Suspenseful, eerie, and full of surprises — these mystery authors like Dean Koontz will keep you on edge. We’ve compiled 20 perfect thriller reads for your reading pleasure.
About Dean Koontz
The master of suspense, with over fourteen of his novels ranking #1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list—Dean Koontz is one of the most popular American thriller authors of all time. Known for creating memorable characters, and edge-of-your-seat plots. Check out Koontz’s latest novel, The House at the End of the World, which comes out January 24th as well as these other incredible thrillers!
20 Thriller Authors to Discover
Published in January of 2023 and part of the King & Maxwell Thriller series, the Hour Game is the story of a woman found murdered in the woods, but this case is not simple. The killer, whoever they are, is copy-catting the killing style of some of the world’s most infamous killers. A shocking story with turns that will leave speechless and dying to know the truth.
Book 22 out of 22 of the Jack Ryan series, Red Winter is the military thriller to read. Jack Ryan goes on a quest to find the truth about a Soviet defector. The year is 1985 and the Soviets will do anything in their power to gain access to “The Nighthawk”, a top F117 aircraft. Meanwhile, in East Berlin, a man is willing to give up his country’s secrets for asylum. Jack Ryan’s job is to uncover the answers before things get worse.
Desert Star is book 5 in the Renee Ballard series. Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch, LAPD detectives, are on the case hunting for a man responsible for murdering an entire family. Both detectives have deep, dark pasts but they are determined to solve this case. Will they be able to put aside secrets, and resentment to bring justice? Connelly has done it once again with what critics are deeming his most profound novel. Check it out today.
A new installment in the Kay Scarpetta series is just the series for you if you are into medical thrillers. Livid is the story of a medical examiner who is a star witness in an extremely sensationalized trial. The twist, the judge’s sister ends up dead. Scarpetta finds herself in the middle of it all. Will she be able to catch the killer or will the nightmares of her past become part of her now?
A Reese Witherspoon Book Club read that has captivated more than two million readers. Hannah Hall in The Last Thing He Told Me is living a normal life with her husband, and stepdaughter when her husband randomly goes missing. The only clue she has is a note that says, “protect her”. Hannah realizes her husband is not who she thought and she will sacrifice her own life to protect her step-daughter and find out the truth.
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a domestic thriller that shows marriage is not all it seems, and not everyone wants a happily ever after. Adam and Amelia have been married for ten years and have a lot of secrets. Every year Amelia writes Adam a letter that she never lets him read, until this year. What will happen when the truth comes out? Will the Wright’s marriage survive? Or will one of them end up dead?
Stephen King called Road of Bones, “tightly wound, atmospheric, and creepy as hell.” A massive graveyard for Soviet gulag prisoners. This is the Road of Bones. A highway where people were worked to death and left to perish. Felix “Teig” Teigland is a documentary producer who is captivated by this highway and wants to collect all its stories. But Teig finds a lot more than he bargained for in this road and abandoned town.
Known as “America’s favorite storyteller”, Grisham has written 47 consecutive #1 bestsellers. His latest is The Boys from Biloxi. A vacation town known for its gorgeous beaches and seafood—this is Biloxi and it’s paradise. It may look pretty, but it’s swimming in corruption, mobsters, and prostitution. Two childhood friends, Hugh and Keith grow up here during the 1960s but as teenagers go down completely different paths. Keith becomes an attorney while Hugh works in nightclubs. Two families come head to head in this legal thriller.
A granddaughter is sick with cancer. Her only chance for survival is an expensive experimental treatment. These are the cards playwright-director Martin Hayward and his wife, Helen have been dealt. The castmates at the Fairway Players theater group raise money so the child can get the treatment she needs. Tempers and emotions explode on the night of the dress rehearsal about supporting the experimental treatment. To make matters worse, a body is found and everyone is a suspect in The Appeal.
When Nina’s husband, Jake goes missing, Nina doesn’t think much of it. He’s probably hanging out with friends. But one day turns into five and there is still no word from Jake. Meanwhile, Nina’s friend Lily confesses to her husband that she was the last one to see Jake alive. The couple vows to keep Lily’s secret. No one can know the truth, but Nina won’t stop until Jake is found. This thriller is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats ! Read Just the Nicest Couple.
A small suburban town in Minnesota, a tight-knit community. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen here. It’s summer and for teenagers in this town that means going to the county fair and late-night swims at the quarry. For Brenda and Heather, this summer is keeping a secret about what they saw at the quarry. But it’s hard to keep the secret when another friend goes missing. The Quarry Girls is an intense thriller based on a true story about a community where people are not who they seem.
It’s a typical night and Jen is waiting for her teenage son to come home. He’s out past his curfew. Jen looks outside and witnesses her son stabbing someone in the street. Her son is now a murderer. His future is over. Jen eventually comes home from the police station where he is booked and falls into a fitful sleep. When she wakes up it is the day before the murder. Each day Jen wakes up she has gone back in time. In a twisting, frightful psychological thriller Wrong Place Wrong Time asks the question how far would you go to save those you love? What are you willing to do to change the future? Read this incredible thriller today!
