The best suspense books to lose yourself in

Who am I?

I love character-driven, roller coaster ride stories. As a young reader, I gravitated to the “choose your own adventure” books which relied on invoking knotted stomachs, and cold sweats in children as they struggled to make the right decision before reading on; turn to page 105 if you want to face the ravenous bear or page 23 if you wish to flee. Thus, the love of reading emerged and, eventually, the joy of writing followed. These books are just some of the stories that bring similar nostalgic tones when I delve into their pages. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I wrote...

Pit Guard: The Tanner's Boy

By Robert E. Kreig,

Book cover of Pit Guard: The Tanner's Boy

What is my book about?

Orphaned and left to fend for himself after the massacre of his entire village, the tanner’s boy chances upon an encounter with a seasoned soldier, Commander Steigauf. A Pit Guard of Dendadia. Taken under Steigauf’s wing, the boy begins his training at the Shiverwind barracks and quickly gathers the skills to defend himself and fight for others.

When a rider seeks help with an investigation of the heinous murder of an unknown traveller, the boy accompanies Steigauf, and a small band of unskilled soldiers, to Mountainfall, a place with a terrifying history and reputation. Along the way, the boy battles his inner demons, discovers love, and prepares to stare into the face of death. But nothing could prepare him for what awaits at Mountainfall.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

The books I picked & why

Ice Station

By Matthew Reilly,

Book cover of Ice Station

Why did I love this book?

Ice Station was the first novel I read by Matthew Reilly.

Being jam-packed full of action, with tonnes of cliffhangers at the end of each chapter made it impossible to put it down. This proved to be quite counter-productive as I was meant to be engrossed in my studies at university at the time. But, oh man, what a book! 

Written by a fellow Australian, who has continued to write an abundance of action-packed novels and even direct a film, Ice Station will captivate the reader who loves explosions, gun battles, and never ceasing suspense.

This author had an enormous influence on my decision to pick up the proverbial pen and begin writing my first novel. I highly recommend anything written by Matthew Reilly, especially Ice Station.

By Matthew Reilly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ice Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced thriller from bestselling author Matthew Reilly, Ice Station.

Antarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors…

The Chimera Vector

By Nathan M Farrugia,

Book cover of The Chimera Vector

Why did I love this book?

The Chimera Vector: The Fifth Column 1 is one of those books which is impossible to put down. An absolute page-turner.

This techno-thriller roller coaster ride had me on the edge of my seat all the way.

Admittedly, I was gifted this book by the author when I first started writing but I would have happily paid if I knew what I was in for. In fact, after completing The Chimera Vector, I purchased the rest of the series as quickly as I could.

Action brilliance at its best!

By Nathan M Farrugia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Packed with intense fight scenes and dizzying twists and turns, this is an adrenaline-pumping introduction to Farrugia's explosive new series.” - Thriller of the Year, Apple Books

Damien and Jay don’t exist. Officially.

Unofficially, they’re genetically engineered operatives with an impossible mission. One of their agency’s best operatives has gone rogue, and they’re sent to stop her.

But when Damien and Jay start to experience alternate memories and missing gaps in time, they realize there’s more to this mission than they were supposed to know.

And their hunt for the truth will take them to some dangerous places...

If you…

The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Chain

Why did I love this book?

The Chain is one of my most recent reads.

I’d categorise it as a dark thriller that created some of the tightest knots in my stomach. The concept alone was enough to generate terror, anxiety, and anger from the first page onward. But anything that involves the endangerment of children does that to me.

A gripping tale that puts the victims, both the kidnapped and the kidnappers, in peril from an unseen syndicate who controls their actions with a phone call.

Very realistic. Very scary.

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…

Book cover of The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of the Lord of the Rings

Why did I love this book?

Whilst the Lord of the Rings trilogy should be read as one story, my favourite of the series is the second book, The Two Towers.

I loved the separation of our characters and the focus on one narrative concerning one group in its entirety before we see what happens to the other group. It was a new way of reading when I first read The Two Towers.

Prior, my encounter with books containing multiple storylines saw intercut sections, switching from one set of characters to the other.

I particularly enjoyed the overarching dread surrounding the story of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. For me, there were many gut-wrenching moments when hope fizzled away. The character building in these moments is exquisite.

Beautifully written and well worth a read.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Two Towers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This brand-new unabridged audio book of The Two Towers, the second part of J. R. R. Tolkien's epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings, is read by the BAFTA award-winning actor, director and author, Andy Serkis.

The company of the Ring is torn asunder. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

This continues the classic tale begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its awesome climax in The Return of the King.


By Stephen King,

Book cover of It

Why did I love this book?

It must be the scariest horror book I have ever read.

A superb exploration of fear delivered with surgical accuracy. I’ve never been so scared reading words from a page in my whole life.

There is no rendition, on the screen, that does justice to this novel. The backstories, history, and seemingly insignificant descriptions help to paint a picture that feels all too real, even during the most surreal moments.

A must read!

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This tie-in edition will be available from 16 July


27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back...

Derry, Maine was just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live.

It was a group of children who saw- and felt- what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in childhood, explorers, and evil?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about childhood, explorers, and evil.

Childhood Explore 158 books about childhood
Explorers Explore 81 books about explorers
Evil Explore 12 books about evil

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Road, World War Z, and Dracula if you like this list.