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The Top 10 Thrillers of all time

| Updated: August 6, 2021 21:06

It is an aspect of the human condition – the need to be enthralled, to have adrenaline coursing through the veins, to have the heart skip a beat. For most of us, fortunately, our lives are pretty humdrum, so we search for this excitement elsewhere. Be it by jumping out of a plane mid-air or curled up on a cold rainy day with a fast-paced thriller. The latter, though, is by far the easier option. These timeless thrillers will be challenging to put down and equally challenging to keep reading without a shiver running up your spine.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier–

This sinister suspense novel written in 1938 is one of the most enduring thrillers of all time. The narrator, the new Mrs de Winter, learns about the mysterious death of her predecessor, the former Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. She is soon consumed by the thought that she will meet the same fate as well.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn–

This book had dominated the New York times bestseller list for eight consecutive weeks and has also seen a Hollywood adaptation. Gillian Flynn has created an iconic female protagonist in Amy and, through her mind-bending relationship with her husband Nick, transformed this domestic thriller into a modern zeitgeist.

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith-

The idyllic Italian summer that serves as a backdrop to a tale of a social climber making his way up the rungs of society soon transforms into a nightmarish account of murder, identity fraud and lies. Its Hitchcock adaptation perfectly complements this nefarious narrative of greed and excesses.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware–

Likened to a modern-day Agatha Christie, Ruth Ware has created a thriller on the turbulent high seas. A journalist on a luxury cruise witnesses a woman being pushed overboard, except she can’t find any record of this passenger ever boarding the ship. Her sanity ebbs and flows through this story as well.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley–

Set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, this novel reverses the intimate, whodunit murder mysteries paradigm. Instead of revealing the victim’s identity at the get-go, the book keeps it a secret till the very last pages.

Misery by Stephen King –

Acclaimed author Paul Sheldon crashes his car on a snowy Colorado highway only to be rescued by his greatest fan, Annie Wilkes. Soon he realizes that he might now be in the greatest danger of all. This classic novel delivers equal parts of suspense and terror right down to the very last page.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen–

This book alternates between POV’s of two women – the scorned ex-wife and the new, young fiancée both vying for the love of the same man. What makes this book a standout psychological thriller is the deception and twists in the story that you won’t see coming.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides –

Alicia Berenson is a painter accused of the brutal murder of her husband. She is admitted into psychiatric care because she refuses to speak a word in her defence. It is up to her doctor to help open up and possibly prove her innocence but is it as straightlaced as it seems?

The Woman in the Window by A. J.Finn-

After a traumatic accident, former psychologist Anna Fox finds herself lost in a pill-popping, wine swirling haze. Her only connection to reality is the window she uses to spy on her neighbours, the Russell’s. But all is not well. Her shocking discovery sets her down a dangerous path leading to terrible discoveries not only about their life but about hers as well.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson–

This list would be incomplete without the exemplary Swedish novel, later translated to English in 2008. It introduced the world to the cult-feminist icon Lisbeth Salander. She and protagonist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves on the trail of a woman who mysteriously disappeared forty years ago.

Devanshi Shanay Shah

Devanshi Shanay Shah, our in-house expert on books and parenting, is currently working on her debut novel. She has a Masters in literature and writing from the University of Cambridge. A voracious reader, she has an appetite for fiction and poetry. In the weekends, she loves to play scrabble, and sip oolong tea while watching old black and white movies. Devanshi is mother to one-year-old Ayesha who doesn’t give her much time for any of the things mentioned above. Please write to her at

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