Female characters in horror and thriller novels often have the potential to be some of the most memorable and empowering characters in the genre. If you’re a fan of horror thrillers with strong female leads, or if you’re looking for a new book to dive into, check out these top Thrillers with strong Female Leads:
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient is a 2019 psychological thriller novel written by British–Cypriot author Alex Michaelides. The debut novel was published by Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers, on 5 February 2019.
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller about a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.
The Silent Patient explores the effects of marital betrayal and psychological disorders. It also touches upon betrayal, guilt, drug use, communication, and the inner workings of the medical profession.
The main conflict in The Silent Patient is why Alicia killed her husband, Gabriel, and why she now chooses to be silent, which is prodded by Theo in his quest to determine her motive.
The Last House Guest, by Megan Miranda
Littleport, Maine, has felt for a long time like two distinct towns: a perfect holiday destination for the wealthy, whose summer residences border the beach; and a straightforward harbor village for the year-round residents, whose livelihoods depend on serving the tourists.
Normally, fierce friendships don’t form between a local and a summer girl; but, Sadie Loman, a visitor, and Avery Greer, a local, do just that. The girls have been inseparable every summer for over ten years—that is, until Sadie is found dead. Despite the fact that the death was ruled a suicide by the police, Avery can’t help but feel that she is to blame for Sadie’s passing, along with a local detective and Parker, Sadie’s brother. Avery is determined to clear her name before the evidence is used against her, and she believes that someone is hiding something.
The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware
She is completely looking for something else when she stumbles across the advertisement. However, the possibility to work as a live-in nanny for a staggeringly high wage appears too wonderful to pass up. Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House and immediately falls in love with the elegant “smart” mansion furnished with all contemporary comforts, the stunning Scottish Highlands, and this picture-perfect family.
She has no idea that she is about to enter a nightmare that will end with a child dead and her being imprisoned while she awaits trial for murder.
She attempts to describe the circumstances that led to her arrest in letters she writes from behind bars to her attorney. Not only the broken technology that woke the family with loud music or switched off the lights at the worst possible time, or the continual surveillance provided by the home’s cameras. It wasn’t only the girls, who were a far cry from the impeccable mannered model kids she had encountered at her interview. It wasn’t even that the mysterious handyman was the only adult present and she was left alone for weeks at a time.
It was all of that.
She is aware of her mistakes. She acknowledges that she lied to get the job and that she wasn’t always the primary caretaker of the kids. By no means is she innocent. But she insists that someone else is to blame and she is not guilty, at least not of murder.
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty
Every morning, parents leave off their children at the bus stop before starting their days. Rachel Klein did this. All of that changes, though, when Rachel receives a call from an unknown number on her cell phone. The caller is a woman and she tells Rachel that Kylie is bound and gagged in the back seat of her car, and the only way she can be rescued is to follow her exact instructions—pay a ransom and locate another child to kidnap. The caller is a mother whose son has been kidnapped too; if Rachel doesn’t do what she is instructed, the boy will die. This is not your average kidnapping.
“You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” The Chain is a never-ending, brilliant system that transforms victims into criminals while also making someone else extremely wealthy, and Rachel is now a part of it. Finding the money quickly, locating your victim, and then committing a terrible crime that you would have previously believed you were incapable of doing are the only requirements. The moral challenges are impossible.
An Unwanted Guest, by Shari Lapena
Winter in the Catskills is the ideal time for a quiet, possibly even romantic, weekend getaway, and Mitchell’s Inn, tucked away in the woods, is the ideal location. It has large, antique rooms with enormous woodburning fireplaces, a fully stocked wine cellar, and options for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just cuddling up with a good murder mystery.
Therefore, when the weather deteriorates and a snowstorm cuts out the electricity—as well as all communication with the outside world—the guests make due and try to make the most of the situation.
However, one of the guests soon turns up dead; it appears to be an accident. But they start to freak out when a second guest passes away.
Something—or someone—is killing off guests one by one within the snow-covered wonderland. They are left with no choice but to seek shelter together and wait out the storm.
The Push, by Ashley Audrain
Blythe Connor is adamant that she will provide Violet with the loving, nurturing upbringing that she herself never received.
But in the midst of the demanding early days of motherhood, Blythe starts to believe that something is wrong with her daughter because she doesn’t act like most kids.
Or is Blythe imagining everything? Fox, her husband, claims she is hallucinating. Blythe starts to doubt her own sanity the more Fox downplays her anxieties, and we start to doubt what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.
Then, when their son Sam is born, Blythe experiences the joyful bond with her kid that she had always dreamed. Even Violet appears to like her little sibling. But when their way of life is suddenly changed, Blythe is forced to face the reality due to the disastrous consequences.
The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse
Le Sommet has long been a dark spot, partially concealed by woodland and shrouded by menacing peaks. The previous abandoned sanatorium has recently been transformed into a five-star minimalist hotel, ending years of troublesome rumors.
The last place Elin Warner wants to be is a towering, remote retreat in the Swiss Alps. However, Elin has taken a break from her work as a detective, so she really has no excuse not to accept her estranged brother Isaac’s and his fiancée Laure’s invitation to celebrate their engagement at the hotel.
Elin arrives in the middle of a potentially dangerous storm and immediately feels uneasy; there’s something about the motel that worries her. Laure is missing when they wake up the next morning, so Elin needs to trust her gut if they want to find her. The more time Laure is missing, the more anxious the other guests become because the storm has cut off all access to the hotel.
Elin is under pressure to locate Laure, but nobody is aware that a second woman has vanished. Furthermore, she is the only one who might have forewarned them of the danger they are all in.
The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner
A peculiar kind of customer is served by a hidden apothecary shop in the depths of eighteenth-century London. Ladies in the city rumor that a strange woman by the name of Nella sells cunningly disguised poisons that they might use to get rid of the controlling men in their lives. But the apothecary’s future is in jeopardy when her newest customer, a bright 12-year-old, makes a catastrophic error, setting off a chain of events that echo through the ages.
Aspired historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone in modern-day London while evading her own problems. Her life collides with the apothecary’s in a surprising turn of events, and not everyone will survive, when she discovers a link to the unsolved apothecary murders that plagued London 200 years ago.
The Night Swim, by Megan Goldin
Since her true-crime podcast released an innocent man from prison and became an overnight success, Rachel Krall has established herself as a household name and the last resort for those seeking redress. She is accustomed to being identified by her voice rather than her appearance. It makes it much more frightening when she discovers a message addressed to her on the windshield of her car. The note begs for help.