true horror stems not just from the graphic violence, but from Ellis’s scathing social commentary on materialism and dehumanization. The satirical and often surreal narrative layers Bateman’s chilling detachment with a critique of the superficiality of his peers, underscoring the banality of evil in a society obsessed with surface-level appearances. The blending of psychological terror with biting satire offers not just a gripping story, but also an intellectual challenge, securing its status within the genre.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

I Hunt Killers hit the shelves in 2012 as Barry Lyga’s bold foray into the young adult genre with a serial killer twist. The novel introduces Jasper “Jazz” Dent, the son of the country’s most notorious serial killer. Jazz, using the gruesome knowledge imparted by his father, finds himself embroiled in a deadly game when a new serial killer emerges in his small town, and he must clear his name by catching him.

This gripping narrative earns its status as a good serial killer book by delving into the complexities of nature versus nurture. Lyga crafts a compelling protagonist in Jazz, whose internal battle with his inherited darkness versus his desire for normalcy creates a riveting psychological landscape. With its sharp pacing, clever plotting, and an insightful look at a character on the razor’s edge of morality, I Hunt Killers is a standout in the genre, appealing to both teen and adult audiences alike.

You by Caroline Kepnes

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

You, authored by Caroline Kepnes and released in 2014, introduces readers to Joe Goldberg, an unassuming bookstore manager in New York. The line between affection and obsession blurs when Joe meets Guinevere Beck, an aspiring writer. His infatuation quickly spirals into a dark, all-consuming drive to know Beck and insert himself into her life, resorting to social media stalking and even murder to carve out a space for himself in her world.

You stands out as a good book about a serial killer for its deep dive into the psyche of its protagonist and the modern digital age’s role in facilitating his obsession. Kepnes crafts Joe’s character with such compelling inner dialogue that readers find themselves uncomfortably sympathizing with him at points. The novel’s fresh perspective on narrative voice—using second-person point of view to elicit a visceral reaction—along with its commentary on contemporary culture’s oversharing tendencies, makes You both an addictive thriller and a cautionary tale of love twisted into possession.

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

Mr. Mercedes, released in 2014, steers clear of supernatural horror and drives full-throttle into the mind of a killer. Authored by Stephen King, the novel sets off with a retired detective, Bill Hodges, haunted by the one that got away—a perpetrator dubbed ‘Mr. Mercedes’, who mowed down eight people with a stolen car. When the killer, Brady Hartsfield, resolves to commit a more diabolical act, it becomes a cat-and-mouse chase that forces Hodges back into the game.

Deserving its title as one of the top fictional serial killer books, Mr. Mercedes showcases King’s versatility in weaving a tight, psychological thriller that strays into the realms of crime and mystery. King eschews his traditional horror elements in favor of a gritty, realistic exploration of both the detective’s and the killer’s complex psychologies. With its bone-chilling plot and deeply developed characters, Mr. Mercedes grips readers by spotlighting the human monsters that walk among us, proving King can reign in suspense just as deftly as in horror.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Set in the Gilded Age of New York City, The Alienist by Caleb Carr is a historical thriller that immerses readers in the early days of criminal psychology and forensics. Released in 1994, the narrative follows Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist—or “alienist”—who, along with a newspaper reporter and a secretary from the police department, forms a team to track down a gruesome serial killer preying on the city’s vulnerable child prostitutes.

The Alienist earns its place as one of the best fictional serial killer books through its meticulous period detail and its groundbreaking approach to crime-solving steeped in the emerging field of psychology. Carr expertly crafts an atmospheric tale that not only delivers a captivating murder investigation but also examines the societal conditions that enable such evils to flourish. With its richly developed characters and a plot that deftly combines historical fact with fiction, the book captivates readers and transports them to a past that, while distant, resonates with the ongoing quest to understand the darkest corners of the human mind.

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

A Disturbing Nature (Echo of Whispers #1) by Brian Lebeau

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

A Disturbing Nature, the first entry in the Echo of Whispers series by Brian Lebeau, was published in 2021. The novel features FBI Agent Alex Brown, who grapples with a perplexing case in rural Maine involving a serial killer whose actions are eerily reminiscent of past crimes.

Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis offers readers a chilling foray into the hunt for a brutal serial killer. Launched in 2013, this gripping thriller unfolds around a detective and an FBI profiler’s joint mission to stop the murderer before another victim is claimed.

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

In Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell ushers readers into the world of medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, who’s on the trail of a serial strangler. This inaugural book of the renowned series was released in 1990, swiftly becoming a New York Times Bestseller and winning the Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

The Surgeon, a novel by Tess Gerritsen introduced in 2001, invites readers into a grisly Boston landscape where a methodical killer, dubbed “The Surgeon,” operates on victims with chilling precision. This heart-pumping thriller swiftly earned a place on the New York Times Bestseller list, heightening Gerritsen’s acclaim within the genre.

Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #1) by Chelsea Cain

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

Heartsick, the first book in the Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain, hit the shelves in 2007, unveiling the twisted relationship between a detective and his beautiful serial killer captor-turned-consultant. The engrossing thriller climbed onto the New York Times Bestseller list, marking a successful debut for Cain’s series.

Evil Games by Angela Marsons

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

Evil Games, the second gripping installment in Angela Marsons’ DI Kim Stone series, was released in 2015. The narrative unfolds around Detective Stone as she faces a sociopathic antagonist orchestrating a dark and twisted plan.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Amazon Review Avg: 4.4

The Name of the Star, a novel by Maureen Johnson, is the first in the Shades of London series, blending mystery with paranormal elements. Released in 2011, the story tracks Louisiana teen Rory Deveaux’s encounter with ghostly occurrences as she grapples with a Jack the Ripper-like murder spree. It became a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind delves into the olfactory world of 18th-century France through Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man with an extraordinary sense of smell on a quest to create the ultimate perfume, leading him to commit a series of chilling murders. First published in 1985, this best-selling novel has not only graced the New York Times Bestseller list but has also won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

The Snowman, a chilling installment in Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series, was first released in 2007 and features the relentless Norwegian detective as he investigates a serial killer who leaves disturbing snowmen at the scenes of his crimes. The book became an international bestseller and appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list, solidifying Nesbø’s standing as a master of the crime thriller genre.

Messiah by Boris Starling

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

Messiah by Boris Starling burst onto the crime thriller scene in 1999, presenting a gritty and dark tale of Detective Superintendent Red Metcalfe’s hunt for a serial killer in London who uses the New Testament as a blueprint for murder. Messiah was well-received and later adapted into a successful television series, signifying its impact and popularity.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

The Diviners by Libba Bray, released in 2012, is a supernatural thriller set in the Roaring Twenties, where flapper and psychic Evie O’Neill tangles with a chilling occult-based murder mystery in New York City. This spellbinding tale hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was acclaimed for its atmospheric storytelling and historical detail.

Intensity by Dean Koontz

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

Dean Koontz’s harrowing novel Intensity was released in 1995, showcasing 24 hours of terror as college student Chyna Shepherd confronts a relentless serial killer. This edge-of-your-seat thriller swiftly climbed the New York Times Bestseller list, showcasing Koontz’s mastery in delivering pulse-pounding suspense to an eager readership.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

The Whisper Man by Alex North, published in 2019, weaves a haunting tale of a grief-stricken father and son caught in a deadly game when a serial killer resurfaces in their new town. The novel not only captivated audiences, landing a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list but also received widespread critical acclaim for its chilling narrative and emotional depth.

Rage by Jonathan Kellerman

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

In Rage, a tense and compelling entry into Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, released in 2005, the psychologist and detective Milo Sturgis tackle the convoluted case of a released juvenile offender now murdered. The intricately plotted novel gripped readers, paving its way to become a New York Times Bestseller

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, published in 1955, introduces the charismatic and manipulative Tom Ripley, who’s sent to Italy to persuade a wealthy heir to return home but soon spirals into a life of deception, fraud, and murder. While not a New York Times Bestseller upon its initial release, it did receive the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and its growing acclaim has established it as a classic in the suspense genre.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Amazon Review Avg: 4.3

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison is a dark and gripping thriller that grapples with themes of captivity and resilience against the backdrop of a twisted collector’s macabre sanctuary. Released in 2016, the novel unfurls the story of Maya, a survivor who recounts the horrors faced by “The Gardener” and his collection of “butterflies”—young women tattooed and kept captive in a secret garden. While it didn’t snag any major literary awards, The Butterfly Garden did capture the attention of readers worldwide, landing on the radar as a disturbing yet fascinating read, and it became a NY Times Bestseller.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Amazon Review Avg: 4.2

I Am Not a Serial Killer threads the needle between young adult fiction and a chilling psychological thriller, introducing us to John Cleaver, a sociopathic teenager with a morbid fascination for serial killers. Written by Dan Wells and released in 2009, the novel is the first entry in a series that delves into John’s struggle against his darker impulses while tracking a supernatural killer in his small town.

