I’m a sucker for a twisty, turny psychological thriller. I especially love the ones that start with seemingly average people and slowly peel back the layers. What could be more entertaining than discovering that all is not what it seems, right? Domestic thrillers are the ultimate example, and books like The Couple Next Door are the ultimate domestic thrillers.
As the name suggests, domestic thrillers often center around family, the home, and relationships between characters. They play into our fears about whatever goes on behind closed doors. They’re maybe even a little bit relatable (though hopefully not too relatable) making them all the more terrifying.
If you haven’t read it already, The Couple Next Door follows Anne Marie and Marco Conti and their newborn daughter Cora. The story hinges on a crime that occurs while the Contis are attending a party at their neighbors’ house. On the hunt for even more books that reveal the secret lives of families? Here are seven suggestions for books like The Couple Next Door.
1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Where have you been if you haven’t heard of The Wife Between Us? I was reticent going into it, because it’s another one of those book that relies heavily on promoting the big twist to attract readers. But it’s a domestic thriller with surprising depth and heart. The less you know going into this one, the better. At first glance, it appears to be about a woman obsessed with her ex-husband’s new fiancé. But that’s far from the entire story.
2. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Like The Couple Next Door, this was one of the buzziest thrillers of 2017. It tells the story of a seemingly perfect couple named Jack and Grace—wealthy, stylish, happily in love—whose marriage harbors dark secrets.
3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere straddles the line between domestic thriller and literary fiction. This New York Times bestseller is about the intersection between two families in Shaker Heights, Cleveland—the traditionally nuclear Richardsons and a single mother named Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl—and what happens when their lives intersect.
4. The Widow by Fiona Barton
I read The Widow several years ago as part of a company-wide book club I participated in at my previous job. Truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan. But don’t let that stop you from checking it out; this novel inspired lively debate amongst my coworkers. Disagreeing about books is almost as fun as reading them, no? For a brief plot summary, The Widow is about a woman named Jean who hasn’t revealed all she knows about the terrible crime her husband has been accused of committing.
5. The Other Widow by Susan H. Crawford
This book was a fun find from a pile of mysteries my grandma allowed me to pick through recently: Minutes after Joe tells Dorrie they have to end their ongoing illicit affair, the couple is involved in a car crash that kills Joe instantly. The ensuing drama includes both a riveting mystery about who wanted them dead and a fascinating portrayal of what it means to grieve a secret relationship.
6. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
While not similar to The Couple Next Door in tone, My Sister, The Serial Killer will certainly appeal to domestic thriller fans who appreciate a hint of satire. Narrated by Korede, whose sister Ayoola has an unfortunate habit of murdering her boyfriends once she’s over dating them, this is a snappy thriller with a heavy dose of dark humor. The best part? It’s under 240 pages, so you can read it in an afternoon. And believe me, you’ll want to.
7. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
This chilling novel is about a seemingly “perfect” nanny who ends up committing an unthinkable crime.