The best thought-provoking thrillers

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good thriller, as my bookshelf will attest. Anything that can drag me to the edge of my seat, desperate to see how it ends, will always get a recommendation from me, but the books that endure and inspire me the most have always been the ones that keep turning over in my head long after I’ve discovered whodunnit or seen the villain taken down. I have so much admiration for the art of taking what is often the pulpiest genre and infusing it with something more. Closely studying the books that successfully pull that off, for me, gives thriller writers everywhere a benchmark to aspire to.

I wrote...

The Inheritance

By Gabriel Bergmoser,

Book cover of The Inheritance

What is my book about?

A young woman is hiding out in a sleepy North Queensland tourist town, trying to stay under the radar, when she stumbles across a dangerous drug cartel. Anyone else might back away shaking their head, pretend they hadn't seen anything, keep quiet, even though people are getting hurt. But Maggie is no ordinary girl. She's got skills, as well as plenty of secrets to keep, burdens to carry - and anger to burn. When circumstances mean that she has to get out of town - fast - she heads towards Melbourne, where she just might find the answers that she needs - answers about her family and who she really is. With a bent cop for a dubious ally, the police tracking her, and furious bikers on her trail, Maggie is in deep trouble. She's only got her ingenuity and wits on her side - and a determination not to inherit the sins of her father.

A powerhouse, fast-paced, high-adrenaline, and tense thriller from Gabriel Bergmoser, author of the critically acclaimed bestselling outback noir The Hunted.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Red Dragon

Gabriel Bergmoser Why did I love this book?

There are only a handful of stories, whether page, screen, or stage, that I can definitively say changed my life. Reading Red Dragon at way too young an age (or maybe exactly the right age) was beyond formative for me, one of those thrilling moments of realising what fiction is capable of. Red Dragon is not only the first appearance of Hannibal Lecter (and a cracking thriller in its own right) but a troubling exploration of the capacity for darkness within us all, that never loses sight of its deep sense of empathy and humanity. It’s easily the best Lecter book and maybe the best crime thriller ever written.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Red Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Black Sunday", this is the book that introduces the most famous serial killer of them all - Hannibal Lecter.

Book cover of Only Killers and Thieves

Gabriel Bergmoser Why did I love this book?

In interviews, Paul Howarth has discussed the ways in which colonial Australia was essentially a second Wild West, albeit one scarcely explored in fiction. Only Killers and Thieves leans into that understanding and in doing so creates a vivid, blood-soaked, Biblical saga about revenge, redemption, and the lies upon which nations are built, full of unforgettable characters and passages of writing that will make your breath catch. That it is followed by an even better sequel is the icing on a magnificent cake.

By Paul Howarth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Only Killers and Thieves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tommy McBride and his brother Billy return to their isolated family home to discover that their parents have been brutally murdered. Haunted and alone, their desperate search for the killers leads them to the charismatic but deadly Inspector Noone and his Queensland Native Police - an infamous arm of colonial power whose sole purpose is the 'dispersal' of Indigenous Australians in protection of settler rights.

The retribution that follows will leave a lasting mark on the colony and the country it later becomes. It will also devastate Tommy - and destroy his relationship with his brother, forever.

Book cover of In the Woods

Gabriel Bergmoser Why did I love this book?

Many thrillers go down like fast food – enjoyable in the moment, but instantly forgettable. Tana French’s novels are more like rich feasts, none more so than her debut, a novel that starts out with a compelling mystery and slowly descends into the psychological hell of a particularly clever horror movie. Uncompromising in its bold choices but always tender in how it treats its wounded, fractured but all-too-human characters. There are many reasons Tana French has gained such a fervent cult following, and all of them can be found in this book.

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked In the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling debut, with over a million copies sold, that launched Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

"Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting." -The New York Times

Now airing as a Starz series.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only…

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Gabriel Bergmoser Why did I love this book?

I read The Talented Mr. Ripley in two days, even though I’d seen the movie and knew how it would end. The film is good but it doesn’t come close to capturing the chillier, darker depths of Highsmith’s imagination. Tom Ripley is a soulless void – fascinating because he can’t be explained even though glimmers of his history and his own idiosyncrasies make it tempting to try. We root for him even as his actions horrify us, maybe more so because Highsmith makes it all too easy to imagine doing the same. This is a book best enjoyed by just surrendering to its unique darkness and letting go of it at the end – the sequels all have something to recommend them, but too much time spent in Tom Ripley’s company can do strange things to your head.

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…

Book cover of Misery

Gabriel Bergmoser Why did I love this book?

On the surface Misery is a clever thriller, something the film adaptation captured. But what makes the book brilliant is how it engages head on with the act of writing itself and the challenges of trying to satisfy yourself and your audience simultaneously. It is ultimately a portrait of an artist slowly learning he can’t escape his own limitations and slowly discovering a kind of acceptance and even exultance in that. That it takes some of King’s most personal writing and wraps in up in the trappings of an unpredictable one-sitting page turner might be the novel’s true genius.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the exciting build-up to publication of Stephen King's new mainstream novel, LISEY'S STORY, enjoy this world-famous classic novel on audio.

You might also like...

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

Book cover of Thorn City

Pamela Statz

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Dressed to kill and ready to make rent, best friends Lisa and Jamie work as “paid to party” girls at the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala, a gathering of Portland's elite.

Their evening is derailed when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician and Lisa’s estranged mother. And to make matters worse, Lisa’s boyfriend, Patrick, crashes the party to meet his new boss, Portland's food cart drug kingpin. Lisa makes a fateful choice that traps her, Jamie, and Patrick in Ellen’s web. In this gripping thriller, Lisa must reconcile a painful past and perilous present.

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

What is this book about?

Suspected murder, eclectic food trucks, and artisanal cocaine: just another day in Thorn City.

It’s the night of the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala—a gathering of Portland’s elite. Dressed to kill in sparkling minidresses, best friends Lisa and Jamie attend as “paid to party” girls. They plan an evening of fake flirtations, karaoke playlists, and of course, grazing the catering.

Past and present collide when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician who also happens to be Lisa’s estranged mother. Awkward . . . When Lisa was sixteen, Ellen had her kidnapped and taken to the Lost Lake Academy—a…

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