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8 of the Best Mysteries and Thrillers About Vengeful Mothers

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Dee Das

Staff Writer

Trying to live, love, and say it well in good sentences. Pronouns: she/her. Contact:

Mothers are a fierce group, fierce enough to walk into the seventh circle of hell if that is what it takes to protect their kids. This doesn’t mean they are always successful in their mission. But their occasional failures do not discount their mettle and perseverance to keep waging wars for their kids. Here, I have curated a list of eight such fictional mothers for whom the love for their kids becomes a life force. Be it vengeance for their kids’ murder or determination to keep them from harm’s way, these mothers are not afraid to commit even the strangest of crimes if need be. They are imperfect, often selfish, and morally ambiguous, but none of these traits make them less endearing.

As you get more and more lost in the pages of these mysteries and thrillers, you will find yourself unknowingly gasping and sighing while rooting for the mothers. Their preoccupation with their children’s well-being is a propelling force driving the plots forward. As they march on, they shudder, they collapse, but in the end, they bounce back for the sake of their children. There is a hero latent in each of them, a hero who is not defined by conventional rules of morality but by the love for their kids.

Cover of The Night Olivia Fell

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

One morning, Abi Knight gets a call informing her that her daughter, Olivia, has fallen off a bridge. On top of that, Olivia is pregnant and is supposed to be on life support to keep the baby alive. Olivia’s fall is labeled as an accident by the cops, but that doesn’t put her mother’s mind at rest. Abi unpacks each part of Olivia’s life to figure out who truly is responsible for her premature death.

Cover of The Devotion Of Suspect X

The Devotion Of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, translated by Alexander O. Smith

Yasuko lives a quiet life with her only daughter after getting separated from her husband. But one day her ex-husband shows up disrupting the peaceful life she has built for herself, threatening both her and her daughter. Yasuko has worked hard to get away from his abuses, and she is willing to risk it all again to preserve their trouble-free life. The mother-daughter duo kills him, hoping this will put an end to their miseries. But it’s only the start, and they don’t realize that they won’t just be pushing themselves but also their neighbor into this murk.

Cover of Eyes Like Mine

Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

More than a decade ago, Nora gave up her newborn daughter for adoption. Now the same daughter has gone missing and her desperate parents come to Nora for help. Nora knows what happens to young women, but that doesn’t deter her from setting out on a quest to save the daughter she has never known. She is equipped with her instincts and an uncanny ability to pick truths from lies. She persistently looks for her daughter, only to get more and more entangled in a freaky web of darkness.

Cover of No Bad Deed

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez

Cassie Larkin, mother of two and a veterinarian by profession, stops to help a stranger who is being brutally attacked. Little does she knows that this one incident will throw her entire life off track. While rushing away, the attacker warns her that Cassie will only be allowed to live if she lets the victim die. The next night, Cassie’s husband disappears, and she soon realizes that her children are under threat as well. Is Cassie’s darker side strong enough to overpower whoever is after her family?

Cover of Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Everyone thinks Lauren just needs to rest. After all, a new mother of twins can’t always be at her rational best. But Lauren knows she is not delusional to think that in her hospital bed a woman has tried replacing her babies with her own creatures. One day, the babies do disappear from her side. When they are discovered, there is something different about them that only Lauren can sense. Mixed with elements of fantasy and horror, this book is an exploration of how much a mother is willing to risk to protect her kids.

Cover of Until I Find You

Until I Find You by Rea Frey

Single mom Rebecca Gray has gone blind owing to a degenerative condition. One day, she faints in the park and vows to take better care of herself. Then she hears her infant son cry. When she picks him up to comfort him, she gets the shock of her life. The child is not her son, and now Rebecca is determined to find him. Everyone thinks she is confused, but only she knows that she is right to think the way she does. She is willing to go to every possible length to bring her son home.

Cover of The Collective

The Collective by Alison Gaylin

Camille is still grieving her daughter’s death. Five years ago, the man responsible for killing her had been allowed to go scot-free, and the thought of him living freely infuriates Camille. This is when she gets entangled in a group of fellow mothers in mourning called the collective. Since the law has failed to provide them justice, they take matters into their own hands and seek revenge for the sake of their dead children.

Cover of Confessions

Confessions by Kanae Minato, translated by Stephen Snyder

Yuko Moriguchi has nothing to live for but her 4-year-old daughter, Manami. But the trouble begins after Manami’s mysterious death. Moriguchi thinks two of her students have killed Manami and she is determined to make them pay. A tale about abandoned children desperate for love, sacrificial mothers ready to do whatever it takes to safeguard their children’s future, and the dark side of the human psyche, this book will forever change our perception of a classroom.

If you wish to read more fiction revolving around mothers, please check out these nine books on motherhood! And if the aforementioned list incited your hunger for mysteries further, I recommend this list of new releases!