A current trend in thrillers that is loved by readers everywhere is thrillers with a cult aspect to their plot. If you’ve watched a documentary or read a nonfiction book about cults, you know how fascinating it can be to see how easily people can manipulate and brainwash other people into joining a cult, and sometimes, the victims don’t even realize it. Whether it’s a story about brainwashing, religious movements, or just a new way of life, these are some thrillers that feature cult aspects that will make you question if they are fictional or not.
The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead
During her college years in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her friends were beguiled by an older man, and by her senior year, only Shay and her friend Laurel were able to escape. Now eight years later, Shay is trying to live a normal life when she hears news of Laurel’s sudden death. As she joins her favorite true crime podcaster, Shay is forced to revisit her past to learn that the danger she left behind is still as harrowing as ever.
I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown
Twins Sam and Ellie were once famous actresses who were inseparable. After leaving the entertainment industry, Elli became a housewife and Sam became an addict. When Sam receives a phone call from her father claiming that Elli has disappeared, she is determined to find her sister and prove once again that nothing can come between the two sisters.
The Girls by Emma Cline
In Northern California in the late ’60s, Evie Boyd is just like any other teenage girl. When Evie sees a group of girls in the park, including the enigmatic Suzanne, she is quickly drawn into a cult. While the ranch hidden in the hills may seem eerie, Evie finds herself intoxicated with acceptance and quickly mesmerized by the leader of the cult. The longer Evie finds herself away from her family and captivated by Suzanne, the less aware she is about the violence that is about to erupt.
The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood
Romy is a young woman in her early 20s who is learning how to live life in an unusual world after one hundred members of an apocalypse cult called The Ark are found poisoned in their community. With her new beginning for herself and her unborn baby, Romy sets out to find the rest of her family—only to find her past catching up to her proving that she can never truly leave The Ark behind.
In the Clearing by J.P. Pomare
The only life Amy has ever known was amongst members of the Clearing. When newcomer Freya joins the cult, Amy begins to get a taste of what life is like outside of the community. And when a girl who is the same age as Freya’s son Billy goes missing, both Amy and Freya realize this is a catalyst for a thread of shocking events.
The Project by Courtney Summers
Lo Denham and her sister Bea went their separate ways after their parents died in a car accident. Bea joined The Unity Project, and Lo has been trying to get in touch with her for six months to reconnect. Lo finds her way to The Project and meets the mysterious leader—and soon realizes that the more she learns, the more she and Bea could be in extreme danger.
We Can Only Save Ourselves by Alison Wisdom
Alice Lange is the perfect student, cheerleader and neighbor. That is, until the night before her prom when she commits vandalism and disappears with a mystifying stranger named Wesley. When the two arrive to a bungalow, Alice learns that she is joining four other women who have abandoned their lives for Wesley and what starts off as a new beginning, soon takes a deadly turn.