The most recommended romance thriller books

Who picked these books? Meet our 474 experts.

474 authors created a book list with romance thriller books, and here are their favorites.

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What type of romance thriller book?


Book cover of Swipe Right for Murder

Katie Jane Gallagher Author Of Specter

From my list on young adult for spooks and thrills.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved stories with a horror/thriller focus ever since I can remember. Yes, I was that creepy kid who read all of Goosebumps, as well as checked out a copy of Dracula from the library at the tender age of eleven, much to the chagrin of the elderly librarian. My own books are multi-genre, but tend to include a thriller or horror element—it’s such fun to write a page-turner that ends with a bang. I truly hope you enjoy these picks as much as I did. They are some of my very favorites!

Katie's book list on young adult for spooks and thrills

Katie Jane Gallagher Why did Katie love this book?

Swipe Right for Murder is a thriller with LGBT themes that will gobble up every moment you can spare for reading. Set in 2019, the book nonetheless has a raucous, cyberpunk feel. Main character Aidan, through the use of a Grindr-style hook-up app on his senior Spring Break, stumbles into an unfortunate series of events that lead him into close contact with a domestic terrorist organization bent on killing homophobes. Swipe Right for Murder is a page-turner if there ever was one, and it’s fucking funny. Seriously, there are some legit laugh-out-loud moments in this book—generally a tough order for a written medium. If you’re looking for a smart thriller that is turned up to eleven at all points, then this book is an absolute must-read.

By Derek Milman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swipe Right for Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An epic case of mistaken identity puts a teen looking for a hookup on the run from both the FBI and a murderous cult in this compulsively readable thriller.

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do--tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads him to a room with a dead guy and a mysterious flash drive...two things that spark an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run--from the authorities, his friends, his family, the people who…

Book cover of Cold Silence

JB Schroeder Author Of Runaway

From my list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories about everyday people ripped out of their normal lives and forced to face the craziest situations head-on. I mean, can you even imagine? Could you find a way to survive and win? To face down life-threatening danger and evil people and rise from the ashes stronger and smarter? I’m pretty sure I’d kill if it meant protecting my children…but strand me in the wilderness and I’d likely perish from eating the wrong berries. I hate to be hungry, but I love to bring edgy romantic suspense and twisty psychological suspense to readers. Enjoy!

JB's book list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives

JB Schroeder Why did JB love this book?

Fair warning: this book is extra dark, with an extra disturbing serial killer, probably because his methods seem terrifyingly possible. Not a read for everyone! That said, Toni Anderson books are one of my absolute auto-buys for romantic suspense. This series is about hostage negotiators, and it’s fascinating stuff. Hero Shane is part of the Hostage Rescue Team and Yael is a computer whiz. Always excellent writing, great dialogue, fabulous characters, harrowing danger, and sexy romance. I’ve read loads of Toni Anderson and she never disappoints!

By Toni Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A determined FBI agent hunts a sadistic serial killer in this “steamy” (Kirkus Review) Romantic Thriller with a “masterful plot” (The BookLife Prize) by New York Times bestselling author Toni Anderson.

“Think of the best mystery thriller you’ve ever read, and I guarantee COLD SILENCE will surpass it!” —⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads review.

FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Shane Livingstone is frustrated when an injury sidelines him during an operation to catch a sadistic killer. A killer who auctions off vicious ways to torture his victims and screens the events for money on the dark web. When a teammate dies during the…

Book cover of Year One

Jali Henry Author Of Cursed Charm

From my list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an avid reader as a child. Then I became a teenager and started hating it! Why? Because the teachers at school started pushing classical literature on me. I didn’t read for years until a friend introduced me to fantasy. I fell in love and haven’t looked back. I love commercial fantasy fiction that has lots of action, where the writer focuses less on elegant prose and more on plot and characters. I aim to write the kind of books that readers get addicted to, where they can disappear into another world and forget they are reading – the kind of books I love to read!

Jali's book list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads

Jali Henry Why did Jali love this book?

This is a dystopian fantasy set in a future world in which a virus has wiped out most of the planet except those left behind have magical powers.

I love dystopian future books. I also love fantasy so this was a match made in heaven for me. Nora created such a detailed yet believable universe. There is a powerful female lead and she is pitted against the evil version of herself in a battle to end or save the world.

It’s got magic, it’s got action, it’s got romance, it’s got everything! I was hooked from start to finish and devoured all three books in a couple of weeks.

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Year One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts―Year One is an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed―and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been…

Book cover of Savannah Blues

Larissa Reinhart Author Of Portrait of a Dead Guy

From my list on southern humorous mysteries to make you snort.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first editor informed me I was a mystery writer and my first mystery conference categorized me as a Southern humorous mystery writer. I didn’t intend to write Southern humorous mysteries but find the world-view of my characters and the world they live in quite comical and southern (my characters and I live in Georgia). I also abhor crime, so the dead bodies that keep appearing in my stories need to be dealt with lightly. I’m happy to be a Wall Street Journal bestselling and international award-winning author with eighteen books and counting in three series, Cherry Tucker Mysteries, Maizie Albright Star Detectives, and Finley Goodhart Crime Capers. 

Larissa's book list on southern humorous mysteries to make you snort

Larissa Reinhart Why did Larissa love this book?

I love Andrews’ combination of Women’s Fiction and Mystery, and I think this series creates a wonderful bridge between Andrews’ writing style between the two genres and her pen names (originally, she wrote mysteries as Kathy Hogan Trocheck). Savannah Blues is more character- than plot-driven, but for those looking for a light mystery in a sultry southern setting with all the ubiquitous eccentrics and some BFFs bent on ex-husband revenge, you’ll enjoy the story like I did. You learn a bit about antiquing and Savannah architecture while cheering on amateur sleuth Weezie and enjoy a lot of laughs with her friend Bebe Loudermilk. By the end of Savannah Blues, I wanted to move across Georgia and have Weezie dress me up at home in Savannah.

By Mary Kay Andrews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Mary Kay Andrews has perfect pitch when it comes to endearing, smart-mouth heroines, and she has caught the languid looniness of the Low Country perfectly.” — Anne Rivers Siddons

Meet Weezie (aka Eloise) Foley, a feisty antiques “picker,” banished by her spiteful ex-husband from the house she herself restored in Savannah’s historic district, who must come to terms with a life that has suddenly changed…and not, it seems, for the better.

In Mary Kay Andrews’s delectable New York Times bestseller, Savannah Blues, readers will feel the sultry Georgia breezes and taste sea salt in the air, as they lose themselves…

Book cover of Lethal White

T. R. Croke Author Of The Devil's Luck

From my list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my childhood reading of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books I’ve been addicted to series. I love the character development, that ability to learn more about your favourite with each new story. Crime thrillers became my preferred leisure reading as an adult and, unsurprisingly my passion when I began a full-time writing career. My background as a retired detective from Ireland’s police force helps me understand the individual stresses on investigators and the strain of maintaining relationships and family life while pursuing suspects and protecting lives. I lived in Dublin for over twenty-five years and enjoy using the ever-changing city as a base for my series.

T. R.'s book list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more

T. R. Croke Why did T. R. love this book?

What attracts me to the series is the relationship between the main character, Cormoran Strike and his sundry accomplices, especially his one-time secretary and now partner, Robin Ellacott.

A wonderful aspect of book four in the series is that we find out more about what motivates Robin to continue taking on dangerous tasks. The parallel storyline of her fraught relationship with her new husband adds to the tension as she, Strike, and their various collaborators work furiously to unmask a killer.

Recommended if you enjoy character-driven series.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that…

Book cover of The Echo Wife

Greg Siofer Author Of The Question: Do Some Things Just Happen?

From my list on getting mysterious powers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Each book has its own story to tell, so there is not one particular book I love. Reading books that aren't my usual reads is something I enjoy doing. You may enjoy the following books, which I have listed. It made me think differently than I usually do, and as with most books I read, it will enhance your writing. Throughout my childhood, I always enjoyed reading to escape reality and get lost in a world of fantasy. As a result, I began writing science fiction that resembles me that is getting away.

Greg's book list on getting mysterious powers

Greg Siofer Why did Greg love this book?

It's all about the unlikely alliance between a woman and her clone in this gripping revenge thriller.

Evelyn Caldwell learns that her husband Nathan is cheating on her when she discovers that he has stolen her cloning technology and replaced her with a more docile substitute. They work together to conceal Nathan's murder and preserve Evelyn's scientific reputation.

However, Evelyn discovers her clone standing over Nathan's body and crying, "It was self-defense." Its juicy premise raises eerie questions about love, justice, and the nature of identity.

By Sarah Gailey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark and suspenseful novel of lies, betrayal, and identity - perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

It was meant to be an evening to honour and celebrate Evelyn Caldwell's award-winning, career-making scientific research - but Evelyn has things on her mind.

Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better, newer woman. A woman who is now pregnant - but shouldn't be - and is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.

A woman who shouldn't exist.

The Echo Wife is a propulsive new novel from an international…

Book cover of Shiver

Kel O'Connor Author Of Broken Bits

From my list on romantic suspense with forced proximity as a trope.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a fan of romantic suspense since I was a teen (many decades ago) and started writing my DAG Team Series in 2016. I adore everything about this genre – the puzzles, the intrigue and how they affect the budding relationship between the main characters. Dating is difficult when you are trying to catch a killer or on the run! Despite the central mystery, the focus is on the romance between the couple. The issues serve to add a layer of non-sexual tension. 

Kel's book list on romantic suspense with forced proximity as a trope

Kel O'Connor Why did Kel love this book?

