Mystery and thriller books are great on their own but combine the two genres, and you get a masterpiece. As the big reveal looms, the suspense and thrill are feelings that no other genre can match. If you’re looking for your next chilling read, check out our list of the 16 best mystery thriller books.
Best Mystery Thriller Books
Mystery is a timeless genre that always keeps you guessing, while thrillers have you on the edge of your seat until the big twist.
Put the genres together, and you’ll find that mystery thriller books keep you up late into the night, turning page after page.
Below you’ll find a diverse selection that suits newcomers and longtime lovers of the genre alike.
The books on our list range from crime novels to murder mysteries, psychological thrillers to shocking tales. These gripping novels will keep you captivated until the final page.
Whether you’re hoping to solve a murder before the clock runs out or feel chills deep in your bones, we’ve got a book for you on this list of the best mystery thriller books.
16. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Starting off our list of the best mystery thriller books is The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. It has a 3.74 average rating on Goodreads across over 504,000 ratings.
As a writer for a travel magazine, Jo begins an adventure across the North Sea on a luxury cruise. Everything is wonderful, with a small crowd, extravagant parties, and lush cabins.
But when a storm hits, Lo can only watch as a woman is thrown overboard.
When Lo rushes to report what she’s seen, she finds that all passengers are accounted for. And despite Lo’s warnings that something is wrong, the ship continues its journey…
15. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express is the ninth book in Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot series, though you can read each as a standalone novel. It has a 4.20 average rating across over 518,000 readers on Goodreads.
The Orient Express is oddly full for this time of year, but that’s not what’s shocking.
After midnight, poor weather stops the famous train in its tracks. By morning, they find a passenger dead in his compartment.
Luckily, Hercule Poirot happens to be one of the passengers. With the train at a standstill, Poirot must determine which of the isolated passengers is the murderer before they strike again.
14. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Looking for a captivating mystery thriller? The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave has a 3.88 average rating across nearly 567,000 ratings on Goodreads.
When her husband Owen disappears, Hannah finds a note asking her to protect his sixteen-year-old daughter.
But as the cops arrest the wrong man and FBI agents arrive on her doorstep, Hannah discovers that her husband is not the man she thought he was.
But his daughter might hold the key to his secrets.
13. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Next on our list of the best mystery thriller books is a YA favourite. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus has a 3.99 average on Goodreads across nearly 611,000 readers.
One Monday afternoon, five students are wrongly given detention. Only four of them make it out alive.
The outcast, Simon, is dead, and it wasn’t an accident. On Tuesday, he had planned to post the ultimate reveal about all four of his detention-mates. But he didn’t make it that far.
All four classmates are suspects. They all have secrets they’re hiding. Would they kill to protect them, or are they the perfect distraction for an anonymous killer on the loose?
12. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List by Lucy Foley has a 3.85 average across over 678,000 ratings on Goodreads.
A beautiful wedding is taking place on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. It’s luxurious and expensive, yet there’s no cell service.
It’s utterly perfect, but perfection never lasts.
As champagne trays make their rounds, jealousy breeds, and intoxication grows. Friends give bad toasts, bridesmaids ruin dresses, and drinking games begin.
Then someone finds a body.
11. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
If you’re looking for a book that will chill you to the bone, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is for you. It has a 4.01 average rating on Goodreads with nearly 870,000 ratings.
Camille is a reporter who must return to her small hometown on assignment. She is to cover the murder of one girl and the disappearance of another.
She hasn’t seen or spoken with her family in years. But now that she’s back in her childhood bedroom, Camille begins to realize she identifies with the victims.
To get the story, she must face her troubling past and the demons that lurk there.
10. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Kicking off our top ten best mystery thriller books is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This popular novel turned TV show has a 4.30 average across over 902,000 ratings on Goodreads.
Madeline is fun to be around, which makes it easy to forget that she remembers every slight and never forgives.
Celeste holds the kind of beauty that makes you long to be her, but her perfection comes at a cost.
Jane is a young mother who brings a mysterious past and sadness beyond her years to a new town.
All these women are on different paths that will inevitably collide. Someone is dead, but was it a tragic accident or something far worse?
9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This YA mystery thriller will have you questioning everything. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart has a 3.72 average rating on Goodreads with nearly 928,000 ratings.
A distinguished family owns a private island where a chilling secret grows.
