The best office thrillers to keep you on the edge of your [desk] chair

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a full-time novelist now, but for twenty-plus years, I was a practicing attorney. I was a business litigator, representing companies that were suing or being sued by other companies. I toiled away in high-rise office buildings, danced around office politics, and got up close and personal views of how people of every stripe navigate their work and lives in the office. I witnessed sexual harassment, bloodless coups, financial scandals, and professional disgrace—but I also enjoyed the support and encouragement and lifelong friendships that can come from collaborative work experiences. I like to think of the office environment as a petri dish to examine the full range of human behavior.


I wrote...

The Cage

By Bonnie Kistler,

Book cover of The Cage

What is my book about?

“An absolutely spellbinding thriller” (Booklist, starred review) set in the corridors of international high fashion. Two professional women enter an elevator together... but only one is alive when they reach the ground floor. 

Shay Lambert, the survivor, claims that Lucy killed herself in a panic attack when the elevator broke down. Meanwhile, the company’s executives go to great lengths to convince the police that Shay murdered Lucy—anything to keep them from questioning why Lucy might want to kill herself—a motive that could expose a heinous corporate crime. But Shay has secrets of her own and a talent for turning the tables on management. So was it suicide? Or murder?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Firm

Bonnie Kistler Why did I love this book?

The Firm is the seminal legal thriller. It launched not only Grisham’s long line of bestsellers but also an avalanche of wannabe lawyer-writers. But its lawyer-protagonist, Mitch McDeere, could as easily be an accountant or any other office worker whose dream job turns into a nightmare. Mitch is recruited out of law school to work for a firm where the perks seem too good to be true. Alas, they are. Turns out the firm is a front for the mob. The FBI comes calling, and Mitch faces a Hobson’s choice; spy on the bad guys and risk deadly retribution; or refuse to cooperate and go to prison. He chooses the high road and ends up on the run, chased by both the mob and the FBI, until he succeeds in outsmarting them all and sailing off into the sunset.

Grisham found a way to put crime-thriller terror into an office setting, as well as a way to turn a prosaic white-collar worker into a crime-stopping hero. This has served as a model for countless thrillers that followed.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Firm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE BOOK THAT MADE JOHN GRISHAM A HOUSEHOLD NAME**
Featuring an exclusive introduction from the author.
_______________________________________

He thought it was his dream job. Until it turned into his worst nightmare...

When Mitch McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch's wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.

Except for the mysterious deaths of previous lawyers with the firm. And the FBI investigations. And the secret files.

Mitch…


Book cover of Vertical Run

Bonnie Kistler Why did I love this book?

Reading this novel is like mainlining adrenaline. David Elliott is at his desk in his executive suite office when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him. Over the next 24 hours, David is trapped in the 50-story office building while a team of highly skilled mercenaries hunts him down, and he has no idea why. Luckily he’s a Special Forces vet with mad ninja warrior skills, and he’s able to hold them at bay long enough to dig through company files and find out why he’s got a target on his back. Then comes the big reveal that explains why David has to die.

Vertical Run is absolutely cinematic. It’s as close to an action thriller as anyone could ever put on the page.

By Joseph R. Garber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vertical Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You think YOU had a killer workday. . .
Get ready for the FASTEST thriller of the summer!

Each morning in his 45th floor executive office, David Elliot savors the quiet
moments until the workday begins.

Until today, when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him.

For the rest of the day, he will be trapped in his midtown office building, and
everyone David Elliot meets will try to kill him.

He has 24 hours to find out why. . .

In Vertical Run, you can escape into a world on fast forward, a drama
that plays…


Book cover of All Her Little Secrets

Bonnie Kistler Why did I love this book?

All Her Little Secrets brings the office thriller into the 21st century. Gone is the stereotypical white male protagonist. Ellice Littlejohn is a woman and an Ivy-educated Black lawyer with a harrowing back story full of poverty, abuse, and addiction. This novel doesn’t shy away from tackling institutionalized corporate racism, but make no mistake: it’s a thriller through and through. It’s wildly entertaining to follow Ellice in a climactic chase scene through office cubicles that are almost as adrenaline-spiked as Vertical Run.

By Wanda M Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Her Little Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“All Her Little Secrets is a brilliantly nuanced but powerhouse exploration of race, the legal system, and the crushing pressure of keeping secrets. Morris brings a vibrant and welcome new voice to the thriller space.” —Karin Slaughter, New York Times and international bestselling author  

In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets caught in a dangerous conspiracy after the sudden death of her boss . . . A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder…


Book cover of The Herd

Bonnie Kistler Why did I love this book?

This is a very modern take on the office thriller, because the office in question is a feminist take on work-share facilities like WeWork. It’s an exclusive, women-only coworking space launched by celebrity entrepreneur Eleanor Walsh. Millennial women are dying to be accepted—at least until Eleanor herself is found dead. This is a fun, glitzy book full of beautiful young women making their stilettoed way in the world. It’s Emily in Paris, set in New York, Sex and the City, for millennials, but with enough murder and mayhem to keep the thrills coming.

By Andrea Bartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Herd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why did the founder of a glamorous coworking space for women disappear? Her best friends will risk everything to uncover the truth.

“Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies.”—The Washington Post

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Real Simple • Marie Claire • Good Housekeeping • CrimeReads

As CEO of the Herd, an elite women-only coworking space, Eleanor Walsh seems to have it all: close friends, a sweet husband, and the most glamorous and successful female-empowerment-based company in New York City. Then she vanishes on the night of a glitzy press conference—and the police suspect foul…


Book cover of One by One

Bonnie Kistler Why did I love this book?

The setting makes this one a thrill as Ruth Ware proves that the office thriller doesn’t have to take place in a physical office. Equally deadly is an Alpine ski resort where a group of tech colleagues gather for a meeting/retreat to take a critical vote on a takeover bid. One by One is a closed-circle mystery and a deliberate homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None when an avalanche traps them into their lodge. It’s delicious fun to watch the author kill off one executive or employee after another until the killer is revealed in a sleight-of-hand almost as brilliantly devious as Christie’s. 

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked One by One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This instant New York Times bestseller and “claustrophobic spine-tingler” (People) from Ruth Ware follows a group of employees trapped on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech start-up, organizes…


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Book cover of Shortcake

Christopher Gorham Calvin

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Enter a captivating world where science fiction and thrilling suspense converge. After plummeting from the roof of Helix Unbound, Amanda awakens to a life devoid of memories. Desperately longing to fit in, yet sensing she harbors an extraordinary secret beneath her seemingly ordinary facade, she explores the unfamiliar world in an effort to find herself. But when a companion from her forgotten past becomes entangled in a serial killer’s deadly game, Amanda is thrust into a race against time to prevent a catastrophe of massive proportions.

Dive into this gripping techno-thriller series that explores the emotional turmoil of life, resilience in the face of tragedy, the ever-present specter of death, and the eternal struggle to find the inherent goodness within us all.

Shortcake

By Christopher Gorham Calvin,

What is this book about?

A genetically engineered child with no memory of her past. A killer with dreams of destruction. And the fate of a city hanging in the balance…

Enter a captivating world where science fiction and thrilling suspense converge. After plummeting from the roof of Helix Unbound, Amanda awakens to a life devoid of memories. Desperately longing to fit in, yet sensing she harbors an extraordinary secret beneath her seemingly ordinary facade, Amanda explores the unfamiliar world in an effort to find herself. And when a companion from her forgotten past becomes entangled in a serial killer’s deadly game, Amanda is thrust…


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