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Top 10 Psychological Thriller Authors of the 21st Century

It is simple to deceive the heart, but the human mind? Not so much. Today we put the spotlight on some psychological thriller authors who have the rare ability toy with even the most evolved of our minds. Their stories will make you question reality and they will condemn you to a few sleepless nights as you try to make sense the fascinating ideas that they plant in your head.

Needless to say, this list isn't exhaustive. Rather, we're featuring some of our modern favorites and hoping you'll discover a new author to fall in love with.

Psychological Thriller Authors List

Gillian Flynn

Once a writer for Entertainment Weekly, Flynn wrote her first novel in 2006. Aside from writing three very popular novels, she has dabbled in short stories as well as comics. Two of her books also made it to the list of our favorite crime thriller books.

Flynn excels at creating strong female leads and exploring complicated, layered relationships. Her deep understanding and exploration of the vulnerabilities in human relationships makes her books unputdownable for her readers.

Start by reading: Gone Girl

Paula Hawkins

Hawkins started her career writing under the pseudonym Amy Silver, without much success. It was her first novel under her real name, The Girl on the Train, that garnered profound notoriety.

She won acclaim for tackling issues that women are afflicted by in our society. Paula Hawkins puts the microscope over controversial human behavior, such as, cheating and abuse, and explains what drives people to such actions with exemplary lucidity.

Start by reading: The Girl on the Train

Stephen King

Although widely regarded as a legend in the horror genre, Stephen King's horrors are often born of the human psyche and our wild imagination. Whether it was his first novel, Carrie, or perhaps his most celebrated work, The Shining, King has always been able to capture the psychological apprehensions of his readers' minds.

King’s specialty lies in his sharp dialogue, passionate opinions about generic life experiences, and his incredible ability to transcend genres. Apart from thrilling plots, a Stephen King book always comes with the promise of amazing world-building and believable characterization.

Start by reading: The Shining

Clare Mackintosh

A former police officer, Clare Mackintosh has written five novels, all part of the Sphere series, that have since been published in more than 35 languages. Her books have hit bestseller lists for crime and thriller books and earned her several prestigious awards, including Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2016.

Her books are notorious for unpredictable plot twists, believable crime-scene narrative, and solid character development.

Start by reading: I Let You Go

Mark Edwards

A British Author, Mark Edwards has built his reputation recounting tales of extraordinary events with ordinary people. After having written over ten books, each, more terrifying than the other, Edwards has firmly established himself in the psychological thrillers genre.

Edwards started out co-authoring and self-publishing his books before hitting the big time. Mark leaves his mark (sorry, we love puns) by making the readers wonder if the world is truly as straightforward as it seems.

Start by reading: The Magpies

Lucy Clarke

A psychological thriller author endorsed by the Richard and Judy Book Club, Lucy Clarke has written five brilliant novels that have been translated into at least 12 languages.

One of Clarke’s most favored tropes involves disappearance of people and how that impacts the close ones of those who disappear. A Lucy Clarke book is a treat to those who like to see clues come in waves to help gradually uncover the mysteries surrounding the protagonists.

Start by reading: You Let Me In

SJ Watson

Steve J Watson is an English writer, better known as SJ Watson. He created earned international acclaim with his debut novel, Before I Sleep. The book has since been published in over 42 languages. An audiologist by profession, Steve took a demotion at work to focus on writing.

Watson often explores the theme of memory loss in his books and his characterization and pacing of his stories are always on point. Watson is especially great at creating relatable characters that his readers can easily invest in.

Start by reading: Before I Go To Sleep

AJ Finn

Daniel Mallory left his publishing job behind to 'become' AJ Finn and write his debut novel, The Woman in the Window and hasn't looked back since.

Finn offers a fresh perspective in the psychological thriller genre. The Woman in the Window isn’t so much a chilling or a nail-biting but instead a gripping read that is truly hard to put down! The best quality of Finn's writing in perhaps the pacing - there is never a dull moment.

Start by reading: The Woman in the Window

Lisa Jewell

A psychological thriller specialist, Lisa Jewell first shot to fame with her novel - Then She was Gone. The British author has written eleven novels and continues to leave her readers short on sleep because they simply cannot put her books down!

Lisa has an innate ability to make her characters come alive. Her tales, although borrowed from classic fiction, seem unique in the telling from her perspective. Her appealing style of writing connects with all her thriller readers alike.

Start by reading: I Found You

Kiersten Modglin

Kiersten is a self-admitted psychological thriller fanatic and has written more than ten books in the psychological thriller and romantic suspense genres.

In her books, she enjoys exploring and showing readers the darkest parts of the human mind. Her ability to tap into the readers' minds and finding twists in the mundane make her a fitting addition to this list of amazing psychological thriller authors.

Start by reading: The Dream Job

Each of these authors and their books will be great additions to your psychological thriller fiction books reading list! Let us know if we missed out on some of your favorites.


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  • This listicle has been edited by the Ugly Tales admins.


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