The best thriller books of 2022

Here we share our edit of the most exciting thriller books of 2022, the best thrillers of 2021 – from historical crime thrillers to gripping psychological page-turners – and the very best thriller novels of all time.

02/06/2022
6 minutes to read
A series of crime and thriller books in front of a crime scene background.

From edge-of-your-seat psychological thrillers to gripping crime novels, 2022 is set to be a nail-biting year for thriller books. Hannah Bervoets' smart social media thriller We Had To Remove This Post will have you turning the pages through the night, while D. V. Bishop’s explosive debut City of Vengeance is perfect for fans of historical crime thrillers. Here, we’ve curated our edit of the best new thriller books of 2022, we look back at the best thrillers of 2021. 

Looking for more? Discover our selection of the best crime fiction here.

The best new thriller books of 2022

The Vacation

by John Marrs

Book cover for The Vacation

How far would you go to get away from your past? Venice Beach in LA is heaven on earth, with tourists galore flocking to the ocean and Hollywood promise. But for eight strangers staying at a beach-front hostel, a holiday is not the first thing on their minds. All of them are on the run, and all have secrets they would murder to keep. The Vacation is a gripping, holiday-set thriller from John Marrs, who wrote The One, now a Netflix Original Series – it was longlisted for the 2022 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. 

Into the Dark

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for Into the Dark

The kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, but the house is deserted . . . 

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words: Make Them Stop.

In a gorgeous Art Deco home looking out to the bay of Midtown-on-Sea, a terrible crime has come to light. An entire family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children – has vanished. Cue the arrival of DS Saul Anguish, a brilliant detective with a difficult past. As he begins to untangle the painful story of the disappearance, he must face his own demons.

The Murders at Fleat House

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for The Murders at Fleat House

The sudden death of a pupil in Fleat House at St Stephen’s – a small private boarding school in deepest Norfolk – is a shocking event that the headmaster is very keen to call a tragic accident. But the local police cannot rule out foul play and the case prompts the return of high-flying Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter to the force. Jazz begins to probe the circumstances surrounding Charlie Cavendish’s tragic death, but events soon take another troubling turn when Charlie is exposed as an arrogant bully, giving those around him a motive to switch the drugs he took daily to control his epilepsy. As staff at the school close ranks, the disappearance of another young pupil and the death of an elderly Classics master provide Jazz with important leads, but as snow covers the landscape and another suspect goes missing, Jazz must also confront her personal demons . . .

Out Of Her Depth

by Lizzy Barber

Book cover for Out Of Her Depth

Rachel is a modest young woman from a sleepy London suburb. She has a summer job at the stunning Villa Medici in the Tuscan hills, surrounded by hedonistic teenagers, whose partying goes too far one night. This is a simmering summer thriller about teenage antics on the edge of reason, with more than a dash of Patricia Highsmith in its tense unfolding.

Magma

by Thora Hjörleifsdóttir

Book cover for Magma

Twenty-year-old Lilja is in love. He is older and beautiful, a Derrida-quoting intellectual. He is also a serial cheater, gaslighter and narcissist. Lilja will do anything to hold on to him. And so she accepts his deceptions and endures his sexual desires. She rationalizes his toxic behaviour and permits him to cross all her boundaries. In her desperation to be the perfect lover, she finds herself unable to break free from the toxic cycle. And then an unexpected ultimatum: an all-consuming love, or the promise of a life reclaimed.

State of Terror

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Book cover for State of Terror

State of Terror follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.

Perfect People

by Peter James

Book cover for Perfect People

John and Naomi Klaesson are devastated by the loss of their four-year-old to a rare genetic disease. All they want is to have another baby, but the genetic odds are against them having a healthy child. Enter geneticist Doctor Leo Dettore, whose expensive clinic offers the couple all they've ever wanted. But soon the dream of the perfect child turns into a sinister nightmare. One that is impossible to exit, as Naomi is already pregnant . . .

If you love Peter James, discover our guide to his bestselling Roy Grace series here.

The Melting

by Lize Spit

Book cover for The Melting

Eva was one of three children who grew up in a sheltered Flemish town in the late 1980s. In her friendship with Laurens and Pim, Eva sought an escape from her desolate family life. But alongside adolescence came growing sexual desire, and the children began a game that would have terrible consequences for them all. Now it's thirteen years on, and Eva is back in the village, with a big block of ice in the boot of her car and a determination to settle old scores.

