Top 10 Bestselling Psychological Thrillers for The Summer!

23 May

1st article in a 7-week series on Psychological Thrillers

 By Open Book

Inspired by our spin off site Page to Silver Screen. Linked in Hollywood decided to take a look at the bestselling psychological thrillers in the US.  Sure friends and family are great but there’s nothing like the companion of a good book at the beach. So to kick off the summer, Page to Silver Screen’s book of the month for June 2012 is Child 44.  In this article we will review the current Top 10 Bestselling Psychological Thrillers, plus give a quick synopsis and review of Child 44[1] to get you ready for the summer. So let’s get started!

Child 44-by Tom Rob Smith:

  •  “The Soviet Union during Stalin’s era where millions live in fear of the state. A war hero with a beautiful wife, Leo lives in relative luxury in Moscow, even providing a decent apartment for his parents. His only ambition has been to serve his country. For this greater good, he’s arrested and interrogated. Then the impossible happens. A different kind of criminal-a murderer-is on the loose, killing at will. At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies; his world is turned upside down.[2]

Here are some reviews of Child 44 from readers on Amazon.

By  J. Norburn (Quesnel, BC, Canada) – This review is from: Child 44 (Hardcover)

  • The first 3/4 of this novel is a remarkable achievement. The prologue is harrowing, the dialogue razor sharp and the story and characters complex and fascinating. But perhaps the greatest strength of the novel is its setting (The Soviet Union in the early 1950’s) and the premise that a serial killer could murder dozens, perhaps hundreds of children, and go undetected because of the State’s unwillingness to admit that murder happens in their `utopian’ state.[3]

By Mary Whipple (New England) – This review is from: Child 44 (Hardcover)

  • This non-stop train-ride of a crime thriller will seize your attention from the first twenty emotionally wrenching pages and keep you hanging on for dear life for the remaining four hundred pages. Set in Moscow in 1953, when Communism controlled every aspect of daily life, and government officials believed that “there is no crime,” the novel recreates the turmoil in the life of a State Security Force official who begins, reluctantly, to question the “facts” before him[4].”

We are excited to have selected this suspenseful novel as our book for June. It’s a great way to start the summer and we hope you will join our discussion and review next month on Page to Silver Screen. However, until then, once a week LIH will look into the psychological thriller film genre with articles and discussions about what goes on behind the scenes. But for those who’ve already read Child 44, here are the Top 10 Bestselling Psychological Thrillers worth checking out.

 Current Top 10 Bestselling Psychological Thrillers[5]

 1.       Mission: Black List #1:by Eric Maddox (Also listed under History)

2.       Defending Jacob: by William Landay
3.       The Lion The Lamb The Hunted: by Andrew E. Kaufman
4.       The Language of Flowers: by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
5.       A Trick of Light: by Karen Blomain
6.       The Art of Fielding: by Chad Harbach
7.       Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
8.       Now you See Her: by James Patterson
9.       The Sense of an Ending: by Julian Barnes
10.    The Beginner’s Goodbye: by Anne Tyler

We would like to hear from our readers. Please let us know if you’ve read any of these books or which book are you most interested in reading and why?

 Please join us for a discussion Thursday 5/24/2012@7pE/12UTC



49 Responses to “Top 10 Bestselling Psychological Thrillers for The Summer!”

  1. 4string May 23, 2012 at 9:16 PM #

    If you’re talking thriller books I can’t wait to be released this summer, I can’t wait for Karin Slaughter’s “Criminal.” It comes out in early July. I’m a big fictional crime/thriller fan.

    • 4string May 23, 2012 at 9:21 PM #

      PS: since this is an area/genre I love, I recommend Lisa Gardner, Slaughter (a fellow Atlantan), Iris Johansen (another Atl gal), Tess Gerritsen, Colleen Coble and Ted Dekker.

  2. 4string May 23, 2012 at 9:22 PM #

    Also, since this is PTSS, Tess is the author of the Rizzoli and Isles series and Gardner’s “Hide” was made into a tv movie. 🙂

    • littlebells May 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM #

      Great article OB! Thanks for the list of books!

