The best thriller novels with twisting plots matched with surprise endings

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved reading fiction novels with a fast-paced plot and an unexpected ending that surprises me. In my own Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series, I try to use this same thought-provoking pattern that also includes quick dialogue with an underlying sexual tension between the male and female protagonists to keep the readers’ interest. Using this, I feel I am conveying my passion for the characters and plot to the reader. I believe that this theme of fast-paced, twisting plots matched with surprise endings is shown with clarity in all five of the books I have recommended in this list.


I wrote...

Cut to the Chase

By D. Marshall Craig, M.D.,

Book cover of Cut to the Chase

What is my book about?

Through a series of coincidences, busy trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Chandler investigates a hijacked shipment of black-market French antiques, and suddenly, his whole world is turned upside down–and he doesn’t know why.

How would containers of antiques scheduled for delivery disappear into thin air? As he uncovers more evidence for the reason for this secret venture, Kyle ultimately faces his powerful opponent behind this complex scheme of deceit.

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

The books I picked & why

Book cover of To the Hilt

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did I love this book?

As a skilled mystery/thriller author, Dick Francis always wrote stories with interesting protagonists fighting uphill against all odds, and this fascinating story is no different.

I personally loved this attention-grabbing plot set in the Scottish highlands about an offbeat young painter who gets drawn into a complex family drama. As the most unlikely character chosen to protect his ancient family heritage, I found the ever-changing story with an unexpected ending a sheer delight to consume rapidly.

By Dick Francis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the classic mystery from Dick Francis, one of the greatest thriller writers of all time

'Great characters, twisting plot. One of the very best Francis novels' 5***** Reader Review
'Tense, puzzling and powerful . . . Francis is a consummate craftsman' 5***** Reader Review
______

Just after learning that his stepfather is gravely ill, artist Al Kinloch, returning to his remote home in the Scottish Highlands, is attacked by four men.

They ask one question - 'where is it?' - then leave him for dead . . .

Baffled and hurt, Al visits his stepfather and learns millions of…


Book cover of The Testament

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did I love this book?

While many of John Grisham’s novels are legal-based courtroom thrillers, this is not. As a result, I personally think this is one of his most interesting thrillers.

With a cadre of selfish family members circling the waters after the suicide death of their eccentric patriarch billionaire, the plot shifts to the wilds of the primitive Amazon rainforest as a recovering alcoholic attorney tries to track down the real heir to the vast family fortune.

I loved the vivid description of the water-filled jungle that made you feel right in the middle of the journey. His intense description of the protagonist fighting to overcome his lurking addiction while on his mission to make things right made you want to keep turning the pages until you reached the startling ending.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Troy Phelen is one of the richest men in the United States, and he's looking for a way to die.

He might just have found it.

Nate O'Riley is a high-powered Washington litigator who's lived hard and fast for too long. Emerging from his fourth stay in rehab, he knows returning to the real world is going to be murder.

Meanwhile Troy's estranged daughter walked away from the modern world and devoted her life to God, moving to the isolated deep jungles of Brazil.

When Troy dies and leaves a shocking will behind him, three lives collide with vast repercussions.…


Book cover of The Poet

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did I love this book?

Known for his Lincoln Lawyer and Harry Bosch crime/mystery series, this novel is the first one about Connelly’s investigative reporter Jack McAvoy.

I really enjoyed the immersion of the protagonist into the journalism newsroom world as he tries to link his brother’s unexpected murder to a series of nationwide murders.

With all odds against him, I liked the way Jack kept fighting the upstream battle to arrive at an astonishing conclusion to the case.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges and he soon suspects that a serial killer is at work, one who sets up his victims and leaves "suicide" notes drawn from the dark poems of Edgar Allan Poe.


Book cover of The English Assassin

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did I love this book?

From the author of the successful Gabriel Allon series, I feel that this thrilling novel about the exciting, action-filled life of an Israeli spy is one of his best.

I believe this fast-paced plot, with its unique character descriptions, is one of the best examples of the thriller genre, mixing the worlds of international art restoration with the global forces of criminal power.

By Daniel Silva,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon is asked to visit Zurich, to clean the work of an Old Master for a millionaire banker. But when he gets there he finds the corpse of his client in a pool of blood beneath the masterpiece, and discovers that a secret collection of priceless paintings stolen by Nazis in the war is missing. With the Swiss authorities trying to pin the murder on Allon and a powerful cabal determined to make sure this wartime secret remains buried, the art restorer must use all his former spy skills to find out the truth.…


Book cover of Without Remorse

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did I love this book?

Tom Clancy is well known for the technical military thrillers in his Jack Ryan series. This story is the first spinoff from that series about John Clark, the former Navy SEAL who decides to take on the drug-dealer world single-handedly while working for the U.S. government to lead a secret rescue mission overseas.

I feel that the intense drama of the action scenes, as well as the powerful surprise ending, make this story well worth the time to devour.

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN—WATCH NOW ON PRIME VIDEO!

From Tom Clancy, the celebrated author of the Jack Ryan series, comes the #1 New York Times bestseller that puts CIA operative John Clark front and center....

His code name is Mr. Clark. His work for the CIA is brilliant, cold-blooded and efficient...But who is he really?

In a harrowing tour de force, Tom Clancy shows how an ordinary man named John Kelly crossed the lines of justice and morality to become the CIA legend, Mr. Clark.

It is an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness.…


You might also like...

Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

Book cover of Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

Mari Sangiovanni

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Introducing the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a young woman who has learning disabilities but also has a genius plan.

While Liddy-Jean spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better. Liddy-Jean likes office-mate Rose and Rose’s new friend Jenny, but she doesn’t like Rose’s creepy boyfriend. So how can she save Rose?

Liddy-Jean knows with certainty that love is love, and she concludes that Rose should be with Jenny,…

Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

What is this book about?

Novelist and filmmaker Mari SanGiovanni introduces readers to the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a matchmaker with special talents who will charm readers with her wit, wisdom, and sensibilities in this warm, enchanting love-is-love office romance.

Liddy-Jean Carpenter has learning disabilities. But she also has a surprisingly genius plan.

While she spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better.

While compiling pages of bad behavior notes, she finds she…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in billionaires, prisoner of war, and journalists?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about billionaires, prisoner of war, and journalists.

Billionaires Explore 46 books about billionaires
Prisoner Of War Explore 84 books about prisoner of war
Journalists Explore 199 books about journalists