I feel like this year is going to be the year of thrillers for me. Not only have I read some absolute bangers recently but there are more and more coming out as we see the likes of Netflix picking up some on some huge hits, giving those budding authors some great ideas on where to take those.
In all honesty, if you were sitting there, watching all of these thriller TV series and book-to-film adaptations going on and had an idea sitting in your head for a great thriller, you’d definitely start writing it wouldn’t you? I know I certainly would.
Anyway, I digress, I’m on a thriller genre kick this year, hoping to pick up some absolute gem that will have me coming away either creeped out, impressed or feeling nervous of ever going to a remote cabin ever again.
However, rather than just picking up anything that gets a good rating or is recommended on Bookstagram, there are certainly some thrillers that I tend to sway towards. I think we all have a specific genre we like don’t we? We want to pick up a book that gives us a certain feeling whilst reading it. We want to be able to visualise it in ou heads whilst reading it.
You know those blurbs you read on the back of a thriller and think “cor yeah, that’s a bit of me!”? Well, below are the four types of thrillers that if I’ve read just enough about and they give off the vibe of, I’ll be far more inclined to bump up further onto my TBR.
The Cosy/Cabin thriller
The cosy/cabin thriller has to be my absolute favourite sub-genre of thrillers. I’m currently reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley and it is absolutely ticking all of my boxes: a group of people go to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere and something starts killing them.
I refer to these as “cosy” thrillers as well as the idea is the group of friends are all really close and going to a log cabin to get away from the rest of the world. There are often log fires, camping, they’re surrounded by the trees and they often all gather around the sofa or campfire in the evenings. We’ve all seen these sorts of films and I’m searching for more of these types of books.
Another book I read that was fairly similar to this recently was The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. It’s a book in which a group go to a remote hotel that’s just opened and they’re some of the only guests due to it being the opening weekend. Of course, a killer emerges and starts picking them off and so they must all stick together in this hotel to try and survive and find who the killer is and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Ooh perfect!
- Buy a copy of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley on Amazon
- Buy a copy of The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on Amazon
The Psychological thriller
Now a psychological thriller to me is one where the main character is often going through some sort of really pressing life experience that results in them having some possible hallucinations or which start to drive them a little crazy. Psychological thrillers can also just be thrillers that have a psychological element, whether it’s abuse, torture or something along these lines.
- Buy a copy of The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn on Amazon
- Buy a copy of The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell on Amazon
The Thriller with a twist
Who doesn’t love a good twist in a novel? That moment where you’re casually reading through and then suddenly “BAM!” Jimmy was Greg all along or it was actually the main character who is the murderer without you or them knowing it. These books nearly always have to be written with the twist having been written or known about first by the author. You can very much tell when a twist is added in without much thought as there are plot holes or it’s not a particularly fun twist that leaves you feeling a bit “meh”.
One book that made me actually audibly go “oh wow” was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I’ll try not to spoil too much of the detail here but I wasn’t really expecting the twist and I think why it has gone on to do so well.
A good twist can also really turn the book for you. Whether it’s because the characters were a bit dull and now you’ve realised why they were dull or you are suspicious of one person and then it’s not them at all. let me know what the best book si you’ve read with a twist!
The Action thriller
I’m not really sure if these even count as thrillers but I always hear them referred to as “action thrillers”. These are those books with your action hero in them who usually works for the government or very much against the government and saves the world on a regular basis from big disaster events.
I’ve read a fair few of these and hope to pick up a few more this year. These books have to be written well and have to include well-written action scenes, maintain a genuinely likeable main character and also have a plot that isn’t simply a rewrite of “good guy shoots bad guy twice to stop bad thing”. I like them to have some depth and to have some element of “this didn’t go as easily as it should have”.
As I said, I’ve read a fair few of these which you can find in the thriller section of my book reviews, but off the top of my head, some of the best I’d recommend are Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz, The Terminal List by Jack Carr, The Gray Man by Mark Greaney and The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor.
- Buy Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz on Amazon
- Buy The Terminal List by Jack Carr on Amazon
- Buy The Gray Man by Mark Greaney on Amazon
- Buy The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor on Amazon
So there you have it…
There is my list of definitive thriller sub-genres that I absolutely love to read. Are there any more that you can think of that you prefer or enjoy more? Are there any crucial ones that I’ve missed?
Or alternatively, have I helped you find some new reads in these genres? Let me know!
As always, you can find over 150 book reviews in the book reviews section of my blog, including over 20 books that I classify as thrillers – some of which didn’t even make it into this list but which I still absolutely adored.