top of page

Riveting Thrillers with Serial Killers

Updated: Jan 13

Suspense thrillers have the ability to lure the reader in with their vivid storyline, well developed characters, and plot twists that are unexpected. Psychological thrillers have the ability to do even more with a sick, twisted monster of a character that may have been the epitome of a perfect husband, lover, or neighbor prior to the curtain coming down and their secrets being discovered.

Ominous view of tree tops and the sky in Black and white
Riveting Thrillers with Serial Killers

Thrillers that showcase patterns are some of my favorite books to read. Diving into the path of a demented serial killer or a copycat situation where someone has picked up the crime spree when a previous criminal's wrath has ended rarely disappoints. Being in a heightened state of suspense while waiting for the story to unfold is sheer pleasure. I've listed a few of the best thrillers with some of those traits below.

Thrillers with Serial Killers

Two neighboring houses at night with one window illuminated

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner is an edge of your seat suspense novel. The serial killer (Jacob Ness) in this book has been dead for a few years. He had held Flora captive for a long time, but she had escaped - the lone survivor - and she's heading back to the mountains where Ness had her hidden away for over a year. The FBI need her help on a case they believe links back to Ness.

I love the heightened sensory commentary in the book. The forest cries, the walls of the house moan, and 'The Girl' sees and paints people's "colors".

Silhouette of female at night in woods with flashlight

One Step Too Far is another suspense novel by Lisa Gardner that fits in this category of thrillers with serial killers. Frankie is an awesome 40 something lady with an uncanny ability to listen to what is said - and what is not said - to solve missing persons cases.

Frankie goes on a hiking expedition with 7 others to try to solve a missing persons case and the trip turns into a nightmare! The family doesn't expect their son to still be alive, but they are looking for closure on this 5th anniversary year of him missing. Frankie and the crew are in for so much more when they become targets themselves as they race through the mountains on the search.

Red door

The Locked Door by Freida McFadden will have your heart racing. Aaron Neirling was a pleasant man - a phlebotomist with a wife and daughter … and a sick, twisted desire to kill. He was a serial killer that became known as The Handyman because he cut off his victims hands. And now he's in prison for those crimes. His daughter, Nora, vowed to be nothing like him and became a surgeon to fulfill her lifelong dream to help others.

The only problem is that more than 2 decades later there are women are dying again, and it's a copycat killer, What's worse is that the evidence is pointing to Nora. Now Nora has to find the killer and stop them.

I loved this author's work so much that I plowed through all of the thrillers that she's written so far. Check them out in Page Turning Thrillers - Freida McFadden Books.

Lightning bugs in a dark forest

A Flicker in the Dark is an Impressive first novel by Stacy Willingham - she's got a new fan in me:) This thriller has so many twists and turns to keep you on your feet!

Chloe was only 12 when her life was turned upside down. Her small town had been recently rocked by the deaths of multiple missing teenage girls and her father was to blame. He was put in prison leaving Chloe and her family struggling to deal with the onslaught of hate from people for having been related to such a horrible person.

Twenty years later and Chloe is finally somewhat adjusted - she's found a fresh start by moving to a different city and is planting roots with her own psychiatric practice and a fiancé that adores her. Until more teenage girls go missing, and the crimes mimic her dads pattern, but he's in jail. Striking similarities that she just can't ignore. Is it a copycat killer?

(Note - While the synopsis of The Locked Door and Flicker in the Dark sound similar, the two novels are very different and both are highly enjoyable!)

Words "Chill Factor" written on frosty window

Chill Factor by Sandra Brown is a page turner the whole way through. Lilly and her soon-to-be ex, "Dutch", have a cabin at the top of the mountain. They've just cleared out their belongings as the cabin had been sold. The divorce was final and this was their last chapter. Now they say their goodbyes and the two part ways, driving back down the mountain in their own vehicles as a fast approaching blizzard threatens to close the roads.

Part way down the mountain, Lilly's car strikes something - a hiker - and he's badly injured. She knows him, it's Ben Tierney, and she scrambles to help him. They can't get down the mountain with the road condition and her car wrecked. The only option is to get back to the cabin and wait out the storm, but that, too, has risks.

Lots of different story lines running simultaneously with the disappearance of the women always lingering in the background. Kidnapping, a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, neighborly town activity / gossip, and a few steamy sex scenes … this book has it all.

Female runner on paved path by lake with woods

The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado is a very dark, highly descriptive thriller. I couldn't put this book down - it delves into the sick, twisted mind of a murderer in a way that is so unique. It was very specific with verbiage and procedures used - turns out the author's background was in the FBI. She definitely uses that background to turn the book into a dramatic crime investigation!

The main character, FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera, has had an extremely difficult life starting with being left in a dumpster at birth to escaping from a serial killer when she was 16. She worked hard to leave her past behind, but it caught up to her when that killer found her in the spotlight after a video of her fighting off an attack during a run went viral. And now he's playing games to claim the one that got away. (Trigger warning - this book paints a very vivid picture of some graphic and disturbing scenes.)

I hope you enjoy these riveting thrillers with serial killers!

More Book Recommendations!

Looking for the perfect way to keep track of your reading?

Books with a vase

Designed for avid book lovers, this thoughtfully crafted Reading Journal invites you to rate, review, and immortalize key thoughts and memorable quotes for up to 100 books as you devour them. Stay organized and manage your lists all in one convenient journal. Discover the perfect companion in its convenient compact size of 6"x9", ensuring portability without compromising on ample writing space. Immerse yourself in the joy of reading as you navigate the pages of this indispensable literary companion.

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and /or YouTube for video book reviews!

Note: At no additional cost to you, you will find affiliate links in this blog to products that I love. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

104 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All



Great post! I do enjoy books about serial killers 😊

~Heather Adores Books

Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer

Thank you, Heather! Happy reading!

bottom of page