The success of Gone Girl – and the many thrillers that have come out since, proclaiming to be ‘the next Gone Girl’ – proves that we can’t get enough of psychological thrillers. It seems we love the darker side of life. So here, English Literature with Creative Writing graduate Kelly Pells picks her top five psychological thrillers.

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train to work every morning. Through the window she sees the same couple, who she has nicknamed ‘Jess and Jason’, in their back garden. They seem to have perfect lives, but one day Rachel sees something she was never meant to, and she finds herself becoming a part of the lives she has watched from afar.

This book has had a lot of hype surrounding it, and it definitely deserves all the good reviews. It’s full of exciting twists and turns, with a brilliant unreliable narrator. You’ll be hooked, trying to piece everything together to make a coherent whole. The story builds to one hell of a climax that is sure to stay with you for a long time.

2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

A group of misfits at an elite college in New England discover a new way of living under the guidance of their classics professor. They finally feel freed from the repetitive, monotonous nature of their everyday lives. But this leads them right over the edge of normal morality, and their lives are changed forever.

When I was buying this book, two people came up to me and said I absolutely had to have it, so my expectations were pretty high. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. Tartt’s writing is brilliant, her characters are fantastic and the plot is full of tension from start to finish. It’s the kind of book you can’t wait to finish but at the same time you want to slow down and savour every sentence. A very clever thriller, utterly compelling, this is not one to miss.

3. Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

Patrick Fort is a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome. He has a unique way of seeing things; for example, when the body on his examining table seems to be trying to tell him something. Patrick finds himself trying to solve a possible murder, while struggling to keep safe himself.

Written with a unique and interesting voice, this is a psychological thriller that is one of a kind. It’s very, very dark at times but also maintains a great humour throughout. A crime novel with a difference, check this one out if your thrillers are starting to feel samey.

4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I didn’t want to be too obvious and go for Gone Girl, so I’ve chosen Flynn’s second novel instead. Libby Day was seven years old when her brother murdered her family and her evidence put him in prison. Since then she has been incapable of holding down a steady job, and she is starting to run out of money. She accepts $500 for a guest appearance at The Kill Club, a group of true crime obsessives who are convinced that her brother is innocent. So, what really happened that night?

This book is every bit as good as Flynn’s most recent book. Day is a brilliant creation, a deeply flawed woman, unlikeable but intensely pitiable. As you might be able to guess from the title, this is a very dark story, not for the faint-hearted. But it is a great mystery as well as a thriller, one that keeps you guessing until the last possible moment.

5. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Set in 1920s New York at the height of Prohibition, Rose Baker is a typist at a police precinct. Every day she records the confessions of thieves and murderers. A new typist named Odalie arrives, and Rose finds herself drawn into a dark world of speakeasies and bootlegged liquor. But despite their growing friendship, Rose realises how little she knows about Odalie. What will happen if she decides to dig a little deeper?

The only novel with a historical setting on this list, Rindell uses that to great advantage. The world of 1920s America comes alive in all its glittering corruption and fabulous, sleazy partying. Rose is a brilliant unreliable narrator, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you wonder where this is going to end up. This book is entertaining and thrilling in equal measure.

Kelly Pells graduated Brunel University with a first in English with Creative Writing. She has had her short stories published by magazines and runs the book review blog