      4string: thank you for your recommendations. I have so much reading to do now. I have Child 44 and Mission: Blacklist at home right now. Just started C44! Great so far!

      • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 2:17 PM #

        I agree. I enjoy the pacing so far.

        • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM #

          I absolutely love Child 44 so far the suspense and pacing is good. It really keeps your attention. I’m a quarter into the book. Love it so far!!

        • littlebells May 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM #

          I haven’t posted the discussion date for Child 44 yet on PTSS, but plan on the first Sunday in July. However, if most of us are done before then, which I’m sure we will be, we can discuss sooner. 🙂 I’m still getting caught up with TPoN.

          • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 7:41 PM #

            Really sorry, LB what is TPoN?

            • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 7:43 PM #


              She’s referring to The Power of Now. Its the current book we are reading on PTSS.

              • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

                Oh, cool. I hope I read that eventually.

                • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 7:52 PM #

                  Yes! Its very enlightening.

              • littlebells May 24, 2012 at 8:59 PM #

                Thanks OB! I’m so sorry I completely forgot about our discussion!!! ARgh!!! Let me catch up!

          • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 7:53 PM #

            The 1st. Sunday in July sounds o.k. to me. LB!!

  3. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM #

    Thanks everyone for the recommendations!! I’m always interested in what books are worth checking out and why.

  4. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

    Welcome new and returning visitors to our discussion tonight. Thanks for joining us. If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask.

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 7:54 PM #


      I was wondering, when I was doing research on this topic I ran into an advertisement for the “P4 Personality Mapping Tool.” I was wondering whether anyone ever heard of it. Supposedly the software:

      “…provides you with a new and unique method of assessing people’s personality types so you can better understand and communicate with them — whether colleagues, family or friends. And if you happen to be a novelist, P4 additionally offers you a ground-breaking new way of creating realistic characters to fulfill specific plot roles, with a depth of knowledge that allows you to know just how they will react in given situations and with other characters.”

      I’m comfortable to evaluate the old fashioned way, but I was wondering whether anyone has seen this software in action? Someone or some other software may offer to do the same thing?

      I PROMISE THIS WAS NOT MEANT TO AN ADVERTSEMENT. To assure it doesn’t appear that way I wont post the website.

      • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

        Hi CR-

        I’ve not heard of that software but it certainly sounds interesting to say the least. I guess its difficult for me to believe I would prefer this method over the real thing.

        • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:16 PM #

          I asked myself the same thing, wondering how this softwhere might improve upon a traditional reading process? Oh well, just thought I would ask?

  5. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

    Q for Everyone-

    What is it about Psycho Thrillers that appeals to you? Do u prefer reading or watching them on film?

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:00 PM #


      I think this is a unique genre. Even the two words making up the genre provoke an uneven yet extremely descriptive notion of what is being presented.

      • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

        Ultimately since they are suspenseful, it’s hard to believe no one likes them either in film or literature.

        • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

          Would u say this genre appeals to both men and women?

          • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:31 PM #


            I can’t say and I don’t believe I have heard anyone discuss it in that way.

            As much as I would like to say men, my impression is that women are frequently the reliable junkies of this topic genre. I especially want to say that when I think of American TV. For instance I always thought the Soap opera was a women’s form of entertainment.
            “As the world turns,”

            “All my Children,”

            “The Guiding Light”

            Of course there are websites dedicated to Soap operas alone. I hear they are more popular in South and Latin America than here:

  6. Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

    Surveying the web, it appears a great many lists place these contemporary movies highly:

    • Memento
    • Frailty
    • The Usual Suspects
    • Fracture

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

      Obviously this list can be much larger.

      • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:11 PM #

        I like this list of films. U know Memento is my all time…..)

        • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM #

          Yes, I know. wWo made that movie? I’m kidding… please don’t answer.

          • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:43 PM #

            wWo = Who

  7. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:12 PM #

    What Psycho Thriller films have u seen in the last year that u liked?

  8. Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM #


    Are you one to focus on the psychological aspect or the thriller aspect?

