10 Contemporary Authors Who Write Gripping Suspense

If you love thrilling works that keep you on the edge of your seat, then you've come to the right place. Classic mystery novels are great, but if you want to add some more modern works to your bookshelf, you should definitely check out the ten talented authors listed here. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Contemporary Authors Who Write Gripping Suspense

Author Notable Works
1. Charlie Donlea Don't Believe It The Girl Who Was Taken
2. Laura Elliot The Wife Before Me Guilty
3. Jan Ellison A Small Indiscretion
4. Harriet Lane Her Alys, Always
5. Michael Farris Smith The Hands of Strangers Rivers
6. Cynthia Swanson The Glass Forest The Bookseller
7. Kathleen Barber Are You Sleeping
8. Teresa Driscoll The Friend The Promise
9. Augustus Rose The Readymade Thief
10. James Hayman A Fatal Obsession The Cutting

Classic Mystery Books

If you love the suspense genre, odd are you're a fan of a good mystery. Consider diving into the genre's rich history with these classics:

  1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  5. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

What is Suspense?

Suspense is a feeling that is essentially a mixture of excitement, fascination, tension, and anxiety. It is often cause by a dramatic work, like one of the novels listed above or a film by Alfred Hitchcock. It can also arise due to real-life circumstances, although that's usually a lot less pleasant as the danger involved is actually a threat. In a book or movie, the audience knows that the villains and dark situations aren't real and can't hurt them, so they can enjoy the rush of adrenaline caused by suspense. This keeps fans of thrillers and mysteries coming back for more.

How Do Writers Create Suspense?

In Depth

Mystery books capture the imaginations of readers around the world with compelling plots, interesting characters, and unexpected twists and turns. If you want to read some recent works in this genre, you should check out these ten contemporary authors who write gripping suspense, listed here in no particular order.

Starting off at #1 is Charlie Donlea, a USA Today bestselling writer from Chicago. Donlea believes in three principles when building anticipation in his novels: first, never lie to the readers; second, keep the villain hidden without excluding them from the story; and third, don't get upset if the audience figures out the plot twist early.

One of his masterpieces, "Don't Believe It," centers on Sidney Ryan, a filmmaker who produces a documentary series on Grace Sebold. Grace has spent her life in prison for a decade because she is convicted of murdering her boyfriend while taking a vacation overseas. As the mystery unfolds, Sidney finds additional suspects and pieces of evidence to prove Sebold's innocence.

Grace has spent her life in prison for a decade because she is convicted of murdering her boyfriend while taking a vacation overseas.

At #2 is Laura Elliot from Dublin, Ireland. Growing up, Laura was an avid reader. She has penned various children and YA books under the alias "June Considine." The novelist gives regular workshops on creative writing, and has also worked as a freelance journalist and a magazine editor.

Her novel "The Wife Before Me" focuses on Elena Langdon, a woman who has just lost her mother. She meets Nicholas Madison, a man who is still grieving for his wife Amelia. He tells Elena that his spouse died in a freak car accident two years ago. Although Langdon easily believes the story, she later discovers a bone-chilling letter which holds the key to Amelia's death and reveals Nicholas' true character.

Next, at #3 is Jan Ellison from California. Ellison was an undergrad student at Stanford and obtained a Master's degree in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University. In addition to her longer works, she writes essays regarding travel and parenting for several online platforms.

In addition to her longer works, she writes essays regarding travel and parenting for several online platforms.

Her novel, "A Small Indiscretion" is about Annie Black, a middle-aged woman who has been married to her physician husband Jonathan for many years. Their son Robbie gets into an accident and Annie decides to write a letter to him, confessing everything about her failing marriage, her wild affair in the past, and Robbie's real father.

At #4 is Harriet Lane from Northern London. She is a journalist whose articles have been featured in Vogue, Tatler, Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Observer. Harriet mentioned in an interview with the BBC that her work in news media has shaped her career in creative writing.

