Top-100 Thrillers

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James M. Cain (1989) The Postman Always Rings Twice. (Reprint Ed.)

In 1934, Cain started a new genre: American noir fiction. It may be full of despair, sweltering greed, dark violence and raw sex, but the no-nonsense description of humanity heading towards destruction is impossible to resist. In his laconic style Cain tells the story of Frank, a tramp, who his attracted to Cora, the young wife of brutally violent Nick. When Frank and Cora start an affair behind her older man's back, the story is heading for disaster.

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David V. Canter (2000) Criminal Shadows. Inner Narratives of Evil.

David Canter, Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, England and former FBI forensic psychologist explains how to construct profiles of serial rapists and killers. Scholarly!

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Truman Capote (1994) In Cold Blood.

A masterpiece. Capote invented a new genre.

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Truman Capote (2006) In Cold Blood. [Audio Book]

Capote's spellbinding narrative explores the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland.

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David Carnov (2008) Knife Music.

The story of a 43-year-old surgeon and notorious womanizer struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl.

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Caleb Carr (2006) The Alienist.

Set in 1896, Carr's novel about a serial killer lose in New York City this unusual book is one of the classics of psychological crime fiction.

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John Dickson Carr (2002) The Hollow Man. (First published 1935)

Three brothers, jailed for bank robbery, fake their deaths and are buried alive. The one with the shovel in his coffin digs his way to freedom, then leaves his brothers in their graves. But they come come back at him. Also published under the title "The Three Coffins", this intricate murder set-up is probably the best novel of the master of classical locked room mysteries.

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John Case (1998) The Genesis Code.

P.I. Joe Lassiter is searching the murderer of his only sister and her son. As more victims pile up, the hunt leads Lassiter to an Italian fertility clinic, where a well-known physician practices artificial insemination - and possibly something more evil based on cloning. A desperate rural priest and a right-wing catholic sect also become involved in the plot that depicts some of the frightening possibilities of genetic engineering.

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Michael Chabon (2007) The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel.

The "Frozen Chosen" are living in a fictitious Alaskan homeland, as once suggested by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hard-drinking cop Meyer Landsman investigates the murder of his neighbor. Publishers Weekly called it a "murder-mystery speculative-history Jewish-identity noir chess thriller". The funniest novel of 2007 is filled with Yiddish jokes and dark humor.

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Raymond Chandler (1988) The Long Goodbye.

This is probably the best of Chandler's novels. His hero, P.I. Philip Marlowe, tries to help war veteran Terry Lennox, whose sex-obsessed wealthy wife has been murdered. This quickly gets Marlowe into trouble with cops and crazy gangsters. When Terry is also murdered, Marlowe becomes entangled in his friend's dirty family secrets. In his cynical and crisp prose Chandler delivered a gripping tale of moral corruption.

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