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Thriller & Suspense Essential Reading List for Writers

Thriller & Suspense Essential Reading List for Writers, on The Writer's Cabin

Thriller & Suspense Genre Writer's Essential Reading List to Improve Their Craft

So, you've set your sights on the crazy ol' world of thriller and suspense writing, huh?

Well, you have chosen a genre that demands dedication and a relentless pursuit of learning to manipulate your readers. Because it's not merely about writing great stories; it's about writing stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats, make their hearts race, and blow their minds.

To excel, you'll need to immerse yourself in the art of writing but also the literary ancestors who have paved the way for you.

These authors and their creations hold the keys to unlocking gripping storytelling, building tension, creating suspense, and writing the best villains and heroes. Because they have managed it, they are the best teachers you will find.

Listen closely; come here.

Reading isn't just a pleasure. It's a vital step on your journey to becoming a great writer.

Whether you're starting to hone your skills or seeking to elevate your existing skills, this list I have compiled here of essential reads will help you to grow as a writer and write better thriller stories.

Here is the list of 15 essential thriller novels you should read if you are to write in the genre:

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs is a deeply chilling masterpiece of the thriller genre that digs into the darkest corners of the human psyche. It introduced us to the brilliant but completely deranged Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a character who has become one of the most iconic figures in literature and film.

Harris's narrative craftsmanship is top-notch, the way he weaves a complex and harrowing story, making this book an essential read for thriller writers in the making.

Here are just a few reasons why thriller writers should read The Silence of the Lambs:

  • Iconic and Complex Characters: Harris creates characters with layers, especially the unforgettable Hannibal Lecter. Study this book to craft multifaceted characters with conflicting motivations, making them both compelling and disturbing.

  • Psychological Depth: The novel explores the psychological aspects of criminal behavior and forensic investigation in a gripping and realistic way. It's a masterclass in understanding the minds of both the criminals and those pursuing them.

  • Dialogue and Manipulation: The exchanges between characters, particularly between Clarice Starling and Lecter, are brilliantly written. Analyze this book to understand how dialogue can be used for manipulation through subtext and to reveal character.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn