Top-200 Thrillers of All Time

1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-100 | 101-120

121-140 | 141-160 | 161-180 | 181-200

 
1

Truman Capote (1994)
In Cold Blood.
A masterpiece. Capote invented a new genre. Capote's spellbinding narrative explores the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland.

Truman Capote - In Cold Blood.

 
2

Ken Follett (1990)
The Pillars of the Earth.
This story of intrigue, power, revenge and betrayal chronicles the ups and downs in the life of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a Gothic cathedral in 12th century England. It is a time of tumultuous political and social change. Follett weaves human brutality, steamy sex scenes, deep religious faith, agony and glorious success into his epic historical novel.

 More ...

Ken Follett - Pillars of the Earth

 
3

Dashiell Hammett (1989)
The Maltese Falcon. (Reprint Ed.)
Archetypal tough guy, detective Sam Spade, risks his reputation by trying to help a beautiful young lady. As his partner gets killed Spade is suspected for murder. The story is a complex web of betrayal and deception, in which everyone tries to get the gold statuette of a falcon. Sam's masculine strength is refreshing in today's world of male insecurity. Also an excellent movie with Humphrey Bogart - but the book is better.

Dashiell Hammett - The Maltese Falcon. (Reprint Ed.)

 
4

Patricia Highsmith (2001)
Strangers on a Train. (First published 1950)
In her first novel published in 1950, Patricia Highsmith introduced the character of a subtle, murderous, sociopath who lives unsuspected for years. Highsmith's psycho-thriller was the source of a famous Alfred Hitchcock film in 1953. The book is one of the great classics of psychological crime fiction.

Patricia Highsmith - Strangers on a Train. (First published 1950)

 
5

Patricia Highsmith (1992)
The Talented Mr. Ripley. (First published 1955)
Patricia Highsmith wrote stories in which you almost physically feel the coming of a catastrophe. It is so unnerving that you might just want to throw away the book, because you can no longer stand the tension. But then you read on through the night. Don't get confused by the silly title or lousy cover. This is one of the best psycho-thrillers - ever!

Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley. (First published 1955)

 
6

Stieg Larsson (2008)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Publisher Mikael Blomkvist ran a story accusing a prominent Swedish business leader of corruption. But the story is exposed as fraud and Blomkvist faces jail. He temporarily retreats to a small island supposedly for writing another industry leader's biography, but is actually hired to solve a family mystery. This multi-layered mystery is one of the smartest thrillers in recent years.

Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

 
7

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.

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

 
8

Agatha Christie (2001)
And Then There Were None: A Novel. (First published in 1939)
Agatha Christie's version of the nursery rhyme is often considered the best mystery novel ever written. 10 strangers are trapped in an Indian island, where the sinister Mr. Owen is accusing them of murder. One by one is found dead, until ... (the resolution of the novel is very different from that of the movie versions).

Agatha Christie - And Then There Were None: A Novel. (First published in 1939)

 
9

Graham Greene (1991)
Our Man in Havana: An Entertainment. (First published in 1958)
Mr. Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of power brokers becomes a spy to earn extra income. This crisply written novel will drag you down with unbearable tension, while at the same time make you giggle with its satirical parodies and absurd plot. A masterpiece!

Graham Greene - Our Man in Havana: An Entertainment. (First published in 1958)

 
10

Stieg Larsson (2010)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Complex, satisfying, intelligent, extraordinary! Stieg Larsson's last thriller before his early death.

Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

 
11

John Le Carré (2005)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
In Le Carré's first masterpiece Alec Leamas, a British agent in early Cold War Berlin, is responsible for keeping the double agents under his care undercover and alive. When the East Germans start killing them, Leamas is sent deep into Communist territory to find out why. But nothing is quite what it seems. "The finest spy story ever written" (Graham Green).

John Le Carré - The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

 
12

Harper Lee (1988)
To Kill a Mocking Bird.
First published in 1960, the novel is a classic. It is set in Maycomb, a fictional representation of Monroeville, Alabama. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and within two years sold more than five million copies in 13 countries. Shame on you, if you have not read "the best novel of the century" (Library Journal).

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mocking Bird.

 
13

Dennis Lehane (2010)
Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel.
Private detectives Kenzie and Gennaro have gone to visit drug dealer Cheese in prison because they think he's involved in the kidnapping of 4-year-old Amanda McCready. In this absolutely gripping story Lehane delves again into Boston's crime underworld.

Dennis Lehane - Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel.

 
14

Ross Macdonald (1996)
The Drowning Pool. (First published in 1950)
Hard-boiled novel noir filled with sex, blackmail, deceit and murder. This is the second novel in Macdonalds Lew Archer series. Complex plot, combined with psychological depth, in economic prose.

Ross Macdonald - The Drowning Pool. (First published in 1950)

 
15

Henning Mankell (2004)
The Fifth Woman.
In one of the best thrillers of the Kurt Wallander series the Swedish detective is trying to cope with the death of his father, while he struggles to make sense of a series of seemingly unrelated, brutal killings in southern Sweden. He uncovers the ties that bind these murders to killings in Algeria, many years ago.

Henning Mankell - The Fifth Woman.

 
16

Ruth Rendell (2001)
The Lake of Darkness. (First published in 1976)
Martin Urban, a quiet bachelor, wins a large fortune at the football pools. As he decides to share his newfound wealth with those in need the disaster begins to unfold. The seemingly normal benefactors of Martin's altruistic impulses are vicious nut cases. His good intentions become fatally distorted. One of Rendell's best novels.

Ruth Rendell - The Lake of Darkness. (First published in 1976)

 
17

Josephine Tey (1995)
Daughter of Time. (First published in 1951)
While convalescing in a hospital bed, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant sees the portrait of Richard III. As he contemplates Shakespeare's depiction of the king as a bloodthirsty monster, who has murdered his two nephews, Grant has second thoughts. The detective begins to digs into historical documents - with surprising results. Has acquired cult status among thriller fans.

Josephine Tey - Daughter of Time. (First published in 1951)

 
18

Barbara Vine (1993)
A Dark-adapted Eye. (First published 1987)
Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, tells a gripping tale of family madness that keeps you guessing till the end.

Barbara Vine - A Dark-adapted Eye. (First published 1987)

 
19

Georges Simenon (2008)
The Widow
If I hadn't read Ticket of Leave (The Widow), I couldn't have written The Stranger (Albert Camus). A psychological masterpiece! Nasty and brutal.

Georges Simenon - The Widow

 
20

Jussi Adler-Olsen (2012)
The Absent One.
This mixture of Nordic noir and shrewd humour is certainly less depressing and more quirky than some of the other Scandinavian thrillers. A relentless ride of twisty puzzles!

Jussi Adler-Olsen - The Absent One.

 

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