The 30 Must Read Thriller Books of All Time

Some of the best books that are impossible to put down are thrillers But with so many books to choose from, finding the right thrillers can be hard. That is why made this list of the 30 must read thriller books of all time!

This list is not long enough to include hundreds of many amazing book that readers should check out. These are the 30 standouts and we hope that they show you the best of what this genre has to offer. And to make you a fan and seek out even more thrillers that didn’t make the list. You can see the full list below!

The 30 Must Read Thriller Books of All Time

Must Read Thrillers

Stephen King may be one of the best authors to pick up a pen in the mystery and thriller genre. He knows how to pique reader’s interest and never stops with the pace picking up after every chapter. The Shining is a classic but to be honest, you can’t go wrong with any of his novels.

A bunch of spy novels made the list because they were just that good. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth is a brilliant novel that is a page turner! Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy speaks for itself as it has effortlessly become a mainstream phenomenon.

The Day Of The Jackal book cover
The Day Of The Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Is there a better thriller novel than Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris? When you are reading the novel, it doesn’t feel like there is. What makes this novel interesting is that it isn’t even the first novel in the Hannibal series. But it is definitely the best book partly because it centers around Hannibal. 


That is a wrap for this list of the 30 must read thriller books of all time. How many books on the list have you read? What thrillers should we add to our next list? Let us know in the comments below!

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9 thoughts on “The 30 Must Read Thriller Books of All Time

  1. Anonymous says:

    They’re all written by American authors. Where are the great UK authors? Ian Rankin, P D James etc?

    1. davidrosoff says:

      I thought she only wrote mysteries. Did she write thrillers too?

  2. Justin Dutko says:

    Where is a Mickey Spillane novel he was the best selling author of the mid twentieth century for crying out loud. He had movies made of half his novels as well as 4 television shows thats how big this guy was.
    Half of these people I’ve never even heard of. The ones i have read like Gone Girl struck me as a Mystery novel for people that dont read mystery novels. The fifties through the seventies was the height of the British thriller you have one where is the Eagle has Landed.

    1. davidrosoff says:

      You seem to be confusing mysteries & thrillers.

  3. Dr Muhammad Saleem says:

    All these books are not real life books, rather these are superficial thoughts books. The human life doesn’t need such books that show just one side of life, the only description of any issue is not the solution of issue. These books just describe the events and not how to tackle or to get solution of the problems and how to spend healthy mind life , and how to tolerate problems and lessons of tolerance is not described in such books. The patience is the solution of problems and how to modify the body and mind for patience in any issue and every problem.

    1. davidrosoff says:

      What part of thrillers didn’t you get? This isn’t a self-help book list. 🤦

  4. davidrosoff says:

    Stop making Stephen King lists & pretending they’re general category lists. You did the same thing with Horror. At least this time you only included 3 of his books instead of 5.
    What you didn’t include were some of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. In descending order:
    – “Seven Days in May” by Charles W. Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel.
    – “The Parsifal Mosaic” by Robert Ludlum.
    – “Six Days of the Condor” by James Grady.
    You also didn’t include any works by many other great thriller writers including John le Carré, Jack Higgins (a.k.a. Henry Patterson), John Grisham, Robert Bloch, Martin Cruz Smith, James Patterson, & Mary Higgins Clark.

  5. Anonymous says:

    No list of must read books would be complete without Donato Carrisi’s Whisperer! It’s written in Italian and translated into English, but it makes you want to learn Italian so you can see if anything is lost in translation. All his books are excellent but the Whisperer is extraordinary.


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