There’s something addictive about domestic thrillers: they have the juiciest plots; the most unbelievable twists; the most satisfying yet unexpected endings. Technically a kind of psychological thriller, domestic thrillers usually focus on the relationship between a husband and wife, minus the happy ending. And we just love suspense stories where it turns out the person you thought you knew best was hiding something all along.
Below, we’ve made a list of 18 domestic thrillers that will keep you guessing the entire time. If we missed your favorite, tell us about it in the comments below!
Here Lies Alice
After Sophia Saunders is murdered, her husband, Peter, and daughter, Lauren, struggle to pick up the pieces left by her absence. Peter is overwhelmed with grief but soon falls for a woman named Alice from his therapy group.
As his relationship with Alice grows more serious, Lauren becomes suspicious of her motives. She senses something is seriously wrong with Alice and can’t find any trace of her online. As she searches deeper into Alice’s past her life becomes in danger, as Alice has her own agenda for revenge
Best friends Claudia and Heather leave their abusive marriages to live the life they always wanted together. They’re off to a good start when they find a relatively cheap flat perfect for two. Yet, they soon find it was too good to be true.
Claudia gets diagnosed with a fatal illness, leaving Heather to care for her. Despite hoping for a clean break from their husbands, Claudia’s ex comes into the picture and things take another turn for the worst.
As life for both girls continues on a downward spiral, they’ll do anything it takes to finally get their chance at a happy ever after.
The People Next Door
Young couple Ash and Ellie believe they have found the perfect starter home in the England countryside. But they soon come to find that the house is far from perfect. Unexplainable things are happening, doors unlock, and furniture is out of place. Could it be something paranormal, or is someone just playing a prank on them?
When the couple finds that the previous owner was murdered in the home, they try to overlook the grueling details and fill the home with happy memories. But when Ash leaves for a business trip, Ellie must face the horrors that still haunt their home all alone.
The Couple in the Photograph
Kerri and Nathan Metcalfe have been married for twenty-five wonderful years. Their children have a special present to mark the anniversary, a life-size photo of the couple plastered onto buildings across their city. Seems like a thoughtful gift, right? Wrong. Kerri is anxious that the man she's been secretly sleeping with will see it.
Of course, he sees it and is deeply hurt that Kerri has lied to him. When his sadness turns into anger, Kerri’s life, her family’s, and everyone around her become at risk.
The Perfect Marriage
Sarah and Adam are trying to enjoy a weekend away from their work lives at their secluded lake house. While Adam’s writing career has seen better days, Sarah is constantly working as a defense attorney in Washington D.C. A weekend in the woods is exactly what the couple needs to rekindle some romance and relax a little bit. All plans go astray when Kelly Summers is found stabbed to death and Adam may be to blame. Turns out Adam and Kelly have been having an affair, and now Sarah must make the case to defend her cheating husband against murder charges. See how it all plays out in the upcoming film adaptation of A Perfect Marriage.
When Lives Collide
In one split second two women’s lives are changed forever. What Emma Elliot believed to be her just scraping by another car in a mad dash to complete errands was the accident that took the life of Loretta Davidson’s four-year-old son. Emma left the scene unaware of any damages, rushing to get home before anger rose in her abusive partner. Loretta survived with only a few stitches, but a gaping wound the size of a little boy in her heart.
These women, strangers to each other but connected by that fateful day, continue on with everything life throws at them until they end up in each other’s paths once again.
Thursday knows Seth already has two wives who she hasn’t met, but she doesn’t care—she loves him so much that she agrees to marry him, too. But one day, Thursday finds something. Something that makes her question everything she thought she knew about Seth. What follows is a heart-pounding, unbelievable thriller that would make Gillian Flynn’s head spin—and that’s all we’re saying. If you want to know more, you’ll have to read the book yourself.
The Missing Husband
Long after Kate expects her husband Pete to arrive home from work, she discovers a note that he left behind—he’s been wildly unhappy for a long time, and he’s found someone else. Kate is utterly blindsided, since the two have been together since their teen years, have two beloved daughters, and have managed to find themselves a home in a beautiful London brownstone. Pete hasn’t just left Kate… he’s left behind his phone, his clothes, and everything else in his life. When Kate sets off to find him, she has no idea what else she’ll find along the way...
