There’s something so satisfying about getting to the climax of a thriller novel. With so much suspense and mystery, letting the revelations unfold is always exciting. Whether you enjoy the thrill or want to solve the mystery before the reveal, we’ve got a book for you on our list of the 15 best thriller books.
15 Best Thriller Books
Horror novels seek to horrify, terrify, and disgust the reader with dark and edgy themes. It’s designed to make you jump and triple-check that your doors are locked.
On the other hand, thrillers often have complicated plots, twists and turns, and sometimes a little bit of action. They always build to a climax with a shocking revelation and thrill, and there’s usually an air of mystery as well.
Ready to dive into our list of the 15 best thriller books? We guarantee that the books below can build suspense and raise goosebumps.
15. Deception Point by Dan Brown
Starting off our list of the best thriller books is Deception Point by Dan Brown. It has a 3.74 average rating on Goodreads with over 640,000 ratings.
When a NASA satellite discovers a rare object deep in the Arctic ice, it’s cause for celebration. To verify its authenticity, Rachel Sexton makes her way to the Arctic, accompanied by scholar Michael Tolland.
But when Rachel arrives, she discovers that there’s deception afoot that could trigger worldwide controversy. The team must notify the president, but a group of assassins ambushes them before they can.
They must run for their lives and hope to survive the desolate landscape in order to discover who is behind the deception.
14. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Looking for a book full of twists? The Guest List by Lucy Foley is told from multiple points of view and has a 3.85 average rating across over 664,000 users on Goodreads.
A wedding is taking place on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. The cell phone service isn’t great, but the wedding is beautiful.
The perfect wedding begins to fray as resentments flare, drinking games get out of hand, and uncomfortable toasts are given.
But everything comes to a halt when someone finds the body.
13. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Next on our list of the best thriller books is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It has a 3.95 average across over 674,000 ratings on Goodreads.
Libby was only seven when her fifteen-year-old brother was sent to prison after allegedly massacring three family members.
And when a group of people who want to prove his innocence contact Libby, she begins to question what she remembers about that night.
As Libby begins diving into her family’s secrets to uncover what really happened that night, she finds that everyone in her family has something to hide.
But if it wasn’t her brother who massacred their family… who was it?
12. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Looking for a page-turner? The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is full of suspense. It has a 3.96 average on Goodreads across over 669,000 ratings.
Anna is unable to leave her home due to crippling PTSD. To make the hours pass, she spies on her neighbors.
When the Russells move across from her, she imagines them to be the perfect family. But when she witnesses something she shouldn’t have, secrets are unveiled, and danger lurks around the corner.
Is it her imagination? Is it real? Nothing is what it seems.
11. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The second Gillian Flynn novel on our list of best thriller books is Sharp Objects. It has a 4.01 average rating across over 867,000 ratings on Goodreads.
Camille Preaker is back in her hometown to cover the disappearance of a girl and the unsolved murder of another.
She has avoided this place for years and has hardly spoken to her mother or half-sister. But now she’s back in her childhood bedroom and is finding she identifies with the victims more than she should.
To learn the truth, she must unravel her past, face her demons, and uncover the story.
10. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Everyone is familiar with the Jurassic Park film franchise, but did you know the first two movies are based on a book written by Michael Crichton? It has a 4.07 average rating across over 889,000 Goodreads users.
With the ability to recover and clone dinosaur DNA, the deadly and long-extinct creatures roam the Earth once again in Jurassic Park.
Everyone around the world is welcome to come and visit. It’s a sight to behold… until everything goes wrong.
9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
It wouldn’t be a list of the best thriller books without And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It has a 4.28 average across over 1.11 million readers on Goodreads.
When an unknown millionaire invites ten strangers to his private island for the weekend, no one declines the invitation. They have nothing in common except the dark secrets they hide.
Around the mansion, in frames, and on walls is a dark and twisted nursery rhyme, but no one thinks anything of it until the murders it describes start coming true.
Who is the mastermind behind this plan? Will anyone survive, or will the pattern continue until the rhyme ends and no one is left alive?
8. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
If you love a shocking thriller, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is for you. It has a 4.17 average rating across 1.19 million Goodreads users.
