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Best Thriller Books of all Time

The best thriller books of all time are those that keep you on the edge of your seat, biting on your nails as you progress from one page to the next, and ready to have a second go at it once you read it from cover to cover. Find out here which books can do just that for you...
Penlighten Staff
Thriller books don't always have to let one's mind conjure images of dark, mysterious men hiding away in alleys, or women in distress after midnight. Thrillers have been known to be full of suspense, drama and bloodshed, with a somber air to every story. Some writers can make it comical and light in some places, even adding romance to jazz up the book's structure. What counts now as a thriller, should also be the kind of book that gives you the classic chills - to let you lay wide-eyed under the sheets, or the kind that occasionally leaves you gaping.

There's nothing like a good spine tingling book to keep you up at night, or glued to all day. If we're going to go down that road where thriller equals creepy besides the usual suspicion or adventure sorts, then we're talking about the king of all that is ghastly - none other than Stephen King.

I can still recount that day back in the 8th grade when I fell in love with this odd, dark writer who spun tales that were shockingly real, with many bordering on the fictitious kind that were hard to ever take as unreal stories. The first book I ever read back then was Bag of Bones, and man did that book creep the crap out of me. It had everything from murder and mystery to rape and the paranormal - enough to turn anyone into an insomniac, and was disturbingly the best thriller book I'd read till date.

Eight years later and I'm still an ardent King fan. You'll find his works mentioned in the list of the best-selling thriller books of all time. We cover reads that have been published over the decades, but are still making it to the top as some of the best so far. Don't miss out on the best thriller books of the decade, that is enlisted at random.

Top Thriller Books - The 50 Most Collectible Reads

These are instantly some of the best books of all time that fall under the thriller genre. Be sure to stack these books up nice and tall, and get down to reading them if you've missed out on what's making it to the top among critics and readers worldwide.
  1. The Bone Collector: Jeffery Deaver
  2. The Shining: Stephen King
  3. Mystic River: Dennis Lehane
  4. No Country for Old Men: Cormac McCarthy
  5. In Cold Blood: Truman Capote
  6. The Likeness: Tana French
  7. The Talented Mr. Ripley: Patricia Highsmith
  8. Feed: Mira Grant
  9. Deadline: Simon Kernick
  10. What the Dead Know: Laura Lippman
  11. A Simple Plan: Scott Smith
  12. The Cairo Dairy: Maxim Chattam
  13. The Lost Symbol: Dan Brown
  14. Child 44: Tom Rob Smith
  15. The First Deadly Sin: Lawrence Sanders
  16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Stieg Larsson
  17. Shutter Island: Dennis Lehane
  18. The Kill Artist: Daniel Silva
  19. The Woman in White: Wilkie Collins
  20. Carrie: Stephen King
  21. Devil May Care: Sebastian Faulks
  22. Jaws: Peter Benchley
  23. The Poet: Michael Connelly
  24. Rebecca: Daphne du Maurier
  25. Intensity: Dean Koontz
  26. Sweetheart: Chelsea Cain
  27. Strangers on a Train: Patricia Highsmith
  28. Heartsick: Chelsea Cain
  29. In the Woods: Tana French
  30. In the Dark: Mark Billingham
  31. Jurassic Park: Michael Crichton
  32. The Count of Monte Cristo: Alexandre Dumas
  33. The Point of No Rescue: Sophie Hannah
  34. The Silence of the Lambs: Thomas Harris
  35. Dracula: Bram Stoker
  36. Spook Country: William Gibson
  37. The Anatomy of Ghosts: Andrew Taylor
  38. The Bellini Madonna: Elizabeth Madonna
  39. The Firm: John Grisham
  40. The Secret Speech: Tom Rob Smith
  41. The Tourist: Olen Steinhauer
  42. Beat the Reaper: Josh Bazell
  43. Blood Brother: J.A Kerley
  44. The Vows of Silence: Susan Hill
  45. Sunday at Tiffany's: James Patterson
  46. Heart Shaped Box: Joe Hill
  47. Fearless Fourteen: Janet Evanovich
  48. Echo Park: Michael Connelly
  49. The Murder at Road Hill House: Kate Summerscale
  50. Saturday: Ian McEwan
  51. Nineteen Minutes: Jodi Picoult
Thriller books always contain that element of factuality, where a writer's mind will only think up things that could possibly be true - giving readers a hard time when the images start to form in their mind (leaving a cloud of doubt over their heads of, 'do these things really happen?'). Whatever a story is about, it's bound to make its readers sit back and wonder.