Suspense novels are all about keeping readers on the edge of their seats, gripping them with various emotions including fear, anticipation, or excitement.
A well-written suspense book can have you turning pages faster than any other.
But what are some of the best suspense books you can pick up and read today? If you’re searching for some, then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at some of the best suspense books of all time!
7 Best Suspense Books To Read Today
Choosing the best suspense book is all about personal taste, and the kind of novels you enjoy reading. However, I’ve compiled a list of the best suspense books, ranging from classic thrillers to modern masterpieces.
This is a novel that took the thriller/suspense genre by storm. It follows the story of the main character Rachel, who takes the same train every day and becomes obsessed with the lives of people she sees out of the window.
One day she witnesses a crime, and Rachel finds herself pulled into a world of lies and deceit.
The Girl On The Train is a novel that will keep you guessing throughout, with an unreliable narrator, intricate plot, and many twists that will have you needing to read the next chapter once you’re done with the one before.
Paula Hawkins is becoming a household name of the genre for a reason, and this is a novel that will wrap you up from start to finish.
- Fast-Paced writing that will have you turning pages.
- Great descriptive writing.
- Intriguing characters with many layers.
- Dream-like atmosphere that will have you guessing what is real.
- Some people don’t connect with the main character.
Next up, I’ve made sure to include what is considered a suspense classic. In this novel, Thomas Harris has created a masterpiece of a psychological thriller that spawned the 1991 Oscar-winning Hollywood adaptation.
The story follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling as she investigates a serial killer. As the police struggle with the case, she goes to incarcerated serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter and asks for his help.
Thomas Harris’ writing is fast-paced, with a tendency to get under your skin, featuring some of the most memorable characters known to the genre.
Although this one is quite dark and often fills the reader with a sense of dread, it is by far one of the most iconic suspense novels of all time.
- Iconic story involving serial killers and FBI agents.
- Features one of the most iconic villains of any novel.
- Captivating characters with complex motivations.
- This novel is overshadowed by the fantastic movie adaptation of the same name.
- Features some very dark content, so might not be for everyone!
Another modern suspense novel that has captivated readers across the world is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This is a novel that follows the main characters, Amy and Nick Dunne.
When Amy goes missing during her 5th wedding anniversary, at first the authorities believe that Nick has caused her disappearance – but soon, we find out that nothing is as it seems in their relationship.
If you’re looking for a novel that will keep you guessing throughout, with fast-paced writing, short chapters, and endless twists, then this is going to be a great choice for you.
Like Girl On The Train, this novel has quickly become a modern suspense novel that will be remembered.
- Features a complex plot with many twists and turns.
- Complex characters with gray morality.
- Features sharp writing that is both witty and engaging.
- Starts out fairly slow but picks up considerably.
Dan Brown has made a name for himself by writing a series of novels that combine thrilling pace with historical conspiracies.
The Da Vinci Code is his most well-known novel, following the adventures of symbologist Robert Langdon.
After being called in to investigate a death at the Louvre, he discovered a historical web of secrets that led him to eventually uncover the secret of the Holy Grail.
This is a great novel to get into if you like fast-paced writing, historical conspiracies, or anything to do with Leonardo Da Vinci.
It is by far the most popular novel of Dan Brown, showcasing the best of his writing, as well as his ability to create complex webs of secrets that unfurl as you read on.
- Dan Brown is known for his lightning-fast writing style.
- Features some intriguing historical conspiracies.
- Fun characters with complex motivations and skills.
- Some readers don’t enjoy Dan Brown’s simplistic prose style.
- Won’t appeal to those who aren’t interested in historical fiction.
If you’re into spy thrillers, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of the Bourne series. This is a novel that begins with a man discovered floating in the Mediterranean with no memories of his past.
He finds himself soon setting out on a dangerous journey to uncover his true identity, yet the more he discovers about his past, the more he realizes he is being hunted.
The Bourne Identity is the first in a series of novels that will introduce you to competent and complex Jason Bourne . With themes revolving around identity and memory, this is a novel that combines a complex plot with the pace and action of a James Bond novel.
- An intriguing plot that will keep you reading.
- A great central character that becomes more interesting the more you read.
- Great action scenes.
- Won’t appeal to readers who don’t enjoy spy thrillers.
Agatha Christie is considered a master of crime and mystery fiction for a reason. Her ong list of novels have captivated readers throughout the entirety of her storied career.
This novel is one of her most iconic, with a mystery that will keep you guessing throughout. The plot revolves around ten strangers lured by a mysterious host to a remote island mansion off the coast of Devon.
Soon they begin to be killed off one by one – with the killer among them!
And Then There Were None is a mystery story that is beloved for its layered characters, thrilling mystery, and distinct, gothic atmosphere.
This is a must-read for anyone who loves mystery books and wants to read one of the masters of this genre.
- Classic mystery story that’s considered important for the genre.
- Features a cast of unique and thrilling characters.
- Holds a central mystery at its heart with a satisfying reveal.
- Written in 1939, so features an older prose style that not all readers will enjoy.
To finish off this list, I’ve included another classic tale, written just one year before the Agatha Christie novel above.
This is a story that follows an unnamed narrator as she moves to live with wealthy aristocrat Maxim de Winter, who is mourning the death of his wife, Rebecca.
The reader is soon brought into a story of secrets, as the narrator delves deep into the past of Manderley as well as the death of Rebecca.
This novel features some elements of a classic ghost story, but it is much less to do with ghosts and more to do with grief and the past life of somebody who has passed on.
- This novel features a classic, lavish prose style that is both lyrical and evocative.
- Features an unnamed narrator who is layered and complex.
- Features themes of obsession, the past, and betrayal.
- This novel is much slower-paced than some of the others on this list.
- Some fans of modern suspense novels may find the prose style difficult to approach.
How To Choose The Right Suspense Book
If you’re looking to find the right suspense book for you, then there are a few things that you should consider. Make sure to research a little about the book you’re considering – while avoiding any spoilers!
Consider The Age Of The Novel
Modern suspense novels are all about snappy writing and fast-paced chapters, while older novels tend to feature slower plots with more character depth.
This is something you’ll want to consider when selecting your next read. Read a few paragraphs to see if the writing style is something that resonates with you.
Choose The Right Subject
Suspense is a diverse genre. Although most suspense books feature dark plot lines and friction between characters, you should consider the content of the book in question and whether or not it’s something that is suitable for you.
For example, the previously mentioned “Silence Of The Lambs,” features some incredibly dark content, so if this is not something you enjoy, you may want to pick something lighter.
Choosing the right suspense novel can be the difference between a book that wraps you up and has you reading late into the night, and one that you might put down after a few chapters.
All of the novels on this list are iconic and bright voices that will intrigue and keep you in a constant state of suspense.
Frequently Asked Question
What Is A Suspense Novel?
Suspense fiction is characterized by its tight plot and a general feeling of tension throughout the plot.
These novels span across many sub-genres including psychological thrillers, standard thrillers, mystery, gothic, and horror.
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