Shelf Life: Best psychological thrillers of 2018

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

If you’ve been following my column for a while, you know that psychological thrillers are my favorite.

It’s hard to get me to read anything else, although I do pick up a memoir or historical fiction novel every once in a while.

I’ve had a chance to read four great psychological thrillers that were published this year, and there are two more that have recently been released and are high on my “to read” list.

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Check them out:

“The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, and spends her days spying on her neighbors, until one day she sees something through the window that puts her life in danger. I did see one of the twists coming but there were still several more that threw me for a loop!

“The Last Time I Lied” by Riley Sager

This was just released on July 3 but I was lucky enough to receive an advanced readers copy when I met the author at a library conference back in March. I was so excited, as his last book, “Final Girls,” was my favorite from 2017. This book follows a young woman who returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there when she was a teenager.

“Bring Me Back” by B.A. Paris

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation when she disappears. Now, 10 years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. As he and Ellen are planning their wedding, people start reporting seeing Layla, and long-lost items from her past keep turning up. A shocking ending!

“All the Beautiful Lies” by Peter Swanson

When Harry’s father dies, he heads to the small town in Maine where he lived to help his stepmother, Alice, uncover the mystery behind his death. Alternating between “then” and “now,” this book uses Harry and Alice as alternating narrators to spin a tale of obsession, revenge  and cold-blooded murder.

“The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll

I haven’t read this one yet, but I loved Knoll’s 2015 debut novel, “Luckiest Girl Alive,” so I have high hopes for this thriller, starring two sisters who join the cast of a reality TV series. According to, it “explores the invisible barriers that prevent women from rising up the ranks in today’s America.”

“The Death of Mrs. Westaway” by Ruth Ware

Ware is one of my favorite authors, and her “In a Dark, Dark Wood” is one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. In her latest novel, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance; however, it was sent to the wrong person. When she finds herself at the funeral of the deceased, she realizes that there is something very wrong about the situation.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.