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Top 10 Thriller Books

Updated on November 25, 2015

The best thriller writers tend to have written several great novels, in the genre. I have decided for my: top 10 thriller books ever list, I will only allow one book per great author.

And Then There Were None

This masterpiece of suspense was written by Agatha Christie, it also goes by the name: Ten little Indians.

In the novel ten people, who don't know each other, are lured to an island. There their unseen host accuses them of having committed serious crimes.

The guests start dieing one by one as they desperately try to unmask their captor. This novel is one of my personal favorite nail-bitters.


Watchers is one of those Dean Koontz books which one can read again and again. It has everything that makes his books great: characters tortured by terrible childhood secrets, a government experiment gone wrong and redemption through love and hope.

The main theme of Watchers is loyalty. Regardless of your literary preferences you will enjoy how the subject is explored, in this book.

The Silence of the Lambs

Nobody who has seen the movie, can read about agent Starling without thinking about Jodie Foster or read about Lector without hearing Anthony Hopkins's spooky voice.

I don't think seeing the movie takes anything away from the experience of reading the book. In many ways the book is superior to the movie and for that reason the movie did not spoil the book for me.

The Oath

The Oath is a supernatural thriller based on the Christian belief system. I don't think the book was meant to be taken too literally. The writer uses symbolism both frequently and well.

The characters while flawed are likable and once the writer has you caring about the characters it sucks you in. Without giving anything away, I found the ending very satisfying.

Transfer of Power

Vince Flynn is the master of the political thriller. In Transfer of Power he writes about the threat of terrorist attacks on the USA and a secret government agency setup to eliminate terrorists.

In Transfer of Power Flynn portrays politicians in general and Democrats in particular as greedy, shortsighted and cowardly.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles is arguably the best Sherlock Holmes thriller. The main theme of the book is the victory of logic over superstition.

The novel is set on a British estate. The previous owner 'Sir Charles' has been murdered and Holmes must solve the case before the same fate befalls the new owner 'Sir Henry'.

Instruments of Night

Instruments of Night is a crime thriller filled with twists and turns. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the story takes an unexpected turn.

In the book a writer named Graves investigates crimes. He is driven by the murder of his own sister years ago.

Along Came a Spider

Along Came a Spider is an action packed, fast moving crime thriller.

Alex Cross is a lead detective with the Washington Police Department. He is also a psychologist. When a politicians son is kidnapped Alex Cross is called on to find the boy.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This international bestseller is set in Sweden. It gives you a glimpse of the Swedish culture, which I found interesting. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in a trilogy, so if you want more you can find it.

The writer has some fun and quirky characters and he does get the most out of them.

The main theme of the book is that of shocking sexual violence, mostly against women but not excluding men.

The Shack

This thriller deals with God, so not for the religious.

The story is that of a father name MacKenzie Phillips who took his children camping, one of them disappears. A man who has kidnapped and killed children before is blamed. Mack struggles with his marriage and faith, after this terrible event. One day, he receives a note in his mailbox inviting him back to shack where his daughter's bloodstained clothes where found. The note indicates that it was written by God.

If you enjoyed top 10 thriller books you should also read top 10 books to read before you die and top 10 books for teenage girls.

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    • brianjanuary profile image


      5 years ago

      Good list! I would add james Rollins, Andy McDermott, and Matthew Reilly!

    • sassymomonthego profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      You mentioned two of my fave authors--Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I love them and won't get tired reading novels by them

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Along Came a Spider is one of my favourite books! I read the book after watching the movie and it was brilliant.

    • Traci Green profile image

      Traci Green 

      7 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I like the throwback. I think I need to check out Instruments of Night

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Where is "The Day of the jackal" and "An eye of the needle"?!!???!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I highly suggest The Brain Vault (or anything, for that matter) by Lawrence Kelter. He's got a great thriller series going...

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      dan brown is a must in thriller.

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 

      7 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a very good read, I think, keeping you on your toes or the edge of your seat from beginning till end

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      think so even bourne series is my opinion excellent..............

