10 Exciting Suspense Books & Thriller Novels To Read Now

1 / 10

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods is the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad Series. It follows Irish detective Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox as they investigate the murder of a 12-year-old girl. The mysterious crime is disturbingly similar to a traumatising event from Ryan’s past. Tana’s writing is resolutely bleak and full of emotion, and the novel has deservedly received several awards such as the 2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. In the Woods and its sequel, The Likeness, was also the inspiration for the BBC’s eight-part series Dublin Murders. This mystery novel is sure to keep readers on their toes and constantly guessing until the final reveal.

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2 / 10

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

For Dr David Beck, the loss of his wife was earth-shattering. Although everyone around him tells him that it’s high time he moved on, his lack of closure makes this an impossibility. When he receives a message with a phrase that only his wife knows, his grief progresses into obsession as he starts to believe in the possibility that she may still be alive. But as he chases the ghost of his wife, he stumbles upon a dark and deadly secret – a secret that someone wants to keep hidden. The novel is filled with unexpected plot twists, making it Harlan’s bestselling book to date.

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3 / 10

The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carré

Winner of this year’s Gold Dagger award for best crime novel, The Honourable Schoolboy is the second book in the Karla Trilogy. The spy series features George Smiley, the chief of a British secret intelligence agency named The Circus. In an attempt to rebuild the service’s reputation, George sends part-time journalist and part-time spy Jerry Westerby (aka the Honourable Schoolboy) to Hong Kong under the guise of a sports journalist. In doing so, George launches a high-stakes operation to undercover a Russian money-laundering scheme in the city to stake revenge on Karla, the head of the Moscow Centre, who has been the cause of all his problems. Paired with the energy and glamour of 1970s Hong Kong, this is one novel you won’t be able to put down.

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4 / 10

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Even though Daphne du Maurier’s romance-filled thriller was published almost 100 years ago, the book has never gone out of print and has even spawned a film adaptation by none other than Alfred Hitchcock (which, by the way, won an Academy Award for Best Picture!). Netflix is even releasing a modern adaptation of the book this month. The nameless narrator and main protagonist has been swept off her feet by widower-turned-playboy Maxim de Winter and before you know it the two are married. It is only when she arrives at his lavish country estate that she senses the harrowing presence of her husband’s late wife – Rebecca. Rebecca’s lingering shadow (and her ever loyal servant Mrs Danvers) threaten to haunt the young woman and her marriage from beyond the grave.

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5 / 10

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

John Grisham needs no introduction as a skilled legal thriller writer. He draws upon his own experiences as a former practising attorney and politician, making the narrative even more realistic. The novel tells the story of a 10-year-old African-American girl who is raped and beaten by two white supremacists. Outraged, her father takes justice into his own hands and calls on his friend Jake Brigance, a young defence attorney who must fight to save the life of his client. Inspired by a true story and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, A Time to Kill is a riveting courtroom drama that tackles the intense racial violence common in small southern towns at the time. This thriller doesn’t just leave you in suspense, it is also thought-provoking and, at times, deeply unsettling.

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6 / 10

Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

This grim and gritty novel details the life of Eileen Dunlop, a disturbed young woman who is stuck between her job at a juvenile correctional facility for teen boys and her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker. Trapped in her own resentment and self-loathing, she engages in many unhealthy behaviours such as stalking a prison guard and shoplifting. When an attractive, new counsellor arrives at the correctional facility, Eileen is enchanted and slowly pulled into a world of crime. Her fate is quickly sealed through Otessa Moshfegh’s unnerving writing style – the opening chapter finishes with the line: “This is the story of how I disappeared”. Otessa’s prose speaks straight to the heart of the reader, reflecting the darkness lurking inside us.

7 / 10

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl follows the story of Nick and Amy: their courtship, their crumbling marriage, and subsequently, Amy’s disappearance. Readers are left questioning whether or not Nick is responsible for his wife’s disappearance. The unsettling noir-style novel draws inspiration from the disappearance of Californian Laci Peterson in 2002. The author has become notorious for his incredibly dark and convoluted narratives, centred around complex female characters. The relentless twists and turns throughout this narrative are sure to keep you on edge until the last, heart-wrenching page.

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8 / 10

Death of a Red Mandarin by Chris West

On the night before Hong Kong’s handover to China, a Chinese official is found floating dead in the harbour. Enter Inspector Wang of Beijing’s Public Security Bureau. As he delves deeper into the investigation, he is forced to face parts of his past that his superiors wish to keep buried. Though, it becomes harder and harder to ignore the signs that the man’s death may be tied to his past in China. Chris West has written a number of other books that revolve around a police inspector, although they are not set in Hong Kong.

9 / 10

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

There are few monsters more renowned than the anguished monster of Victor Frankenstein, illustrious throughout film, television, and other pieces of literature. Mary Shelley’s classic tells the story of a brilliant (and slightly mad) scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who fashions a creature out of old body parts and brings it to life. However, it doesn’t turn out to be the perfect being that Victor hoped to create. The context behind the novel is almost as fascinating as the story itself. Mary Shelley wrote the story as a dare from her husband’s friend Lord Byron. If you ask us, the emotional gothic thriller could only have been written by a woman who understands the potential horrors of creation.

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10 / 10

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep helped define the thriller genre and is one of the most celebrated novels of the twentieth century. It introduces Raymond Chandler’s rugged and heroic detective Philip Marlowe, a protagonist with the wits to rival the likes of Sherlock Holmes. Philip is called to the home of General Sternwood, a wealthy elderly gentleman whose daughter Carmen is being blackmailed by a bookseller. The plot has become notorious for its complexity and plot twists, and quickly spirals into the world of gambling, murder and Hollywood lowlife. Chandler’s literary style has won him a large following and the novel is highly acclaimed. You surely won’t be able to get to sleep until you have read the final page of this book.

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