Die Twice

by Andrew Grant

Book cover for Die Twice

For fans of Bond and Bourne, don't miss this pulse-racing spy thriller by Andrew Grant, now the co-author of the Jack Reacher novels as Andrew Child, which follows his action-packed debut, Even.

Obliged to leave New York City in the aftermath of his previous mission, David Trevellyan is summoned to the British Consulate in Chicago. To the same office where, just a week before, his new handler was attacked and shot by a Royal Navy Intelligence operative gone bad. Assigned the task of finding the rogue agent, and putting an end to his treacherous scheme, Trevellyan soon finds that once again his only hope of saving countless innocent lives lies not within the system, but in his instinctive belief – you’re bound to do what’s right, whatever the personal cost may be.

The Club

by Ellery Lloyd

Book cover for The Club

The grand opening of Island Home – a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is set to be the celebrity event of the decade. But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they'll do anything to keep it.

The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.

The Golden Couple

by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book cover for The Golden Couple

The Golden Couple is the new addictive page-turning psychological thriller from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the authors of the bestselling The Wife Between Us.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple . . . until Marissa cheats. In a desperate attempt to repair her family, Marissa takes a chance on maverick therapist Avery Chambers, who lost her licence due to controversial methods. But when the Bishops step into Avery’s office, it soon becomes clear that the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger. 

Not all of them are who they seem, and matters are about to turn deadly . . . 

The Interview

by C. M. Ewan

Book cover for The Interview

It is Friday, 5 p.m. You're being interviewed for the job you always wanted, in an office thirteen floors above the city. There's nobody else around but you and the interviewer, and their questions are getting stranger and more unsettling. Your fear is rising, and the only route out is to answer a seemingly impossible question . . . 

This nail-biting novel comes from bestselling mystery and thriller author C. M. Ewan.

Never

by Ken Follett

Book cover for Never

Bestselling thriller writer Ken Follett is back after over a decade, with a compelling novel featuring a stolen army drone, a hidden stash of highly toxic chemicals, a genius Chinese spymaster and a US president with a populist rival hot on his heels. 

Never is a terrifying look at how international and diplomatic peacetime is only a few missteps away from a chain reaction of catastrophic consequences, with only three very different protagonists able to prevent disaster by working in the shadows.

‘A terrifying, heart-stopping ride and a highly original and deeply disturbing thriller. I've been a Chris Ewan fan for a while, but in this book he soars to another level entirely.’
Sharon Bolton on The Interview

Mercy

by David Baldacci

Book cover for Mercy

Is the hunt finally over?

Thriller writer David Baldacci's series featuring Special Agent Atlee Pine continues, with the detective still searching for her twin sister Mercy, who was abducted when they were just six years old. As she uncovers the incredible truth about her lost sister and her parents, Atlee and her assistant Carol must take on their most deadly challenge yet.

We Had To Remove This Post

by Hanna Bervoets

Book cover for We Had To Remove This Post

Translated by Emma Rault

Kayleigh needs money. That’s why she takes a job at a social media platform whose name she isn’t allowed to mention. Her job: reviewing offensive videos and pictures, rants and conspiracy theories, and deciding which need to be removed. It’s gruelling work, yet Kayleigh is good at her job, and in her colleagues she finds a group of friends, even a new girlfriend — and for the first time in her life, Kayleigh’s future seems bright. But soon the job seems to change them all, shifting their worlds in alarming ways. When her colleagues begin to break down; when Sigrid, her new girlfriend, grows increasingly distant and fragile; when her friends start espousing the very conspiracy theories they’re meant to be evaluating; Kayleigh begins to wonder if the job may be too much for them. She’s still totally fine, though – or is she?

Hare House

by Sally Hinchcliffe

Book cover for Hare House

On a crisp autumn day a woman travels to London, having left her post at a London girls school in murky circumstances. She starts to explore the land around her cottage on the isolated Hare House estate, walking the moors and woodland. And she begins to hear unsettling stories, of witches, strange clay figures, and young men scared out of their wits. Having made friends with her landlord Grant and his sister Cass, doubts begin to descend. And when a snowfall traps the inhabitants of the house together, the tension escalates . . .

Running Scared

by Mandasue Heller

Book cover for Running Scared

Bestselling thriller writer Mandasue Heller brings us Running Scared, a nervy thriller set on the streets of Manchester. When Lexi James argues with her best friend Nicole about ‘bad boy’ Ryan King, a chain of events is triggered that goes from bad to fatal. Years later, Lexi comes back to Manchester and has a disastrous chance meeting with Nicole and Ryan – she promises herself never to see them again. Saved from an attack by a charming stranger, she falls in love and the new relationship blossoms. One night though, Lexi's lover returns with someone she hoped never to see again, forcing her into a decision that will have terrible repercussions . . 

The Mother

by Yvvette Edwards

Book cover for The Mother

Marcia Williams thought she knew her son. She thought he was safe. She was wrong.

Today, Marcia is heading to the Old Bailey. She's going there to do something no mother should ever have to do: to attend the trial of the boy accused of her son's murder. Her son Ryan was not the kind of boy to get mixed up in violent crime, but Tyson Manley most certainly is. Racing against the ticking clock of the progressing trial, Marcia tries to get the answers she needs from Sweetie, Tyson's girlfriend who knows more than she's willing to say . . .

City of Vengeance

by D. V. Bishop

Book cover for City of Vengeance

Florence, 1536. When a prominent Jewish moneylender is found dead, Cesare Aldo, an officer of the criminal court, is tasked with solving his murder. Over the course of his investigation, Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the unstable ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. Aldo is caught in a frantic race against time to solve the murder and stop the conspiracy, while keeping his own secrets safely locked away. This historical crime thriller is an exciting debut from D. V. Bishop.

Cherish Farrah: A Novel

by Bethany C. Morrow

Book cover for Cherish Farrah: A Novel

Seventeen-year-old Farrah has always been jealous of Cherish Whitman. Or more specifically, Cherish's white, adoptive family. Cherish receives special treatment and is spoiled in ways Farrah can only wish for, and soon she is calculating ways in which to further ingratiate herself into the Whitman family. But as she gets ever closer, Farrah's own parents begin to warn her that there is something wrong with the Whitmans. And when strange events really do begin to occur in the Whitman household – it's nothing Farrah can't handle . . . right?

Fragile

by Sarah Hilary

Book cover for Fragile

Fragile is a modern Gothic psychological thriller with a contemporary twist on the classic novel Rebecca, from award-winning and critically acclaimed writer Sarah Hilary.

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.


The best thriller books of 2021

Riccardino

by Andrea Camilleri

Book cover for Riccardino

The twenty-eighth and final novel in the thrilling, wickedly funny Inspector Montalbano Mysteries series by bestselling author Andrea Camilleri, will be published 14 October 2021.

In the highly anticipated final instalment of Camilleri's bestselling series, Inspector Montalbano receives a strange phone call early in the morning, from a caller by the name of Riccardino who claims to be expecting Montalbano's imminent arrival. But later that day, Montalbano learns of a brutal slaying in broad daylight, and while the assassin is unknown the victim's name is Riccardino – and the Inspector's troubles are only just beginning . . . 

Exquisitely crafted by one of Europe's greatest crime fiction writers, Riccardino is a series finale that is not to be missed.


Left You Dead

by Peter James

Book cover for Left You Dead

Left You Dead is the latest installment in Peter James's award-winning crime fiction series starring DS Roy Grace, now a major TV series starring John Simm. Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home. But this Sunday ends differently – as while Niall waits in the car park for Eden to finish shopping, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her. Eden is gone without a trace.

Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder, but when DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . . Discover the other Roy Grace books in order.

The Heron's Cry

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for The Heron's Cry

It's an idyllic hot summer in North Devon when Detective Matthew Venn gets the call to come to the home of a group of artists – there has been a murder. Dr Nigel Yeo has been stabbed, and the weapon is one of his glassblower daughter's vases. As Matthew attempts to solve the killing of a good man, someone else in the community is slain in a similar way. The key to murders lies disturbingly close to home, in a web of lies which Matthew must attempt to untangle. The latest in the bestselling series featuring Detective Matthew Venn.

The Lonely Ones

by Håkan Nesser

Book cover for The Lonely Ones

In 1969, a group of six students come to Uppsala, Sweden, and slowly become three couples during their time at university. But after a summer trip behind the Iron Curtain to Eastern Europe, everything changes for them. 

Back in Sweden, one of the students is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in a wood near Kymlinge. And years later, a lecturer at Lund University is found dead at exactly the same spot. The fourth in a series of novels featuring Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti, The Lonely Ones follows the inspector on one of his gravest investigations yet.

‘The godfather of Swedish crime’
Metro on author Håkan Nesser

Harlem Shuffle

by Colson Whitehead

Book cover for Harlem Shuffle

From the prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, comes a fiendishly entertaining story of thefts, con-artists and shakedowns in 1960s New York.