Kidnap victim takes a repo agent and her child hostage in order to discover who blew his cover and is trying to kill him.She finds him locked in the trunk of a car she is repossessing. Daniel needs to find his kidnappers and find out how they found him in protective custody.  I liked how Samantha worked hard to provide for her family and her courage in this odd situation. Again, features forced proximity!

By Karen Robards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When she swore off love, he was the last man she imagined would steal her heart.

If driving a tow truck through the seediest part of town with a gun beside her means putting a roof over her son's head, then single mother Samantha is going to be the best repossession woman on the books. But when she hooks her truck up to a flashy BMW, the last thing she expects is to find a beaten, bloody man in the trunk - or to be catapulted into a terrifying fight to survive.

Daniel knows the drug runners who kidnapped him…

Book cover of Thr3e

Tracy Krauss Author Of Conspiracy of Bones: And the Beat Goes On

From my list on paranormal elements from a Christian worldview.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books and movies that contain paranormal, supernatural, or Sci-fi elements. I also enjoy a good romance, especially when it contains “forbidden” elements or some major obstacles. However, I don’t always appreciate work that is too graphic. As a person of Christian faith, I have often found it challenging to find books and movies that pique my interests but that aren’t preachy or full of pat answers, especially if they come from a Christian worldview. I’ve listed some of my absolute favorites that meet all the criteria: suspense, thrills, a bit of edgy content without being too graphic, and a touch of the unexpected.

Tracy's book list on paranormal elements from a Christian worldview

Tracy Krauss Why did Tracy love this book?

This suspenseful thriller keeps you absolutely guessing with all the twists and turns. For a “Christian’ book, it definitely has some elements that might raise some eyebrows and is totally unexpected in its outcome. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming. Three is an exemplary example of out-of-the-box storytelling with an edge. 

By Ted Dekker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thr3e as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Enter a world where nothing is what it seems. Where your closest friend could be your greatest enemy.

Kevin Parson is driving his car late one summer day when, suddenly, his cell phone rings. A man who identifies himself as Slater speaks in a breathy voice: You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you're driving will blow sky high.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a call? What sin? Kevin ditches the car. Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness.

From the…

Book cover of Mercy

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Author Of Monelli & Me

From Teena's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Wordweaver Reader Sea-gazer Sun-dreamer Optimist

Teena's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Why did Teena love this book?

I have long been a fan of Jodi Picoult’s books. They are invariably beautifully written, thought provoking, and deeply considered explorations of relationships and human behaviour in confronting situations.

Mercy is no exception. I found this story about a man who confesses to killing his terminally ill wife in an act of mercy difficult to put aside. Picoult is a consummate storyteller and reveals the impact on everyone touched by the incident with honesty and compassion. By the time I reached the final page I felt I knew the characters intimately and the question lingered: what would I do for someone I love?

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cameron MacDonald has spent his life guided by duty. As the police chief of a small Massachusetts town that has been home to generations of his Scottish clan, he is bound to the town's residents by blood and honor. Yet when his cousin Jamie arrives at the police station with the body of his wife and the bald confession that he's killed her, Cam immediately places him under arrest. The situation isn't as clear to Cam's wife, Allie. While she is devoted to her husband, she finds herself siding against Cam, seduced by the picture James paints of a man…

Book cover of Phantom Evil

Kelly Moran Author Of Ghost of A Promise

From my list on paranormal romances with a ghostly twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I adore all things ghostly, from TV shows to books to movies. I immerse myself. For me, I think it began as a young girl with poems from my grandmother’s favorite book and films or programs we’d watch together. The what-if factor and the vast unknown is addicting. It chronically makes us think or sit at the edge of our seats. I’ve even visited haunted locations before and had a couple of experiences. Romance ties into that for me. We all strive for it and hope to find it. It can be as elusive as fog. By combining the two genres, readers like me get the best of all worlds. 

Kelly's book list on paranormal romances with a ghostly twist

Kelly Moran Why did Kelly love this book?

So, I watch paranormal investigation programs. Religiously. The boo factor, the unknown? Yes, please! I devoured this book because it was the first of its kind to have a team of investigators like those shows with the added bonus of characters falling in love. Not to mention, it takes place in New Orleans! So much history, legend, and folklore there. It inspired me to write my own series like it. Also, Heather is one of the nicest, friendliest, down-to-earth authors I’ve ever had the chance to meet. We’ve done a few events together. The whole series is a must-read.

By Heather Graham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Return to where it all started: New Orleans, the birthplace of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s elite paranormal investigation unit. Rediscover the first case in book 1 of the New York Times bestselling series, only from Heather Graham.

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that it’s the living who commit the most heinous crimes. As a police officer using her sometimes-otherworldly intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

Under the oversight of Adam Harrison, Jackson and Angela will join a newly formed unit of the FBI, with the…