Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

NPR’s top 100 Killer Thrillers

I love a good thriller, so when I saw that NPR was allowing us to vote for our favorites I was more than happy to cast my ballot.  The results are now in (the link is here) and I now have a great list of thriller recommended reads.  With over 1000,000 votes cast I think it’s a fairly comprehensive list.  I’ve bolded the few I’ve read and commented on what I thought.  What do you think of the list?  Do you see a favorite that I need to read first?

1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote – Just read this for the first time in January. My review here.
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown – Gripping page turner.
7. The Shining, by Stephen King – Listened to the audio of this one in March. My review here.
8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
9. The Hunt tor Red October, by Tom Clancy – My first and only Clancy.  Surprised that I liked it so much.
10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
11. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
12. The Stand, by Stephen King
13. The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver – Love this one and the whole series.  My review here.
14. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
15. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown – Fun hunt through Italy.  My review here.
16. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham – It’s been a very long time but I remember liking it .
17. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
18. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
19. The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth
20. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier – I know I was supposed to love it but I didn’t
21. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
22. It, by Stephen King
23. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
24. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
25. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
26. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
27. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
28. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
29. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
30. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson
31. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
32. Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane
33. Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
34. Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin
35. Subterranean, by James Rollins
36. Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy
37. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King
38. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane – I liked this one.  My review here.
39. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carre
40. The Poet, by Michael Connelly – My first and only Connelly so far, but it was good.  My review here.
41. The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin
42. Cape Fear, by John MacDonald
43. The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
44. Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
45. Dead Zone, by Stephen King
46. The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon
47. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre
48. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
49. Tell No One, by Harlan Coben – My first and favorite Coben and I’ve read them all. 
50. Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn
51. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
52. Blowback, by Brad Thor
53. The Children of Men, by P.D. James
54. 61 Hours, by Lee Child
55. Marathon Man, by William Goldman
56. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
57. 206 Bones, by Kathy Reichs
58. Psycho, by Robert Bloch
59. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child – Just started this series last year and am loving it.  My review here.
60. Rules of Prey, by John Sandford – A big fan of this series.  My love affair with Lucas begins with this one.
61. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
62. In the Woods, by Tana French
63. Shogun, by James Clavell
64. The Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
65. Intensity, by Dean Koontz – This is very intense 🙂
66. Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming
67. Metzger’s Dog, by Thomas Perry
68. Timeline, by Michael Crichton
69. Contact, by Carl Sagan
70. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
71. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
72. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
73. Charm School, by Nelson DeMille
74. Feed, by Mira Grant
75. Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child
76. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
77. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
78. The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders
79. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
80. The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell
81. Primal Fear, by William Diehl
82. The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry
82. The Hard Way, by Lee Child [tie]
84. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
85. Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady
86. Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
87. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith
88. The Eight, by Katherine Neville
89. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
90. Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming
91. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
92. The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva
93. Hardball, by Sara Paretsky
94. The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
95. The Deep Blue Good-by, by John MacDonald
96. The Monkey’s Raincoat, by Robert Crais
96. Berlin Game, by Len Deighton [tie]
98. A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith – This is a great book and one of my faves.  More people should read it.
99. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
100. Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain

August 7, 2010 - Posted by | lists | ,


  1. I copied this out too! Since a lot of these have also been movies, I am also using it for my netflix queue!

    Comment by rhapsodyinbooks | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I’ve seen so many of the movies. Let me count…29.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. wow, I haven’t read many thrillers except for Robin Cook and Sidney Sheldon books. This is a great reference.

    Comment by VioletCrush | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I was expecting to have read more of them since I love the genre.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  3. Stacey, this was an interesting list. I was surprised to see that I have only read 15/100.

    Comment by diane | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • That was my count too 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. If I counted right, I’ve read 12 of those books. I am a little surprised by some of them – I had no idea The Last of the Mohicans is considered a thriller.

    Comment by bermudaonion | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Some of them are surprising. And I thought there were a surprising number of newer books.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  5. Definitely read The Girl Who series! I’ve read 16 and see quite a few that have been on my TBR list for awhile.

    Comment by Nise' | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • That series is on my wish list 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  6. NPR was pretty loose about what constitutes a thriller, but it’s an interesting list nonetheless. I count 33 read, but the majority of those were back in my thrilling days.

    Comment by Charlie | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • You must have had some busy thriller days, Charlie! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  7. Love having this list, thank you Stacy, i’m going to copy and post also. I have so many on my TBR list. Silence of the Lambs is my ultimate fav movie, I really should read the book.

    Comment by Marce | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I love that movie too and really should read the book.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 8, 2010 | Reply

  8. Great list! I’d never heard of A Simple Plan before, but it sounds wonderful. I’ve added it to my wish list. 🙂

    Comment by farmlanebooks | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh, I hope you like it. They also made a movie of it.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  9. I love the list even if I haven’t read many of them.

    Comment by christina | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I was surprised at how few I’d read considering how much I love the genre.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  10. Woo! Thanks for the heads up on this list. I love it. I will definitely make a copy of it.

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s a great to-read list for thriller lovers.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  11. Gosh .. I’ve read quite a few of them!! And I agree with you about A Simple Plan. It is a fantastic book and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves!

    Comment by Jenners | August 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m so glad to hear from someone (especially you :)) who feels the same.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  12. I’m finishing up Darkly Dreaming Dexter as we speak. I love the TV series but wish I had read the book first – all I’m doing is comparing the two in my head as I read.

    Of your list, I have the Silence of the Lambs series high on my to read list as well as The Count of Monte Cristo.

    I’ve read 11 of those listed and watched movies of 18 listed.

    I am immune to the “Girl Who…” series – I disliked the first one and may be the only person on Earth to feel that way. I didn’t like In The Woods either. Seems my taste in modern thrillers are different than everyone else :0(

    Comment by Bumble | August 9, 2010 | Reply

    • I didn’t realize you hated the first Girl Who book. That takes some of the pressure off to love it since it seems that most bloggers can’t get enough!
      I would really like to read Silence of the Lambs.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  13. What a fantastic list. There are some great books there and some I’ll certainly be checking out. Thanks!

    Comment by buybooksonline | August 9, 2010 | Reply

  14. I think I’ve read 21, but some of the others are on my to-read list. I loved The Count of Monte Cristo, but it’s definitely a long one. Christie and Doyle are always on my favorites list too.

    Comment by Carol | August 10, 2010 | Reply

    • 21 is a great number! I feel like I’m a slacker.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  15. This is a fantastic list. I’m glad you posted it as I missed it on npr. I’ve copied it down and I’m going to highlight my own list of those I’ve read and those I want to read.

    I don’t recall you mentioning A Simple Plan before but your comment has me interested. I’m going to check that out.

    Comment by Margot | August 10, 2010 | Reply

    • I read A Simple Plan way before blogging. The movie is also pretty good.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  16. This is a very cool list indeed! I love lists like these, crossing off the ones that I’ve read, and then looking at all of the ones I want to read!

    Comment by Staci | August 10, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s addicting and a total time waster, but I can’t help myself with lists like this!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  17. I read about this the other day on Iliana’s blog and was thinking how many did i read?! 🙂
    Not many i m afraid, but i need to read many in this list

    Comment by Veens | August 13, 2010 | Reply

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