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10 Best Crime Thriller Novels

Updated on December 4, 2016

The Popularity of Crime Thrillers

In recent years there has been a huge resurgence in the popularity of crime thriller novels and this means that they again are some of the most sought after books.

After reviewing hundreds of crime novels I have compiled this list of the 10 Best Crime Thriller Novels for you to read and enjoy.

Find a comfortable chair and be prepared to discover some really pulsating crime thrillers that you will not be able to put down and will keep reading until you reach the end.

Browse through the list and discover if any of these amazing crime thriller novels appeal to you.

Welcome to 10 Best Crime Thriller Novels

An Introduction To This List

If you are anything like me you will enjoy reading great crime thriller novels, in that case you are in for a real treat.

Listed below in reverse ranking order you will discover the very best crime thriller stories, all with personal reviews which will give you an insight of what each novel has to offer you.

Each of these crime thriller novels have been carefully reviewed and chosen because of their capacity to hold the attention of the reader until the story comes to its final end.

When you have finished browsing, please leave a comment and tell me what you think of these ten best crime thrillers

So without holding back anymore, here are the 10 Best Crime Thriller Novels.

#10 Best Crime Thriller Novel

The Devotion of Suspect X - Keigo Higashino

The Devotion of Suspect X
The Devotion of Suspect X

One of Japan’s best-selling crime novelists makes his American debut in an atmospheric thriller about a desperate woman, Yasuko, who, craving a peacefull life with her daughter, Misato, kills her abusive lout of an ex-husband. The next-door neighbor, Ishigami, helps hide the body and improvises a cover-up. When the body is eventually found, however, determined investigator Kusanagi, with the help of Dr. Yukawa, a physicist who knew Ishigami in college, senses that something is amiss with Yasuko’s story. A cat-and-mouse, Dostoevsky-like investigation ensues. Higashino explores just how far a relationship built on a terrible event can last.


#9 Best Crime Thriller Novel

Dead Scared - S J Bolton

Dead Scared (Lacey Flint Novels)
Dead Scared (Lacey Flint Novels)

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim?


#8 Best Crime Thriller Novel

The Burning Wire - Jeffrey Deaver

The Burning Wire
The Burning Wire

An explosion at a Manhattan electrical power substation that destroys a bus—followed by threats of much worse violence unless Algonquin Consolidated Power and Light meets virtually impossible demands. Forensic expert Rhyme takes charge of looking into the fatal blast, aided by his partner and sometime lover, field agent Amelia Sachs, among others. Rhyme is able to glean many clues from the scant trace evidence left by the elusive killer at the crime scene. Meanwhile, Rhyme is also staying in close touch with Mexican army and police commander Rodolfo Luna, who's tracking dangerous assassin Richard Logan (aka the Watchmaker) in Mexico City. The twin investigations take an increasingly dangerous toll on quadriplegic Rhyme's precarious physical health. Not even the brilliant Rhyme can foresee the shocking twists the case will take in this electrically charged thriller.


#7 Best Crime Thriller Novel

Relentless - Simon Kernick

Relentless (Tina Boyd)
Relentless (Tina Boyd)

John Meron, a happily married father of two, who’s never been in trouble, receives a phone call that will change his life forever. His friend, Jack Calley, a high-flying city lawyer, is screaming down the phone for help. As Meron listens, Calley is murdered. His last words, spoken to his killer, are the first two lines of Meron’s address. Confused and terrified, Meron scoops up his children and hurries out of the house. Just in time. Within minutes a car pulls up outside and three men get out. It’s clear that they’re coming for him. He’s being hunted and he has no idea why. And with his wife missing, an unidentified corpse in her office, and the police after him for murder, his life’s about to get one hell of a lot worse.


#6 Best Crime Thriller Novel

The Hypnotist - Lars Kepler

The Hypnotist: A Novel (Detective Inspector Joona Linna)
The Hypnotist: A Novel (Detective Inspector Joona Linna)

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.


What Makes A Crime Thriller Novel Great?

Well it is the combination of the plot, characters, locations and suspense and the fact that it can scare you to hell while still keeping you reading it.

Great crime thriller novels are compulsive page turners that make you miss your appointments or make you forget about your coffee because you are so involved in the plot.

Although these type of stories can be somewhat macabre they have the tendency to enthrall and captivate the reader.

