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5 Psychological Thrillers for Fans of I’m Thinking of Ending Things

by  | August 31
Photo from I'm Thinking of Ending Things Movie

The Netflix adaptation of Iain Reid’s amazing novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things is right around the corner (September 4, to be exact). Directed by Charlie Kaufman, this story follows a girl who travels with her boyfriend to his parents’ farm, only to realize that everything she knew about him, herself, and the world might be wrong. Intriguing, right? If you’re like us and want to make the time fly by before the movie releases, we’ve pulled together five books that will keep you more than occupied while you wait. You won’t be disappointed by these psychological thrillers (some of which Iain himself has read!)

Foe

Foe

by Iain Reid

What better book to start with than Iain Reid’s second novel? Foe is set in the near-future, where Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm...very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won't be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company. This story will draw you in as Reid examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person.

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The Visitors

The Visitors

by Catherine Burns

Another great read to tide you over is The Visitors, a book Iain himself called “bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.” Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret.

Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.

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The Mansion

The Mansion

by Ezekiel Boone

Want some technology added to your psychological thriller? Then read The Mansion. After two years of living on cheap beer and little else in a bitterly cold tiny cabin outside an abandoned, crumbling mansion, young programmers Shawn Eagle and Billy Stafford have created something that could make them rich: a revolutionary computer they name Eagle Logic. But the hard work and escalating tension have not been kind to their once solid friendship—Shawn’s girlfriend Emily has left him for Billy, and a third partner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. While Billy walks away with Emily, Shawn takes Eagle Logic, which he uses to build a multi-billion-dollar company that eventually outshines Apple, Google, and Microsoft combined.

Years later, Billy is a failure, beset by poverty and addiction, and Shawn is the most famous man in the world. Unable to let the past be forgotten, Shawn decides to resurrect his and Billy’s biggest failure: a next-generation computer program named Nellie that can control a house’s every function. He decides to set it up in the abandoned mansion they worked near all those years ago. But something about Nellie isn’t right—and the reconstruction of the mansion is plagued by accidental deaths. Shawn is forced to bring Billy back, despite their longstanding mutual hatred, to discover and destroy the evil that lurks in the source code.

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Find You in the Dark

Find You in the Dark

by Nathan Ripley

For years, unbeknownst to his wife and teenage daughter, Martin Reese has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and obsessively studying them, using them as guides to find the missing bodies of victims. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs.

Detective Sandra Whittal sees the situation differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case‑closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious source she calls the Finder, especially since he keeps leading the police right to the bodies. How can he know where all these bodies are located if he’s not the one putting them there? A novel that Iain called “fast-paced, morbidly addictive novel of chilling infatuation," it’s sure to be a page-turner.

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The Companions

The Companions

by Katie M. Flynn

If the exploration of free will, consciousness, and the limitations of solitude intrigued you in I’m Thinking of Ending Things, you’re sure to like The Companions. In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in—and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the “companionship” program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people—a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.

Sixteen-year-old Lilac is one of the less fortunate, leased to a family of strangers. But when she realizes she’s able to defy commands, she throws off the shackles of servitude and runs away, searching for the woman who killed her. Lilac’s act of rebellion sets off a chain of events that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America. While the novel traces Lilac’s journey through an exquisitely imagined Northern California, the story is told from eight different points of view—some human, some companion—that explore the complex shapes love, revenge, and loneliness take when the dead linger on.

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I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

by Iain Reid

And, of course, pick up a copy of the book itself!

In this smart and intense literary suspense novel, Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, the value of relationships, fear, and so much more. This edgy, atmospheric debut is reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin. After pulling you in from the very first page…it never lets you go.

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Photo Credit // Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX © 2020

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