If you are like us, then you also love a good thriller novel. But it isn’t always easy to find a book that will satisfy you. Worry not as we have compiled a list of the 25 best thrillers of all time to help you find your next read. Keep reading to see which books made our list!
An amazing thriller will have you reading for hours without realizing it. A great author can make you forget about reality and only care about the words on the pages. This list contains the books that will do exactly that. You can see the full list below!
The 25 Best Thriller Books of All Time
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
- The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley
- Killing Floor by Lee Child
- Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
- The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
- Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
- The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkanen
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
- Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
- In the Woods by Tana French
- Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
- Misery by Stephen King
- Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
- The Shining by Stephen King
- Those Bones Are Not My Child by Toni Cade Bambara
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré
- In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Classics to Keep you Occupied
There is something for everyone on this list. Whether you like a book that will give you shivers or a novel that has the perfect mystery. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith is a great read that appeals to all kinds of readers. Or a classic by Stephen King might be more up your alley.
Gillian Flynn has become a go-to over the years and has become the new face of thriller novels. Even If you haven’t read or heard about her books, you may have seen a trailer for one of them.
If spy novels are more your thing, we still have you covered. A few made the list such as The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy or The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. The thriller genre is home to a variety of different book styles. Where else will you find antagonists that are brilliant?
That is all for our list of 25 best thrillers of all time. What did you think of the list and what books should we have included on the list? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!
16 thoughts on “The 25 Best Thriller Books of All Time ”
Of the Stephen King books, are the ones on the list other than The Shinning worth the read if I already ruined the ending by seeing the film, and what is different about them versus the film?
I ask that way because intuitively, I know they are. I just want your take on what King’s work offers in the other works that is not present in the film adaption. I know the case with The Shining, I have seen the film and read the book. Is the same true of his other works? Or is it different in the cases of the other works? I think the answer is yes, but I wanted to know how it is different because I value your take.
Thank you for posting this. I have always wanted to ask someone this.
The endings of the book and movie are very different.
Dang, now I may have to put that on my never ending list of to-dos.
Any list of thrillers or suspense that doesn’t include anything from Jim Thompson is sorely lacking in my humble opinion. If you’re not familiar with his work, do yourself a favor and pick up Pop. 1280 or The Killer Inside Me. Available at most library’s.
Thank you, much appreciated. I will put it on my to-dos
Stephen King is very good writer; he has a style that’s very specific to him. He wrote under a pen name, Richard Bachman, in his early career. One of my favorite books was Thinner, written under that pen name. Another good thriller writer is Dean Koontz; he’s a little more poetic in his language, but thrilling nonetheless. Try Whispers or Lightning🤓
I love the fact that he wrote under that pen name by the way, that is one of my favorite things about him for obvious reasons, given my background. I like Koontz as well, he is very unique. I am reading random salvaged books right now due to lack of cash, but meaning to branch out once I get my life together, whenever that is.
It may not be the best but our favourite novel we have read recently is the raw and noir fact based spy thriller Beyond Enkription by Bill Fairclough. Whether you are a le Carré connoisseur, a Deighton devotee, a Fleming fanatic, a Herron hireling or even a Macintyre marauder you should like it. It’s not a perfected to perfection le Carré creation full of delicate diction and sophisticated syntax but it is so distinctively different that it’s a must read for espionage cognoscenti. It’s the first factual stand-alone spy novel in The Burlington Files series. In real life Bill Fairclough aka Edward Burlington was inter alia an MI6 agent codename JJ and one of Pemberton’s People in MI6.
Odds on you’ll read it twice if you’ve already devoured Tinker Tailor, Funeral in Berlin, Slow Horses or The Spy and The Traitor. Best start looking it up and getting to know the author via the equally unusual and captivating website called TheBurlingtonFiles. Just ask George Smiley, Harry Palmer, Jackson Lamb or even Oleg Gordievsky what they thought of Bill Fairclough aka Edward Burlington, the protagonist in The Burlington Files.
Mind you, Oleg might refuse to comment. In real life he knew MI6’s Colonel Alan Brooke Pemberton CVO MBE aka Colonel Alan McKenzie (Mac) in The Burlington Files. In real life Alan was MI6’s hapless handler who had to try and control the maverick Fairclough who coincidentally had quite a lot in common with Greville Wynne and has even been called “a posh Harry Palmer”. Pemberton’s People in MI6 even included Roy Astley Richards OBE (Winston Churchill’s bodyguard) and an eccentric British Brigadier (Peter ‘Scrubber’ Stewart-Richardson) who was once refused permission to join the Afghan Mujahideen.
Bill Fairclough and John le Carré (aka David Cornwell) knew of each other but only long after Cornwell’s MI6 career ended thanks to Kim Philby (who was a cousin of Field Marshal Montgomery). Coincidentally, the novelist Graham Greene used to work in MI6 reporting to Philby and Bill Fairclough actually stayed in Hôtel Oloffson during a covert op in Haiti (explained in Beyond Enkription) which was at the heart of Graham Greene’s spy novel The Comedians. Funny it’s such a small world!
Whether you’re a le Carré connoisseur, a Deighton disciple, a Fleming fanatic, a Herron hireling or a Macintyre marauder, odds on once you are immersed in it you’ll read this titanic production twice. You can find out more about Pemberton’s People in an article dated 31 October 2022 on The Burlington Files website. For more detailed reviews visit the Reviews page on TheBurlingtonFiles website or see other independent reviews on your local Amazon website and check out Bill Fairclough’s background on the web.
You are welcome to write a review for it on our website for it if you would like to 😁😃
It would be nice if they included books that were actually good instead of books based upon the demographics of the author.
What’s good is subjective and I don’t think about the author’s ethnicity or nationality. If you don’t like the pick or disagree, just say that. No need to make up reasons as to why the list may be flawed.
Don’t understand your point about demographics of the author?
Thanks for that. I agree that the author’s ethnicity and nationality should have no bearing on one’s evaluation of a book but for many they do. I would add the author’s sex and religion to that duplicitous list. However, demographics can be interpreted as including so much more than these classifications which is why I asked. For example, many critics take into account the occupational experience of the author when evaluating a book. In the espionage genre most books written by those with no first hand experience are not that realistic whereas those by the likes of John le Carré (fiction) or Bill Fairclough (non-fiction) are realistic. Readers and critics do therefore take into account a wide range of what I would term demographic issues. After all, would you read a guide to speaking English fluently if written by a physically dumb Mongolian?
26–THE OLD TOWN HORROR: Murder and Theft in America’s Most Historic Locale
No Alistair MacLean? His books were made into some excellent movies