For lovers of crime fiction and thriller novels around the world, here’s a list of the best of the genre (both new and old) that is a must-read for all fans of the macabre. From the bizarre to the thrilling, the supernatural to the simply psychotic, these books have it all. And as we all know, there are few things more comforting after a hard day’s work than to curl up in your bed with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and a chilling thriller in the other. So do check out these books at your earliest convenience, and happy nightmares to you!
- The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Although written over a hundred years ago, there is something uncanny about how relatable this novel is in present times. It narrates the tale of Conrad’s protagonist, a secret agent, who gets embroiled in a plan to blow up Greenwich Observatory on behalf of a group of anarchists. It is amazing how accurately this novel – which happens to be one of Conrad’s most enduring works – predicts the rise of terrorism, which happens to be one of the major threats of the modern world.
- The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
While none of Doyle’s work may be called anything less than a masterpiece, this novel is a classic among classics. While it does contain an interesting mystery that revolves around a mysterious canine creature terrifying anyone that sees it, it is also an interesting take on the Holmes and Watson dynamic. This is because this story reverses the roles of the two most beloved characters of all time – so that Holmes disappears and Watson must deduce the mystery of his inexplicable disappearance. Suffice it to say, Holmes is better at deduction.
- The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
This novel is set in East Germany during the 1950-60s period of political high-alert and military tension of the Cold War. It deals with some very pertinent, though uncomfortable questions about the moral foundation of the Intelligence Services, and those who work for it. It reveals the morally questionable side of intelligence work and breaks the myth of the spy as an angelic self-sacrificing martyr. This novel’s surprisingly bleak take on the cold war exposes the spy in all his glory and shame and marvellously portrays the various shades of grey in the dealings of international politics.
- W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
Narrated in the first person, this novel tells the horrific tale of the discovery of two dead bodies discovered by the narrator on a beach, one of which was known to them while the other was a complete stranger with no identification but the name and number of a private detective in his pocket. It is a heart-racing tale of discovery, intrigue and betrayal that will keep the reader turning the pages until the end.
- The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
No list of crime fiction is complete without a title authored by the ‘Queen of Crime’ aka Agatha Christie. The Man in the Brown Suit is undoubtedly one of the best novels ever penned by this outstanding author of unparalleled mysteries. Follow the heroine as she is launched into an unexpected adventure after witnessing the shocking death by electrocution of a fellow-passenger on the London tube rail. When the ‘doctor’ at the scene seems more intent on searching the victim rather than examining him, Anne decides there is more to the incident than meets the eye.
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
One of the best historical thrillers currently in the market, Umberto Eco’s ‘The Name of the Rose’ is the story of a priest at a medieval monastery who is trying to uncover the secret behind a series of deaths at the monastery itself and prevent an inquisition from being held for what many believe is the result of supernatural interference. The ending of the novel provides a twist that is both hilarious and profoundly interesting at the same time. Definitely worth a read anytime!
- The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
In his first novel under his own name, Michael Crichton takes one of the things human beings are naturally scared of – a super virus – and elevates this fear up to eleven. An extraterrestrial micro-organism nicknamed Andromeda that mutates with each growth cycle enters Earth’s atmosphere with an American satellite. An aerial probe finds that all the residents of a town near the place where the satellite landed have apparently died overnight, some of them having gone half-mad and committed bizarre suicides. As the protagonists race against time to contain this deadly virus, a nuclear weapon is set to go off near Los Angeles, which might just be the finishing blow to mankind.
- Carrie by Stephen King
Unless you’re the bravest man on Earth, a Stephen King novel can never fail to terrify you, and Carrie is no exception. Written in an unusual style which includes letters and newspaper clippings, this novel chronicles the chilling tale of a high-school girl who uses her recently discovered telekinetic powers to punish class bullies. The book just keeps getting more and more terrifying as we continue to learn more about Carrie’s horrific past and her relationship with her psychotically religious mother. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before reading this, because this story will certainly keep you awake for several nights after.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Dismissed by critics, Dan Brown’s bestselling novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is nevertheless one of the most widely read thrillers of the modern day. When a Louvre curator is fatally shot by a Catholic priest who is working for someone in search of the keystone, the only means to find the Holy Grail, this launches a thrilling adventure which has grabbed and held the imaginations of millions of readers around the world. Filled with satisfying action and hair-raising intrigue, this book is a must-read for any lover of adventure or mystery fiction.
- The Missing File by Dror A. Mishani
Inspector Avi Avraham, the protagonist of ‘The Missing File, has a theory about why there are not many detective novels in Hebrew: ‘We don’t have crimes like that. Serial killers, kidnappings;’ he declares. So when a teenage boy goes missing in Tel Aviv, he is not too bothered. The boy will certainly turn up sooner or later, he resolutely believes. However, not only does this not happen, but it soon becomes clear that there is a greater scheme at work here than even the wildest conspiracy theories had ever imagined.