5 Authors Like Lisa Gardner

authors like Lisa Gardner

Thriller Authors Like Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner is a giant among thriller authors, and for good reason. She writes stories that take you on dark journeys and keep you flipping the pages through the night. But she can only write so fast. Who do you read while you wait for her next book? We answer that question today with five thriller authors like Lisa Gardner. Some you’ve heard of. Others you are about to meet.

What sets Lisa Gardner apart? It’s her characters. They’re real, complex, and flawed. Just like us. Her plots twist and turn, keeping you guessing until the very last page. She never pulls punches or neglects the psychological aspects of her plots and character arcs.

But who else writes similar books and follows the same dark themes? Let’s jump into our list.

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Karin Slaughter

best karin slaughter books

Karin Slaughter is the brain behind the Grant County and Will Trent series. When you read her books, expect intensity and stomach-twisting suspense.

What I appreciate most about Slaughter is that her heroines are warriors who never back down in the face of danger. Like Gardner’s characters, they’re layered. They have pasts that haunt them and futures they fight for. It’s easy to root for a Slaughter character, and that’s the mark of a special author.

Both Slaughter and Gardner explore the shadows of human nature. The themes? Chilling.

The similarity lies in how they weave their tales. Complex women. Intricate plots. Psychological depth that pulls you under. Slaughter, like Gardner, isn’t afraid to explore the gritty realities of life. If you haven’t checked out the Grant County or Will Trent books, what are you waiting for?

Related Reading: 11 Thriller Authors like Karin Slaughter

Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is a master of suspense and the mind behind the Myron Bolitar series, as well as countless stand-alone chillers. With Coben, you never see his twists coming.

While most of Coben’s stories take place in the suburbs, you won’t read about picket fences and sunny days. His books take you on rollercoaster rides. One minute, you think you have the story figured out. The next? He flips your world upside down.

Sound familiar? Lisa Gardner does this too. They both play with your mind, keeping you guessing until the end.

Coben, like Gardner, crafts characters that are believable. They have flaws and fears, but also the courage to face the unknown.

Tami Hoag

If you haven’t read Tami Hoag’s Kovac and Liska series, where have you been? These books define the page-turner thriller and mystery story.

Writing about police work is all about the details, clues, and dead ends. Just like Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag gets it right. Not only does she do justice (no pun intended) to those who protect and serve, she makes you feel as if you are in the field, working alongside Kovac and Liska.

Whenever you read a Tami Hoag novel, you get characters and story arcs with depth. Sure, the crimes keep you flipping pages to find out what happens next. But her characters are the heart of the story.

Mo Hayder

Mo Hayder

The late Mo Hayder was a fearless writer, and her Jack Caffery series isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Hayder’s genius is in the psychology. Her characters, especially Caffery, wrestle with inner demons and outer nightmares. Like Lisa Gardner, Mo Hayder isn’t just about the chase. She’s about the why.

Both authors explore what makes someone cross the line into darkness. There is a psychological depth to Hayder’s work that reminds me of Karin Slaughter. Her complex heroes and villains blur the lines between good and evil.

If you’re looking for a new read, pick up the Jack Caffery series. You won’t be disappointed.

Darkwater Cove crime thriller


A killer is watching . . .

She’s running from a psychopath. And he knows what frightens her.

After she’s stabbed in the line of duty, FBI Agent Darcy Gellar moves her family to a sleepy seaside community. Living beside the ocean, she finds tranquility…until the police discover the body of a murdered woman on the beach. The village blames her son, a misunderstood boy with anger issues.

Is a serial killer stalking Darkwater Cove?

Darcy knows the boy is innocent. But how does she convince an aggressive police detective? If she fails, her son will go to prison, and the murderer will strike again.

Can Darcy save her child from the police and a bloodthirsty killer?

Alafair Burke

Alafair Burke knows her stuff. With a background in law, she brings authenticity to her Ellie Hatcher and Samantha Kincaid series. All of her tales mix courtroom drama with street-level investigations. This sets Burke apart from her contemporaries.

Burke’s stories are smart. She uses her legal expertise to craft plots that are realistic and riveting. Like Lisa Gardner, Burke gives you the inside scoop on police work and legal battles.

Her protagonists, Ellie and Samantha, are strong and smart with complex moral compasses. There is rarely a clear right or wrong path when they decide on an action.

Check out Alafair Burke’s Ellie Hatcher and Samantha Kincaid series. You’ll thank me after.

Related Reading: Thriller Authors like Lisa Jewell

Dive Deeper into the Shadows

Crave the spine-tingling allure of psychological mysteries and thrillers? Join the Dan Padavona Inner Circle today and stay ahead with updates on the newest releases. Plus, as a token of my appreciation, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the sought-after prequel to the Darkwater Cove series Dead and Buried. Don’t miss out — step into the darkness with me!

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