A psychologist’s favorite psychological thriller books

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I am a psychological thriller junkie, and have over the years discovered some real gems. To get on my favorite list, the books must satisfy my craving for a surprising and clever plot, with characters who feel real and will be remembered. If I feel confused afterwards before I get an ‘a-ha’ moment, I feel very pleased.

In this post I will share my all-time top 5 psychological thrillers


1: Between you and me by Lisa Hall

1: my all-time favorite psychological thriller

I never have to think about which psychological thriller I’d always recommend, because between you and me took my breath away.

The twist was brilliant, and several things from previous chapters made even more sense. Besides the refreshing ending, I loved the two POVs.

It’s not often you find a book describing the abuser and abused simultaneously, going over the same events with totally different ways of looking at them. It’s chilling how someone can be in denial to the extent the abuser was, but I loved that the abuser sometimes thought about its behavior. The description of the abuse was hard to read, and working as a psychologist it really hit home what abused people go through.

Between you and me is a superb psychological thriller with an unforgettable twist.

2. The good sister by Sally Hepworth

Number 2

This was a fantastic book in every way. I loved the characters, they felt so real and therefore I was emotionally moved by what they were experiencing. The writing style was perfect and the story original and the twists made me gasp. It also was deeply disturbing at times, until you realized you didn’t have the whole truth. Simply incredible and a memorable read. And it has become one of my all-time favorites in the genre.

3: The first day of spring of spring by Nancy Tucker

Number 3

I felt emotionally drained and gutted after finishing this book. I will probably never be able to forget it, it was just a heart-stopping journey. I felt everything from sadness, disgust, shock and anger. And through it all, the overwhelming pain of a lost childhood. I am thoroughly impressed by Tucker, and will read everything she writes from now on.

4: The perfect twin by Sarah bonner

This book started with a bang until it exploded by the first, second and third twist. I read this whenever I had time, not wanting to miss a single second. The book was clever and original, and I enjoyed every page. Brilliant move to let us see the story unfold from different POVS, right up my alley. If the author publishes more books, I’ll be the first to order them.

5: Behind closed doors by B. A Paris

Number 5

Behind closed doors was the book who got me into psychological thrillers. For that alone I’m forever grateful, and it still is one of my favorite all-time favorites. Like in between you and me, we are invited into a disturbing relationship with escalating abuse. The book’s suspense was unlike anything, I really sat on the edge of my seat, holding my breath in terror. I have liked some of her other books as well, but this is without doubt her best novel and it deserves to be on the list

The stranger in our house by Sarah Denzil

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What would you do if your son became a stranger overnight?

Everything has fallen into place for the Aiken family. Tired of the city, Aaron and Meera relocate to the idyllic village of Little Crake along with their two children, Noah and Uma. The new cottage is the perfect new beginning for the family.

Until fifteen-year-old Noah wanders alone into the forest. For three days, a search party combs the woods. Aaron braces himself for the worst convinced his son is lost forever. Until he finds Noah alive, hiding in the hollow of a tree. It feels like a second chance.

But why doesn’t Noah remember those three days in the woods? And why are there strange cuts slashed across his torso? Why did he cover himself in mud and hide away in an old oak tree?

Once a studious and gentle boy, Noah becomes a troublemaker at school. He withdraws from his family, sleepwalks at night, and creates eerie sketches of Dark Valley Forest. Aaron tells himself that Noah just needs time to readjust. He’ll soon be himself again. But Meera believes otherwise. This new version of Noah is harsh and cruel—a complete stranger.

This is my third book in three months with a superstition angle. After being pleasantly surprised by them, I wanted to give another one a shot. I am very happy I did. If you’re into novels with a mix of suspense, psychology and the supernatural this will be a safe bet. The story is told from diary entries and voice notes. The events unfolds in real time and we see what happens from all the family members POV besides Noah. Denzil was adept at creating characters with different personalities that matched with their age and attitudes. I also liked the excerpts from the notes from the psychologist who treated Noah. The story flowed nicely along, without any unnecessary details. It was also well-written with metaphors matching the creepiness you felt when reading. The book also includes drawings made by Noah and it created a tense atmosphere. You could imagine acting like the characters did from the trauma they went through and their vulnerabilities.

The different threads were deftly tied together in the ending. It didn’t leave you wanting more. It was overall well worth my time and I’m happy requested the book.

Thanks to netgalley and victory editing negalley co-op for the arc in exchange for my honest review

You can change lives

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I love kindness, and we need it in these trying times. Sometimes I forget the power of being kind, and need a reminder. Love this picture, which reminds me of how many wonderful people there are, giving and making the world better.