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

Amazon Review Avg: 4.2

Diving into the minds of psychopaths, None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney is a gritty young adult thriller that explores the psychological dance between law enforcement and serial killers. Published in 2020, the story follows two teenagers, Emma Lewis and Travis Bell, recruited by the FBI to interview juvenile offenders for insights into an active serial killer case. Marney’s novel, with its fast-paced narrative and complex characters, made it to the NY Times Bestseller list in 2021 and won an Aurealis Award for Best Horror in 2020.

Two Truths And A Lie By April Henry

Amazon Review Avg: 4.2

Two Truth And A Lie by April Henry is a gripping tale that follows a group of teenagers find themselves confined in a sinister motel during a fierce storm, unknowingly sharing quarters with a murderer.

Part of her school’s drama club, Nell secretly wants to be an actor but is riddled with self-doubt. En route to a drama competition, a sudden snowstorm leaves her and her fellow drama enthusiasts marooned in a motel that exudes an eerie vibe. There, they encounter unfamiliar faces from a different school, including the enigmatic Knox who suggests a seemingly innocent game of Two Truths and a Lie. Nell’s turn results in a chilling discovery from a note:

“I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.”

What started as a playful game quickly turns into a sinister survival scenario. As people start to vanish, the haunting realization dawns that among them lurks a serial killer poised to claim another victim.

Surrounded by deception and theatrics, discerning the truth becomes a treacherous task, but Nell’s on the case. Can she figure it out before it’s her turn to fall victim to this killer?

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Amazon Review Avg: 4.2

In Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, she weaves a tale of psychological mystery and macabre family secrets. Published in 2006, the novel introduces readers to Camille Preaker, a troubled journalist who returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two young girls while grappling with her own demons and a toxic relationship with her mother. Flynn’s first foray into the thriller genre was met with critical acclaim, earning her a spot not only on the New York Times Bestseller list but also two of Britain’s Dagger Awards, and it has been praised for its haunting prose and complex characterization.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Amazon Review Avg: 4.2

The Kind Worth Killing, a masterful blend of suspense and twists by Peter Swanson, hit the shelves in 2015, plunging its readers into a morally ambiguous tale of deceit and murder. The narrative follows Ted Severson, who meets the enigmatic Lily Kintner on a flight back to Boston; their casual conversation escalates into a deadly pact to kill Ted’s unfaithful wife. While the book didn’t make the New York Times Bestseller list, it received considerable acclaim, bagging the New England Society Book Award for Fiction and was hailed by critics for its Hitchcockian intrigue and unexpected plot turns.

In the Woods by Tana French

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

In the Woods is Tana French’s compelling debut and the first installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series, which was published in 2007. The novel intertwines two mysteries, introducing detective Rob Ryan, who finds himself investigating a child murder that disturbingly echoes his own unresolved past—in the same Irish suburb where he was found as a boy, with no memory of what happened to his two friends who disappeared. The book won critical acclaim, including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for Best First Novel, and it was a New York Times Bestseller, marking French as a significant new voice in literary crime fiction.

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

The Serial Killer’s Wife, penned by Alice Hunter, is a psychological thriller that delves into the life of Beth Hardcastle, a woman who seems to have a perfect existence until her husband is linked to a series of murders. Released in May 2021, the novel scrutinizes the facade of domestic bliss and the dark secrets that can lurk behind it, as Beth is pressured by the community and the police to uncover the truth.

The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Lesley Welsh

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Lesley Welsh is a standalone thriller that explores the chilling fallout when Sue Dalston discovers her deceased father’s dark legacy as a serial killer. Published posthumously in 2017, the narrative takes readers on a tumultuous journey as Sue stumbles upon her father’s hidden diaries and incriminating evidence, which drag her into a dangerous world of violence and depravity.

