Anticipation, suspense and uncertainty — all the classic elements that make for a must-read thriller novel that leaves our hearts pounding and keeps us turning pages until the end. The thriller genre has been around since Homer’s Odyssey came into existence some time around the eighth century B.C.
With thriller books there are a number of subgenres that each come with their own thematic devices. For instance, crime thriller books might focus on ransoms, kidnappings or heists, whereas mystery thriller books employ whodunit, sleuthing and investigation. Regardless of the subgenre all thrillers place a protagonist in adrenaline-inducing situations that leave readers wanting to know more.
Now that the seasons are changing and colder weather is creeping in, curling up or catching up with a thriller book seems appropriate. We’ve sifted through some of the classic thrillers available, which we believe to be in the public domain and happy to share them with you below.
Thriller book torrents
1. One Thousand And One Nights (The Three Apples)
Also known as Arabian Nights, this book is a collection of stories from many centuries. The Three Apples is being called out a murder thriller with lots of plot twists that will keep you guessing along the way.
2. Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas
It may not be a pure mystery thriller, but Dumas does weave a rich tale layered with hope, vengeance and forgiveness. Anticipation of what’s to come plays a significant role in the plot sequence, which lends itself to a thriller-like quality.
3. Riddle Of The Sands, Erskine Childers
Very popular during it’s time, this thriller is an adventure in espionage. In fact, many of the devices utilized in this novel have been adapted by other modern authors, such as Ian Fleming and John Le Carré.
4. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
If this book didn’t make it on your high school English class syllabus you should give it a read. It explores the darkness of European colonization, the jungles of the Congo and the darkness in the treatment of human beings.
5. The Thirty Nine Steps, John Buchan
Anarchist plots, murder and suicide set against a London backdrop this is a mystery thriller that has become cult classic. Remade into movies and mini-series the book is one of Buchan’s better known novels.
6. The Dark Star, Robert W. Chambers
A story about a pastor’s daughter who is involved in a jewel heist and a prince who may or may not be able to keep her from ruin.
7. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Considered to be one of the first mystery thrillers it has been widely adapted to stage, cinema and television. All the best parts of detective fiction working to solve a tale of insanity, lost fortune and a mysterious woman in white.
8. Desperate Remedies, Thomas Hardy
For readers interested in blackmail and murder with a splash of romance this Hardy novel is reminiscent of gothic-like books by authors Daphne du Marier and Horace Walpole.
9. A Royal Prisoner, Pierre Souvestre
Fantomas is one of the most popular characters in the history of French crime fiction, so much so that he appeared in 32 volumes. This is the first thriller book that started the series and it holds up well despite it’s age.
10. Kingdom Of The Blind, Edward Phillips Oppenheim
A story of WWI espionage, Oppenheim is one of the earliest writers of spy fiction. Filled with international intrigue and suspense the novel’s lead characters, a soldier and a doctor, each suspect the other of being a spy. Suspicions will keep you guessing.
Have you read any of the thrillers above? Do you have a favorite?
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