Alicia has a perfect life. She’s a famous painter, married to a fashion photographer, and lives in a big, beautiful house. But one night, Alicia shoots her husband to death, then never speaks again.
Her refusal to talk has turned her into a mystery and phenomenon, so they hide her away in a secure forensic unit.
Criminal psychologist Theo Faber is interested in working with Alicia and is determined to make her talk. But his questions breed answers that make him look to himself, uncovering a truth that could consume him.
7. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Verity by Colleen Hoover is a much-loved thriller in the book community. It has a 4.42 rating across 1.19 million ratings on Goodreads.
Verity Crawford, a famous thriller author, is unable to complete her current series after a tragic accident leaves her severely injured. Lowen is a struggling writer, and when asked to ghostwrite, she doesn’t refuse.
When Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through Verity’s outlines, she doesn’t expect to find an unfinished manuscript full of terrible revelations and admissions she knows Verity never intended anyone to learn.
She’s even written a detailed rundown of what really happened the day her daughter drowned.
Lowen knows she shouldn’t show the manuscript to Jeremy, Verity’s husband. But with Lowen’s feelings growing, she imagines that even a man as dedicated as Jeremy couldn’t love his wife after reading what she’s done.
6. The Shining by Stephen King
No list of the best thriller books would be complete without The Shining by Stephen King. It has a 4.25 average rating on Goodreads with over 1.32 million ratings.
Jack is the off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. It gives him a fresh start, free time to write, and the ability to reconnect with his family.
But when winter blows to town, the old hotel feels more sinister than beautiful. And Five-year-old Danny is the only other person to notice the strange darkness surrounding the hotel.
5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Mystery and thriller go hand-in-hand in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, with a 3.89 average rating across 2.18 million readers on Goodreads.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is called to the Louvre after the curator is found dead and covered in symbols. As Robert and cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the riddles, they find clues in Leonardo da Vinci’s work.
With the knowledge that the curator was involved in a secret society, Langdon must decipher the puzzle while avoiding those who seek to harm him. If he can’t protect this shocking historical secret, it will be lost forever.
4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Next on our list of best thriller books is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It has a 3.95 average across 2.59 million ratings on Goodreads.
Rachel takes the same train every day. She knows its stops by heart, but she loves when the train waits at the signal overlooking the back gardens of a specific home.
She imagines the couple that own this home is perfect and wishes she could be as happy as they are. Until one day, she witnesses something she shouldn’t have, and everything changes.
This revelation is what Rachel needed to integrate herself into their lives. Now they’ll know her as more than the girl on the train, and she can be just as perfect as they are.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is Gillian Flynn’s most popular thriller novel with a 4.11 average rating across over 2.74 million ratings on Goodreads.
On the morning of Nick’s fifth wedding anniversary, his wife disappears, and he is the main suspect.
Amy’s friends say she was afraid of him, but he swears it isn’t true. His computer is full of strange searches, which he denies are his.
What happened to his wife?
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is one of the best thriller books out there, with a 4.16 average rating on Goodreads across over 2.95 million ratings.
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger, a scion of a wealthy Swedish family, disappeared. Despite the years, her uncle still seeks the truth.
He hires journalist Mikael Blomkvist and a mysterious tattooed woman named Lisbeth Salander. Together they uncover shocking corruption and unimaginable secrets.
1. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
At the top of our list of best thriller books is Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. It has a 3.93 rating across over 2.99 million readers on Goodreads.
When a cryptic symbol is seared into the chest of a murdered physicist, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is called to investigate.
When he uncovers a dangerous vendetta against the Catholic Church by the Illuminati, Langdon must solve this puzzle as quickly as possible. If he can’t, the Vatican will fall to a powerful time bomb.
They will solve clues, hunt through crypts, and investigate catacombs on their way to the lair of the Illuminati.
Summary for the Best Thriller Books
To recap, here’s a look at our list of best thriller books:
- Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- The Shining by Stephen King
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley
- Deception Point by Dan Brown
Whether you’re a fan of the thriller genre or are looking to pick up your first book, you can’t go wrong with any of the novels on our list of the best thriller books. From murder mystery to historical fiction, we’ve included a little bit of everything.
We hope you’ve found a thriller book (or five) to add to your to-be-read pile!