The most recommended suspense books

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,857 experts.

1,857 authors created a book list connected to suspense, and here are their favorite suspense books.
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What type of suspense book?


Book cover of Gathering Prey

Mark Love Author Of Why 319?

From my list on contemporary mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales, set in the modern world always grab my attention. In a creative writing course in college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Sandford’s detective Lucas Davenport for a long time. He’s wicked smart, with a dark side that loves to come out and play occasionally. The way he orchestrates his use of the news media, and the department is uncommon. But the bureaucratic nonsense is starting to wear thin. And it’s getting in the way of Davenport’s passion for catching killers. When a friend of his daughter runs into trouble, he reluctantly jumps into the case, even though it takes him out of Minnesota and into the wilderness of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Davenport is the ultimate badass. He does whatever it takes to bring a case to closure and for justice to be served.

By John Sandford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Lucas Davenport thriller by internationally bestselling novelist John Sandford

They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes - they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she'd befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody's killing her friends, she's afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She's hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn't know what to do.

Letty tells…

Book cover of Red Winter

John Houle Author Of The King-Makers of Providence

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Politico PR guy Marketing executive Entrepreneur Political science graduate

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

John Houle Why did John love this book?

As a fan of the Tom Clancy genre, I felt like I was right back reading Clancy’s classics when I picked up Red Winter. Most of the new Clancy fiction surrounds Jack Ryan, Jr., and while I enjoy those works as well, it was fun to return to the Cold World era.

Cameron pays homage to the greatness that was Clancy, and while I can no longer read the master of modern-day political thrillers, I found a worthy successor.

I enjoyed uncovering a past mission of Jack Ryan, who is one of my all-time favorite characters in fiction. As a child of the Cold War, it was a fun ride behind the Iron Curtain.

By Marc Cameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1985: For Jack Ryan, the Cold War is burning hot

A top secret F117 aircraft crashes into the Nevada desert. The Nighthawk is the most advanced fighting machine in the world and the Soviets will do anything to get their hands on its secrets.

In East Berlin, a mysterious figure contacts the CIA with an incredible offer: invaluable details of his government's espionage plans in return for asylum. With the East German secret police closing in, someone will have to go to behind the Berlin Wall to investigate the potential defector. It's a job Deputy Director James Greer can only…

Book cover of The Sins of the Fathers

James L. Thane Author Of South of the Deuce

From my list on no fan of crime fiction should miss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading mystery novels while I was still a young boy, thanks to the influence of my parents who were both fans of crime fiction. Early on, I was drawn toward the hard-boiled school of crime fiction and I’ve always particularly enjoyed reading novels about both private detectives and police department detectives. Several years ago, I began writing my own series featuring a Phoenix, Arizona homicide detective, Sean Richardson, and his partner, Maggie McClinton. I’ve also written two fairly traditional mysteries, one set in Montana and the other in South Dakota as well as a standalone suspense novel and one nonfiction book.

James' book list on no fan of crime fiction should miss

James L. Thane Why did James love this book?

This novel introduced Matthew Scudder, an ex-New York City cop turned unlicensed private investigator. In this case, a young woman has been brutally murdered and the police believe they have solved the crime. But the victim’s father hires Scudder to look deeper into the case which will produce more than its share of surprises. The beauty of this series, though, lies in the development of the Matthew Scudder character, who remains one of the most fascinating and compelling figures in all of crime fiction. The first chapter, which introduces Scudder, is one of the best opening chapters of any crime novel.

By Lawrence Block,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first novel in the explosive Matthew Scudder Series. The tenth novel in the series - A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES - is set to be a major Hollywood film, starring Liam Neeson.

A pretty young girl is butchered in her Greenwich Village apartment.

The prime suspect, a minister's son, is found dead in his jail cell.

As far as the NYPD is concerned, the case is closed.

But ex-cop Matt Scudder, is persuaded to look into the case by the dead girl's father. And suddenly he's up to his neck in sleaze and corruption, phoney religious cults and murderous…

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…

Book cover of The Eyes Are the Best Part

Talia Tucker Author Of Rules for Rule Breaking

From my list on characters that break all the rules.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Jamaican and Korean American author of young adult romance, and when crafting my stories, I love to create characters who go against the expectations thrust upon them, whether they’re based on race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. As a woman, as someone with multiple ethnic identities, as someone who isn’t neurotypical, and someone who doesn’t subscribe to the norms of gender and sexuality, navigating intersectionality has been a large part of my life and, therefore, my work. Rules should be broken when they're the ones telling us we can’t do something based on who we are.

Talia's book list on characters that break all the rules

Talia Tucker Why did Talia love this book?

