The best mystery/thrillers to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon

Who am I?

As a thriller writer, I have a simple goal: I want to entertain. I'm not the kind of writer whose name is coupled with the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award. I write the kind of stories people read to divert themselves on a rainy afternoon or on the beach or on airplanes. My hope is that I can divert and delight my readers. Help them forget the real world for a while. Give them an enjoyable reading break. If people have fun while reading my thrillers, I've done my job.


I wrote...

Murderous Spirit

By Geoff Loftus,

Book cover of Murderous Spirit

What is my book about?

Jack Tyrrell was a burnout. A former Green Beret and U.S. Marshal, he’s become a drunken loser who accepted a bribe and was shot by the people who bribed him. Tyrrell survived. His wife, Maggie, did not. Five years after her death, Maggie appears to him as a ghost and offers him a chance to make things right. She introduces Tyrrell to Harry, who may literally be heaven-sent. Working with Harry, Tyrrell sets out to help a veteran who’s suffering from PTSD and has assassinated a pair of Wall Street CEOs. Action, murdered Wall Street titans, the Russian mafia, and a beautiful woman mix with questions regarding free will and moral behavior to give this thriller a spiritual edge. 

The books I picked & why

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The Gate House

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of The Gate House

Why this book?

The Gate House is a sequel to DeMille’s successful novel The Gold Coast, which I really enjoyed. Who wouldn’t like a tale of seduction, betrayal, and violence set about a Mafia don moving into a wealthy WASP enclave on Long Island’s North Shore.

I found The Gate House to be even better. The narrating hero of The Gold Coast returns ten years later. He’s older, wiser, but no less sly, cynical, and funny. His ex-wife is also back, and despite his thinking that she is more than a little crazy (and maybe a bit homicidal), he’s still attracted to her. To top things off, the Mafia don’s son, now himself the don, is looking for vengeance. The Gate House is full of sex, humor, and ultimately, violence. 

The Gate House

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, the stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan, who has also…

The Edge

By Dick Francis,

Book cover of The Edge

Why this book?

All of Dick Francis’s books are good, but The Edge is my favorite. Francis always has tricky plots and humor, but what makes Francis thrillers so fresh for me, is that his protagonists are not only trying to solve mysteries and stop bad guys—they’re trying to discover something about themselves, probably to remake their lives. And Francis, former RAF pilot, champion steeplechase jockey, and bestselling author, knows a thing or two about reinvention.

The Edge has a trainload of top racehorses, their very rich owners, a troop of actors doing a Murder Mystery Play on the train, the incredible Canadian Rockies, and a saboteur. All our hero must do is figure out who’s the saboteur and stop him before he kills someone.

The Edge

By Dick Francis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Edge

To the Jockey Club, the racing world would be a better place without Julius Apollo Filmer. An expert in corruption with a devastating line in witness intimidation - and proving to be a slippery character to put behind bars.

Baffled, they call in undercover security agent Tor Kelsey to keep an unflinching eye on Filmer and his associates. A mission that takes him from the finest of English racecourses to the wild Canadian interior - on a luxury transcontinental train journey to end them all.

On board, a troupe of actors are playing out a murder mystery for…


Night Without End

By Alistair MacLean,

Book cover of Night Without End

Why this book?

Alistair MacLean’s thrillers have been a guilty reading pleasure of mine since high school, when MacLean churned out bestsellers like The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare every year. MacLean creates tough, grim heroes who do whatever they have to do to get the job done. The writing is clumsy but effective, with heavy-handed humor and world-weary cynicism. The women are barely defined. And yet...

The plot, mood, and setting of each book provide one heck of an adventure. Like the crash-landing of a passenger airliner on the Greenland ice cap in Night Without End. A nearby team of scientists rushes to save the survivors. Among whom are the murderous criminals who caused the plane crash. A thoroughly riveting tale of survival in an Arctic wilderness.

Night Without End

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night Without End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed master of action and suspense. The all time classic.

400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, an airliner crashes in the polar ice-cap. In temperatures 40 degrees below zero, six men and four women survive.

For the members of a remote scientific research station who rescue them, there are some sinister questions to answer - the first one being, who shot the pilot before the crash?

Then, with communications cut and supplies running low, the station doctor must lead the survivors on a desperate bid to reach the coast, knowing all the while that there is a…


Sleeping Beauty

By Ross MacDonald,

Book cover of Sleeping Beauty

Why this book?

Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer books were my introduction to the American private-detective novel. Macdonald’s work is psychologically and morally complex, with the sins of previous generations cascading through time to horrific, homicidal effects on Archer’s clients.

In Sleeping Beauty, Archer tries to help a wealthy family with more trouble than any single family should have to deal with—including a missing girl, an oil spill, a ransom demand, and a corpse floating off a private beach. As Archer works his case, he untangles long-lost memories, the results of arrogant decisions, and the pained, twisted relations between parents and children. Sleeping Beauty is gritty and taut. Terrific detective fiction.

Sleeping Beauty

By Ross MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

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


The Big Sleep

By Raymond Chandler,

Book cover of The Big Sleep

Why this book?

Just my opinion, but Raymond Chandler is the master of the private detective novel. His detective hero, Philip Marlowe, was quick with a quip and quicker to grab a drink (or two or three). Occasionally, he’s quick with his fist or a gun. Marlowe’s tough-guy, cynical narrative conjures the atmosphere of corrupt 1930s Los Angeles better than anyone. 

In Marlowe’s first case, The Big Sleep, a wealthy, dying man hires Marlowe to find the blackmailer of the dying man’s younger daughter. Sounds simple, but... there are also a missing husband and the cloudy motives of the older daughter. Gambling, sex, double-crosses, and murder are all in the mix. In 2005, The Big Sleep was in Time magazine's List of the 100 Best Novels. I agree. 

The Big Sleep

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Big Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


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