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The Ultimate Thriller Guide

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All thrillers are suspenseful, compelling, and intensifying, but the genre runs both broad and deep.  We  present here, a list of thrillers we recommend. We categorized them to illustrate the many variations on the Thriller genre.  

Note: Many titles fall into two or more categories. For example you might find psychological suspense with an unreliable narrator -- I'm looking at you Gone Girl and Girl on a Train, or something that is both historical and hard-boilded.

Complexities aside, this is a good primer for readers looking to find their place in the genre.

Serial Killers

Daisy Chain
Broken Monsters
Mr. Mercedes
Jane Steele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Procedurals

Livia Lone
Pretty Girls
The Crossing
a great reckoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical 

The One Man
The Ballad of Black Tom
Darktown
Charcoal Joe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard-boiled & Gritty

The Cartel
The Son
The Fear Artist
Where It Hurts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychological 

Descent
Into the Darkest Corner
The Survivor
The Woodcutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spies

Palace of Treason
Red Sparrow
The Tourist
Spy Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gruesome

Security
Lost
The Inquisitor
The Ghosts of Belfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stylistically Complex

The Farm
The Nearest Exit
Underground Airlines
Before the Fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women Sleuths

Now You See Me
Speaking from Among the Bones
The Trespasser
The Neighbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unreliable Narrators

Unreliable Narrator
gone girl
Girl on the Train
Before I Go to Sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witty, Offbeat, Darkly Funny

Horrorstor
Lexicon
Beat the Reaper
Deep Shadow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction & / or the Supernatural

Brilliance
The Book of Strange New Things
In a Dark, Dark Wood
Universal Harvester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YA Appeal

The Fever
You Will Know Me
Panopticon
Everything I Never Told You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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