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In many ways I’m very lucky. I live in one of the richest countries in the world. There is no war here, most people have what they need and news headlines are more often than not filled with information about the last COVID-19’s numbers, electricity prices and who won the last talent competition. I have enough to eat, have a steady job and am a woman. I’ve lived a sheltered life. Not everyone has done so, and I would like the share a post about a black male who has had a hard life, where stereotypes had a major impact on his self-esteem. The original post can be found here

Black Men and Mental Health – A Struggle with Self Confidence

Most Men are not given safe places to express their feelings and emotions. As in many cases, Men are raised to keep things inside, focus on providing/leading and are often called ‘soft’ when they express emotions. This is particularly true when growing up a strict Christian environment.
There stereotypes are even more aggressive when it comes to Black Men. Growing up, we are often subject to comments that allude to our athletic, sexual and entertainment prowess. These comments come from family, friends, co-workers and are all over the media.
However, what happens when you a Black male that you are not a great athlete? Or if you weren’t the guy everyone woman wanted, or you aren’t a great entertainer?
Growing up there stereotypes are extremely frustrating to deal with. At around 5 years old, I was exposed porn by my cousins boyfriends. They would force me to pleasure them while watching porn and/or after they finished having sex with my cousins. This went on for 4-5 years.
Also, I walked in on a two family members engaged in a sexual act and was bought into this. Which led to me normalizing sexual abuse as a kid. Not only as a victim but as the abuser . All before I was 13.
This created massive amounts of confusion as I entered my teens/20s. Am I bisexual, gay. Do I even like girls?
As I started to go out to parties/clubs – I was often overlooked for the athletic guys. I can clearly remember going out with a group of friends and we would run into a group of good looking ladies. My friends would all meet a lady except for me. This happened on 3 different occasions. It was embarrassing. To the point where I would make excuses to not go out with the guys because I felt so inadequate. Honestly, I felt like that 5 year old boy again.
On other occasions, I met women where we did actually speak and had great vibes. Again, there are distinct moments where I was pushed aside. In two cases, I was pushed literally pushed aside so she could speak to the Club Promoter. Yeah, the entertainment type. In another cases, she picked the DJ over me and the last case – I was literally pushed aside for the basketball player.
Why do I mention this? Because when 3 of the major stereotypes associated with Black Men don’t seem to apply you, it creates feelings of rejection. Not so much from these women because any woman has the right to choose partner(s) of their choice. It is more from family and friends. And most importantly, a rejection of myself. It was implied that I was less of a man because I didn’t meet what they thought a man should be.
So leveraged what I believed was my only good asset – my mind! While I was never an academic genius, I have always been smart and well versed on an array of political, social and economic topics. To the point where I won Public Speaking contests and demonstrated a grasp of socio-political issues better than most. As well, I began studying Black History in depth and was able to connect my history to present day racism.
However, again failure. From experiencing racism from educators who tried to get me to quit school. To jobs where I did everything they asked for, yet was labelled as the angry black man. To the point where I had to fight multi-dollar corporations in court for years. Racism also came from various interactions the police, where I had been pulled over numerous times. Racism plus a Divorce has wiped out my Net Financial Worth and Personal Worth.
All of this has created a crisis in self confidence. I didn’t meet the ‘stereotypes’ of Black Men. When I aimed to use my mind, intellect to move forward – I have experienced serious failure.
Where do I turn? How do I find a place of self worth? How do I endure that my failures do not lead to jealousy?
These are the areas I focus on with my therapist. Some days are good, some are bad.
I struggle with Self Confidence in almost every arena now.
Yes I am a Proud Black Man .. however at times… I am wondering how many more failures I can handle.

Healing the world

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The past year has been challenging for many of us. More than ever we need new ideas, hope and willingness to change. What would you do to make the world better? And what needs to change ?


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Becoming a mother is hard to describe. Emotions you didn’t even know about, come forward like surprising gifts you didn’t even know you wanted. My son has been my blessing. A lot of mothers probably feel the same, and I’m so happy to be one of them. It’s been a journey, seeing the world from a child’s point of view. Everything we take for granted they discover for the first time, making me appreciate the small things.

We Are Annora: A True Story of Surviving Multiple Personality Disorde

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Finding good memoirs describing multiple personalities is rare. This managed to portray accurately how it is to live with dissociative identity disorder, and the therapy that helped.


Annora’s intensifying bouts of amnesia caused her husband to seek marital counseling for them; whereupon, the therapist observed even more abnormal behaviors in Annora. She was subsequently diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Buried inner conflicts began to morph into external trouble and at first these troubles seemed to lack sense and organization. With the help of her therapist, Annora battled her disorder and the pieces of the puzzle came together to reveal a carefully hidden secret so devastating, that even Annora was not aware of it. We Are Annora will rivet readers as the story unravels clues which climax into a surprise ending. 