    • profile image

      Yumi Hanes 

      8 years ago

      No DAN BROWN book in the top 10 thriller novels? Either I don't know what "THRILLER" means OR these guys have not read the Robert Langdon series (the other two novels are crap, to be honest!)Which one is it?

    • DLSavage profile image


      8 years ago

      I'd totally forgotten about "The Watchers". It was really good. All of the Hannibal Lector novels are great reads. And I remember reading "Ten Little Indians" in a single sitting.

    • Jaynie2000 profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for another good book. I agree with Jemel that Angels and Demons was a great book, but everyone has their own opinion. I'll have to check out some of your suggestions.

    • profile image

      Jemel Graceson 

      8 years ago

      Dude,You 've got some serious problems.where is Angels and Demons????????????That book is one of the best i have ever read!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hey i have never read any of books on thriller and ur books also but doing the english project on topics thriller i saw some people's comment and it really inspired me so i am going to read your book soon specially "silence of the lambs".

    • profile image

      K.D Gebremariam 

      8 years ago

      really, really inspiring books, and most of them got a motion picture deal: that's makes even more readable. thank you. And maybe one day my book will be among this collection.

    • jGaunt profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London

      Ye, I loved the Andromedia Strain 2. Very scary how the writer tells it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      what about The Andromedia Strain by Michael Crichton? That book is amazing!

    • profile image

      Dabhade A. 

      8 years ago

      Just finished reading my novel, Sherlock Holmes and was glad to find a list of good thrillers. I will surely add these books in my reading list.

    • profile image

      Will S. 

      8 years ago

      Great list! Love all of these books, especially The Silence of the Lambs, And Then There Were None, & The Shack; the only thing I'd add is that The Shack is definitely for Christians too, there were actually a lot of churches that recommended it to the public & supported its publication, it renders a different perspective and brings a lot of provoking thought for readers regardless of faith; still love all of these books on the list!

    • Christi79 profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      I had just finished reading a book and was looking for something interesting to read next. Your list has supplied me with some great suggestions. Thanks!

    • anandpokar profile image


      8 years ago

      One book I think is a nice addition to this fantastic list is Pop-splat, by South African author Ian Martin.

      "This book is dedicated to the youth, in the hope they will reject the crappy values of their parents." So begins Martin's brave crime thriller and social satire.

      It is one of the few books I've ever read that really made me think and completely changed my view of society and how the world operates. Surprising, given the deceptively simple story: a wealthy businessman is murdered in yet another Johannesburg hijacking. Matt Dreyer, the disturbed son, thinks something fishy is on the go and decides to investigate. This precipitates a violent, over-the-top but also funny hell-ride across the country.

      Sure, the narrative is entertaining and the book is easy to read as it's saturated with sick humour and violence. But on another level it is jam-packed with ideas that give substance to a lot of the action. Martin challenges everything from SUV drivers to religious fanatics to private schools and overpopulation. A lot of the ideas are subtly blended into the action in a comical way. For instance, Martin attacks snobbish art connoisseurs, calling a Madonna and Child painting 'Prostitute with baboon fetus.'

      In short, Ian Martin's third novel is a highly entertaining thriller that deftly blends crime and violence together with satire and social commentary. A refreshing must-read for anyone brave enough to have their emotions and their intellect thoroughly stimulated.

      The first chapter, excerpts and reviews are available at

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great selection of books. James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Agatha Christie are all top knotch. I will definitely be trying The Shack. Thanks.

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      8 years ago from NJ, USA

      Some great books here - The Shack was very good and I loved "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and the sequel - there's one more I believe but sadly the author passed away!

    • jGaunt profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London

      I liked silence of the lambs. Was even scarier than the movie, for me.

    • askjanbrass profile image


      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Agatha Christie! I'm very glad to see her book atop this list. I quite enjoy reading thrillers myself, but "And Then There Were None" is such a classic. Do you have a favorite out of those listed?


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