Birdman by Mo Hayder

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

Mo Hayder made a striking entrance into the world of crime thrillers with Birdman, released in 1999. This gritty novel introduces readers to Detective Jack Caffery as he investigates a series of gruesomely orchestrated murders in Greenwich, London. Each victim is linked by a chilling signature left by the twisted perpetrator, drawing the detective into a deep, dark psychological journey.

Swipe Right For Murder by Derek Milman

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

Derek Milman’s Swipe Right for Murder is a twisted, fast-paced thriller that melds humor with suspense, presenting an unusual coming-of-age story for the digital age. Released in 2019, the novel centers around 17-year-old Aidan who, after a hookup gone wrong, finds himself on the run from the FBI and a cyber-terrorist group, caught in a case of mistaken identity and murder. While Milman’s engaging tale of mistaken identity and mayhem didn’t grace the New York Times Bestseller list or rack up major literary awards, it has found favor with readers looking for an adrenaline-fueled romp through a teenager’s worst nightmare.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

In Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn expertly crafts a sinister tale of marriage, manipulation, and media circuses, which burst onto the literary scene in 2012. This psychological thriller unwinds the complicated and darkly disturbing narrative of Nick and Amy Dunne, whose facade of a perfect marriage crumbles when Amy goes missing under suspicious circumstances.

Flynn’s sharp and twisting novel became an instant sensation, enjoying a long residency on the New York Times Bestseller list and earning widespread critical acclaim. The book’s clever plotting and incisive social commentary ensure its place as a standout work in contemporary crime fiction, although it did not claim any major literary awards.

The Collector by John Fowles

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

John Fowles’ debut novel, The Collector, hit the shelves in 1963, breaking ground with its psychological depth and unsettling exploration of obsession. The story follows Frederick Clegg, a reclusive butterfly collector, who becomes infatuated with a beautiful art student named Miranda Grey. His obsession takes a dark turn when he abducts her, seeking to add Miranda to his “collection” of prized specimens. Fowles’ exploration of the predator-prey dynamic was not only a commercial success but also cemented its place on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite is a horror novel that delves into the grim and graphic confines of the mind of a serial killer. Published in 1996, the book is not for the faint of heart; it paints a visceral picture of the lives and psyches of two murderers whose paths intertwine in a disturbing dance of death and desire. Set against the backdrop of a pre-Katrina New Orleans, Exquisite Corpse unfolds a gruesome narrative inspired by real-life serial killers.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Amazon Review Avg: 4.1

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a darkly humorous and sharply written novel that straddles the line between thriller and satire. Released in 2018, it tells the story of Korede, a Nigerian woman whose younger sister, Ayoola, has a disturbing habit of killing her boyfriends. The novel explores themes of family loyalty, ethics, and the complexities of sisterhood as Korede grapples with her sister’s actions and her own conscience. Braithwaite’s debut became a hit, not only landing on the New York Times Bestseller list but also being shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction and winning the LA Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Amazon Review Avg: 4.0

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes presents a riveting time-travel thriller released in 2013. This novel centers on Harper Curtis, a murderer from the 1930s who stumbles upon a house that allows him to travel through time and target “shining girls,” women with bright potential. Kirby Mazrachi, a survivor of one such attack, turns the tables as she hunts down her assailant in a twisted game of cat and mouse across different eras. It captivated the literary world, earning the Exclusive Books Reader’s Choice Award and was praised for its original blending of genres.

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

Amazon Review Avg: 4.0

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black, the pseudonym for acclaimed author Glen Duncan, is a harrowing thriller that takes readers into the depths of human depravity. Released in 2015, the story unfolds as a series of brutal murders grips the attention of seasoned homicide detective Valerie Hart, leading her on a relentless chase for two psychopathic killers. The grim narrative explores the darkness within and the relentless pursuit of justice.

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Bobby Bernstein
Bobby is the Co-Owner of Nerd Much?. He's the former Games Editor and current Shopping Editor at Heavy.com, former Editor in Chief of Den of Geek, and former bylines at HiConsumption, Slickdeals, Gamedeveloper.com, and more! He is also on Opencritic. He has been writing about nerdy stuff on the web for over 10 years. The best way to reach him is on Twitter.

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