Marrow’s choice of first-person narrative successfully pulls the reader into this page-turning true story which so richly demonstrates the human will to survive amidst a crippling disorder that is still so misunderstood. Throughout the pages of this book, struggles of fear and hope, love and hate, confusion, and utter clarity give the reader an “insider” perspective of the challenges faced by traumatized people with DID. Hence, the reader acquires a better understanding of the difficulties suffered by multiples and the potential for true healing.

From the Back Cover

Annora grew up in an orphanage and so the preservation of her precious family was her number one commitment. But that commitment was threatened when, during marital counseling, Annora’s therapist began to recognize unusual and abnormal behaviors in her. Annora was subsequently diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. But that wouldn’t stop Annora from declaring her sanity to her husband and begging him to find them a new therapist. 
Annora reveals the complex issues of her experience in this easy-to-read story that begins with a car accident and travels through a world of horrifying challenges laced with enough hope and vision to pull her through. It seems that survival is in Annora’s genes and she is anything but a coward, though she accuses herself of just that. “Maybe having alters is just a coward’s way of putting my memories and emotions some place outside of me so that I don’t have to feel their pain.” 
Perhaps, in some way, she was right.

Reading the book was hard, but I was so glad I did. I understood better how it must be to live life shattered after trauma, and how the dissociated parts can find their way to healing, understanding they no longer need to be afraid. Annora was truly an inspirational woman, and sharing her story takes courage. It might finally reduce some sigma and explain the condition in a way people can understand.

Book recommendation

More about it on goodreads

Mindfulness during covid-19

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The white mattress lies right in front of me, leaning into the wall. Small buttons run parallel along its surface, creating creases looking like small valleys. The soft white color soothes my mind. My son is nursing, and I am filled with gratitude. I can see his small hand milking an imaginary breast. His fingers are tiny, his thumb the shape of a triangle. Looking at his hand, I remember how his soft and warm skin feels when it closes around my finger when he is afraid and needs comfort.

Sometimes I stress. There is so much to do and too little time. I constantly crave stimulation, feeling bored without it. And then. Moments like these. When I remember what life is all about. When sensations arrive one at a time, making it possible to take them in. It makes all the difference, because focusing intently on one thing makes it easier for emotions to come forward and the body to react. Too much stimulation leaves no space for the unconscious. Like an overcrowded stadium of people, feelings drown in noise and slip away. 

When I remember my past, the memories coming forward are all rich with details. Without sensations, I would probably never have remembered the events. I don´t have many memories, maybe because I spent so much time inside my head instead of looking around. 

Living my life today, I try to use my senses more. When old, I want to feel I have lived my life to the fullest, and that means being present. 

My son reminds me all the time of the importance of being in the now. His fascination of what he sees and touches makes me interested too. That brings a whole new level to everyday life, a true antidote to depression and negative feelings.


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I want to write about covid-19 for the simple reason that it effects all of us. We are in an unique situation that brings uncertainty and fear to many, problems we thought were big before are for some lessened, as we slowly realize what a crisis can be. People loose their job, their security and are isolated, and that is really hard for lonely people. My sister had to be collected by our mum because she sat alone at home and struggled with not seeing anyone for so many days. What with all that where struggling before the society as we know it is changing. I am wondering how people are around the globe! Are they afraid? Will life become even harder in the aftermath? What will it do to us? I hope people are safe and have people to talk to if need be. Never be afraid of reaching out to those who are willing to help, because luckily many still want to be there for other, even if it’s harder to be there physical there still is talking over the phone or find support on the internet.

Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

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Dr Matthew Whalley, clinical psychologist

Dr Hardeep Kaur

Clinical Psychologist

Our world is changing rapidly at the moment. Given some of the news coverage it is difficult not to worry about what it all means for yourself, and for those you love.

We have put together this free guide Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty.

We have included a mixture of psychoeducation about normal and excessive worry, lots of normalization, and a selection of practical exercises that you, your clients, or anyone can use to manage worry and maintain well-being in these uncertain times. Please feel free to share this widely.

Wishing you well,

Dr Matthew Whalley & Dr Hardeep Kaur

Download (UK English): Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty (UK English version)

Download (US English): Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty (US English version)


2020-03-22: We have had a number of kind offers to translate the guide. If you would like to contribute a version in your language please download the template below, and drop us a quick email ( so that we can let you know if someone else has already begun a translation in your language (if they have, we can put you in touch so that the effort can be shared).

Download: Translation template

  • German – proofing completed, waiting for final amends.
  • Bulgarian – in progress.
  • Russian – in progress.
  • Spanish (South American) – in progress.