This book breaks all the rules because, well, Ji-won, a young Korean-American girl, literally breaks the rules (and the law) by becoming a serial killer in the face of societal expectations. I love a woman who’s not concerned with being or acting pretty, and we see that in Ji-won far before she ever gets a bite of her first blue eye.

The commentary in this novel is sharp, and much of what Ji-won experiences resonates with me as a Korean-American. Though she is by no means a role model, it was satisfying to see someone who might typically be overlooked go on a grotesque, revenge-fueled violence spree. This book was intelligent and subversive in all the right ways.

By Monika Kim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eyes Are the Best Part as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Crying in H-Mart meets My Sister, the Serial Killer in this feminist psychological horror about the making of a female serial killer from a Korean-American perspective.

Ji-won's life tumbles into disarray in the wake of her Appa's extramarital affair and subsequent departure. Her mother, distraught. Her younger sister, hurt and confused. Her college freshman grades, failing. Her dreams, horrifying... yet enticing.

In them, Ji-won walks through bloody rooms full of eyes. Succulent blue eyes. Salivatingly blue eyes. Eyes the same shape and shade as George's, who is Umma's obnoxious new boyfriend. George has already overstayed his welcome in her family's…

Book cover of The Tally Stick

Karen Dionne Author Of The Wicked Sister

From my list on getting lost in the wilderness, or the ocean.

Why am I passionate about this?

USA Today and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter - “Subtle, brilliant and mature . . . as good as a thriller can be.” – The New York Times Book Review, and soon to be a major motion picture starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn, and The Wicked Sister, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020. "Massively thrilling and altogether unputdownable. Dionne is proving to be one of the finest suspense writers working today.” – Karin Slaughter

Karen's book list on getting lost in the wilderness, or the ocean

Karen Dionne Why did Karen love this book?

I read this novel in one sitting, swept up and carried away to a world I never knew and a place I’ve never been: New Zealand’s West Coast, a rough and rugged land where after just five days in the country, the entire Chamberlain family disappears.

With the parents dead, what will become of the children? And what will they do to survive? Complicated moral choices elevate this richly drawn, intensely atmospheric, and absolutely stunning story of loss and endurance.

By Carl Nixon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lost in the wilderness: subjugation, survival, and the meaning of family

Up on the highway, the only evidence that the Chamberlains had ever been there was two smeared tire tracks in the mud leading into an almost undamaged screen of bushes and trees. No other cars passed that way until after dawn. By that time the tracks had been washed away by the heavy rain. After being in New Zealand for only five days, the English Chamberlain family had vanished into thin air. The date was 4 April 1978. In 2010 the remains of the eldest child are discovered in…

Book cover of The Wife Upstairs

Heather Gudenkauf Author Of Not a Sound

From my list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some of my fondest memories have been of curling up with the family dog and reading a good book. This started as a child with our golden retriever OJ, and continues today with Lolo, our sweet but spoiled German shorthaired pointer. Dogs are such wonderful companions, always up for anything: hiking, exploring, car rides, sitting on the couch, and lounging. It’s no surprise, then, that not only do I love reading books featuring dogs I’ve also included a canine sidekick in each of the nine thrillers that I’ve written. I hope you enjoy this dogged list of mysteries and thrillers as much as I have. 

Heather's book list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs

Heather Gudenkauf Why did Heather love this book?

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins centers around Jane who, penniless, arrives in Alabama and begins to walk dogs in an upscale, gated community. Jane hates her job, is no dog lover, and has resorted to sliding client’s valuables into her pockets. Life is a bit grim for Jane who wanted so much more for herself. Things begin to appear more hopeful when Jane meets Eddie Rochester and she begins to fall for the wealthy widower whose wife died in a boating accident. Jane even begins to develop a fondness for her dog clientele – especially Adele, a sweet Irish setter puppy, Eddie buys expressly for Jane to walk.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jane’s canine clientele: Bear, a collie; Mary-Beth, a dalmatian; Major and Colonel, shih-tzus; Harper, a lab; and of course, Adele. Dog heaven, right? But as with all great thrillers, nothing is as it seems. Can Jane trust…

By Rachel Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Top 10 New York Times bestseller 'I was completely blown away by The Wife Upstairs. This is a compulsive, irresistible retelling of Jane Eyre with a modern, noir twist - and wow, does it work' Samantha Downing, bestselling author of My Lovely Wife Stylist's best paperbacks of 2021 Hello Magazine's best new books released in 2021

A girl looking for love...
When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can't believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year…

Book cover of Whiteout

Debra Hinkley Author Of What Goes Around

From my list on for a roller coaster, binge read.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a published author, Debra’s passion for fast-paced, unputdownable novels is unquenchable. She can be ruthless in her criticism, applying the rule, “three strikes and you’re out!”  A firm believer that life is too short to read mediocre books, if she isn’t grabbed by chapter 3, she puts the book down and moves on. She wants a book to make her life better, she wants to feel excitement at picking it back up again, and burying herself in the characters and moods, twists and turns, of a great story. Her writing reflects this same trait, if her words won’t keep the reader totally engrossed, then she won’t write them.

