7 Scintillating Thrillers About Romances Gone Wrong

Leah Konen, author of "The Perfect Escape," recommends novels where love and murder are in the cards

Still from Netflix’s You

Did we fall into some kind of Twilight Zone of exes?”

The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen

So Sam asks Margaret in my latest thriller, The Perfect Escape, after yet another soon-to-be-ex-husband has turned up in town. The two women and their friend Diana are all newly estranged from their partners, and their girls’ weekend to Saratoga Springs was meant to be an escape from the heartache and turmoil of their respective divorces.

Instead, mere hours into their trip, they find themselves stranded in a strange town, Diana goes missing, and the men from their pasts begin to turn up in droves—leaving Sam and Margaret to wonder exactly who is pulling the strings on their dangerous would-be getaway. 

To celebrate the release of The Perfect Escape, here are seven scintillating thrillers about romances gone wrong.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

In Oyinkan Braithwaite’s stunning novella, the exes in question turn up in the form of dead bodies—Ayoola has an unfortunate habit of killing her boyfriends, always turning to her sister, Korede, to cover it up. The plot truly starts to thicken when Ayoola sets her sights on Korede’s kindhearted work-crush, Tade. 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

A woman is getting ready to marry the man of her dreams, and an ex-wife threatens to bring it all crashing down. This spurned-ex story gets a refreshing twist in the capable hands of Hendricks and Pekkanen, who create a cast of characters—and narrators—who are not who they seem. 

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

McCreight’s gorgeous murder mystery is set against the backdrop of elite and moneyed Park Slope in Brooklyn, and follows Lizzie, a criminal defense attorney with a marriage on the rocks, as she attempts to defend a wealthy entrepreneur and former classmate, Zach, who’s been arrested for the murder of his wife. Combining multiple points of view and timelines and intercut with grand jury testimony, this spiderweb of a book shows us that marriages are so often not what they seem.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Set across three summers in idyllic Maine, Miranda’s small-town thriller lifts the lid on the wealthy and powerful Loman family, after Sadie Loman turns up dead and Avery, her best friend and the family’s property manager, suspects foul play. Avery’s investigation leads her into the labyrinths of her own romantic past when she begins to question whether her friend and former flame, Connor, is actually responsible for Sadie’s death. 

The Undoing by Jean Hanff Korelitz

What would you do if the man you thought you loved, the man you’d been married to for years and raised a child with, suddenly disappeared, leaving questions—and a dead body—in his wake? Such is the central question of Korelitz’s emotional and evocative novel, which became the wildly popular The Undoing on HBO. 

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

When Alice’s husband, Nathan, starts acting suspicious, she turns to her best friend, Beth, for a sympathetic ear and some advice. But as secrets and lies begin to unravel and Nathan’s skeletons (and an ex) come out of the woodwork, Alice comes to suspect that putting her trust in her friend may have been the ultimate mistake. 

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Blythe Connor is just trying to be a good mother, but she can’t help fearing that there is something very wrong with her daughter, Violet—and no amount of assurances from her husband, Fox, can put her fear to rest. It’s only after a family tragedy causes Blythe and Fox’s marriage to unravel that Blythe can finally understand the reality of what happened to her family, no matter how much Fox and his new wife, Gemma, refuse to listen. 

More Like This

8 Books that Explore the Power Dynamics of Love Triangles

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright recommends stories about the shifting allegiances and power dynamics of a threesome

Nov 28 - Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Joan Didion, Meet Seema Patel

“And Just Like That” portrays a loneliness that isn’t empowering or aspirational or beautiful

Oct 19 - Kelsey Shelton

The Only Thing We Have in Common Is Sweaty Desperation

"Percent" by Jon Elofson, recommended by Halimah Marcus for Electric Literature

Apr 19 - Jon Elofson
Thank You!