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© Transworld Publishers Ltd, Faber & Faber, Penguin
© Transworld Publishers Ltd, Faber & Faber, Penguin

Six Contemporary Thrillers By Women Writers You Should Read

Picture of Nisha Patel
Updated: 12 December 2016
Ever since Gone Girl, demand for literary thrillers has dramatically increased – and some of the best are written by women. These particular page turners have captivated us as of late, so we decided to explore these six recent and top crime and thriller charters. Comment below to let us know what you think of these compelling reads!


The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Rachel is lonely, depressed, and bitter, and alcohol is her only relief. Every day, she takes the slow train, and every day it slows at a particular train stop where she sees the perfect couple, whom she refers to as ‘Jason and Jess.’ One day, she sees something distressing — only for a moment — and everything changes. Unable to move on, Rachel becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of all the people involved.

Paula Hawkins’ debut novel is a well-written, flawlessly plotted psychological thriller that skillfully portrays one unreliable narrator after another. Between an alcoholic, a cheat, and a liar, who can be trusted? The suspense does not let up, largely because the author drops so many red herrings into the story. This book certainly delivers for those looking for a thrilling mystery.


© Transworld Publishers Ltd


I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh

In this psychological thriller, Jenna is desperate to escape from her tragic past after a hit-and-run accident rips her life apart. Feeling utterly lost, she leaves town to start a new life, but she is haunted by her loss and grief. Meanwhile, Investigator Ray Stevens and his team work endlessly to seek justice for a mother who has had her world turned upside down.

Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel is captivating and heart-wrenching. Thanks to its authentic characters and an intricate plot line, this book is a brilliant read. A heavy sense of tragedy will continuously keep you nervous, but the astonishing twist is well worth it!


The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has it all — she’s a successful businesswoman, a devoted mother and wife, and an admired figure in her community. One day, she finds a letter from her husband that changes everything, and not just for her. Though they are strangers to some extent, Cecelia, Rachel and Tess are connected by one disturbing secret — the husband’s secret. When this bombshell is finally revealed, the repercussions will impact these women’s lives forever.

The Husband’s Secret is a novel that intricately intertwines the stories of three women and their relationships with each other, their families, and their community. How well do we really know our spouse, friend, or even ourselves? While the secret is shocking, it is the aftermath that really stays with you. Moriarty’s novel is a gripping, suspenseful, bittersweet story that will keep you turning the page.


© Penguin Books Ltd


The Book of You – Claire Kendal

Clarissa has a creepy problem, and his name is Rafe. Since their one night stand, he has been absolutely relentless in his pursuit of her, and her story is juxtaposed with the court case for which she’s serving as a juror. When she sees parallels with the rape victim at the centre of the trial, Clarissa feels that she won’t be believed, so she frantically logs any evidence she can to take to the police. Unfortunately, her stalker always seems to be one step ahead of her.

This is a riveting thriller with an important message at the heart of it. Clarissa personally witnesses how often female victims are shamed, and she feels at a loss because of her own predicament. As such, her fragile mental state creates frightening and compelling suspense in this novel. The paranoia is catching, and the ending is terrific.


The Girl in the Red Coat – Kate Hamer

Eight-year old-Carmel has always been a willfully independent and dreamy child. As much as her mother tries to keep her close, Carmel is always pulling away. In an attempt to spend more quality time with her daughter, newly single Beth takes her to a local busy festival, but in a moment of distraction, Carmel goes missing. The little girl in the red coat has been kidnapped, and her devoted mother Beth embarks on a painful mission to find her beloved daughter.

Kate Hamer’s stand-out debut thriller is a hugely moving story of abduction and fear that will keep you speculating until the very last page. Narrated in turn by Carmel and Beth, it explores the poignant bond between mother and daughter, their personal journeys, and the senseless tragedy of the crime that now separates the two.



© Faber & Faber


The Bones of You – Debbie Howells

When the shy and beautiful eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson never comes home after visiting a friend, the small rural village where she lives is stunned and disturbed. Though the locals are optimistic, Rosie is eventually found fatally wounded. Who would kill the daughter of the perfect family? The more time Rosie’s friend Kate spends with the Anderson family, however, the more she realizes that everything is not as it seems.

The Bones of You is a psychological thriller that tackles the sinister undertones of family life. The intense storyline is heavy with abuse, manipulation, betrayal, and murder. However, this is a steady paced book that will keep readers on edge right up until the end.


By Nisha Patel