According to Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies, “No one writes twisted, suspenseful novels quite like Sophie Hannah.” And truly, this is a plot we haven’t heard before: Naomi’s married boyfriend, Robert, has suddenly gone AWOL. Unfortunately, his wife insists he isn’t missing, and so the police won’t listen to Naomi.
Determined to force their hand, Naomi convinces the police Robert is dangerous, borrowing details from her own troubled past. But soon, the lie spins far, far out of Naomi’s control, and the real truth won’t be revealed until it’s all over.
The Couple Next Door
Anne and Marco Conti seem like the perfect family. They have a wonderful home, a strong relationship, and their darling baby, Cora. This all changes they’re at a dinner party with their neighbors that ends with “one crime, an entire neighborhood of suspects, secrets and lies” (Lisa Gardner, Find Her). Detective Rasbach can tell they’re hiding something—and it turns out Anne and Marco have been hiding a whole lot from one another, too.
The Wife Between Us
We’re guessing you already read (and loved) Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. If so, then you’re missing out if you haven’t picked up The Wife Between Us, a domestic thriller that seems to be about a woman obsessed with her ex-husband’s new fiancee—but you shouldn’t assume you have this book figured out until you’ve reached the last page.
A Perfect Wife and Mother
Harriet Major is the ideal babysitter: She’s 21 and well-mannered, kids adore her, and she adores them, and in the suburbs of New York City, good help is hard to find. With her second child on the way, Georgia Coffey is relieved to have found such a great babysitter for her first son, Justin—and Harriet knows just how to take advantage of her.
Soon after being hired Harriet takes off with Justin, leaving Georgia devastated and searching for answers...and shocked at what she finds.
The Lies He Told
Misty, Gwen, Babs, and Dee each have a man in their life. For Dee, her husband is less than ideal. Babs can’t get her man to settle. Gwen isn’t sure that this new guy is quite right. And Misty is freshly in love with her newly cohabiting boyfriend. Their biggest problem? Their man is the same cheating scoundrel. When the four find out, readers will be taken on a twisty ride through revenge and psychological thrills.
A woman has just woken up in the desert, and she has no idea how she got there, or even her own name. Her only clue is a slip of paper with the handwritten words Captain Michael Devereaux, Luke A.F.B. After a man finds her and gives her a ride into town, she discovers her name is Laurel and the Michael Deveraux is the husband she abandoned two years ago, after giving birth to their son. She has no memory of any of this...and as she begins to puzzle out what really happened, Laurel realizes she and her son are very much in danger.
Joyce Carol Oates is a master writer with a knack for spine-tingling, delicious drama. In this collection of four short stories, she delves into the ways love can turn toxic. From young wife meeting her predecessor and learning a terrible secret, to a young teenager realizing her older boyfriend is not what he seems, Oates elevates the thriller genre with razor-sharp prose and exquisite suspense.
New York Times bestselling author Clare Francis has crafted a compelling, quick paced piece of crime fiction full of twists and turns—not to mention murder, adultery and scandal. Businessman Hugh Wellesley gets a rather unpleasant surprise when his mistress, Sylvia, turns up dead in a river. Even when he gets brought up on charges, his sickly wife Ginny remains supportive...but as his trial date approaches, Hugh needs to figure out what really happened, before he winds up in jail for a crime he claims he didn’t commit.
Randle Marks isn’t surprised when his wife, Carrie, serves him with divorce papers. But he is surprised to realize just how far she’ll go to secure a share of the expected profits from his start-up, including dredging up outdated lawyers, hiring a detective and a guileless prosecutor, and making sure the judge of her choosing gets the case. To best her, Randle decides to go ahead with an outrageous and perilous scheme—and if he loses, it could kill them both.
When Ross proposed to Sharon, she couldn’t believe her luck. As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Sharon thought Ross could give her safety, a family, and a home at Poinciana, his mansion on his Palm Beach estate. But after they are wed, Sharon realizes her luck was too good to be true. Everyone at Poinciana is guarded. Resentful. Hostile. And when Sharon begins to ask questions, Ross becomes hostile as well, leading her to question her sanity and safety is what is turning out to be a trap.
Keep Reading: The Best Gillian Flynn Books, Ranked
This post is sponsored by Graydon House. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for Murder & Mayhem to continue publishing the mystery stories you love.
This post originally appeared on Early Bird Books.
Featured image: Thought Catalog / Unsplash