A majority of these you have probably heard of before, either in school or in a Buzzfeed article or something. But they’re still important thrillers.
And a fantastic syllabi for those readers who want to sound fancy at a party. Check out some classic thrillers that will make you think and make your heart race…and maybe cross off some titles from Rory Gilmore’s Reading List?
Dr. Henry Jekyll, fascinated by the dichotomy of good and evil, no longer wants to inhibit his dark side. He concocts a potion to create the alter ego of Mr. Edward Hyde. With the burden of evil placed on Hyde, Jekyll can now take pleasure in his immoral, nefarious fantasies—free of conscience and guilt. It’s when Hyde turns to murder that Jekyll realizes how monstrous his impulses are and how hard they are to suppress.
Exploring the nature of shame, repression, desire, and control, Stevenson’s story has so endured that “a Jekyll and Hyde personality” has become part of our lexicon in understanding our own—sometimes involuntary—duality.
During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
It’s here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith’s five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a “sissy.” Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley’s fascination with Dickie’s debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. “Sinister and strangely alluring” (Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly) The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for self-invention is as unnerving—and unnervingly revealing of the American psyche—as ever.
The #1 New York Times bestseller that launched the phenomenal career of Tom Clancy—a gripping military thriller that introduced the world to his unforgettable hero, Jack Ryan—nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on—and there’s only one man who can find her…
Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork, but when covert photographs of Red October land on his desk, Ryan soon finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek played by two world powers—a game that could end in all-out war.
Bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon thinks he’s finally free of Misery Chastain. In a controversial career move, he’s just killed off the popular protagonist of his beloved romance series in favor of expanding his creative horizons. But such a change doesn’t come without consequences. After a near-fatal car accident in rural Colorado leaves his body broken, Paul finds himself at the mercy of the terrifying rescuer who’s nursing him back to health—his self-proclaimed number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Annie is very upset over what Paul did to Misery and demands that he find a way to bring her back by writing a new novel—his best yet, and one that’s all for her. After all, Paul has all the time in the world to do so as a prisoner in her isolated house…and Annie has some very persuasive and violent methods to get exactly what she wants…
Feed your fears with the terrifying classic that introduced cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
FBI agent Will Graham once risked his sanity to capture Hannibal Lecter, an ingenious killer like no other. Now, he’s following the bloodstained pattern of the Tooth Fairy, a madman who’s already wiped out two families.
To find him, Graham has to understand him. To understand him, Graham has only one place left to go: the mind of Dr. Lecter
When Peter Benchley wrote Jaws in the early 1970s, he meticulously researched all available data about shark behavior. Over the ensuing decades, Benchley was actively engaged with scientists and filmmakers on expeditions around the world as they expanded their knowledge of sharks. Also during this time, there was an unprecedented upswing in the number of sharks killed to make shark-fin soup, and Benchley worked with governments and nonprofits to sound the alarm for shark conservation. He encouraged each new generation of Jaws fans to enjoy his riveting tale and to channel their excitement into support and protection of these magnificent, prehistoric apex predators.
This edition of Jaws contains bonus content from Peter Benchley’s archives, including the original typed title page, a brainstorming list of possible titles, a letter from Benchley to producer David Brown with honest feedback on the movie adaptation, and excerpts from Benchley’s book Shark Trouble highlighting his firsthand account of writing Jaws, selling it to Universal Studios, and working with Steven Spielberg.
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price.
Until something goes wrong. . . .
In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton taps all his mesmerizing talent and scientific brilliance to create his most electrifying technothriller.
The life of a ten-year-old black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless white men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime—until the girl’s father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands.
For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life—and then his own.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
As seen on the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan, which chronicles the rivalry between the Hollywood stars during their filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
The neighbors all whisper about the two sisters who live on the hill: It’s Blanche Hudson who lives in that house, you know. The Blanche Hudson, who starred in big Hollywood films all those years ago. Such a shame her career ended so early, all because of that accident. They say it was her sister, Jane, who did it–that she crashed the car because she was drunk. They say that’s why she looks after Blanche now, because of the guilt. That’s what they say, at least.
Nobody remembers that Jane was once a star herself. A fixture of early vaudeville, Baby Jane Hudson performed her song and dance routines for adoring crowds until a move to Hollywood thrust her sister into the spotlight. Even now, years later, Jane dreams of reviving her act. But as the lines begin to blur between fantasy and reality, past resentments become dangerous–and the sisters’ long-kept secrets threaten to destroy them.
Now with three short stories available for the first time in print, including What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte, the basis for the film Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
I have nothing else to say about these books. Is that a vibe?
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