What I Look For In Psychological Thrillers

by - June 22, 2017


I've recently had this ever-growing obsession with psychological thrillers after coming across Lisa Jewell's upcoming novel 'Then She Was Gone', which I have a review on here. I've read 3 thrillers so far and all have pleased me and whilst that is amazing, I'm sure there will be some I come across that won't satisfy me as much as others. I have to say psychological thrillers are 100% my favourite type of genres to read, they really get your mind going and having such an interest in Psychology, I am absolutely fascinated by the way people, specifically murderers find the ideas to do the things they do. I will never tire of it. I've also read 'Liar' which again, outstanding story which I also have a review on here. I'm currently in the midst of 'The Girls In The Water' and I am very pleased with the way that story is going so we shall see if the ending does the whole book justice! 

So, let's get in to what Psychological Thrillers really have to do to get me sitting at the edge of my seat and screaming at the book: 

  • The first chapter really has to be gripping, it's the be all or end all of whether I will continue reading the book. I like the chapters which open with the criminal's POV anonymously of course, giving a sense of how twisted they are and that gives me a thrill of excitement and immediately leaves me wanting to find out what they have up their sleeves. As I said, I've also just read Kim Slater's newly released book 'Liar' which did something I've never seen before, and that was the first chapter of the book was actually the ending. I know right!? I have to say that's the most genius way to attract a reader! 

  • The plot has to be completely full of mystery and twists to keep me wanting more. It needs to make me feel part of the book, like I've somehow shrunken down to one of these characters and I'm with them every step of the way. I enjoy a good set of cliff-hangers too, that way I'll never feel the need to put the book down. 

  • The characters don't necessarily have to be likeable, but they have to be bearable, otherwise it's hard to really get in to the book. When it come's to thrillers, their lives really need to catch the readers interest. Again, a character needs to make me question their motives and play a guessing game along the way, if their motives are like nothing I've ever heard before (mostly the criminals) then there's no way I'm putting the book down. I will read and read until all questions are answered and their backstory as to why they are messed up is revealed.

  • And the final thing to get me gripped is when the front cover of a thriller says 'A GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER WITH A SHOCKING TWIST', if I see this in big bold letters, I'm immediately downloading the book to my kindle. Who doesn't love a good twist that's going to keep you thinking for days on end? The shocking twist in a book really needs to live up to it's word and really be SHOCKING. I need to hear myself gasp, I need to feel my heart beat fast and my mind racing. It just has to consume me with so much tension and disbelief that I just don't know what to do with myself after I've finished it. 
So there you have it... If there are any authors reading this and currently in the process of writing up a thriller, these are the four points that will make me head straight to purchasing!

Bookworms, what do you love about psychological thrillers? What pulls you in to point of no return? 


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