A good crime or psychological thriller will keep the heart rate up, the pages turning and the reader engaged, meaning they can get some well-earned respite from the real world outside.
However, with this being one of the most sought-after genres, that does mean that the finding the perfect book or two can be difficult, particularly if you’re not clued up on specific authors. So, with that in mind, we've curated some of the best thrillers from some of the world's most renowned authors to buy online from Amazon and eBay.
A recommendation service that carefully researches each product and consults with experts across many disciplines. We are constantly creating new content to provide the best shopping experience from choosing ‘cosmetics’ to ‘food and drink’, ‘home appliances’ to ‘kids and baby’ products, reaching users all across the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
The first factor to consider is whether you’re looking to go for fiction or non-fiction. Luckily, both are just as enthralling, exciting and interesting. When it comes to this genre, it would be fair to say that fiction usually contains higher-stake outcomes and you’re much more likely to have things tied up at the end for you. The characters are also made to be empathised with and understood. After all, this is what keeps us engaged.
When it comes to non-fiction, none of this rings true. You’ll likely find books to have characters that you can’t understand or connect with. There’s also not always a solution, and the setting, while still enthralling, is generally on a much smaller scale – think local town murder rather than apocalyptic-espionage.
Another point worth mentioning is that non-fiction thrillers often cross genres, so they can be considered both investigative and true crime by different outlets. However, we believe as long as they read as fast-paced as your average thriller, then they belong in this genre too.
If you enjoy non-fiction thrillers, you'll like the titles from our true crime books!
The most popular sub-genre is easily psychological thrillers. The distinct features of this style are that the plot is usually more personal, or even more intimate. Furthermore, the hero is often considered a regular Joe, and the speed of the book reflects this – it begins by moving slowly as they get to grips with the event, then speeds up towards the end.
As with all thrillers, twists are key. But the focus of the story is more on the creepy and spooky, rather than the horrifying and sensational. For example, you can expect dread to arrive in subtle looks from characters, as opposed to multiple explosions or shoot-outs.
Epic thrillers (sometimes known as apocalyptic thrillers) are a different beast altogether. These novels will usually contain a threat or catastrophe that will affect whole cities, countries or even the planet. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a total loss of human existence – something like the assassination of a leader is enough to shake things up.
More often than not, the antagonist will range from terrorist or diabolical businessmen to your ordinary person with an oversized grudge and a desire to cause hell. As for the protagonist, they’re usually a person who possesses particular skills to overcome this, such as a soldier, a spy, or a civilian with a unique skill set.
The supernatural sub-genre is somewhat an amalgamation of the two previously mentioned. What we mean by this is that the villain, either spiritual or psychological, poses an overwhelming threat to large populations in the long term, but during the novel, they’re focused on one or a few characters initially.
This thriller style can contain multiple different genres, from fantasy and horror to crime and psychological suspense. That said, one thing that runs through all of them is that the outcome will be a spooky, weird and often an unnerving read.
If you're still not sure where to start with thrillers, take a look at our favourite Halloween books
Another tough decision to be made is whether you should opt for a tried-and-true classic or something more modern. The former will have gained a well-respected reputation and is rightly less of a gamble. However, sometimes the language and content can feel a bit dated, especially to younger readers.
If you’re someone who likes to venture pastures new and keep your finger on the literary pulse, then you could look to sample a new author, maybe even a debut novel of a young writer. Of course, there is more risk here, but it's more likely that the characters, settings and themes will seem more relatable, often reflecting current events and culture.
Luckily, in our ranking, you’ll find thrillers that were published as early as the 60s alongside ones that were only released in the last year or two, so the choice is yours!
Click to purchase
A Great Place to Start From the Wonder Writer of Modern Thrillers
In Cold Blood
Full of Suspense and a Must-Read for True Crime Devotees
A Huge Book Toted as the Original Post-Apocolyptic Virus Thriller
A Recent Spooky Thriller From One of the World's Best-Selling Authors
Brendan I. Koerner
The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking
A Fast-Flying Look Into the Plane Hijacking Events of the 60s
Pretty Little Wife: A Novel
An Exceptional Debut for Fans of Nuanced Characters and Twists a-Plenty
The Day of the Jackal: The Legendary Assassination Thriller
A Classic Cat-and-Mouse Page Turner
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
A Thrilling Investigation Into Hurricane Katrina From a Pulitzer Prize Winner
William R Forstchen
One Second After
A Novel That Takes a Very Real Look at Life Without Technology
Simone St James
The Sun Down Motel
Another Fine Release From an Author in a Rich Vein of Form
While many authors have one or two their best books bought and made into TV shows or films, we think it's a fitting ode to Gillan Flynn's abilities that each of her three novels has been adapted in some way. In both a literary sense and a multimedia sense, the prized asset is by far her modern classic – Gone Girl.
Originally published in 2012, the story follows Nick Dunne as his wife disappears on the couple's fifth wedding anniversary. With signs of a struggle, all roads point to him, and he doesn't help himself with silly lies and unexpected secrets, all the while maintaining his innocence. If you haven't read this, it's a certified must-have, and one that every thriller fan will enjoy.
