The most recommended thriller books

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,493 experts.

2,493 authors created a book list connected to thrillers, and here are their favorite thriller books.
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Book cover of No Beauties or Monsters

Candice Marley Conner Author Of The Existence of Bea Pearl

From my list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew books creekside in an Alabama swamp and developed a deep adoration of mysteries with atmospheric, creepy settings. I love the idea of strong female protagonists who take matters into their own hands and don’t sit idly by, so not only do I read books that have them as main characters, but I write them too. In addition to writing, I’m lucky enough to be a kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookshop, so reading and recommending the books I enjoy is literally my job!

Candice's book list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew

Candice Marley Conner Why did Candice love this book?

Read this if you devour mysteries served with a side of science fiction. The main character, Rylie, moves back to Twentynine Palms in her grandfather’s old house in the Mojave Desert. Weird things are happening. Then Rylie finds out that her childhood best friend’s sister disappeared and her grandfather may be involved. Rylie keeps losing time. Who is the bad guy?? Nobody knows. Is it the grandfather? The guy on the news? The government Rylie’s mom works for? Her new stepbrother who may be too helpful? Her childhood bestie? Rylie herself? I couldn’t put this one down!

By Tara Goedjen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Beauties or Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

“A desert full of mystery. A girl who sees things she shouldn’t. Desperate to unlock the secrets of Twentynine Palms, I raced through this book!” —Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows
 
For fans of Stranger Things and Veronica Mars comes a new YA mystery about a girl whose desperate search for her missing friend unearths dark secrets, preternatural threats, and a truth that could ultimately tear her family, friends, and town apart.

Welcome to Twentynine Palms, where nothing is what it seems.
 

Rylie hasn't been back to the military base in Twentynine…


Book cover of Duel: Terror Stories

Brian Lupo Author Of Ugly Faces

From my list on satisfy your horror obsession.

Why am I passionate about this?

Horror films, radio shows, books, magazines, and comics have been my life ever since I was eight years old. I saw the Texas Chainsaw Massacre one late night on Channel 9, when TVs had but 13 channels. It was love at first scream. The genre put the boogieman outside my window, under my bed, and in my closet. It was terrifying, but there was also a high to be had. An addiction to scaring oneself that I couldn't get enough of. This adrenaline rush got me interested in scaring others. Four movies, sixteen shorts, two novels, I too, am a dark dreamer looking to scare kindred spirits. 

Brian's book list on satisfy your horror obsession

Brian Lupo Why did Brian love this book?

What do you get when you cross paths with an unhinged truck driver on a lonely stretch of isolated highway? You get the book Duel, by Richard Matheson. Based on a true event of unprovoked road rage the author himself was put through, Duel is the story of a businessman heading to San Francisco who is confronted and pursued by an unseen psycho behind the wheel of a gasoline tanker and trailer. Subjected to a life-and-death game of cat and mouse, Man, as the protagonist in the book is called, has to out-maneuver this menace, or die trying. If you are into isolation terror, with get-up-and-go pacing, Duel is a must-read.

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Duel, Stephen Spielberg’s terrifying first film, was adapted by Richard Matheson from his nail-biting short story of the same name.

But “Duel” is only one of the many classic tales in this outstanding collection of stories by the award-winning author of I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time, What Dreams May Come, and The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Remember that murderous semi chasing a driver down a lonely stretch of desert highway?

Here are over a dozen unforgettable tales of horror and suspense, including several stunning shockers that inspired timeless episodes of The Twilight Zone.

At the Publisher's request, this title is…


Book cover of Fade

J. Trevor Robinson Author Of The Mummy of Monte Cristo

From my list on fantasy novels with unforgettable characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Monsters and magic have always had a hook on me, ever since I was just a kid going through a stack of Stephen King paperbacks that I was definitely too young for my brother to have given me – not that many would call his work “fantasy” exactly, despite the amount of vampires ghosts and magic that say otherwise. Urban fantasy, blending those elements with the familiar world we know, is a particular favourite of mine. So much so, that I wrote my own! Granted, the urban area in question is 19th-century Paris, but I say that still counts.

J.'s book list on fantasy novels with unforgettable characters

J. Trevor Robinson Why did J. love this book?

Can you call it “urban fantasy” when most of the action happens in rural areas? You really get a sense of how much young Paxton Locke lost when his mother murdered his father to summon a demon, and how that shapes him in the present into a man who goes out of his way to help others all over the country. Paxton isn’t the only character whose layers we get to dig into either. Without spoiling anything, he does pick up a sidekick in his travels who is more than meets the eye, and the narration occasionally switches to some other colourful characters on their own arcs to intersect Paxton’s.

By Daniel Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Dragon Award nominee Daniel Humphreys
Son of a Witch

Family drama is bad enough without adding magic and human sacrifice. Ten years ago, Paxton Locke’s mother killed his father in a mysterious ritual that – thankfully – went incomplete. Now, Paxton makes his living as a roving paranormal investigator, banishing spirits while Mother languishes in jail.

When a terrified ghost warns him of a dangerous, newly-freed entity, Paxton faces a fight far beyond simple exorcism. In a battle for his very soul, will he be able to endure – or simply fade away?

Harry Dresden's sorcery goes on a…


Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

Book cover of Blood of the White Bear

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author History hound Polyglot Bookworm Neatness averse Yoga beginner

Marcia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Virologist Dr. Rachel Bisette sees visions of a Kachina and remembers the plane crash that killed her parents and the Dine medicine woman who saved her life. Rachel is investigating a new and lethal hantavirus spreading through the Four Corners, and believes the Kachina is calling her to join the work against the spreading pandemic.

She finds Eva Yellow Horn, a medicine woman with the key to fighting the pandemic. When Eva demonstrates ancient healing powers beyond science, Rachel recognizes her as the medicine woman who saved her life years before. Eva reveals that Rachel’s father was investigating the 1979 nuclear disaster in Church Rock, when his plane crashed, killing her parents. Now, Rachel undertakes a new investigation, but she is not alone.

Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

What is this book about?

“Visions of kachinas guide doctor to spiritual healing in pandemic.”

2014 Finalist in the Willa Literary Award

This is a book that once closed and last line read, my mind wandered to explore certain character motivations and potential follow-up responses. I don’t think an author has to answer every possibility, art comes into play best when the reader’s own imagination can wander within the story.

Dr. Rachel Bisette is drawn to the Four Corners to lead the search for a vaccine against a lethal pandemic. One elusive indigenous woman, Eva Yellow Horn, carries the gift of immunity. In her search…


Book cover of Sunburn

Natasha Bell Author Of His Perfect Wife

From my list on complicated female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to complex female characters in both reading and writing. Even in the 21st century, there are so many expectations placed on girls and women to conform to society’s narrow concepts of femininity. As a queer woman who grew up under the UK’s Section 28, I’ve always struggled to fit myself into these pre-assigned boxes, which is why I’m fascinated by those who step so firmly out of them. I teach as well as write and one of the most satisfying things about both is the time I get to spend examining character. I hope you’re as captivated by these difficult women as I am!

Natasha's book list on complicated female protagonists

Natasha Bell Why did Natasha love this book?

I read this gripping psychological noir about a woman escaping her past and falling into a steamy, lethal affair a few years ago, but it’s still vividly seared into my mind.

I found the writing utterly captivating, and I think Lippman is an absolute genius when it comes to plot. This twisty story of love, lies, betrayal, and revenge kept me guessing right until the very end–not to mention reading through the middle of the night!

By Laura Lippman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE eDUNNIT AWARD FOR BEST CRIME NOVEL
NOMINATED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER

'Dark, gleaming. Read it.' GILLIAN FYNN
'Note perfect . . . Not to be missed.' MEGAN ABBOTT

Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other - dangerous, even lethal secrets.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident or part of a plan? By now Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other's lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away - or even if…


Book cover of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From my list on suspenseful science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Dwain Worrell Why did Dwain love this book?

I can only speak from my experience and, wow, this book hooked me right at the end of that first chapter, “but it’s happening faster.” Now to go into what that means, I will remain spoiler-free, but my jaw dropped. And the story only ramped up after that.

I love stories where the protagonist finds themselves in genuine peril, and Claire puts Harry August in a particular type of peril that truly had me terrified for his well-being in every chapter. The best type of suspense escalates in every chapter and it escalates here in this book in the best possible ways.

By Claire North,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'ONE OF THE FICTION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DECADE' Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club

Featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club, the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club
Winner of the John W. Campbell Award
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award

SOME STORIES CANNOT BE TOLD IN JUST ONE LIFETIME

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before.

Nothing ever changes - until now.…


Book cover of Before the Poison

Rosemary Kubli Author Of Gullible

From my list on crime novels about good people who do bad things.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mystery and crime novels have always been my favorite genre. I love the suspense and intrigue, the intricate storylines, and the clever plot twists. In middle school, while my friends were reading more age-appropriate books, I was reading The Godfather and The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. Is it any wonder then that Siena Ricci, the main character of my debut novel Gullible, is a shrewd and cunning female con artist? I had so much fun developing Siena’s story arc and creating the criminal world she inhabits that I decided to continue her narrative in a sequel, with plans for a third novel to round out the trilogy. 

Rosemary's book list on crime novels about good people who do bad things

Rosemary Kubli Why did Rosemary love this book?

Having recently lost his wife to cancer, Chris Lowndes purchases a county home in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales and returns to his native England. Although the home is charming, it comes with a disturbing history. The previous owner died in the home during a winter blizzard more than fifty years earlier, and his beautiful and much younger wife was hanged after being found guilty of poisoning her husband.

Lowndes becomes obsessed with their story and his determination to uncover the truthWas the poisoning accidental or done on purpose?–kept me wondering why he felt such a strong connection with this condemned woman.

This story is a beautifully told, enthralling page-turner. Be prepared for a revelation that will bring tears to your eyes.