    I noticed some lists would even emphasize the topic as a “horror” genre like.

    I’m more inclined to think about the films of Alfred Hitchcock and films of that caliber.

    • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

      Great Q CR. I would have to say the psycho part of it. How about u?

  9. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:16 PM #

    Given Mission Black List is featured as one of the books to read. I thought I would post Eric Maddox’s video on his method of interrogation. It’s quite interesting.

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM #

      Cool video.

      I don’t know why I care about this kind of stuff, but the minute he started talking I was hooked. It’s such a unique combat role to play in a warfare situation.
      Thanks for sharing.

  10. ozzie20 May 24, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

    Hi all!

    I am salivating over the list you provided OB! I was going to get Child 44 and Mission black a week or so but completely forgot! I do have a book suggestion, however I have to find it because I can’t remember the title or its author! It shouldn’t take too long to find.

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM #

      Hi Ozzie.

      • ozzie20 May 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM #

        Hi CR!

  11. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:21 PM #

    Hi Oz!! Thank u. Please, please let me know the book u like. I’m always interested in finding those gems that go under the radar.

    • ozzie20 May 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

      Hi OB! I’m just looking up the description for the second book (which is in my massive to read pile!) and I also think I have another one in my wishlist. I’ll go look that one up too. They have have some horror elements in them as well.

  12. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:35 PM #

    CR I can’t go near the soap opera stuff u posted. I’m allergic to them and break out in hives. I’m sorry!!

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:38 PM #

      I feel I felt when I brought up “Lifetime” so long ago

  13. ozzie20 May 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM #

    Found it and another book that I haven’t read yet but may come uner the psychological Thriller genre.

    The Collector by John Fowles
    Description: Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

    My thoughts: Although you may not like the ending, it is a gripping book! You want the story to continue but it isn’t a series and the author has passed away so you’re left with your imagination to run wild! The first half of the book is from Frederick’s perception and the second half is Miranda’s perception. I think it has an epilogue with Frederick’s perception again. You get to experience both mind-frames (miranda’s fightened and confused view and frederick’s twisted and wierd mind), so it leaves you thinking about how you would survive a traumatic event like that and the scary thought that there are people like that out there that will do this to other people. It’s a brilliant book!

    • Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:47 PM #

      Wow! Oz!! This book sounds suspenseful. Thank u for the recommendation. Sequels are overrated anyway. LOL!! I will check it out.

    • Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

      I’ll add this to my list.

    • littlebells May 24, 2012 at 9:02 PM #

      I’ve read this!!! Yes, I totally recommend it. Quite disturbing.

  14. Open Book May 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM #


    I have to go for now. But please if u have any books u would like to recommend please do. We have a bunch of people who like to read here. Thanks for joining us tonight. Goodnight!!

  15. Comic Relief May 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM #


    Sorry I have to leave. talk to you soon, seems like this will be an interesting series.

  16. ozzie20 May 24, 2012 at 8:59 PM #

    The Girl On The Landing by Paul Torday (author of Salmon Fishing In The Yemen)

    Description: The novel begins as Michael, a middle-aged man of means, is dressing for dinner at a friend’s country house in Ireland. As he descends the grand staircase, he spots a small painting of a landing with an old linen press and the white marble statue of an angel. In the background is a woman clad in a dark green dress. During dinner, Michael comments on the painting to his hosts but they say there is no woman in the picture. When Michael goes up to bed later, he sees that they are correct. This is only the first in a series of incidents that lead Michael to question his grip on reality. His wife Elilzabeth is unsettled by the changes she sees in a man she originally married because he was dependable and steady, not because she loved him. Suddenly she is aware that she has never really known Michael and as he changes, she sees glimpses of someone she could fall in love with. Michael, in the meantime, is disturbed by events at his family’s ancestral home in the wilds of Scotland and by a past that he is threatening to destroy everything, and everyone, he has ever loved.

    I haven’t read this one yet.

    • littlebells May 24, 2012 at 9:03 PM #

      Soooo many books! Ok, making a list…

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