If you’re the kind of person that loves being kept on tenterhooks for the plot of the book you’re reading to unfurl before your very eyes, then you’re going to love this list of our top 10 suspense novels. Make your way through this collection of suspenseful creations and you’ll be kept right on the edge of your seat right until each of their respective final chapters!
Anyone whose seen the movie will tell you that the Shining by Stephen King is about as suspenseful as it gets and the book on which the film is based, is even more so. Jack Torrence is a writer who takes his wife and son to a remote Colorado hotel called the Overlook in the hope of curing his writer’s block.
Employed as the caretaker of the hotel during the winter months, Jack becomes increasingly disturbed by psychic premonitions of the locations macabre past and the suspense builds with each passing page. What occurs from there is not for the faint-hearted. Can you stand the tension? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Another incredible tension-filled story is The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris that features Clarice Starling and the inimitably gruesome Hannibal Lecter. Clarice, a newly qualified FBI agent, is on the hunt of a serial killer going by the name of Buffalo Bill, who kills for fun and makes clothes with the skin of his victims.
Needing the help of Hannibal the Cannibal to track this psychopath down, Starling has to open up her innermost feelings and thoughts to Lecter – a previously noted psychiatrist. Will Starling get her man? And at what cost? The truth exists amongst the pages of this fantastically suspenseful book.
From the creative mind of Stieg Larsson comes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a story of suspense and intrigue that follows disgraced reporter Mikael Blomkvist. When he is given a chance of redemption after being asked to track down the murderer of the niece of Henrik Vanger – a successful Swedish businessman – he begins to suspect that she was killed by a family member.
What is not in doubt is that Vanger is bent on finding the culprit and during his search for the perpetrator, Blomkvist is joined on his dangerous mission by Lisbeth Salander – the girl with the aforementioned tattoo – as his investigative nose leads him closer and closer to the killer. As you turn each page of this wonderful story, you’ll feel the tension rise! It’s a really gripping tale that shouldn’t be missed!
Subterfuge and espionage are the watchwords in The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, as a French paramilitary group is set on assassinating President, Charles de Gaulle. When their attempts fail, they turn to the notorious hitman, The Jackal, who sets out to eliminate the head of state.
As the story progresses, Parisian detective, Lebel, follows the clues and closes in on the hitman. The question is – does he succeed? Therein lies the suspense and only by reading it will you find out.
Who can forget the story of Jaws by Peter Bentley that inspired the movie that made so many people afraid of the water for so long? For the uninitiated, the tale is one that sees the tourist location of Amity Island besieged by a particularly large great white shark that has a taste for human flesh.
As a result, Captain Quint, local sheriff Chief Brody and a shark specialist named Matt Hooper set out to kill the beast. This shark is no ordinary one, however, and the pursuit does not go as planned. All the while, the suspense builds to a final crescendo. It’s quite a read that shouldn’t be missed.
In terms of suspense, there is perhaps no book that features more than The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Ubiquitous upon its release, the book follows main character, Robert Langdon, a famed cryptologist. After a murder at the Louvre in Pris, he finds himself in the midst of a battle between the secret societies of Opus Dei and the Priory of Sion.
What’s at stake couldn’t be bigger either, as Langdon finds out more and more about the truth behind Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene. As unseen forces seek to protect the secret, the tension builds as the story nears its end. Love suspense? Then you have to read this book.
After the brutal assault of his daughter, Carl Lee Hailey is a black father who takes matters into his own hands by shooting the white men responsible before their trial takes place. Despite admitting to the killing, Hailey seeks to avoid the severest of penalties by employing rookie lawyer Jake Brigance.
Given that the backdrop is a segregated town in the deep South of America in the 1980s, his chances are acquittal are small and Brigance has his doubts about taking on the case. What follows is a gripping tale that blurs the lines of right and wrong and it’s one that will hold your attention to the end.
As the world’s best-selling mystery novel of 1939, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is one of the most notable whodunnits of its time. As 10 people are lured onto an Island in India and they convene in a local house, a member of the party – Anthony Marston – is unexpectedly poisoned.
This is a multi-layered, suspenseful crime novel that sees the facts behind a seemingly unsolvable murder become clearer. As each new fact behind the case is uncovered, the tension builds and it’s a book you really won’t want to put it down. We challenge you to do just that!.
A suspense novel on the domestic front now, as a young couple and their seemingly approachable neighbours, become embroiled in lies, deceit and matrimonial secrets. The story centres around Anne & Marco Conti, who, on the surface, have it all, including a beautiful baby named Cora.
One night, whilst next door at a dinner party, a terrible crime occurs and then long-held secrets between the pair come to light under police interrogation. This tale is a chilling one and you can be assured of being gripped by suspense to the very last word.
Set in Carthage, Missouri, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a story about Nick Dunne and his beautiful wife Amy who live together in New York. Presenting an image of marital content to the outside world, the truth behind the veil couldn’t be further away. This becomes apparent when Amy disappears on the couple’s 5th wedding anniversary.
This leaves Nick as the prime suspect and as events play out in the media and police pressure takes its toll, his world crumbles before his eyes. A real journey of suspense and redemption that will leave you wanting more.
And that concludes our list of top suspense novels. We hope you have a great time working through them all. Just make sure you don’t start reading any of them before you go to bed, as you’ll likely still be reading when the sun comes up!