In No Plan B: A Jack Reacher Novel a woman dies after being struck by a bus. One witness claims she threw herself in front of it. It is suicide. The other witness, Jack Reacher, says he saw someone push the woman right before he stole her purse. Jack knows the killer was wearing a gray hoodie and jeans. What he doesn’t know is that there is a lot more to this crime than he realizes, but he will find the killer and uncover the conspiracy in this highly enjoyable thriller!
January 2023 Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick is The House in the Pines, a captivating thriller about a woman trying to come back home and accept her past. Maya witnessed her friend Aubrey’s death many years ago. But her memories are hazy and she’s spent seven years trying to kick the bad habits that have allowed her to survive her trauma. That is until one day she sees a Youtube video of a woman who dies in the same way her friend did. The connection: the same man responsible for her friend’s death is in the video. Maya returns home to deal with her demons and ultimately save herself.
Sarah is a successful defense attorney in Washington D.C. She’s madly in love with her husband, Adam. At only 33, she seems to have it all. Adam, on the other hand, is a struggling writer and is constantly jealous of his powerful wife. It’s starting to affect their marriage and Adam is getting sick of Sarah’s workaholic tendencies. So, he has an affair in the secluded woods of their second home. When Adam’s mistress is murdered he is charged with the crime. With a shocking, fast-paced plot The Perfect Marriage has readers unable to put down this book. Everyone is a suspect and Sarah is now defending her husband!
Catherine Ryan Howard
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket. Thirty-five days after they begin a relationship COVID threatens to keep them apart. So, they decided to move in together. A lockdown can do strange things to people. Fast Forward to 56 days after they met, there is now a decomposing body in Oliver’s apartment. In 56 Days we see a lockdown is a perfect way to hide who you are. This emotional thriller is worth a read!
The pretty, athletic, smart, popular girl who had everything—this is Emily Vaughn in Girl, Forgotten. Emily may have everything, but she also has a secret. Forty years ago, Emily was murdered on prom night and the killer has never been found. US Marshal Andrea Oliver is in town to protect a judge who is getting death threats, but her real mission is to find out what happened to Emily. Someone doesn’t want Andrea there. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will someone keep her quiet forever too?
Ray McMillian is a gifted violinist, but no one seems to understand his passion or appreciate his talent. Determined Ray doesn’t care that the classical music world is racist or that he can’t afford a decent violin. He isn’t going to quit. One day Ray discovers his beat-up family fiddle is an incredibly valuable Stradivarius. Ray and his violin are the new superstars in the classical music scene and he thinks he is on the road to stardom. Things suddenly change when Ray’s violin is stolen and with it is a ransom note for five million dollars. Ray must find out who is messing with his dreams and will do whatever he must to get back on track in The Violin Conspiracy.
Isabelle Drake’s toddler son, Mason was kidnapped in the middle of the night over a year ago. Isabelle hasn’t slept ever since Mason was taken. Her life mission is to find her baby, and she won’t be able to rest until she does. Isabelle eventually agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster, but he’s asking a lot of questions that are making her uncomfortable. She starts doubting her memories of what truly happened the night Mason was taken. Can Isabelle trust her memory or even herself in All the Dangerous Things?
Aidan Marlowe in The New Neighbor is having the worst and best days of his life. On the day of his wife’s funeral, he plays the lottery. He’s played the same numbers for the last fifteen years and never won, until today. Aidan strikes it rich and can help his twin children cope with the loss of their mother by giving them a new life. They move into a large house and try to start over. But it isn’t that simple. He is battling old demons and being watched by someone who knows exactly who Aidan is.
Bonus: The most popular thriller books of all time
Can’t get enough of amazing thriller novels? Add these all-time favorites to your reading list. Enjoy!
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003)
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2005)
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988)
- The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy (1984)
- Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (2000)
- Gone by Michael Grant (2008)
- The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (2009)
- The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980)
- The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (2006)
Who is the best psychological thriller writer?
Some of the best psychological thriller writers are Gillian Flynn, Lucy Foley, Paula Hawkins, and Alex Michaelides.
Who is the best thriller writer of all time?
Stephen King is one of the best modern thriller writers of all time, as well as James Patterson.
What should I read if I like Dean Koontz?
All the authors and books mentioned on this list are great choices if you like Dean Koontz. Other popular thriller authors not mentioned would be James Patterson, Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Charlaine Harris.
What is considered Dean Koontz’s best book?
Demon Seed and Night Chills are both older Koontz books but have the reputation of being great. More recent Koontz books that are popular are The Husband and Life Expectancy.
Who is considered the best mystery writer?
Agatha Christie is considered one of the best mystery writers of all time.
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ken Follett, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, and James Patterson are widely considered thriller masters.
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