We recently asked subscribers of the BuzzFeed Books newsletter to tell us about the most suspenseful book they’d ever read — and they totally delivered. These titles will definitely take your breath away.
Rachel always observed a woman from her train as she passed the suburbs. But what happens when this woman goes missing? Rachel feels compelled to solve the mystery and stumbles upon dark, shocking truths in the process. The narration keeps you gripped and it’s a truly chilling read. I stayed up all night finishing it! —Samyuktha S.
Girl on the Train is a page turner from the very beginning, but it picks up momentum in the second half like you would not believe! I finished it in math class (probably not a wise choice, but I could not put it down) and risked an F for the day just to get through the last few chapters. It kept me on my toes (and audibly gasping) all the way through! —Camille D.
Christine Lucas suffers from anterograde amnesia, a disease that causes her to lose all her memories after she goes to bed. She wakes up every morning not recognizing the bedroom she is in, or the man sleeping beside her (whom afterwards claims to be her husband, Ben). Everyday, she also receives a phone call from a doctor who has been helping her without her husband’s knowledge, and reminds her about a personal diary she has been hiding. She flips over the cover and sees three words written in her own handwriting: “Don’t trust Ben.” —Joesphine Yeh, Singapore
An unknown creature is stalking the survivors of an apocalyptic attack. One glimpse of it is enough to drive a person to violent, fatal madness. Now Malorie and her two small children must make their way to safety down the river in a small boat — blindfolded, with only their ears to guide them. They can’t see what’s coming and, for me, that was enough to ramp up the suspense to create a tense, unsettling read. —Jennifer Blair
The story is terrifying because it plays on your fear of the dark and not being able to see what might be coming for you. I read it at night, sitting beside my son’s hospital bed after he’d had surgery and, at one point, when a nurse came in to check on him, I nearly screamed out loud. —Annie C.
So intense it’s almost uncomfortable to read. —Katie Walton
Mireille’s harrowing fall from a fairy-tale life of privilege to the torment of her kidnap and captivity at the hands of a violent gang is pure thriller material. But it’s made so much more powerful by Roxane Gay’s incomparably sharp and vivid prose. Also, apparently An Untamed State has been optioned for a film, so read it before it hits the big screen and starts getting even more buzz! —Eleanor
Six reasons you should read Sphere ASAP: 1) Alien 2) Spaceship 3) Discovered 4) On 5) Ocean 6) Floor. Like, what?! Yes. This is pure Crichton, and my favorite of his books by far. Compulsively readable and exciting. —Xun Wen
A young boy is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father and happens to pick one up. Years later, he finds out someone has been destroying all books by that author, and he’s drawn into the mystery surrounding these events. The Shadow of the Wind had me literally gasping out loud at least once during every chapter! Go read it now! —Heather Wynne, Philadelphia
The perfect suspense-drama-love-story-mystery novel — it was such a page-turner that I stayed up all night to finish (even though I had work the next morning )! —Frances M.
Ten strangers are invited to a mysterious island home for a weekend, only to be killed off one by one in increasingly gruesome ways. But no one has any clue who’s behind it all or why this group of strangers was brought together in the first place. This is one of the most intense, suspenseful books you’ll ever read. I had no clue what was going to happen next and, and the twist ending definitely caught me by surprise. I think I read it in about two hours — the suspense was killing me. —Sarah Dennison
I couldn’t put it down and, when I was done, I couldn’t fall asleep! —Asma
Teenaged brother and sister Sean and Caitlin go for an early-morning run during a family vacation in the Rockies, but the Sean returns alone. The novel then follows the Courtland family for the next year as they cope with their loss. They don’t know what happened; Tim Johnston leads us to believe that we do — but, in the end, the Caitlin’s ultimate fate comes as a surprise to all. Descent is a literary thriller as beautifully written as it is suspenseful. —Cheryl McKeon
“Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret — something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…” —from the publisher
This book ruined my vacation!! In, like, the best way possible. Read it. Get wrecked by it. Pass it along. Go! —Niall
Chyna Shepard must escape a madman after witnessing him murder her friend’s entire family. The book covers only 24 hours and is, as titled, intense all the way through. I slept with my lights on for a week after reading it. —Kimmi
The action starts with a bang in the first chapter and it is non-stop all the way. You fall in love with Chyna right away and only want to save her. It’s every mother’s worst nightmare; my heart was literally racing at every turn of the page. —Melissa C.
It scared me so much, I gave the book away so it wouldn’t be in my house any more. And I am a VETERAN horror reader. —Randelle White, Axtell, TX