Author Lisa Jewell Shares Her Favorite Domestic Suspense Novels

Posted by Cybil on November 1, 2019
No one can write a creepy domestic suspense thriller quite like Lisa Jewell, the author of Then She Was Gone and I Found You. She's back this month with the U.S. publication of The Family Upstairs. We asked Jewell to recommend some of her favorite domestic suspense reads. Of course, she did not disappoint...

Be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf.


If the domestic thriller genre has one role to play, it is to strip bare readers’ greatest, most deep-seated fears and show how someone else would cope, would survive in a world where the worst thing is about to happen, is in the process of happening, or has already happened. It’s about the safety nets we all build for ourselves to protect us from having to experience the feelings of the rugs being pulled from beneath our carefully constructed lives.

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It’s about reminding us how lucky we are to wake up every morning and find everything still to be perfectly in place.

And while our instincts for self-preservation are strong and overwhelming, never do we need a safety net more than when we have a family to protect.

Every book I’ve written has been about family, in one form or another. From the family blighted by a mother’s compulsive hoarding disorder in The House We Grew Up In to the family of strangers connected only by their DNA in The Making of Us, the family split apart by the disappearance of a daughter in Then She Was Gone, the family coping with a father who keeps leaving and starting again in The Third Wife, and now in my latest novel, The Family Upstairs, a family falling for the charms of a controlling Svengali who wants to destroy them; family forms the skeleton of every story I want to tell. And the backbone of every family is, as we all know, the mother.

Here are some incredible recent psychological thrillers, all of which have a mother and her family at their core: a vengeful mother, a missing mother, a grieving mother, a scared mother, a haunted mother, a worried mother, a lost mother, a confused mother—all reacting in one way or another to a threat to the safety of their family or the loss of a child.



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Inspired by something that happened to Cohen’s daughter in real life, this is the story of fiftysomething Tess, who’s convinced she knows the identity of the man who assaulted her teenage daughter and is determined to bring him to justice. But is she hunting down the right man?


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Jonah and Raff’s mother, Lucy, has disappeared overnight and left her two young boys, 11 and 9, home alone. They can’t tell anyone because if they do, they’ll be taken into care. Meanwhile 11-year-old Raff uncovers the truth about his mother via her diaries and clues she’s left around their house. This is about the spaces left in a family when a mother disappears, both large and small.


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Mary Beth is an all-American mother. For the first half of the book, you are involved in the domestic minutiae of her world, living with three teenage children: daughter, Ruby, and twin boys, Alex and Max. Then something appalling, shocking, unthinkable happens right in the middle, and you are left with Mary Beth in the dreadful aftermath, picking up the pieces, trying to make sense of a world that’s lost all its meaning.


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Daisy is mother to a longed-for daughter, Millie, conceived naturally after years of IVF treatment. Her husband, Simon, is a great guy, but he has a big drinking problem, and when he discovers that he was infertile at the time of his daughter’s conception and may not be Millie’s father, he goes off the rails completely and something shocking happens one night as a result of his actions.



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Mary is a mother without any children. She and her husband move from London to a cottage in a quiet corner of the countryside to try to fix their broken hearts after the unthinkable happens and they lose both their young daughters. In another strand of the story, we meet a sprawling, impoverished family, living in the same cottage 100 years earlier. The stories are linked by barely audible whispers, echoes of family grief passing down through time.


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GP Jenny Malcolms’ daughter disappeared a year ago. Ever since, Jenny’s been in stasis, trying to get on with her life, trying to be a mother to her other children, a wife to her husband, a doctor to her patients. But then on the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, she suddenly remembers something, a tiny detail from the night Naomi disappeared, that sets her firmly back on the path to discovering what really happened.


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Single mother Beth takes her young daughter Carmel to a local country festival. In the blink of an eye, her daughter disappears. The reader knows where her daughter is; we are taken on her journey with her, but we are never quite sure if she is safe or not and what is the true intent of her kidnapper. Meanwhile Beth is left to come to terms with her loss, whilst never giving up hope of seeing her daughter again.


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Natalie is mother to teenage daughter Mollie. She is stuck in a rather dull marriage and dealing with Mollie’s agoraphobia, so when glamorous new neighbor Lara Channing walks into her life, Natalie is happy to be taken into her inner circle. Lara is the kind of effortlessly glamorous mum who gets things done, and Natalie is soon sucked into her plans to launch the newly refurbished local swimming pool. With deadly consequences.


What domestic suspense novel would you recommend to your fellow readers? Let's talk books in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Siarkiewicz So many great books! i want to read them all!


message 2: by Lesley (new)

Lesley Kay If Lisa Jewell says so, I will read anything she recommends!


message 3: by Bathul Qureshi (new)

Bathul Qureshi I added them all to my Want to Read list!


message 4: by Henrik (new)

Henrik Swenson Just saved all of them in my audio book app :)


message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen Shimmell I love Lisa Jewel's books and know she will have picked great books to read. Can't wait to read them


message 6: by Dede (new)

Dede Janzen I’m excited to read some of your recommendations. I love your books!


message 7: by Shellbertina (new)

Shellbertina Otter I've just added all the above books to my "want to read pile", they all sound like gripping page turners. Lisa is one of my favourite authors and I've read every book she's published. I'd highly recommend all of Lisa's books.


message 8: by Sue (new)

Sue Frances I'm happy Lisa has recommended books I already have on my want to read pile. I would like to recommend Gregg Olsens new book, Snow Creek book 1 and Cara Hunters All the Rage. Both available on Netgalley. I absolutely loved The Family Upstairs. I'd highly recommend it.


message 9: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Lamble Certainly happy to follow Lisa's advice on these books. Love her books


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Scarborough All the books!


message 11: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Thank you for the great recommendations!


Ashley (Ashley.and.her.books) Just read my first book by Lisa, and I loved it. I quickly bought a couple more of her books and would definitely read anything she's recommending!


message 13: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Romero The TBR list just grew! Thanks for the recs!


message 14: by Martin (new)

Martin I already had a couple on my list, but I've now added a few more. I love recommendations.


message 15: by Tish (new)

Tish Taylor I don’t know which book to start with all have caught my interest
It’s going to be a great fall reading these books
Thank you for the recommendation Lisa Jewel
I just love to read


message 16: by Nilanga (new)

Nilanga I cannot wait to read her new book.Ofcourse i will add her recommendations to my list


message 17: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Thanks Cybil! Anything Lisa recommends I'll read. Added all of them to my TBR list.


message 18: by Emily (new)

Emily Blank I want to read them all!!! Thanks Lisa Jewel for the recommendations! Cannot wait to read your new book too!!!


message 19: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Morton Thank you for the recommendations. Shall look forward to reading some of these books.


message 20: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Wittman I love these recommendations! Thank you. And I will definitely be reading The Family Upstairs. I've already been posting about it:)


message 21: by Helen (new)

Helen Glotzbach I just added all of these to my psychological thriller shelf! I have her new book coming as my book of the month selection. Lisa Jewell and Ruth Ware are my favorite psychological suspense authors!


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Helen wrote: "I just added all of these to my psychological thriller shelf! I have her new book coming as my book of the month selection. Lisa Jewell and Ruth Ware are my favorite psychological suspense authors!"

Me too! Love Ruth Ware and read by Imogen Church!


message 23: by Estela (new)

Estela Oh my goodness! I want to read them all! So many books, so little time. But I will make time.


message 24: by Nia (new)

Nia Forrester Same


message 25: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Horton I’m on it!!


message 26: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie I want to read them all. They all sound so good and something I'd read probably in a day. FANTASTIC!!


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