The 20 Must Read Thriller Books of All Time

If you want a book that will have you on the edge of your bed, then the thriller genre is for you. With so many amazing books, you’ll never run out of books to read. But choosing the right ones isn’t always easy. That is why made this list of the 20 must read thriller books of all time!  

There are many classics as well as modern thrillers that you should read. 20 books is not enough to cover this genre but we hope this is just the start of your journey. There are always many new thrillers that we can’t stop thinking about. You can see the full list below!    

The 20 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.   

Shutter Island book cover
Shutter Island book review

One of my favorite all time novels that made this list is Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. If you like reading novels where you can’t trust the protagonist, then this is for you. The movie is also great and I recommend watching it after reading the novel so the plot twist is spoiled.


That wraps up this list of the 20 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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5 thoughts on “The 20 Must Read Thriller Books of All Time

  1. Carol Cobb says:

    You have “The Girl on the Train” on the list twice.

  2. JOHN PAUL Ryan says:

    You left out probably the best thriller that was published in the last ten years. “I am pilgrim” by Terry Hayes

  3. Robert Wellington says:

    “All time” seems to mean “the last fifty years” to the compiler of this list. For my money, Geoffrey Household’s “Rogue Male” is still the best pure thriller of all time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t consider 11/22/63 a “thriller”. It’s a fabulous story, but I might have picked “It” or “The Stand” as more in the thriller category.


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