Four friends destroy their friendship. An accident occurs. A revolution begins.
There are many liars, there are two people in love, but there is only one truth.
8. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
It wouldn’t be a list of the best mystery thriller books without And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It has a 4.28 average across over 1.128 million readers on Goodreads.
Ten strangers receive an invite to visit a private island for the weekend. None of them know the millionaire who’s invited them.
The strangers have nothing in common except the dark and wicked secrets they keep.
All over the mansion, a framed poem tells the tale of ten men who died in mysterious ways. The strangers don’t think anything of it until the first of them turns up dead.
Will anyone make it off the private island alive?
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Dan Brown‘s mystery thrillers never fail to build suspense. The Da Vinci Code has a 3.89 average on Goodreads with over 2.188 million ratings.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives a call in the dead of night to investigate the murder of the curator at the Louvre.
His body is covered in strange symbols that lead Langdon to clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci.
The curator was not only part of a secret society but also guarded a historical secret. Langdon must solve the puzzle to save an ancient truth before it is lost forever.
6. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides hides a shocking plot twist within its pages. It has a 4.17 average with over 1.222 million ratings on Goodreads.
Alicia has the perfect life. She is a famous painter, and her husband is a popular fashion photographer. She lives in a big, beautiful house and seems to have it all.
But one night, her husband returns home late, and Alicia shoots him five times. She never speaks again.
The lack of motive and her refusal to talk turns this tragedy into a murder the public won’t stop talking about. As the price for her art rises, Alicia finds herself in a secure forensic unit.
Theo is a psychotherapist who is determined to get Alicia to talk. He wants all her secrets, but the truth isn’t always easy to hear.
5. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Verity by Colleen Hoover has a hold on social media’s literary world. With its twists and terrible truths, it has a 4.41 average rating across over 1.280 million readers on Goodreads.
Lowen is a struggling writer who is given the ultimate writing opportunity. Jeremy Crawford hires her to write the remaining books in his injured wife’s bestselling thriller series.
Verity Crawford’s novels are famous for how they’re written from the villain’s perspective. But as Lowen sorts through Verity’s outlines, she uncovers an autobiography more chilling than any of Verity’s fiction novels.
The manuscript contains pages of admissions, including exactly what happened the day Verity’s daughter died.
Lowen knows she should keep this all a secret. But as her feelings for Jeremy grow, she realizes the benefit of showing him the manuscript.
After all, no husband could remain devoted to his injured wife after reading such hideous truths.
4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has a 3.95 average rating with over 2.599 million ratings on Goodreads.
Rachel takes the same train every day. She knows all the stops by heart, but her favourite is the signal overlooking some back gardens.
To pass the time, she imagines what life is like for the couple who lives there. She envisions that they’re happy in their perfect lives. Rachel wishes she was that happy.
But when she witnesses something shocking, everything changes. Rachel now has the chance to integrate herself into their lives.
Now they’ll see there’s more to her than the girl on the train.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
One of our top three best mystery thriller books is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It has a 4.11 average rating on Goodreads across over 2.753 million readers.
Nick’s wife goes missing on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, and he is the main suspect.
Amy’s friends say she feared him. He knows she kept secrets, but he promises he loves her more than anything.
The police find strange searches on his computer, but he swears they’re not his. Not to mention, his phone is constantly buzzing with calls.
What really happened to Nick’s wife?
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson has a 4.16 average rating with over 2.959 million ratings.
Years after the disappearance of Harriet, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, her uncle still searches for the truth.
He hires Mikael and Lisbeth, a journalist and a prodigy, to investigate. What they find is corruption and secrets like no other.
1. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
At the top of our list of the best mystery thriller books is Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. It has a 3.93 average rating with over 3.001 million ratings on Goodreads.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon must investigate the death of a murdered physicist. The odd symbol seared onto his chest leads Langdon to discover a vendetta against the Catholic Church.
Langdon will do what it takes to save the Vatican. He must traverse catacombs, crypts, and tunnels to find the most secretive vault in the world.
A vault that’s hidden deep in the Illuminati lair.
Summary for Best Mystery Thriller Books
There’s a little something for everyone on our list of the 16 best mystery thriller books. Whether you’re looking for shocking plot twists or bone-chilling tales, we’ve got the book for you.
We hope you found a new read or two to add to your reading list!
Looking for more great book recommendations?
Check out our list of the best Agatha Christie books.