#5 Best Crime Thriller Novel

The Rosary Girls - Richard Montanari

The Rosary Girls: A Novel (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne)
The Rosary Girls: A Novel (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne)

Sprawling beneath the statue of William Penn, Philadelphia is a city of downtrodden crack houses and upscale brownstones. Somewhere in this concrete crazy quilt, one teenage Catholic girl is writing in her diary, another is pouring her heart out to a friend, and yet another is praying. And somewhere in this city is a man who wants these young women to make his macabre fantasy become reality. In a passion play of his own, he will take the girls–and a whole city–over the edge. Kevin Byrne is a veteran cop who already knows that edge: He’s been living on it far too long. His marriage failing, his former partner wasting away in a hospital, and his heart lost to mad fury, A rookie partner. Jessica Balzano, the daughter of a famous Philly cop, doesn’t want Byrne’s help. But they will need each other desperately, since they’ve just caught the case of a lifetime: Someone is killing devout young women, bolting their hands together in prayer, and committing an abomination upon their otherwise perfect bodies.


#4 Best Crime Thriller Novel

Private - James Patterson


Former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily--and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases. Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.


#3 Best Crime Thriller Novel

61 Hours - Lee Child

61 Hours (Jack Reacher)
61 Hours (Jack Reacher)

A bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses. Reacher’s original plan was to keep on moving. But the next 61 hours will change everything. The secrets are deadlier and his enemies are stronger than he could have guessed—but so is the woman he’ll risk his life to save.


The Last Two

OK, you have already discovered eight fantastic crime thriller novels and we are now down to the last two in this list.

Any ideas of which crime thriller novels they might be?

Go on have a guess, it will not be a crime if you get them right.

#2 Best Crime Thriller Novel

Dangerous Lady - Martina Cole

Dangerous Lady
Dangerous Lady

A story that delves into the gang ridden underbelly of British society. Grittingly realistic, it follows one family who build from poverty to establish themselves as one of the most prominant gangs in London. Set in an era when the lifestyles followed by the family were rife throughout large portions of England, the story captures the internal struggles within and gives insight into the different minds at work behind gang warfare. A topic that would have been easy to over dramatise and even easier to glorify is treated with care, graphically detailing the torture and psychological problems born out of such a lifestyle. A wonderful read, gripping from the start and never letting up in intensity throughout.


#1 Best Crime Thriller Novel

Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers
Faceless Killers

It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments. Wallander quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.


A Few Words From Your Reviewer

Ever since I grew up I have loved to read any book that has a crime thriller story. You have just had the opportunity to explore my reviews and recommendations of these 10 Best Crime Thriller Novels. I do hope that it has provided you with the details that you were seeking so that you can make your choice of the next crime thriller novel that you will be reading.

Remember To Lock The Door Before You Go To Bed, You Never Know Who Might Be Out There

What Is Your Favorite Crime Thriller Novel?

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    • profile image

      joan-hill-56 3 years ago

      I love the Mark Billingham books it keeps you guessing right to the end, I can not put his books down once I start reading them .

      I have not seen any books here in Australia for ages , every time I go into a book shop I search but none are in the shop except one I have read a couple of years ago what has happened to him ??????

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I wonder what the difference is between Crime thrillers and Murder Mysteries?

    • profile image

      jamesgod 4 years ago

      I love the Lars Kepler books!

    • superaffman lm profile image

      superaffman lm 4 years ago

      Great list :) My favorite is 61 hours, Lee Child. his books are all so good. Maybe, I'll give faceless killers a read. thanks for a great list!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Here are some names I recognize. Fun list with some new ones to check out. Love Lee Child's books, and Henning Mankell as well. Patterson's Private series has been entertaining as well. No Michael Connelly? Also a big fan of Robert Crais, especially Suspect!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Double Mayhem by Sam Berretti - an action thriller romance

    • LaughingLady LM profile image

      Helen Phillips Cockrell 4 years ago from Virginia

      I tend to read by author and I like anything by Lee Child and Tami Hoag.

    • jamesdesalvo lm profile image

      jamesdesalvo lm 4 years ago

      Flood by Andrew Vachss. Or most anything by him.

    • Golfman7 profile image

      Golfman7 5 years ago

      Lee Child. A Wanted Man

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Anything by Zoe Sharp or Lee Childs is great with me.

    • profile image

      DurgaLakshmi07 5 years ago

      I like dan brown books.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      digital fortress by dan brown

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      Anything by James Ellroy...'Black Dahlia', 'L.A. Confidential', 'Big Nowhere'...

    • sehian2 profile image

      sehian2 5 years ago

      You need some Harlan Coben in this list!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      My favourite author is Stieg Larsson. I think you could call his books crime thrillers. It's just such a shame he died so young.