10 Fast-Paced Thrillers Set in Big Cities

Heart-pounding action and thrilling suspense are heightened when they're set against the backdrop of a big city. In a giant labyrinth of buildings, criminals could be lurking around every corner, and investigators are working under a lot of pressure. If you love diving into these high-stakes stories, then check out the ten fast-paced thrillers listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Fast-Paced Thrillers Set in Big Cities

Title Author
1. The Fisherman's Lily Suzanne Spiegoski
2. Takeoff Joseph Reid
3. Red Flags Brandi L. Bates
4. City of Echoes Robert Ellis
5. The Coming Storm Mark Alpert
6. Killer.com Kenneth Eade
7. The Butterfly Sister Amy Gail Hansen
8. The Dark Before Dawn Laurie Stevens
9. Blizzard H.W. "Buzz" Bernard
10. American Woman Robert Pobi

The History of the Thriller

Some of the world's oldest known stories used the same elements that make modern thrillers so enticing. Homer's famous epic poem The Odyssey is something of a prototype of the genre. The hero's life is in constant danger as he uses his cunning to overcome his enemies. But the genre isn't exclusive to Western culture. One of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights (commonly known as Arabian Nights) is considered to be the oldest known murder mystery. This tale, The Three Apples, is full of plot twists and revolves around a mysterious death. Centuries later, the 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo popularized the action thriller with it's swashbuckling revenge plot. Eventually, of course, the genre made its way from the pages of books to the big screen. Some of the most famous of these movies were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who worked on several classics throughout his career, including Psycho, Vertigo, and Rear Window.

How to Make Writing Suspenseful

In Depth

Deceit. Espionage. A killer on the loose. What could be more exciting than a thriller that leaves you gasping for breath at the turn of each page? Only a story of sex, lies, and murder set in one of the world's most exciting cities. For readers in the market for a thrilling ride, these tales all fit the bill. Here, in no particular order, are some of the finest urban thrillers that will have your heart pounding.

In the #1 slot is "The Fisherman's Lily" by Suzanne Spiegoski. New York homicide detective Lily is used to dealing with gritty crime scenes. But this latest case, featuring the graphic murders of three Asian-American women, seems to be rooted in her own past. If Lily can climb out from under her self-destructive tendencies and look at her life head-on, maybe she can solve the case. Or maybe she'll end up being the next victim on the killer's list.

For #2, we have Joseph Reid's "Takeoff." P.I. Seth Walker is still healing from past scars. When the veteran air marshal gets assigned to protect a pop star, he doesn't plan on the mission changing his life forever. From a shootout at L.A.X. to a high action chase by the FBI, readers follow Seth as he tries to make his way back to the safety of Austin, Texas, dodging stray bullets and risking everything to protect the mysterious, dangerous woman in his care.

P.I. Seth Walker is still healing from past scars.

At #3 is "Red Flags" by Brandi L. Bates. There's a killer on the loose in Atlanta. Luckily, detective Patricia Harbutt is on the case. But when her partner starts acting strange and her husband reveals a dark secret that threatens to tear Patricia's marriage and her world apart, murder is the last thing on her mind. Can the dedicated detective stop the murderer stalking the streets of Atlanta, or will her personal life end up driving her off the deep end?

For #4 we find "City of Echoes" by Robert Ellis. Working the homicide beat on the mean streets of L.A. doesn't leave much to the imagination. When detective Matt Jones starts to string together two gruesome murders with the same unique signature, he starts to wonder why the L.A.P.D. isn't taking more notice. Soon, Jones will attempt to uncover one of the most earth-shaking corruption plots in Los Angeles history. That is, if he lives to tell the tale.

Coming in at #5 is Mark Alpert's "The Coming Storm." In 2023, New York City as we know it has been taken over by a race of genetically engineered super soldiers while average citizens struggle to stay alive in flooded, storm-ravaged neighborhoods. Dr. Jenna Khan wants to get to the bottom of the government's warped military creations, and possibly stop a scheme that could endanger the lives of all humans in the new world. With its heady mix of sci-fi and suspense, this apocalyptic glimpse into a frightening future will have readers in its grip from page one.

With its heady mix of sci-fi and suspense, this apocalyptic glimpse into a frightening future will have readers in its grip from page one.

For #6 we have Kenneth Eade's "Killer.com." What would you do if you knew you could order up someone's murder online? With a murderous, anonymous website offering crime without repercussions, it's up to L.A. lawyer Brent Marks to see justice done. But when Marks finds himself framed for murder by the anonymous online assassins, all bets are off.

#7 is "The Butterfly Sister" by Amy Gail Hansen. College dropout Ruby is still healing from a recent nervous breakdown. Fresh out of a whirlwind affair with her professor, Ruby is back in Chicago dealing with the fallout when she gets the news: her college friend Beth is missing. With only a few literary clues to guide her, Ruby sets forth into the unknown, risking her sanity and safety to unveil the truth.

In the #8 slot is "The Dark Before Dawn" by Laurie Stevens. In L.A.'s Santa Monica mountains, Sheriff Gabriel McRay is trying to crack a series of grisly murders committed by someone who leaves notes addressed to Gabriel on each body. The assassin seems to know him intimately, but Gabriel can't figure out how. If he can unlock a repressed childhood memory, can he find the key to cracking the case?

If he can unlock a repressed childhood memory, can he find the key to cracking the case?

For #9 we get H.W. "Buzz" Bernard's "Blizzard." Atlanta is dealing with the most severe snowstorm in the city's history. Everyone, including high-powered executive J.C. Riggins, is left unprepared. With the city undergoing a total whiteout and all traditional transportation lines closed, Riggins must race from snow-covered Atlanta to North Carolina, fighting the harsh terrain, a biker gang, and a violent criminal on the loose as he makes his way north.

Finally, at #10, is Robert Pobi's "American Woman." It's the dead of summer in New York, and the city is experiencing a stifling heat wave. That's not all: detective Alexandra Hemingway is on the hunt for a murderer who shows no sign of slowing down. She's also just discovered that she's pregnant. With strong characterization and a gripping twist ending, this sharply-written work will leave you thinking about it long after you've put it down.