There’s something to be said about true crime and crime presented in fiction. The fascination with the psychology behind a person’s motive to commit the most terrible acts makes us curious to know what’s inside their mind.
With that said, serial killer thrillers are one for the books. They chill you to the bone, keep you tossing and turning at night, and might even have you shutting and locking your door a little more tightly. How about that night light? It’s certainly on when you snuggle under the covers and try to catch some sleep after reading and researching these people and their psyche.
From the bloody to the psychologically creepy, we have picked eight serial killer thrillers—fiction and nonfiction— sure to fascinate and scare you. Stay tuned, for these might just keep you up thinking about them long after you turn that last page.
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
In this thriller, Korede’s sister Ayoola represents what the favorite child and the beautiful one should be. But there’s a catch…she’s possibly sociopathic. Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife. Korede starts to worry further as she is her sister’s saving grace, cleaning after all her bloody messes and finding newer and more interesting ways to move a body, all while Ayoola posts pictures on Instagram when she should be in mourning. Full of dark humor and an interesting take on sisterly relationships, this book is one to definitely pick up if you’re looking for creepy, eerie, and darkly funny fun.
None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
It’s the year 1982 and two teens, serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and U.S. Marshal candidate Travis Bell, are swiftly recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case, that of a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers, things begin to unravel quickly. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s teenage sociopaths, Simon Gutmunsson, for assistance. What happens when he sets his sights on Emma? You must read to find out.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre by someone who was targeting them. Then, she became a member of a club no one would want to belong to, a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. There’s Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters; Sam, who went up against the killer during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man behind the knife. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, but at what cost? This thriller, full of murder, intrigue, and plenty of twists and turns, will keep you tossing and turning until you figure out its outcome.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
The book that became a popular Showtime series features Dexter Morgan, a polite man that you’d never figure has a dark side. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him a serial killer. His one golden rule makes him a likable character: he only kills the bad people. Also, his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims as soon as possible. But when a series of bloody murders start to bear a similarity to his own style of killing, Dexter is caught in a difficult situation where he might just get caught after all. Read on to find out and you just might fall into “like” for a serial killer.
The Surgeon: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen
In this dark novel not for the faint of heart and full of medical suspense, you’ll meet an evil villain who creeps into women’s bedrooms as they’re sleeping and murders them in unimaginable ways. As the murder investigation proceeds, the way the murderer kills is found to be too precise, so he’s labeled “The Surgeon.” The book will have you on the edge of your seat as Dr. Catherine Cordell, a surgeon herself, recalls escaping a similar type of attack and surviving in the past, and realizes the murderer might be imitating that experience. Will she or anyone be able to catch this killer? Read on to find out.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
In this classic, also turned into a major motion picture, the author captures violence and murder within the high-end New York crowd. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. He is handsome, educated, and earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in, shall we say, killer ways. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman represents a character that many could trust only to learn that he could be the end of them after all.
The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border by Teresa Rodriguez and Diana Montané
In this chilling work of nonfiction we explore Juarez, a Mexican border city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Most Americans are unaware that for more than 12 years this city has been the center of an epidemic of horrific crimes against women and girls, consisting of kidnappings, rape, mutilation, and murder, with most of the victims conforming to a specific profile: young, slender, and poor, fueling the premise that the murders are selective and planned. Haunting and immersive, this book explores the eerie truth about the various killers in the area and brings to light the issues behind this stark reality, which we all will be captured by after reading.
Open House by Katie Sise
Following happenings from a decade ago in upstate New York, no one forgets when art student Emma McCullough walked into the woods and was never seen again. It’s a mystery that still haunts the university town and her family, especially her sister, Haley, who obsessively seeks closure. When the first piece of evidence about the vanishing is found, Emma’s bracelet, it triggers people who loved and cared for Haley. When a woman is attacked during an open house at the university, the connections between the two crimes, years apart, suddenly begin to surface. This twisty tale is full of secrets and thrills sure to keep you interested in what is going on through the very end.
What serial killer-themed thrillers have you read lately? Which one of the ones featured do you plan to pick up next? Tweet at us at @AuroraMiami and @BookRiot and let us know your favorite creepy, true crime-inspired and related books.