Lane's book "Her" is a psychological thriller about two women. Emma is a stay-at-home mom who resents domesticity and wishes she could return to her place in the corporate world. On the other hand, Nina is a successful painter who seems to be poised and have everything in place. Even though they are different, they become friends soon after meeting. But it soon becomes clear that someone is playing mind games.

But it soon becomes clear that someone is playing mind games.

Following at #5 is Michael Farris Smith. Michael finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University, his Masters of Education at William Carey College, and his Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi. As an Associate Professor of English, he has taught several subjects, including Modernism and Southern Literature.

His book "The Fighter" tells the story of Jack Boucher, a 50-year-old man whose foster mother Maryann has dementia, and is close to death. She promises to give Jack her home, but due to his overwhelming debt, he might end up having to sell it. If he wants to survive, he may have to step into the ring once again and fight for his life.

At #6 is Cynthia Swanson from Denver, Colorado. Swanson once pursued Architecture in college, but eventually changed her major to English. She has worked as a technical writing specialist, an essayist, and a copywriter. In addition, she provides consultation for people who make manuscripts.

Swanson once pursued Architecture in college, but eventually changed her major to English.

Swanson's "The Glass Forest" deals with issues of melancholy, dread, and paranoia. Protagonist Angie Glass is a young wife to handsome Paul. The two are happily married, until a phone call from the man's niece, Ruby, disturbs their peace. She reports to the couple that her father Henry has committed suicide and her mother Silja is missing. But when Angie and her husband move to New York, they discover the alarming facts of Henry and Silja's relationship.

Next, at #7 is Kathleen Barber from Galesburg, Illinois. She is an expert in legal composition, research, and bankruptcy law. She is also a blogger who has backpacked through twenty countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and discusses her experience on her travel website, "Nonbillablehours.com."

Barber's debut title, "Are You Sleeping" is a mystery focusing on Josie Borden, who is living a desirable life. But unknown to many, she has been hiding her true identity for more than a decade, to escape from the chaos in her past. But when Josie's mom hangs herself and a podcast revives a murder case from 2002, she is forced to revisit her home and face the reality she abandoned long ago.

But unknown to many, she has been hiding her true identity for more than a decade, to escape from the chaos in her past.

At #8 is Teresa Driscoll, a former news presenter from the UK. Teresa spent fifteen years hosting the program "Spotlight" on BBC TV. On top of that, she has worked for various magazines and newspapers as a journalist. Many of her dark ideas and suspenseful plots are inspired by real crimes she covered as a broadcaster.

Driscoll's novel called "The Friend" tells the tale of Sophie, a mom to four-year-old Ben. She and her husband are on a train when she receives a call telling her that her little boy has been sent to the hospital. She now begins to contemplate on Emma, her newfound friend who she trusted to look after her son. Sophie starts to question the woman's integrity, and her curiosity is met with awful answers.

Following at #9 is Augustus Rose from San Francisco, California, husband of Korean novelist Nami Mun. He is an instructor of fiction writing at the University of Chicago. When he was younger, he worked at several bookstores, which enabled him to amass a large collection of books.

He is an instructor of fiction writing at the University of Chicago.

Rose's debut novel, "The Readymade Thief" features the life of Lee Cuddy, a seventeen-year-old high school girl who lives on the streets, and is into pilfering and selling drugs to earn money for college. She finds refuge in a group of strangers. These people turn out to be a secret society of fanatics who are making an attempt to decode information hidden in works left behind by French artist Marcel Duchamp.

Finally, at #10 is James Hayman from Brooklyn, New York. James graduated from Brown, then he began working as a rookie copywriter for a major advertising agency. He moved to Portland in 2001, where he made freelance marketing write-ups for a living. In 2005, he decided to create his very first extended fictional piece, "The Cutting," which became the initial installment of his "McCabe and Savage Thriller" series.

Hayman's sixth work in the series is entitled "A Fatal Obsession." It follows the investigation of Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage concerning the former's favorite niece, Zoe McCabe, a promising young actress who has recently disappeared. The police department is certain that she has been captured by a criminal nicknamed "The Star Struck Strangler." The probing pair must race against the clock in order to save Zoe.