Ray Carney is a respectable furniture salesman, despite his cousin occasionally helping him out with less-than-honest business that helps keep his family financially secure. But when a dangerously complex heist goes wrong for Ray's cousin, he finds himself torn between his upstanding identity as a businessman and his ever-growing reputation as a professional thief. 

Viral

by Robin Cook

Book cover for Viral

This gripping read from bestselling author Dr Robin Cook sees a family fall victim to a rare and lethal virus. Brian Murphy is enjoying a summer break with his family when his wife Emma comes down with a mild flu. Back in New York, her condition worsens with terrifying speed: she has come down with a mosquito-borne viral disease, and Brian and Emma's young daughter is falling ill too. 

When the family's health insurer refuses to pay their vast hospital bills, Brian vows to take on an industry that preys on the sick and vulnerable. Meanwhile the virus is spreading, and nobody seems interested...

Sixteen Horses

by Greg Buchanan

Book cover for Sixteen Horses

Near the dying English seaside town of Ilmarsh, local police detective Alec Nichols discovers sixteen horses’ heads on a farm, each buried with a single eye facing the low winter sun. After forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen travels to the scene, the investigators soon uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in the community – disappearances, arson and mutilations – all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself.

In the dark days that follow, the town slips into panic and paranoia. Everything is not as it seems. Anyone could be a suspect. And as Cooper finds herself unable to leave town, Alec is stalked by an unseen threat. The two investigators race to uncover the truth behind these frightening and insidious mysteries – no matter the cost.

Sixteen Horses is the debut literary thriller from an extraordinary talent, Greg Buchanan. A story of enduring guilt, trauma and punishment, set in a small seaside community the rest of the world has left behind . . .

All Her Little Secrets

by Wanda M. Morris

Book cover for All Her Little Secrets

A skillfully crafted story full of non-stop twists, All Her Little Secrets follows Ellice Littlejohn, a lawyer who seems to have it all . . . that is until she finds her boss shot dead one cold January morning. Just as suddenly, Ellice is promoted into his position and she finds herself caught in the throes of a conspiracy that is far more sinister than she could ever have imagined.   

The Hiding Place

by Jenny Quintana

Book cover for The Hiding Place

This tense mystery from Jenny Quintana is a must-read for thriller fans. Marina was adopted as a baby after she was found wrapped in a blue shawl in a shared house in London. The press nicknamed her Baby Blue, but the circumstances around her birth are still unknown.  Marina longs to uncover the truth about her birth, so when a flat in the house where she was found is put up for rent, she seizes her chance.  But what if it's not just the house hiding secrets? What if someone knows what happened that day,  and wants to make sure the truth never comes to light?

People Like Her

by Ellery Lloyd

Book cover for People Like Her

This smart debut thriller from husband-and-wife writing team Ellery Lloyd takes a compelling look at the dark side of social media and influencer culture. Emmy Jackson is better known to her online fans as Instagram sensation Mamabare, famous for telling it like it is when it comes to modern parenthood. But not everything you see online can be believed, and someone out there knows the truth about Emmy and intends to make her pay . . . 

Daughters of Night

by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Book cover for Daughters of Night

This historical crime thriller is the second from Laura Shepherd-Robinson, following her award-winning debut Blood & Sugar. Set in London in 1782, it’s the story of Caroline Corsham, who is determined to seek justice for a string of murders of high-class prostitutes – crimes that the police are all too happy to ignore. As she delves deeper into the darkest, hidden corners of Georgian society, Caroline soon finds that much more than her reputation is at stake. . .


The best thriller books of all time

A Gambling Man

by David Baldacci

Book cover for A Gambling Man

Evoking the golden age of crime writing with its 1940s California-setting, David Baldacci's latest thriller is a must-read for fans of his previous books and lovers of historical crime thrillers. Set amongst the gamblers and gangsters of the seedy-underbelly of America's casinos and the second instalment in his new series starring ex-jailbird Aloysius Archer, A Gambling Man will transport you straight to the smoke-filled burlesque clubs and slot machines of Reno and Bay Town. 

Discover our guide to David Baldacci's series, here.

A Simple Favour

by Darcey Bell

Book cover for A Simple Favour

When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son from school she happily says yes. Their children are classmates and best friends. As a widow and stay-at-home blogger mum, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a glamorous and successful PR executive.