Debra's book list on for a roller coaster, binge read

Debra Hinkley Why did Debra love this book?

One of my all-time favourites I’ve read this book 3 times now and, after this review, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to indulge myself for a fourth time. Follett is the master of knife-edge thrillers, if you’ve never read him, start now. Full of treachery and violence, twists and revelations. It’s a scary, but utterly brilliant read.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Everyone likes a page-turner, and Follett is the best." -The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A hell of a storyteller" (Entertainment Weekly), #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett reinvents the thriller with each new novel. But nothing matches the intricate knife-edge drama of Whiteout. . . .

A missing canister of a deadly virus. A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.

As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people, Toni among them,…

Book cover of I Found You

Nolan Cubero Author Of Shadow Drive

From my list on mystery thrillers about characters with elusive identities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m still trying to figure out who I am. I’ve made films, I’ve written fiction, I’ve been in a punk band, and now I’m in law school. I’ve bopped around to different interests my whole life and never quite felt like I fit in anywhere, maybe because I grew up a part Puerto Rican kid in Kentucky. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve been a reader all this time, and I think because I’ve always found my own identity elusive, the mysteries and thrillers I gravitate towards are ones with characters that aren’t so easy to pin down.

Nolan's book list on mystery thrillers about characters with elusive identities

Nolan Cubero Why did Nolan love this book?

Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house, but when she asks the man who he is, he can’t give her any answers because he says he doesn’t know who he is either. He’s lost his memory and his identification. Alice decides to help the unknown man and invites him into her home.

While Alice tries to help the unknown man figure out who he is, she also can’t help but wonder who she’s let into her home. He seems perfectly harmless, but is he? It reminds me of what I’ve felt in relationships. I’ll like someone, but then I’ll get to know them and start to wonder who they really are. I’ll look at a friend and wonder, where did you come from?

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Found You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'How long have you been sitting out here?'
'I got here yesterday.'
'Where did you come from?'
'I have no idea.'

Surrey: Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one.

East Yorkshire: Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

But who is he, and how can…

Book cover of Stillhouse Lake

Deborah Fletcher Mello Author Of Chasing a Colton Killer

From Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Orange juice enthusiast Devoted grandmother Armchair detective

Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Deborah's 8, and 10-year-old's favorite books.

Deborah Fletcher Mello Why did Deborah love this book?

I love great suspense, and Rachel Caine sucked me in and refused to let me go with Stillhouse Lake.

The book’s plot was killer (pun intended), and I couldn’t get enough. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to reach out to the author to tell her what I thought and sadly learned that she had passed away. It felt like I’d lost a literary friend.

By Rachel Caine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts and USA Today bestseller.

Gina Royal is the definition of average-a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband's secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor-the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband's crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.…

Book cover of The Fifty Year Sword

Andy Lockwood Author Of Threshold

From my list on gateway into the horror genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been ensconced in horror since childhood—from the Monster Double Feature to Creepy and Tomb of Dracula. I’m part of the Monster Squad; I’m what goes bump in the night. I live for the scare. My love for all things spooky started young, growing up with Bradbury and Matheson, before graduating to King, Koontz, and Straub. I continued to absorb horror wherever I could: books, films, and comics, drinking it in as quickly as it came out. Eventually, I found that I’d absorbed so many stories, I had one or two of my own to contributeso I began writing short stories and novels to terrorize the genre myself!

Andy's book list on gateway into the horror genre

Andy Lockwood Why did Andy love this book?

Danielewski is as much an artist as he is a storyteller. The Fifty Year Sword is a work of literal—and literary—art. The story is brief, haunting, and beautifully told. The book is a labor of love beyond words on the page. The art accents the story, propelling it forward and assisting the tension that grows as the unread pages dwindle. It is neither grotesque, nor leave-the-lights-on scary, but it is fantastically memorable and shocking, making it a wonderful introduction to the fun-filled intensity the genre offers. For all its simplicity, it’s an unforgettable read, worth picking up for repeat visits to admire the way story and art meld into this single binding. It’s an every-October treat for me that sets the mood for Spooky Season.

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this story set in East Texas, a local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans who are not only captivated by a storyteller’s tale of vengeance but by the long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold and now foretold.

The blank pages in this book are a deliberate design element.