By Peter Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through years of success in Hollywood composing music for Oscar-winning films, Chris Lowndes always imagined he would come full circle, home to Yorkshire with his beloved wife Laura. Now he's back in the Yorkshire Dales, but Laura is dead, and Chris needs to make a new life for himself. The isolated house he buys sight unseen should give him the space to come to terms with his grief and the quiet to allow him to work. Kilnsgate House turns out to be rather more than he expected, however. A man died there, sixty years ago. His wife was convicted of…


Book cover of The 6:20 Man

Ted Galdi Author Of Black Quiet: A Cole Maddox Action Thriller

From my list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written several action thrillers about main characters who defy the rules. In my opinion, the key to these stories is giving your protagonist a good cause to break the rules for. Readers don’t want to get behind someone who wreaks havoc just to entertain himself. However, readers can identify with someone who’s pursuing an admirable goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it. These stories shouldn’t motivate anyone to break the law in real life. They serve as a metaphor for going against convention to overcome obstacles. Hopefully, my books, and those of other authors, encourage people to take on challenges in ways they haven’t yet considered.  

Ted's book list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes

Ted Galdi Why did Ted love this book?

Like various action thrillers, The 6:20 Man features a former Army Ranger protagonist. However, unlike many action stories, this one is set in the world of Manhattan’s finance sector. Pretty unique.

Travis Devine, a former soldier turned low-level investment employee, becomes wrapped up in the investigation of a coworker’s mysterious death. He’s forced to apply a combo of deductive reasoning and physical maneuvering to get to the truth and keep himself alive, all while resisting the demands of his employer and the local police.

I feel this book has all the suspense of an action thriller, plus gives an interesting look at a dark corner of the finance industry. I really liked how calm and collected Devine stays through the story, regardless of the crazy things that come his way. 

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 6 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cryptic murder pulls a former soldier turned financial analyst deep into the corruption and menace that prowl beneath the opulent world of finance, in this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from David Baldacci.

Every day without fail, Travis Devine puts on a cheap suit, grabs his faux-leather briefcase, and boards the 6:20 commuter train to Manhattan, where he works as an entry-level analyst at the city’s most prestigious investment firm. In the mornings, he gazes out the train window at the lavish homes of the uberwealthy, dreaming about joining their ranks. In the evenings, he listens to the…


Book cover of Dead Drop: A Detective Nathan Parker Novel

Gerald Elias Author Of Murder at the Royal Albert: A Daniel Jacobus Mystery

From Gerald's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Classical musician Outdoor lover Craves change

Gerald's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Gerald Elias Why did Gerald love this book?

As a mystery writer myself, I know what it takes to write a great mystery thriller, and L’Etoile has it all.

Police detective Nathan Parker is enmeshed in a web of crime in the desert Southwest. While confronting human trafficking and drug cartels, he comes up hard against his own law enforcement authorities.

Dead Drop is a death-defying journey into the bowels of bad, and Parker’s ability to come through it alive is a testament to his guile, strength of character, and, sometimes, sheer good luck. The thriller is tautly written and straightforward with no added sugar, with a setting as unforgiving as Parker’s ruthless adversaries.

You’re in for a rollercoaster ride, so hold on to your seats.

By James L'Etoile,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hundreds go missing each year making the dangerous crossing over the border. What if you were one of them?


While investigating the deaths of undocumented migrants in the Arizona desert, Detective Nathan Parker finds a connection to the unsolved murder of his partner by a coyote on a human smuggling run. The new evidence lures Parker over the border in search of the truth, only to trap him in a strange and dangerous land. If he's to survive, Parker must place his life in the hands of the very people he once pursued.


Border violence, border politics, and who is…


Book cover of The Scapegoat

Miranda Keeling Author Of The Year I Stopped To Notice

From my list on the magic in the ordinary.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I started to focus on writing, I was a performer: an actor, a magician, and an escapologist. I’ve learnt a great deal about how to construct a story for an audience. I’m excited by the layers of a good narrative—by what makes it work. In my own life I’m always looking for the details: reflections in a puddle, the interactions of strangers, lost items left behind. My book is all about stopping in the middle of this overwhelming world to notice the everyday moments and to celebrate them. I often find that there is magic there, hidden in plain sight.

Miranda's book list on the magic in the ordinary

Miranda Keeling Why did Miranda love this book?

I read this book as quickly as I could, picking it up whenever I had the chance to, and thinking about it in the moments in between. I found it in an outdoor library, in a small village in France. It was the only book in English, so it was complete chance that I started to read it. And this book is all about chance. What would happen if you bumped into someone who looked so exactly like you that they could step into your life and live it for you, and no one would notice? This book constantly questions how much of our identity is shaped by things outside of our control. It is set in a world we recognise but under the ordinary façade, something eerier and more fatalistic simmers.

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said, 'Je vous demande pardon,' and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realized, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well. I was looking at myself." Two men-one English, the other French-meet by chance in a provincial railway station and are astounded that they are so much alike that they could easily pass for each other. Over the course of a long evening, they…