Earlier this summer, the Amazon Books editors released their list of the Best Books of 2020 So Far. We also came up with a list of the Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2020 So Far. These were the reads—some by debut authors, some by well-known authors—that got Amazon editors talking, writing, and recommending.
It's fun then, to see the overlap between the books we've loved this year and the books customers bought. It's even more fascinating to see which books from years past customers were still discovering and buying in 2020, like the best-selling thriller of 2020 so far: The Silent Patient, which published in February 2019.
Which of the books below will make the list this time next year? What will this list look like in December, after all the big fall releases publish (Tana French! Another Grisham! Ruth Ware! A new Lincoln Lawyer book from Michael Connelly!)?
And with 2018's best-selling thriller, The Woman in the Window, about to hit the big screen (Covid willing) in October, can we expect to see 2019's top seller, The Silent Patient, on screens soon, too? And what about Stephen King's If It Bleeds? Will that give rise to blockbuster movies the way his other novellas have? So many questions, so much to look forward to, but we digress...
Here, in order of publication date (from oldest to newest), are the 10 best-selling mysteries and thrillers of 2020 so far, according to Amazon Charts.
The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson
Faith Winters is broken. Just released from a psychiatric hospital, she is delivered back to her hometown, with little to do but spiral deeper into alcoholism as she revisits the event that brought her to the edge of madness: the murder—a decade ago—of four people, including Faith's sister. The only one to survive that night, Faith is wracked by grief, survivor guilt, and the knowledge that she is a suspect in the murder, a murder she'll need to solve if she's ever to know peace again.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
An Amazon Best of the Month pick and an Amazon Best of the Year selection, The Silent Patient picked up the mantle set down by The Woman in the Window, becoming THE thriller of 2019. And, if sales are anything to go by, of 2020 also. In The Silent Patient, a criminal psychotherapist attempts to unravel the reasons a woman, Alicia, had for murdering her husband. But the good doctor may have some not-so-good motivations at heart.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
OK, we're cheating here, just a little bit. American Dirt is officially categorized as literary fiction. But a novel that begins with one of the most blood-chilling slaughters of innocents ever printed on paper, and from there morphs into the white-knuckle, desperate flight of a mother and child, hoping to steer clear of a murderous drug cartel and its erudite/vicious jefe to get to the safety of America? The category may be honorary but the suspense is real.
Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman
A secluded thriller writer retreats to her remote home in rural Minnesota to grieve the loss of her entire family. When a young runaway turns up at her door, and tells her he's just witnessed a brutal murder the police want kept quiet, she will try to do for him what she was unable to do for her loved ones: save him. It's cliché to talk about thrillers and reveals but there is nothing cliché about the jaw-dropping reveal in Thief River Falls.
The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
A large cast of characters—a TV crime show host, her grandson, a committed teacher, and a man with a mysterious past—all get in on the action when a bullied girl in the grandson's class goes missing, and no one, not even her father, appears to be concerned, let alone looking for her. As usual, Coben excels at bringing the pot to boil, then delivering a smart, unexpected ending.
Devoted by Dean Koontz
Mute since birth, nothing has ever made Woody Bookman utter a sound, not even following the death of his father in a freak accident. But that doesn't mean he doesn't observe the evil that's going on around him, even if he can't, or won't, articulate it. Luckily, there's another creature who communicates soundlessly: a golden retriever named Kipp, who may be the ally Woody needs to keep him and his mom safe from harm.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King
Conventional wisdom holds that short stories hold less appeal than novels. But some of Stephen King's most successful work began as short stories or novellas, including “The Body” (Stand By Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption). In If It Bleeds, King delivers four new travelogues from the dark side: “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” “The Life of Chuck,” “Rat,” plus the title story. Read, then sleep with the lights on.
Walk the Wire by David Baldacci
The sixth book in the Memory Man series brings Amos Decker to the small fracking town of London, North Dakota, where the promise of a second gold rush is bringing another rush with it: a rush of prostitution, drugs, gambling, and burglary. But when the crime wave escalates to murder, and the victim is a streetwalker with a surprising connection to a local religious sect, Amos needs to find a killer before that killer puts the wrong kind of boom in boomtown.
Camino Winds by John Grisham
You couldn't make it up: when mystery writer Nelson Kerr decides to ride out the arrival of Hurricane Leo to Camino Island, his only thought is of saving his home. But when authorities come to assess the damage and find Nelson murdered, they're too overwhelmed by the hurricane's aftermath to tell clue from carnage. It's up to Nelson's friends and neighbors—a cadre of fellow thriller writers, some of whom themselves have shady pasts—to do what the law can't.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List: "You'd kill to be on it" reads the strapline. And someone has. With a large group of glamorous media types gathered on an island off the coast of Ireland to witness the wedding of two of their own, the free-flowing booze has loosened some lips, and then someone turns up dead. It's not exactly the gift the happy couple were hoping for, so who could have done the deed? Agatha Christie/Ruth Ware fans will love this thriller.
Here's a look at the best-selling mysteries and thrillers of the year so far, according to Amazon Charts.