Author Andrea Kane's 7 Favorite Suspenseful Thrillers, Ever

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The New York Times best-selling author, Andrea Kane, shares her favorite romantic thrillers.

Author Andrea Kane Shares Her Favorite Must-Read Suspenseful Thrillers

If you're having a hard time choosing the next book to read, we can help.

Lucky for us, New York Times best-selling author, Andrea Kane, was nice enough to share her favorite thrillers with us and we had to pass along her insight. After all, she's an expert having written 29 best-selling novels. She knows what she's talking about, too—Kane writes contemporary suspense thrillers, psychological thrillers, and even historical romance suspense. Her books have been published in more than 20 languages, allowing everyone around the world in on a little piece of the action.

Read all about Andrea Kane's favorite books below!


Author Andrea Kane's Favorite Suspense Novels

I’m an avid reader of my own genre and I always have been. I cut my “suspense” teeth on Nancy Drew, moved on to Agatha Christie, and never looked back.

So, with a lifetime of reading to consider, narrowing down choices of my favorites is a tough one. Being able to combine all books suspense-related—romantic suspense, thriller, and pure suspense—makes my job a little easier, since those genres often tend to overlap. I even have trouble labeling my own books: Are they psychological thrillers? Suspense thrillers? Suspense novels with a heavy emphasis on characterization?

So here I go, bypassing my early childhood memories, and giving you a list of some of my all-time favorites, all the while not spoiling the read by revealing too much!

1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

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I’m starting right out with a classic book that many people consider to be more of a Gothic than a suspense. But I judge a good suspense novel by how much my heart pounds and how riveted my attention becomes as I turn each page. And the sinister feeling that pervades Rebecca accomplishes both. As a reader, I lived through the eyes of the new, quiet and shy Mrs. Maxim de Winter, who’s lost in the shadow of her predecessor—a first wife who is preserved in death in every corner of Manderley. She’s also eerily revered by her loyal—and utterly creepy—housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. If that woman doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, I don’t know what will. Surprise twists, dark secrets to be uncovered, for me Rebecca has it all. It’s a timeless suspense novel written by a master.

2. Tell No One by Harlan Coben

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Whenever Harlan Coben comes out with a book, I’m eager to get my hands—and my eyes—on it. So it might seem odd that I picked a book he wrote almost twenty years ago as one of my favorites. But Tell No One hit a home run with me in terms of characterization and impact, and its story has stuck with me all these years later. Starting with a horrific, life-altering event, then a terrifying realization, Dr. David Beck is both the protagonist and the victim of the story. Layer upon layer of lies and secrets are slowly peeled away, and I felt as if I were inside the book, living the hell right along with David. If you’re a new Coben fan, go back and read this one. You won’t be disappointed.

3. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown

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Sandra Brown is so talented and prolific that I could easily have put a lot more than one of her books on this list. Again, the reason I chose Tough Customer is that not only was the story itself gripping, but I absolutely loved the protagonist, Dodge Hanley. You first meet Dodge as a shady investigator in Smash Cut, Brown’s previous novel (which I also highly recommend). But Tough Customer is all his story—his and his daughter’s and her mother’s. He’s such a complicated man, and his flaws make him as compelling a character as do his virtues. He’s hell-bent on capturing the psychopath who wants to have or to kill his daughter, Berry, and he’ll use whatever means necessary to do that. This book is a great mix of suspense, character-development, and romance (actually two romances), all of which I gobbled up.

4. Every Breath You Take (An Under Suspicion Novel) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

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I picked one of the “Under Suspicion” novels for my list, but the truth is I love them all. What a great, unique concept—a television show that takes cold cases and solves them by putting those involved—from the families and friends of the victim, to the suspects (hint: some of those people fall into both categories)—on the show to interview so they can get at the truth. It’s better than any reality TV I can imagine, and its ratings are through the roof! In addition to the show itself being suspenseful and fascinating, so is its producer, Laurie Moran. A tragedy in her own life inspires her creation of Under Suspicion, and her personal and professional relationships only make the stories stronger. Mary Higgins Clark is called the Queen of Suspense for a reason, and when you add the writing talent of Alafair Burke to the equation, you’ve got a memorable and winning series. I really hate waiting for each new book in the series to be released, which shows what a fan I am.

5. One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

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Lisa Scottoline is one of my go-to writers. Each of her books is a great suspense. But One Perfect Lie is one of those books that hits close to home, because it takes place in suburbia, a place that could be Anytown, USA. And at the center of it all is Chris Brennan, high school government teacher and assistant baseball coach. Impeccable records. An open guy with no agenda. As perfect as they come. All a lie. And how this lie weaves into the lives of those he interacts with kicks up the tension, makes you turn each page with a sense of foreboding, and ultimately blasts you in the face.

6. Thinner by Stephen King/Richard Bachman

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I know most people think of Stephen King as a horror writer, and he is. But, once again, there’s a fine line between genres, and, to me, Thinner was a thriller to the core. Let’s begin by saying that, despite the fact that I think he’s an amazing storyteller, I’m way too frightened to read Stephen King. So when I picked up Thinner, I had no idea that Richard Bachman and Stephen King were the same person. That was fortunate, or I would have missed out on a great, if terrifying, read. An obese man who wants to lose weight. Sounds common enough, right? Well, this one didn’t lose his weight through any natural means. When he got off scot-free for committing vehicular manslaughter, a curse was placed on him, after which he began losing weight at an alarming rate—a rate he couldn’t control. Pound after pound vanished until he was gaunt and ill. The curse wouldn’t go away. And the ending? Let’s just say I gripped that book so tightly while I was reading it that I think I left fingermarks on the pages. And when I closed the book after reading the final page, I hid it in a faraway corner of my office, like a child who was afraid of a monster. Needless to say, this one was way too good not to include on my list.

7. Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

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This is one of those “first book” authors who hits one out of the park her first time at bat. Herself, a former CIA analyst, Karen Cleveland writes a truly nail-biting story about a high-powered CIA analyst, with a loving husband and kids, who accidentally finds out a chilling secret about her husband. It tears her entire life apart and makes her doubt everything she’s believed in. I’m usually very intuitive about knowing who’s guilty and who’s innocent. Not so in this book. I swung back and forth like a pendulum, and every time I thought I had the answer right, another layer of the story surfaced that refuted that. A really dynamite read.

So there you have it. A core sample of my favorite suspense and romantic suspense, thrillers. I know I’m missing hundreds more, but these books were the ones that kept me up at night and that I could not forget even years after I finished them. If that isn’t the mark of great reads, I don’t know what is!

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Andrea Kane is the author of 29 novels including Dead in a Week, (on sale March 19, 2019). For more about Andrea and her new book, including an excerpt and links to buy, please visit www.andreakane.com.

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