10 of the Best Crime and Thriller Novels; books you might want to try!

Great Books in a Great Genre

Crime/Thrillers are one of my favourite types of novel, and have been ever since I was a teenager (or before if you count the Hardy Boys or the Three Investigators, but that's for a different article!). Other genres come and go as my interest shifts, but I always come back to crime and thrillers. Here's my personal Top 10, highly subjective obviously, but hopefully there'll be some books of interest on the list for everyone interested in the genre.

So many great crime and thriller books, these are my picks.
So many great crime and thriller books, these are my picks. | Source

Top 10

  1. 'Killing Floor' by Lee Child. This is the author's first book, and still his best. In introduces Jack Reacher, a maverick ex-military cop, who decides to travel round America after he leaves the military. In this book he ends up in a small town in Georgia where he immediately gets arrested and thrown in jail for a murder he didn't, and couldn't have, committed. Written in the first person, this is an extraordinary first novel. Very violent and gruesome in places, but if you don't mind that you should love this book.
  2. 'The Poet' by Michael Connelly. This is Michael Connelly's breakthrough novel, and a break from his usual Harry Bosch books. It follows reporter Jack McEvoy on the hunt for a multiple killer.
  3. 'Kane and Abel' by Jeffrey Archer. Here in the UK Jeffrey (Lord) Archer gets a bit of a bad press, particularly from literary types. Literary masterpieces his books they may be not, but what they are as a gripping and page turning a thriller as any you'll find. This is the story of two men who have completely different backgrounds, one priviliged, one the opposite, but eventually they build up their respective business empires and become arch rivals, even enemies. Hard to beat.
  4. 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' by Agatha Christie. Dame Agatha's books are light on characterisation and plot, but very clever and detailed. This one is one of the cleverest of them all, with a great plot twist. If you read just one Agatha Christie, make it this one (and it's so short, it won't take long).
  5. 'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold' by John Le Carre. Well you've got to have at least one Cold War spy thriller on a list like this, and this is a true classic with many imitators.
  6. 'The Day After Tomorrow' by Allan Folsom. Totally gripping thriller. It is 800ish pages long, but spread through my family like wildfire until we'd all read it, even the ones that hardly ever read.
  7. 'Hostage' by Robert Crais. This was made into a reasonably decent film starring Bruce Willis, but the book is much better.
  8. 'The Falls' by Ian Rankin - I could have picked up any in his Rebus series, but this one stands out perhaps because it is the first one I read. British Crime at its best.
  9. 'A is for Alibi' by Sue Grafton - the first of the Alphabet Murders books by Sue Grafton, featuring private eye Kinsey Milhone. If you like this, you'll enjoy working your way through the alphabet!
  10. 'The Winner' by David Baldacci. He's a great thriller writer and I like nearly all of his books, but I just love the concept behind this one, very unusual.

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Comments 6 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

You have some of my favorite authors on this list. I love the Jack Reacher character by Lee Child; I also love Crais and Balducci. I'll have to give a couple more of them a try thanks to this list. Great hub!


bdom7711 profile image

bdom7711 4 years ago

I'm extremely surprised I've only read one book from this list, The Poet. Thank you for the recommendations. Robert Ludlum is a personal favorite of mine.


nakmeister profile image

nakmeister 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK Author

billybuc, you obviously have good reading tastes! Lee Child is probably my favourite author. While he now lives in New York, he lived in a little village only a few miles away from where I live when he was writing his first book Killing Floor after being made redundant. He once said he named his character Reacher because he is very tall and used to regularly get asked by little old ladies to reach up for things off the top shelf when he was out doing his shopping. Once day soon after he lost his job and shopping in the local supermarket his wife said 'you could always get a career as a reacher here if nothing else turns up' and so began Jack Reacher. This was probably in my local supermarket, so it amuses me whenever I do my shopping to think that Jack Reacher was born right there!

bdom7711 I've never actually read any Robert Ludlum but should probably give him a go sometime, thanks.


jagerfoods profile image

jagerfoods 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA

I think I'm going to print this list off, only cross off two (already read), and that will be my wish list! Thanks for the list.


sassymomonthego profile image

sassymomonthego 4 years ago from Philippines

I love Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton. I have a huge collection of their novels. Actually, I bought all of Sue Grafton's Alphabet series from Alibi to Trespass. I may try a few of your recommendations, they seem interesting. Thanks to this post.


nakmeister profile image

nakmeister 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK Author

Glad you found some of my suggestions interesting - hope you enjoy if you do read them.

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