Suspense stories are more real world than action thrillers and usually focus on the psychological battles of average people.

The best psychological thrillers explore the darkness lurking on the fringes of everyday life. Domestic settings are invaded by a sense of menace; comfortable lives are stripped away to reveal scars and secrets. Morality becomes fluid, irresistible pressures drive good people to commit hideous crimes. Characters dissolve from sanity into mania, blurring the lines of acceptable behavior. Repressed sexuality oozes to the surface, threatening jobs and marriages. Popular writers in this genre include Gillian Flynn, Lisa Unger, Ruth Rendell, Daphne de Maurier, Harlen Coben, Laura Lippman and Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan.

In the world of film, the best suspense movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock have never been surpassed for their ability to trap everyday characters at the center of conspiracies, murder plots and blackmail.

Psychological suspense movies experienced something of a renaissance in the Eighties and Nineties, with films such as Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, the Vanishing and the Hand that Rocks the Cradle. One of the most popular genres of writing, it's ripe for a cinematic comeback.

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