A good thriller keeps you flicking through the pages with bated breath, not able to wait to get to the next exciting reveal. Classically populated with spies, conspiracy and intrigue, they’re the books that are most likely to serve up a shocking twist or a cleverly written reveal. They are at once infinitely rewarding and pulse ragingly enticing.
Building great suspense is the mark of a truly gifted writer. Providing the reader with just enough information to keep them on the edge of their seats without revealing your hand or plot is a tightrope that not many writers can claim they know how to properly balance upon. Those that do though deserve to be rewarded and we can do so right now by including them in our list of the best suspense thriller books of all time.
Catching a Miracle
By Mark Spinicelli
Whilst Gone Girl may people its pages with lead characters that you love to hate, Catching A Miracle has a gutsy and likable protagonist that you hate to love. It’s a story of grit, determination, and drive. Our lead is a Doctor on a race against time to find the cure for cancer, whilst government officials, conspiracy and all kinds of other forces try to stop her. If it sounds like a fully loaded page-turning suspense fuelled roller coaster ride, that’s because it is.
By Gillian Flynn
There’s a reason this book was absolutely everywhere on the year of its release. It’s because it’s definitely one of the best suspense thriller books of all time. Every page leaves you chomping for the next and there are so many sweat soaked secrets and raunchy rage reveals that any discussion of the plot at all is a potential spoiler. It starts out examining the death of a relationship and proceeds from that already bleak diving board to get darker and darker until it climaxes in Carrie-esque fashion.
By Stephen King
We could arguably put any of King’s novels in this position, we’ve already referenced Carrie whilst trying to talk about another piece of fiction. Stephen King is without a doubt one of the most talented suspense/horror writers of any age. In The Shining we are taken by the hand on the slow burn descent into madness of a hotel’s winter caretaker. It’s horrifying, it’s upsetting, it’s gripping and you can’t put it down. All review and no read makes Jack a dull boy.
The New York Trilogy
By Paul Auster
Whilst it may be a trilogy the three novellas have since been collected into a single volume and each of the three stories plays around in the blood of the themes spilled by the book that preceded them. Paul Auster is a beautifully talented writer who deconstructs identity, noir convention and detective fiction as a whole in these must-read shorts. Any of the three would be a great contender for the best suspense thriller books of all time title.