While there are plenty of bookish TV and movie adaptations to get excited about in 2018, suspense readers will be especially psyched to find out that some beloved mystery and thriller movies based on books will be hitting the screen this year. From long-awaited favorites like Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects TV series on HBO to newly announced projects like Caroline Kepnes’s You on Lifetime, there is an adaptation for suspense fans of every kind in this list. Check out the upcoming adaptations below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.
Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.
Premiere date: January 22 on TNT
Watch the trailer for The Alienist here.
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.
Spies have long relied on the “honey trap,” whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of “sexpionage” in Russia’s secret “Sparrow School,” hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and — inevitably — forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC.
Page by page, veteran CIA officer Jason Matthews’s Red Sparrow delights and terrifies and fascinates, all while delivering an unforgettable cast, from a sadistic Spetsnaz “mechanic” who carries out Putin’s murderous schemes to the weary CIA Station Chief who resists Washington “cake-eaters” to MARBLE, the priceless Russian mole. Packed with insider detail and written with brio, this tour-de-force novel brims with Matthews’s life experience, including his knowledge of espionage, counterintelligence, surveillance tradecraft, spy recruitment, cyber-warfare, the Russian use of “spy dust,” and covert communications. Brilliantly composed and elegantly constructed, Red Sparrow is a masterful spy tale lifted from the dossiers of intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Authentic, tense, and entertaining, this novel introduces Jason Matthews as a major new American talent.
Premiere date: March 2
Watch the trailer for Red Sparrow here.
Death Wish by Brian Garfield
The 1974 blockbuster film Death Wish sparked controversy and became a cultural phenomenon, leading to a long-running Hollywood franchise—but few recall that its initial inspiration was a novel by an Edgar Award–winning author that took a chilling and nuanced look at an ordinary husband and father who loses his family to a brutal crime and spirals into a dangerous obsession.
When his wife and daughter are attacked in their home, Paul Benjamin is enjoying a three-martini lunch. A professional man, soft around the middle, Paul lives happily isolated from the rougher side of New York City. As he nurses his gin headache, a call comes from his son-in-law asking him to come to the hospital.
Within a few hours, his world will collapse around him. Drug addicts have broken into his cozy Upper West Side apartment. For a handful of money, they savagely beat Paul’s wife and daughter, leaving his wife dead and his daughter comatose. After his shock wears off, and Paul realizes the police department is helpless, his thoughts turn to revenge—not just for him, but for every decent family broken by the dark forces of society.
But as he courts criminals, Paul’s thirst for payback threatens to destroy him as well. Discover the novel behind the big-screen version that remains a fascinating work of psychological suspense today.
Premiere date: March 2
Watch the trailer for Death Wish here.
Instinct based on Murder Games by James Patterson
A serial killer is loose on the streets of Manhattan. His victims appear to be total strangers. The only clue that links the crimes is the playing card left behind at each scene that hints at the next target.
The killer, known in the tabloids as The Dealer, is baiting cops into a deadly guessing game that has the city increasingly on edge. Elizabeth Needham, the tenacious cop in charge of the case, turns to an unlikely ally – Dylan Reinhart, a brilliant professor whose book turned up in connection with the murders.
As the public frenzy over The Dealer reaches a fever pitch, Dylan and Elizabeth must connect the clues to discover what the victims have in common – before The Dealer runs through his entire deck.
Premiere date: March 11 on CBS
Watch the trailer for Instinct here.
The Terror by Dan Simmons
Greeted with excited critical praise, this extraordinary novel-inspired by the true story of two ice ships that disappeared in the Arctic Circle during an 1845 expedition-swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as “a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). The Terror chills readers to the core.
Premiere date: March 26 on AMC
Watch the trailer for The Terror here.
C.B. Strike based on the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.
Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Premiere date: June on Cinemax
Watch the trailer for C.B. Strike here.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
Premiere date: June on HBO
Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström
Piet Hoffmann is the Swedish police force’s best undercover operative. Not even his family know of his double identity. Yet when a drug deal with the Polish mafia goes fatally wrong, his secret life begins to crumble around him.
Detective Inspector Ewert Grens is charged with investigating the drug-related killing. Unaware of Hoffmann’s true identity, he believes himself to be on the trail of a dangerous psychopath.
Hoffmann must desperately maintain his cover; else he is a dead man walking. But, in the doggedly-perceptive Ewert Grens, he has just made the most relentless of enemies.
Premiere date: August 17
The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
A genius hacker who has always been an outsider. A journalist with a penchant for danger. She is Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo. He is Mikael Blomkvist, crusading editor of Millennium. One night, Blomkvist receives a call from a source who claims to have been given information vital to the United States by a young female hacker. Blomkvist, always on the lookout for a story, reaches out to Salander for help. She, as usual, has plans of her own. Together they are drawn into a ruthless underworld of spies, cybercriminals, and government operatives—some willing to kill to protect their secrets.
Premiere date: October 18
You by Caroline Kepnes
When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight — the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way — even if it means murder.
A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.
Premiere date: TBA 2018 on Lifetime
Which of these are you most excited fo? Tell us in the comments!