Whilst traditionally considered a true crime book, and the one to catapult the genre into the mainstream at that, the relentlessly paced way that Capote writes could easily have this pigeoned as a thriller too – which is why it finds itself in our ranking today.
In the book, the author carefully reassembles and investigates a 1959 murder in Kansas City. He explores the characters of the young killers responsible, Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, as well as examining the subsequent trial and execution of those mentioned. Filled with suspense and empathy in equal measure, this is a powerful and emotionally charged read.
In the span of thirty-two minutes, the world as we know it dies, and a new one is born. Following a breach at a U.S government facility, a night of carnage and chaos takes place. When the sun rises, the world is forever changed, and all that is left is darkness, death and some things much worse.
In this novel, Cronin combines an epic, relentlessly suspenseful journey and a chronicle of human perseverance in unprecedented circumstances. You'll explore themes such as morality, faith and the future, and you'll be doing that for a while because this is one hefty book.
Stephen King is an author that needs no introduction, having sold over 350 million copies of his books worldwide. His novels span many genres from horror, suspense and crime to fantasy and supernatural, and his skills know no end. This offering from 2019 further proves that there's no sign of him slowing down.
The book centres on 12-year old Luke Ellis, who has been abducted and taken to a place called The Institute after his parents were brutally murdered. Here, he finds many other children, all of whom have special, X-men-like talents. Institute director Mrs Sigsby and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting these talents from the captured children, so for Luke, it's a race against time to escape before it's his turn.
When most of us think of aeroplane hijacking, 9/11 undoubtedly comes to mind. However, over a period of five years starting in 1968, this happened nearly once a week in the US. The disillusioned would use whatever they could – guns, bombs, jars of acid, to name a few – and they would seize commercial flights to either escape or hold to ransom.
This book takes a look at some of the most famous stories, particularly the incident with Willam Holder and Catherine Kerkow who made it to Algeria with $1.5 million in cash. As fast-paced as a Concorde, we would advise you to remain seated and buckled up and enjoy the ride.
When Lila Ridgeland murders her abusive partner, a popular teacher called Aaron Payne, she leaves him in his car overnight outside the school and stages it as suicide. However, she soon finds this isn't going to be plain sailing, as her ex-husband's body has disappeared.
This debut novel from Darby Kane with is crammed with so many twists you're going to have neck pain. It's filled with nuanced characters and an all-too-believable evil hidden under the peaceful community. The central theme that runs throughout is simple: how far will someone go when they discover the person they're married to is a monster?
This novel is as classic a cat and mouse story as you will ever find. A far-right underground militia group is hell-bent on ridding the sitting French president. After multiple failed attempts, they call in the infamous hitman known only as the Jackal. Will Lebel, the savvy Parisian police detective, have time to solve the mystery of the man's identity?
It's fair to say that this isn't the most creative plot. But it is an award-winning story that is still regularly regarded as a leader in the field. It doesn't need to focus on being clever, instead, it's the author's ability to create and capture your emotions. Take it from us, Forsyth will have you on the edge of your seat and staying up way later than you should for just one more page.
Hurricane Katrina devasted the US in 2005; not only was it the costliest tropical cyclone on record at the time, causing about $125 billion worth of damage, but it also took the lives of over 1800 people. In true investigative journalism fashion, this book takes you into the lives of those who tried, and struggled, to survive and maintain life among the chaos.
If that's not enough, months after the disaster, many healthcare workers were accused of hastening the death of some of their patients by injecting them with drugs. Taking a total of six years to research, Fink exposes the dilemmas that healthcare workers face, as well as how unprepared the world is for natural disasters.
Months before this book was published, it was being cited in the US government and corridors of The Pentagon as a book that all Americans should read. You see, although this is a novel, it takes a very real look at what the beginning of the end might look like for your typical small town.
The book follows protagonist John Matherson as he tries to keep his family together and help his community survive in the face of technological failure. While initially a thriller, the book is also interlaced with varying themes such as our reliance on technology, how fragile we are as a civilization, and why we seem unable to learn from history.
Simone St James has been writing for a few years, but it wasn't until her breakout novel, The Broken Girls (2018) that she really caught mainstream attention. The Sun Down Motel is her latest offering, and has been perfectly described by one journalist as 'deliciously creepy'.
This novel follows Carly Kirk, a lady who has never been able to give up on her aunt who disappeared from Sun Down before she was born. So, as all good nieces do, she decides to take a trip, only to find herself caught in the same mysteries that took her aunt. The book brilliantly weaves dual timelines, suspense and otherworldly elements.
Written and researched by Lewis Clark
No. 1: Gillian Flynn｜Gone Girl
No. 2: Truman Capote｜In Cold Blood
No. 3: Justin Cronin｜The Passage
No. 4: Stephen King｜The Institute
No. 5: Brendan I. Koerner｜The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
PC and cameras
Home appliances and electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones