If you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Top 10 Best Thriller Books in 2021

This list is a summary of the best 10 thriller novels for fans of the genre to read right now. By taking you through the details and in-depth analysis of each novel; we look to make your decision making process that much easier.

Reasons to look for a good thriller book

Everyone likes a good thriller; and when written perfectly, the can be some of the most intriguing reads. But, due to the high volume and number of books currently in the market; you often don’t realise a book is the correct fit until you’re well into the read. Here at OwlRatings, we have summarised a top 10 list that has been rated on four important criteria’s to break down the details and allow you to choose the perfect thriller novel that suites your taste. So without further ado, here are the top 10 Thriller Novels that we at ‘OwlRatings’ have picked for you.

Best overall

The Shining thriller book

The Shining thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

This entertaining and intriguing novel written by Stephen King has inspired the popular film that goes by the same name. Revolving around the character Jack Torrence, this novel is a slow-burner that acts as a brilliant character story on our central character. This character inspired the legendary performance by Jack Nicholson in the film; featuring the wild mannerisms and actions that lead to the downfall of this character. Not only dos the novel feature King’s specialty elements of horror; topics such as alcoholism and violence also play a brilliant part in this novel. It is a must read for any fan of the horror and thriller genre.

Best psychological thriller book

Misery thriller book

Misery thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Another magnificent thriller written by the legendary Stephen King, ‘Misery’ follows the story of its two main characters, the popular writer Paul Sheldon and his psychotic fan Annie Wilkes. Despite the story having limited characters; it makes for a really engaging read as the narrative focuses on facing one’s fears. As you can expect from a Stephen King novel; Misery keeps you engrossed throughout the length of the novel as it culminates to a brilliantly written final act. The story brilliantly portrays these characters as different amalgamations of our fears; making for a very exciting and thought provoking read.

Best drama thriller book

Little Fires Everywhere thriller book

Little Fires Everywhere thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by American Author Celeste Ng; Little Fires Everywhere focuses on two families living in Shaker Heights. A story full of secrets and chaos, the two dysfunctional families make for a lot of entertainment and drama throughout the course of this novel. Some may not be too interested in the novel since there isn’t any intriguing murder plot; but the characters have been written perfectly and their interactions with each other genuinely make the book very enjoyable. This novel is about self-reflection and judgement; making it a stand-out in this particular genre.

Best crime thriller book

Memory Man thriller book

Memory Man thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by one of the best thriller authors ‘David Baldacci’; Memory Man focuses on former detective Amos Decker; as he tries to find the culprit responsible for murdering his entire family. This is a typical crime-thriller full of moments of action and espionage; with Amos Decker taking centre-stage in most of the important acts. The story is built with precision and the plot is riveting; allowing for all the side characters to impact the story in a truly meaningful way. By building the story through mystery and tension; David Baldacci has bestowed fans with a thrilling read; from start to finish.

Best murder thriller book

And Then There Were None thriller book

And Then There Were None thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by one of the most popular authors of all time ‘Agatha Christie’; And Then There Were None is a best-selling mystery novel which has sold over a 100 million copies to date. This novel is arguably one of the best mystery stories ever written. As a few strangers who each have their own dark secrets are brought together in a mansion; each start to die mysteriously one by one. Christie is the master of the crime-thriller genre; and this book is no different. It is unpredictable from start to finish; making the deaths even more gut-wrenching as you start investing in each of the characters. Anyone with a love for reading a murder mystery, psychological thriller filled with horror, should own this novel.

Best for teens

Rebecca thriller book

Rebecca thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by the English author Daphne du Maurier; Rebecca depicts the story of a young woman who marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, Rebecca. The author has managed to elevate the novel to a whole other level thanks to her eloquent style and focus on dialogue and delivery. The story showcases the troubles that the protagonist faces as she has to deal with being the not so favorite wife in the family. The story is an absolute masterpiece and will not disappoint.

Best book of the decade

Bird Box thriller book

Bird Box thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by Josh Malerman, this psychological thriller showcases the world a couple years after a mysterious apocalyptic creature mysteriously kills most of the population. The goal for the characters is to not look at the monster in the eye; thus the lead protagonist Malorie hides in a cabin with her two children to survive. The story is unusual but highly entertaining; since anything can die just like that. Bird Box plunges us into a story as chaotic as it is disturbing, where the anguish will seize the reader, creating anxiety to reach the end. No wonder it even inspired a film that goes by the same name; featuring Sandra Bullock as the protagonist of the story.

Best for young adults

Killing Floor thriller book

Killing Floor thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by Author Lee Child; Killing Floor introduces the popular fictional protagonist, Jack Reacher. The character which has inspired Hollywood to make a number of film’s on; Jack Reacher is a former major in the Unites States Military Police Corps. This is your classic thriller-crime novel that follows the protagonist on his unpredictable journey to clear his name for a murder he did not commit. It is brilliantly written and contains a lot of action and violence; something you’d come to expect in an action thriller. Killing Floor is a must read if you enjoy intense action mixed with an all-round good narrative.

Best family drama

The Husband’s Secret thriller book

The Husband’s Secret thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The Husband’s Secret is written by Liane Moriarty and delves deep into character emotions and social dilemmas that our characters face. It is a beautifully written thriller drama that follows the story of Cecilia Fitzpatrick whose life completely changes once she gets a letter revealing the true secrets of her husband. Liane Moriarty has used straight-forward language and made it a very easy to read book for the masses. The story will put you through all sorts of emotions since it focuses on how the characters react to change and new information.

Best suspense thriller

The Couple Next Door thriller book

The Couple Next Door thriller book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Written by Canadian Author Shari Lapena; The Couple Next Door is a suspense thriller surrounding a young couple and their neighbours. Anne and Marco Conti have their world’s completely turned upside down after their kids get kidnapped while they’re attending a party; resulting in Detective Rasbach being put in charge of solving the case. The novel is engaging right from the get go; suspense and eeriness being prevalent throughout the course of the read. Lapena has created an amazing plot which is supported by her brilliant storytelling.

What’s important when choosing a good thriller book

The thriller genre is arguably one of the most popular when it comes to any medium; whether film. Television or books. But the downside is that you don’t know if the novel is the right pick for yourself until after you have begun reading it. To solve this problem, we at ‘OwlRatings’ have decided to make an in-depth review of the best novels for you to pick; as they have been rated on the four top criteria’s that we have picked.

The first criteria we have picked is the story. Of course every book reader would want an interesting story that moves at a good pace and reveals many twists and turns along the way. But each person has their own style and preference. While some may prefer a novel with many twists and turns that culminates to a massive third act; others may prefer a simple character focused thriller; that takes place in a few locations but is full of detail and nuance. Our review gives you an outlook of what to expect from the story, hopefully allowing readers to understand what the book has in store for them.

The next criteria that we have picked is the entertainment value the novel provides. Any book reader has to be entertained at the end of the day, no matter what the story is. But the forms of entertainment might be different. While some readers may think a thrilling journey with many characters may be fun; others may enjoy the occasional plot twist and character death to keep them on the edge of their seats. Our entertainment section explains what makes the particular book so interesting. This criteria allows you to identify what the driving force of the story is; allowing you to choose the novel which will provide you with the best reading experience.

The third criteria we have chosen is the writing. The thriller genre has been one explored my many authors. Each have their own writing style and storytelling techniques which the readers may prefer. Not only do we list the authors of the above mentioned novels; the writing style is also explained. This allows you to understand the authors method of taking us through a journey and ultimately this criterion may be one of the most important factors that leads to your decision. Our review breaks the writing down in detail; so do make sure to read the entire review.

Finally, the last criteria we have assessed the novels on is the characters. Arguably the most important part of any book is the characters follow. How popular would Harry Potter be if we didn’t follow the relationship between the three best friends and rather just saw a rushed plot which featured magic duels and monster battles ? It is important to give time to the characters and most importantly to actually enjoy the characters. While people may prefer the anti-heroes or the straight-forward good guys, it is important for the characters to not be passive and actually drive the story forward. This makes for engaging storytelling and gives more purpose to the entire novel. Thus, we have broken down the main characters and their journeys for you; without spoiling any of the major plot points of course!

FAQ

What are some of the Best thriller Novels out there?

According to Penguin club house, some of the best thriller novels include ‘The Shining’ written by Stephen King, ‘Girl on the train’ written by Paula Hawkins and Rebecca written by Daphne du Maurier.

What are some of the popular novels which have been adapted into television or films?

Along with the above mentioned novel ‘The Shining’; the novel ‘Bird Box’ written by Josh Malerman is another popular novel which was converted into a film. In fact; Bird Box became a smash hit when it was released on Netflix in 2020; with Sandra Bullock playing the lead character.

Who are some of the best authors in the Thriller genre?

The author pf the above mentioned ‘Memory Man’; David Baldacci is highly regarded as one of the best authors in the action-thriller genre. Paula Hawkins is also widely acknowledged for her great novels; along with Agatha Christie who may be one of the best thriller writers the world has ever seen.

Final verdict

With this we have come to the end of our thriller novel summaries and hope that we have made your decision making process slightly easier. Do check out the complete reviews on our site so you can get an in-depth analysis and review of each of the 10 Novels mentioned above.

OwlRatings free newsletter

Free access to breaking news, new top 10 lists, popular reviews and advice.

Absolutely no spam. Unsubscribe any time!