10 Thrillers That Will Leave Your Heart Pounding

Nothing dispels the myth that "books are boring" better than an action-packed thriller. If you love the rush of adrenaline you feel while you read about characters being thrust into dangerous and mysterious situations, then this is the list for you. The ten chilling thrillers we've gathered here will raise the hair on the back of your neck and leave your heart pounding in your chest. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Thrillers That Will Leave Your Heart Pounding

Title Author More by the Author
1. Defectors Joseph Kanon Stardust
2. Mapping the Edge Sarah Dunant In the Name of the Family
3. If I Die Tonight Alison Gaylin What Remains of Me
4. Gone Dark Kirk Russell Signature Wounds
5. Olivay Deborah Reed Things We Set on Fire
6. Damaged Pamela Callow Indefensible
7. Paying The Piper Simon Wood Saving Grace
8. Three Graves Full Jamie Mason Monday's Lie
9. The Remains Vincent Zandri The Embalmer
10. Before You Leap Keith Houghton No Coming Back

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 directed several classics throughout his career, including Psycho, Vertigo, and Rear Window.

10 Great Psychological Thriller Films

In Depth

Thrillers present stories full of fear and suspense, and they leave people feeling anxious about what will happen next. The constant twists and turns keep readers glued to their seats, knowing that everything will culminate in a dramatic reveal. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of ten thrillers that will leave your heart pounding. Take note that this list is done in no particular order.

First up, at #1, we have "Defectors" by Joseph Kanon. Set during the Cold War, it tells the story of Frank Weeks, a former CIA agent who defected to the Soviet Union. Several years after Stalin died, Frank decides that he wants to publish his memoirs, but he can't do it without the help of his brother, Simon. When Simon travels to Moscow, he finds out that his brother actually wants to defect back to the US, and now he's thrust into a world full of espionage and danger.

At #2 is "Mapping the Edge" by Sarah Dunant. It revolves around Anna, a single mother who suddenly decides to leave her daughter in the care of her best friends as she goes on a vacation to Italy. When Anna doesn't return, everyone starts fearing the worst, and now her friends, Paul and Estella, have to figure out what happened to her.

When Anna doesn't return, everyone starts fearing the worst, and now her friends, Paul and Estella, have to figure out what happened to her.

Next up, at #3, we have "If I Die Tonight" by Alison Gaylin. The story is told from the perspectives of several different characters, and it revolves around the death of a teenager named Liam. After a hit-and-run incident killed Liam, the people of Havenkill scramble to find out what really happened that night. Wade, a troubled young teen, is immediately named as the suspect, but police officer Pearl Maze seems to think otherwise.

Next, at #4, is "Gone Dark" by Kirk Russell. FBI agent Paul Grale is tasked with investigating a series of bomb-related attacks in Los Angeles. As Grale's investigation continues, he starts to realize that his niece, Julia, may be involved in some way. Now, he has to figure out who's behind the attacks, all while trying to prove Julia's innocence.

At #5 is "Olivay" by Deborah Reed. Olivay is a grieving widow who lives in Los Angeles. After meeting a man named Henry, the two of them spend the night at her place. When the entire city is attacked by terrorists, they're both left stuck in her apartment. Now, they have to learn how to trust each other, which may prove difficult as Henry seems to be hiding a lot of secrets from her.

Olivay is a grieving widow who lives in Los Angeles.

Next, at #6, is "Damaged." Written by Pamela Callow, it's the first entry of her "Kate Lange" series, which mainly focuses on the eponymous heroine. Kate is a lawyer who works for a prominent law firm, and this book follows her pursuit of a serial killer who targets young women. Throughout the story, she has to work hard in order to keep her job and redeem herself from supposedly being partly responsible for a girl's death.

At #7 is "Paying the Piper" by Simon Wood. It's about a crime reporter named Scott Fleetwood who, in the past, was duped into thinking he'd get an interview with a serial kidnapper known only as the Piper. Several years after being fooled by a copycat, his son is kidnapped by the real Piper, and now he's forced to follow the criminal's demands in order to save his child.

Next up, at #8, we have "Three Graves Full" by Jamie Mason. It revolves around Jason Getty, a man who once killed a person and buried the body in his backyard. One day, he hires landscapers to work on his front yard, and they discover two other bodies that he never knew about. It's a story full of twists that are bound to keep you on your toes until the very end.

One day, he hires landscapers to work on his front yard, and they discover two other bodies that he never knew about.

Next, at #9, is "The Remains" by Vincent Zandri. Molly and Rebecca are twin sisters who, when they were younger, were abducted by a crazy man. To protect their family, they both kept the entire incident a secret. A few decades later, years after Molly succumbed to cancer, Rebecca suddenly starts receiving cryptic messages on her phone. She's forced to face her past once more after she learns that the lunatic from her childhood has been released from prison and may be out to kill her.

Finally, at #10, we have "Before You Leap" by Keith Houghton. It's about a therapist named Greg Cole, whose sister was murdered years ago. When his sister's supposed killer is released with a solid alibi, the police turn to him for answers. Things clearly aren't what they seem to be, and now Greg has to dig deep into his memories to recall what really happened to his sibling.