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My Favourite Modern Thriller Writers

Updated on May 5, 2018

My favourite modern thriller authors

I love a good read. I'll read most genres of fiction, but my favourite by far is the thriller genre. I really enjoy getting hooked on a story full of intrigue, action and a good hero to root for. There are many thriller writers out there currently, some extremely famous and successful, others less so. On this lens I want to share with you some of my favourites.

Photo courtesy of Pegship - wikimedia commons

Lee Child
Lee Child

Lee Child

My absolute favourite author currently, Lee Child's books leave me incapable of putting them down. All of Child's books revolve around Jack Reacher, a 6'5", 220 pound former military policeman in the U.S. army.

For me, the character of Reacher is the main reason Child's books are so enjoyable. As a big man, and a trained m.p., Reacher is fully capable of handling himself when needs be and the books are full of situations where he takes on various thugs and bad guys. I like the way Child tells us what is going on in Reacher's head as these incidents occur, explaining the reasoning behind Reacher attacking a particular member of an opponent gang first or going in with a head-butt instead of a punch etc. It really helps to elevate his books above a lot of the competition.

As well as being a physical threat, Reacher is also extremely intelligent and uses his honed detective skills from his military police days to aid him in solving problems and ultimately saving the day. He really is an all-round super hero.

The plots of Child's books are strong and the supporting characters are generally well thought out. I enjoy trying to solve the mysteries of the books alongside Reacher, trying to deduce the facts before he can.

The Reacher books can be read in any order (the first one I read was 'Without Fail'), but if you can read them in order this will help as there are sometimes links back to other stories.

Photo of Lee Child courtesy of Mark Coggins - wikimedia commons

'Jack Reacher' Trailer

'One Shot' was recently made into a film called 'Jack Reacher' starring Tom Cruise. Check out the trailer here.

Matt Hilton
Matt Hilton

Matt Hilton

Matt Hilton, like Lee Child, is a British author writing American style thrillers. His books all feature Joe Hunter, an English counter-terrorism soldier now working as a private detective/vigilante/one man army in the U.S..

Hunter is a similar type of hero to Jack Reacher, capable of some serious action and violence, but intelligent and thoughtful of his actions. Hilton's books usually feature some demonic bad guy or gang (often fairly Bond villain-esque) threatening a woman or family and Hunter coming in to save the day.

Although not as well written or as strongly plotted out as the Reacher books, Hilton's books are similarly difficult to put down once you start and the story always rattles along at a fast pace.

I recommend starting at the beginning with Dead Men's Dust and working through the books in order, as Hilton regularly makes references to earlier stories, which aren't necessarily book spoilers, but do give away some good bits when read in the wrong order.

Visit my review of Matt Hilton's Rules of Honour for more.

Photo of Matt Hilton courtesy of

Tess Gerritsen
Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen

One of the best selling authors on the planet now, I always eagerly await her next novel. A physician and former anthropology student, Gerritsen started her writing career writing romance, but it was when she switched her interests to writing thrillers that her career truly kicked off.

Her first thriller was 'Harvest' in 1996 and she first introduced her popular characters Rizzoli and Isles in the 2001 book 'The Surgeon'. Rizzoli and Isles have featured in a further 9 books as well as a spin-off tv series.

One of the reasons I enjoy Gerritsen's books so much is the way she brings her physician experience to life in the murder mysteries. The character Dr Maura Isles is a medical examiner working alongside cop Jane Rizzoli and the autopsies are described vividly.I also enjoy the mystery of the stories. The plots run like good old fashioned mystery novels, but brought up to date with some excellent ideas and twists. The characters are strong and well rounded. I love the way Rizzoli is so tough and tomboy-ish on the outside, but her softer, emotional side is well explored without getting in the way of the stories.

I would strongly recommend Tess Gerritsen to anybody who doesn't mind a bit of blood and gore in their reading.

Photo of Tess Gerritsen courtesy of Jacob Gerritsen - wikimedia commons

Sam Bourne

I first came across Sam Bourne when his first book 'The Righteous Men' was advertised as one of Richard and Judy's books of choice. I got hold of a copy and loved it from the first chapter. Bourne's books have all the conspiracy theory and adventure of a Dan Brown book, but in my opinion, with a much better standard of writing and without the clunking dialogue that Brown is often prone to.

Bourne's other books are equally good reads; I especially enjoyed Pantheon, a story set during the Second World War about an Oxford don returning home one day to find his wife and child missing, and not a clue as to where they've gone.

If you like Dan Brown's stories, you won't be disappointed with Sam Bourne.


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