The trouble is that Emily doesn't come back. No matter what the police say, Stephanie knows that she would never leave her son. Terrified, she reaches out to her fellow mummy bloggers. And she also reaches out to Emily's husband to offer her support.

But what Stephanie hasn't shared are the secrets buried in a murky past...


Raven Black

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for Raven Black

Raven Black is the first novel in Ann Cleeves’ crime fiction series Shetland, which is now a hit TV series on BBC One starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez.

In the first instalment in the series, the strangled body of a teenage girl is discovered by a neighbour on a bitterly cold January morning. The community are quick to suspect loner Magnus Tait, and suspicion and fear soon engulf the small island. Led by Detective Inspector Perez, the police must search out the killer before they strike again.

Discover all of Ann Cleeves' Shetland books in order, here.

The Axeman's Jazz

by Ray Celestin

Book cover for The Axeman's Jazz

Inspired by a true story and set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, The Axeman's Jazz is the first instalment in Ray Celestin's gripping City Blues Quartet, a page-turning historical crime fiction series.

New Orleans, 1919. A serial killer stalks the city and issues an ultimatum: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim.
As the fearful city complies with his demands, three individuals are set on unmasking the killer’s identity. The Axeman’s Jazz is a tale of gruesome murders, secrets and lies, set against the backdrop of a vibrant and violent city . . . 

My Sister, the Serial Killer

by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Book cover for My Sister, the Serial Killer

Korede has always been a good big sister, stepping in to help her little sibling clean up her messes. Unfortunately, Ayoola’s messes tend to be lethal.  In fact, she’s dispatched her last three boyfriends in ‘self-defence’. Family comes first, until Ayoola starts dating the doctor at the surgery where Korede works . . . 

American Psycho

by Bret Easton Ellis

Book cover for American Psycho

Wall Street in the eighties; the American dream in overdrive. On the surface, Patrick Bateman is living the dream: a job as a stockbroker, dinner dates every night at the latest restaurant in town, a string of admirers – aided by his charm and good looks. But behind the pristine façade lurks a psychopath. A man addicted to his superficial life, Bateman pulls us into a dark underworld where the American Dream turns to nightmare. One of the most controversial novels of all time, American Psycho (which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2000) is a disturbingly brilliant black satire about the darkest side of human nature.

The Fishermen

by Chigozie Obioma

Book cover for The Fishermen

A mesmerising debut from author Chigozie Obioma, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize when it was released in 2015. The story follows a family in ruins in the style of a classical Greek tragedy; four brothers decide to fish at a forbidden local river when their strict father is away, but encounter a local madman in a frenzy, who tells them a prophecy that one of the brothers will kill the eldest son of the family. From this encounter, Obioma's novel grows in scope by gaining incredible complexity and emotional power as it spirals towards a heartbreaking ending. 

Recursion

by Blake Crouch

Book cover for Recursion

Barry Sutton is on a quest for the truth. Across the country people are waking up with memories of a life they have not lived. Are they victims of a mysterious, new disease affecting memory? Or is something terrible happening to the very fabric of reality? Recursion is the follow-up to the time twisting science fiction thriller Dark Matter.

Absolute Proof

by Peter James

Book cover for Absolute Proof

When investigative reporter Ross Hunter answers the phone to Dr Harry Cook, his life changes forever. Harry claims that he’s been given absolute proof of God’s existence, and he wants Ross’s help to get the world to take him seriously. The credibility of all the world’s religions is under threat, if Ross can survive enough to present the evidence . . .

Listen to Peter James and Hugh Bonneville discuss Absolute Proof and more.

The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks

Book cover for The Wife Between Us

This shocking and intelligent domestic thriller is the debut novel from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Unstable Vanessa is obsessed with her ex-husband and his new, younger fiancé, and she’ll stop at nothing to make sure they don’t get married. But what’s really driving her obsession – is it jealousy or something else? 

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

Book cover for Gone Girl

This twisty psychological thriller became a phenomenon when it was published, selling over twenty million copies worldwide and being adapted into a hit film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. When Nick Dunne wakes up on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary to find his wife missing, he quickly becomes the police’s chief suspect. Amy’s friends reveal she was afraid of him, there are strange searches on his computer and persistent calls to his mobile phone, but Ben swears he knows nothing about any of this. So what really happened to Amy Dunne? 


Are thrillers all the same? In this episode of Book Break, Emma explores our favourite genre and the many types of thrillers there are to read: 

Book Break - Are thrillers all the same?