The best thriller novels that break the mold, surprising you with their unexpected approach, characters and story

Why am I passionate about this?

As an adrenaline junky—years of kitesurfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, Zero Gravity training—I have a passion for thrills and adventure, coupled with the love for my soulmate, Virginia, since we were kids, I live what I write and write what I live. Of course, I filter it all through my vivid imagination to raise the stakes and pull you in. When I look for a great book, it’s tough to get my blood flowing, to get me excited, but these books are the nearest thing to the thrill of freefalling and having your first chute fail to open (been there, done that. Thank, God for the reserve chute!). These books are truly unique, putting you on the edge of your seat and leaving you wanting more.

I wrote...

The 13th Hour: Chaos

By Richard Doetsch,

Book cover of The 13th Hour: Chaos

What is my book about?

A Mesmerizing Tale Told in Reverse. (Yep, You Start at The Last Chapter and Go Backwards)

“Ingenious The 13th Hour: Chaos, is a jigsaw puzzle in book form. It’s a love story, a political potboiler, and a thriller that upends expectations with every turn of the page. It carried me from heartbreaking opening to the razor edge of its ending in one sitting.” - James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Last Odyssey

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Ninja

Richard Doetsch Why did I love this book?

This was the first book I read twice. It was groundbreaking back in the ’80s. A mixture of cultures, assassins, adventure, thrills, love, sex, and passion. A huge bestseller at the time. His detail of Japanese philosophy, fighting styles, honor, and code in a modern-day world is beyond captivating.

While he went on to a huge success with dozens of bestsellers, nothing topped this. It was a lifetime of daydreaming and research that he poured out onto the page.

I read it in two days on the beach under the sun and stars. Five days later, I read it again. I couldn’t get the story out of my head.

By Eric Van Lustbader,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this New York Times–bestselling thriller, a martial artist’s past returns to haunt him—in the form of a murderous ninja.
Raised in Japan by a British father and a Chinese mother, young Nicholas Linnear felt at home only in the dojo, where he gave himself over to mastering ninjutsu—the ancient art of the ninja. Over years of training, he ascended to the highest ranks imaginable—until a confrontation over the very meaning of ninjutsu changed his approach to martial arts forever, sending him on a journey that would take him across the globe.
Now, after years of success in the advertising…

Book cover of The List of Seven

Richard Doetsch Why did I love this book?

A true original. Arthur Conan Doyle working -to solve a series of grisly murders. Released in 1993, it sucked me in with the first paragraph.

It mixes genres and the historical with the fictional. There are Sherlock Holmes easter eggs everywhere, the idea being this thriller informed his writing. The characters, both good and evil, flesh out the great detective in a thriller-paced adventure.

You may not have heard of the author, but you definitely heard of one of his TV shows: Twin Peaks, which he created and wrote with David Lynch. While the TV show’s known for its quirkiness, it has a fantastic underlying mystery that drove the story. Much like Frost drives the story in The List of Seven.

By Mark Frost,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Christmas day, 1884 - a letter is slid under the door of a struggling young doctor and aspiring novelist, begging him to come to the aid of a mysterious woman, a victim of the black spiritual arts. From the foggy streets of London to the windswept moors of Yorkshire, a demonic conspiracy unfolds.

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

Richard Doetsch Why did I love this book?

Amazing Book. Nothing like the Matt Damon movie. It is taught, intricate, yet never lets up. Imagine waking up and not knowing who you are? Think about that! Then slowly discovering you’re a killer of the highest order being hunted, yet still in the dark. This fast-paced novel is the favorite of so many thriller writers of the last three decades. Ludlum was the model for spies, assassins, and original thrillers. He’s a master author revered by today’s master authors.

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and…

Book cover of Absolute Power

Richard Doetsch Why did I love this book?

You may have seen the movie, but the book blows it away. They chopped out characters and stories to make a sleek tight movie. The book is so much more.

It has one of the greatest openings I have ever read. I dare you to read the first chapter and walk away. You won’t walk far. This thrilling opening sucks you in from the first paragraph. I won’t summarize it here, I can’t. I want you to experience exactly what I experienced.

It was Baldacci’s first. He mashed up a thriller, a mystery, politics, twists, and turns into something I never expected.

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When burglar Luther Whitney breaks into a Virginia mansion, he witnesses a brutal crime involving the president -- a man who believes he can get away with anything -- and now, Luther may be the only one who can stop him in this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller.

In a heavily guarded mansion in the Virginia countryside, professional burglar and break-in artist Luther Whitney is trapped behind a two-way mirror. What he witnesses destroys his faith not only in justice, but in all he holds dear.

What follows is an unthinkable abuse of power and criminal conspiracy, as a…

Book cover of Magic

Richard Doetsch Why did I love this book?

The best for last!

You may not recognize the name William Goldman but I guarantee loved at least one of his stories. An amazing storyteller, novelist, and screenwriter: Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, Misery (he adapted Steve King), Chaplin, The Ghost, and The Darkness, and… The Princess Bride. He’s a man who moves between genres with ease and expertise.

His book Magic tops them all. A depressed magician/ventriloquist heads to a lake house vacation. Murder, mystery, and thrills ensue all told in a shocking style that is truly original. I can’t say more without spoiling it. It’s a short novel, a fast read and it will leave an impression on you for weeks to come. After your mind is blown by Magic, look him up, you’ll be impressed!

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of those can’t-put-it-down-until-the-last-page-is-turned monsters that has readers all over the country missing sleep.”—Minneapolis Tribune
Corky is a brilliant entertainer with a bright future ahead of him. He has good looks, many women, and enormous talent. He also had a secret and a certainty: a secret that must be hidden from his public at all costs; and a certainty that the dark forces of magic were out to destroy him.

“Fascinating . . . This dazzling psychological thriller cannot be put down! . . . The most imaginative and enjoyable novel I've read since Marathon Man. . . .  [A]…

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The Pact

By Lisa Darcy,

Book cover of The Pact

Lisa Darcy Author Of The Pact

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Cat lover Traveler Reader Amateur tennis player Foodie

Lisa's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Pact is a contemporary fiction novel about Australian sisters, Samantha and Annie, who are doubles tennis champions. This story amplifies the usual sibling issues and explores their professional partnership and personal relationships – similarities, differences, motivation, competition, abandonment, and grief – and how they each respond to the stress of constantly being under the media spotlight.

What happens when, at the pinnacle of fame, it all falls apart?

With dreams shattered and egos destroyed, how do they cope?

I have an older sister and although our rapport isn’t as dramatic, or as close, for that matter, I was able…

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