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.
- '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.
- '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.
- '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.
- '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).
- '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.
- '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.
- 'Hostage' by Robert Crais. This was made into a reasonably decent film starring Bruce Willis, but the book is much better.
- '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.
- '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!
- '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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