Books To Keep You Up At Night

How’s it going friends?

How has the Corona life been treating you? Thanks to stay-at-home orders, people are finding more time on their hands than they know what to do with. Some are using that time to learn new things, or pick up old hobbies, or maybe, if you’re like me, read a few more books!

Summer is also here, and I don’t know about you, but I love quick books in the summer time, and one of my favorite genres: thrillers. Dark, gothic, psychological, what have you, thrillers. So I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorites.

Whether they are too good to put down, or just plain creepy, or both, this list of books will keep you up at night. In no particular order, here are 12 books to keep you up at night.

1. The Good Daughter

by Karin Slaughter

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father—Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney—devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlotte has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself—the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized, Charlotte is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress–because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever. Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.*

*Source: Goodreads

A glimpse into the ways different people experience the same trauma and how it effects them long-term, for better or for worse.

2. Dark Matter

by Blake Crouch

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.*

*Source: Goodreads

Sci-Fi meets psychological thriller in this debut novel. It’s a pulse-pounding, page-turning read that fans of Michael Creighton and Gillian Flynn alike would enjoy.

3. Sharp Objects

By Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.*

*Source: Goodreads

I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. The MC is real and imperfectly human experiencing raw emotion and has serious psychological issues caused by a seriously messed up childhood. She makes as many bad choices as good ones (if not more) but she struggles to get the truth and fight for the underdog when she sees them being outcasted. The plot makes for an interesting (almost insightful) glimpse into the world of serial killers, specifically female serial killers. It’s a chilling tale in many different ways as the story unfolds.

4. The Good Girl

By Mary Kubica

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.*

*Source: Goodreads

This is one of those books that you THINK you know how it will end, but then the author throws something at you that you didn’t see coming even a little bit.

5. Consequences

By Aleatha Romig

Waking in an unfamiliar bedroom in a luxurious mansion, Claire Nichols is terrified to discover that a chance encounter led her into the cruel hands of her abductor, Anthony Rawlings. Claire has no understanding of why she’s there, but it’s been made abundantly clear–she is now his acquisition and every action has consequences.*

*Source: Goodreads

Okay, I’m cheating here a bit because this isn’t a single title I’m suggesting, but a three-book series. #SorryNotSorry.

YA meets psychological thriller in this series by Aleatha Romig. This is an older series, pretty popular a handful of years ago amidst all the 50 Shades of Grey hype, but this sheds a light on the “love interest” as what he really is…an abuser. This, the first book of the series, is probably my favorite, as the other books veered off the path I was hoping they’d go. That said, they are still worth the read just to see how expertly Romig leads us through the twists and turns of the overarching plot.

6. The Death of Mrs. Westaway

by Ruth Ware

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.*

*Source: Goodreads

Read my full review in this post.

7. Genevieve Lenard

By Estelle Ryan

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing – not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills – prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss’ acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.*

*Source: Goodreads

I’m cheating again with this one, because once again, this is a series of books. They don’t have to be read in any particular order necessarily but might help. I read the second in the series, The Dante Connection, before I read the first one, The Gauguin Connection, then went on to read the third, The Braque Connection. I just loved these books and the heroine! Pure brain-candy reads. Easy, interesting, and fun.

8. Into the Darkest Corner

By Elizabeth Haynes

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . . .*

*Source: Goodreads

Read my full review in this post.

9. Reconstructing Amelia

By Kimberly McCreight

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.*

*Source: Goodreads

A bit of a slow start. I put it down for over a week before I finished it in two days. Once it got going though, it was a pretty interesting read figuring out exactly what happened right up to the end. Gone Girl it is not, but definitely worth the read.

10. The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.*

*Source: Goodreads

Read my full review in this post.

11. Into the Light

By Aleatha Romig

Stella Montgomery investigates the news on the mean streets of Detroit, where she’s noticed a disturbing trend: young women are vanishing. When her best friend disappears, Stella investigates—despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend—following a twisted trail that leads her through the city’s most dangerous and forsaken precincts. There she uncovers something more sinister than she could have imagined: a shadowy organization known as The Light, led by the enigmatic Father Gabriel.*

*Source: Goodreads

Okay, last series, promise. From the same author that brought us the Consequences series (#5 above), is another psychological thriller series that explores cults, how they recruit, brainwash, and get away with all sorts of things under the guise of religious freedom.

12. The Girl From Widow Hills

By Megan Miranda

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.*

*Source: Goodreads

Read my full review in this post.


Did you discover some new books to keep you up reading past your bed time? Have you read any on the list?

If you enjoyed this list, check out my other book lists! Find them under “books” in the main menu! If you would like to see what other books I have read and recommend, check out my Goodreads page.

Happy page-turning!


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All opinions and recommendations mentioned in this post are solely mine. I would not recommend anything to you that I haven’t done, tried, used, read, etc. myself.


© 2020 Kristen Caldwell, all rights reserved.  The content and photos contained on this page, unless otherwise stated, are the property of Kristen Caldwell, all rights reserved. In accordance with U.S. copyright laws, you may not alter, sell, or distribute this material in whole or in part, in any way without express written permission from Kristen Caldwell.

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