Fast-paced mysteries with super satisfying endings to keep you hooked throughout.
I love reading thrillers, but I’m always worried about picking up a new one.
What if the ending sucks? What if the author leaves me with unanswered questions or a ton of plot holes that make no sense?
Every reader I know has struggled with this at some point in their lives. If you find yourself in the same boat, i.e. you want to read a good thriller but are afraid of making a commitment, this article is for you.
I’ve listed three fast-paced thrillers that have an amazing plot, well-fleshed-out characters, and a super satisfying ending. Rest assured, you won’t be able to put the book down one you start reading.
Read on, and if you’ve read any book here on the list before, let me know your review in the comments.
(Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase the books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Guy is an up-and-coming architect with a bright future ahead of him. After a failed marriage with his ex-wife, Miriam, he’s looking to start a brand new career and life with the love of his life, Ann.
When Guy takes a train to Metcalfe to meet his family, he doesn’t expect to meet a stranger who will turn his world upside down forever.
Charles Bruno is everything Guy isn’t. With no career, passion, or for that matter, purpose in life, Bruno is someone who lives life jumping from one high to the next. If there’s one constant that ties his life together, it’s his hatred for his father.
As the two strangers start talking on the train, Bruno devises a most devious plan: what if Bruno were to kill Guy’s ex-wife so he could marry Ann and leave in peace? In return, Guy could kill Bruno’s father.
Two strangers. Two murders. No motives even if the police find out, with nothing to link the two. In short, a perfect crime.
But can there truly be “perfect” when murder is involved? That’s what Patricia Highsmith’s masterpiece is about.
Why I recommend the book
More than a murder mystery, this is more of a psychological thriller. The author takes a look at the human psyche and toys with the idea of how much more crime there would be in the world if one were assured there would be no consequences?
All the characters we meet are flawed and nurse their own secrets. The book is incredibly fast-paced, and the story is character-driven. Since we already know the outcome (two strangers, two murders), it’s the path that takes the characters to reach there that’s fascinating. There are some powerful dialogues and immensely powerful scenes.
I’d recommend this dark, gritty book to anyone who’s looking to read a page-turner. This one’s worth all the time and money you invest in reading.
2. Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
This book begins with one of the most hooking premises I’ve seen in recent times. Two years ago, Charlie’s best friend Randi was killed brutally in her own apartment. Exactly a year later on the same day, her other best friend, Jackie, also suffered a similar fate.
Two women, two states, killed exactly one year apart on January 21st.
And now, it’s going to be January 21st in four days. Charlie knows she’s next.
She has no clue who killed her best friends and why, but she knows she has to survive. She trains hard for a year, learning to shoot and fight, and because she can’t rely solely on her strength, she goes to detective D. D. Warren for help. D. D. takes on her case, knowing she has to help before it’s too late and the killer gets their way.
Then begins one hell of an adrenaline ride, with new twists coming up at every chapter.
Why I recommend the book
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. The intricate psycho-analysis of the characters made me root for them even harder.
With mentions of child abuse and suicide, this isn’t an easy read. But if you aren’t bothered by triggers, this is an incredibly crafted mystery with a super satisfying ending that leaves you marveling at how the author managed to pull that off.
I’ve never read any books featuring detective D. D. Warren, but I loved her so much in this book! Looking forward to reading more of her mysteries soon.
3. Tell Me Lies by J.P. Pomare
Psychologist Margot’s clients lie to her all the time. She knows they hide details, but not what and to what extent.
One day, she sees a man in a white Toyota following her back home. That night, her family suffers a terrible arson attack that almost kills them.
The next day when she turns up at her office, still traumatized by the brutal attack, two of her clients report being followed by a man in a white Toyota.
How much of this is linked to her past, and why is someone targeting her family and her clients?
In this twisted tale of love, lust, and revenge, the author takes us on a wild ride across people’s lives and motives, showing us the twisted depths of brutality the human mind is capable of diving into.
Why I recommend the book
I really enjoyed reading this short, fast-paced thriller. There were moments I was tempted to Google what happens at the end (that’s always the mark of a great thriller).
With so many loose threads strewn around the plot, I was worried the ending might not be satisfying.
But I needn’t have worried.
The author builds up to a brilliant conclusion that leaves you gaping in awe at how you didn’t manage to make the connection that was right there in front of your eyes. It’s not a happy ending per se, but it doesn’t leave you wanting more answers, which is always a great sign for a thriller.
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