The Housemaid book cover, an eye seen through a keyhole

10 of the Most Mind-Bending Psychological Thrillers From Bestselling Author Freida McFadden

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you’ve most likely heard the buzz about bestselling author Freida McFadden. McFadden is a practicing physician specializing in brain injury, yet somehow she finds the time to bang out hit after hit, each with a mind-blowing surprise ending that leaves readers clamoring for more.

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McFadden went from self-publishing her first book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing in 2013 to publishing multiple popular novels every year. One of her biggest hits, The Housemaid, is slated to be made into a feature-length film by Lionsgate, and we’re guessing it’s just the first of many such adaptations. The author is known for her major plot twists in the eleventh hour of her stories, so readers can never really know what’s coming.

With so many books available in McFadden’s bibliography it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve done the reading assignments for you, and you’ll find our ten favorite Freida McFadden novels listed below!

Do Not Disturb (2021)

Do Not Disturb book cover
(Hollywood Upstairs Publishing)

Quinn is a wanted woman, so she heads for the northern border to flee police. On the way, she stops to spend a night at the Baxter Motel, where she meets the owner, Nick Baxter. Nick seems nice enough, but if you’re picking up on not-so-subtle Psycho vibes, you’re on the right track! Quinn has her work cut out for her if she wants to survive a night at the Bates, er … Baxter Motel.

The Coworker (2023)

The Coworker cover
(Poisoned Pen Press)

Natalie Farrell is the perfectly coiffed, successful, and popular top salesperson at a nutritional supplement company called Vixed. Her coworker, accountant Dawn Schiff, is her polar opposite: awkward, obsessed with turtles, disliked at work, and all-around strange. One day Dawn doesn’t show up for work, so Natalie starts searching for her, embarking on a cat-and-mouse game that has you questioning who’s good and who’s evil right up until the final chapter.

Never Lie (2022)

Never Lie book cover
(Hollywood Upstairs Press)

Tricia and Ethan are newlyweds who travel to a remote estate on Long Island to check out a stately home they’re considering buying. The home used to belong to a famous psychiatrist named Dr. Adrienne Hale, but the doctor disappeared a year ago without a trace. When a winter storm traps them in the massive home, Tricia discovers a hidden cache of cassette tapes from Dr. Hale’s patient sessions. Listening to the tapes, she is able to trace the series of events that led up to the psychiatrist’s disappearance, and the truth has the potential to tear the young lovers’ lives apart.

The Inmate (2022)

The Inmate book cover
(Sourcebooks)

Brooke Sullivan takes a new job at a maximum security prison, where she’s told explicitly not to get too close (physically or mentally) to the patients. What her new employers don’t know is that Brooke is the reason inmate Shane Nelson is behind bars for murder. They used to date back in high school, and Brooke testified against him in court. What will happen when the two meet up in prison?

The Locked Door (2021)

The Locked Door book cover
(Sourcebooks)

Nora Davis was only a kid when her father was arrested for murdering women in their basement. He’s now in prison for life and she’s a surgeon, and she keeps the secret of her serial killer father to herself. Then a woman is murdered in the same manner her father once preferred, and Nora is the prime suspect. She sets out to clear her name because she’s definitely innocent … or is she?

The Perfect Son (2019)

The Perfect Son book cover
(Hollywood Upstairs Press)

Erika Cass’s oldest son Liam is the family’s golden child, yet she’s always sensed something slightly off in his personality. Suddenly a teenage girl goes missing in their community, and all fingers are pointing at Liam. Worse yet, Erika starts putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and it doesn’t look good for him. Soon she’s wondering if he is behind the grisly murder, and if so, what is she willing to do to keep him out of prison?

Want to Know a Secret? (2021)

Want To Know A Secret book cover
(Hollywood Upstairs Press)

On the surface, YouTube baking queen April Masterson seems like the perfect wife and mother. Deep down, she’s a well of murky secrets and hidden lies. Some of her secrets are downright illegal, and there’s at least one person out there who knows what she’s really like and is determined to make her pay.

The Teacher (2024)

The Teacher book cover
(Poisoned Pen Press)

Eve and Nate are both teachers at the local high school. Eve is the mean, detested math teacher; Nate is the sensitive, beloved English teacher. Last year, a disturbed student named Addie got a little too close with one of their colleagues, and Eve is salty that the girl got her friend fired. Addie has both Nate and Eve as teachers, and she quickly bonds with Nate while butting heads with Eve. This dynamic escalates into a torrid scenario that has no winners, and the twist is something you’ll never see coming.

The Wife Upstairs (2020)

The Wife Upstairs book cover
(Hollywood Upstairs Press)

Sylvia Robinson is young, poor, and desperate for work, so when Adam Barnett, a handsome and wealthy author, hires her to keep his invalid wife company, she jumps at the chance. Each day she sits with Victoria Barnett, the formerly beautiful nurse practitioner who suffered an accident at the couple’s remote home on the furthest shores of Long Island. Sylvia finds a diary stowed in Victoria’s drawers and learns that the couple’s relationship was tumultuous at best, abusive at worst; not only that, but Adam seems to be keeping Victoria sedated on purpose. But is Victoria’s diary true, or is it a carefully orchestrated plot to get Sylvia on her side so she can get revenge on her husband?

The Housemaid (2022)

The Housemaid book cover
(Bookouture)

The Housemaid is the story of a maid who works for the Winchesters, a wealthy family headed by a cruel matriarch. One day, the maid gets caught trying on one of Nina Winchester’s fancy gowns, so gets locked in her room in the attic. What the Winchesters don’t know is that this isn’t an ordinary maid, and they may have made a deadly mistake by locking her up.

The Housemaid is the first book in a trilogy; The Housemaid’s Secret was published in February 2023, and the third and final book, The Housemaid Is Watching comes out on June 11, 2024.

McFadden is clearly a talented and prolific writer with a knack for creating compelling character-driven stories. We look forward to reading more of her work in the future!

(featured image: Bookouture)


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.