Share 23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay is the #1 international bestselling author of twelve critically acclaimed novels, including THE TWENTY-THREE, NO SAFE HOUSE, A TAP ON THE WINDOW, TRUST YOUR EYES, which has been optioned for film, and NO TIME FOR GOODBYE. Visit him online: www.linwoodbarclay.com, www.Facebook/linwoodbarclay, and on Twitter @linwood_barclay.

Editor’s Note: We at Off the Shelf can’t pass up a juicy thriller. So we couldn’t pass up 23 thrillers from the bookshelf of bestselling author Linwood Barclay—just in time for the last installment the Promise Falls trilogy, THE TWENTY-THREE

 

As the conclusion to my Promise Falls trilogy, THE TWENTY-THREE, hits bookstores, I thought I’d share my 23 favorite novels that, in one way or another, thrilled me. I know I’ve left some out, or forgotten one or two I will remember moments after I finish writing this, but these are all great books, for a variety of reasons.

So here goes…


The Chill
by Ross Macdonald

I’ll concede that THE CHILL is neither the scariest nor most thrilling novel I’ve ever read, but it is the best of the Lew Archer thrillers, written by someone whose work has influenced me more than any other. Ross Macdonald was an equal to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

The Chill
Ross Macdonald

I’ll concede that THE CHILL is neither the scariest nor most thrilling novel I’ve ever read, but it is the best of the Lew Archer thrillers, written by someone whose work has influenced me more than any other. Ross Macdonald was an equal to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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11/22/63
by Stephen King
A man goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. What amazes me, in part, about this recent book is that at a time in an author’s career when we might expect him to coast, this book’s scope and ambition are vast.
11/22/63
Stephen King

“Regardless of what genre of literature one prefers, 11/22/63 comes down to this: it is a gripping, harrowing, tragic, and beautiful story about love, memory, evil, and how the best of intentions can go awry... This is King for the faint of heart, for the history buff, for the romantic—for everyone.”

Read the full review here.

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Drama City
by George Pelecanos

While not George Pelecanos’s most well-known novel, DRAMA CITY is the one I most like. Maybe because of its unlikely hero, an animal-control officer.

Drama City
George Pelecanos

While not George Pelecanos’s most well-known novel, DRAMA CITY is the one I most like. Maybe because of its unlikely hero, an animal-control officer.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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Early Autumn
by Robert B. Parker

My favorite Robert B. Parker novel, in which his detective Spenser comes to the aid of a young man caught between warring parents. This one has so much heart.

Early Autumn
Robert B. Parker

My favorite Robert B. Parker novel, in which his detective Spenser comes to the aid of a young man caught between warring parents. This one has so much heart.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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I Am Pilgrim
by Terry Hayes
This recent novel about an agent’s trail of a terrorist is without a doubt the best thriller I have read in the last five years. Epic, detailed, believable. Can’t wait for his next novel.
I Am Pilgrim
Terry Hayes

“For me, I AM PILGRIM was a game changer. It raised the bar for international spy thrillers and became the benchmark for all future reads. It’s rich in detail and character, full of heart-racing action, and terrifying in its plausibility. It has heart and has you questioning your own beliefs.”

Read David Brown’s review here.

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Marathon Man
by William Goldman

A screenwriter and novelist, William Goldman was hard to pin down. He didn’t only write thrillers (for example, he wrote the movie “The Princess Bride” and the book it was based on). I’d never read anything like this book when I discovered it in my late teens. The first half dozen chapters appear to have nothing to do with each other. And then things start to stitch together.

Marathon Man
William Goldman

A screenwriter and novelist, William Goldman was hard to pin down. He didn’t only write thrillers (for example, he wrote the movie “The Princess Bride” and the book it was based on). I’d never read anything like this book when I discovered it in my late teens. The first half dozen chapters appear to have nothing to do with each other. And then things start to stitch together.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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The Children of Men
by P.D. James
P. D. James wrote so many great mysteries, but this one is different. It imagines a future where human reproduction is over. The people of the world are waiting for life to wind down. Stunning. (And once again, this was turned into an epic film.)
The Children of Men
P.D. James

The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. The basis for the critically acclaimed film starring Clive Owen.

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Get Shorty
by Elmore Leonard

As with some of the earlier books in the list, it’s hard to choose an author’s best, since they’ve written so many classics. That’s especially true of Elmore Leonard. But GET SHORTY works, as the cliché goes, on so many levels. It’s a great crime novel, but it’s also frequently hilarious, as well as a wonderful commentary on Hollywood. (A great movie, too.)

Get Shorty
Elmore Leonard

As with some of the earlier books in the list, it’s hard to choose an author’s best, since they’ve written so many classics. That’s especially true of Elmore Leonard. But GET SHORTY works, as the cliché goes, on so many levels. It’s a great crime novel, but it’s also frequently hilarious, as well as a wonderful commentary on Hollywood. (A great movie, too.)

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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Pet Sematary
by Stephen King
This was one of the first Stephen King novels I ever read and is perhaps still the most frightening because it gets you where you live: what would you do to bring back a dead child?
Pet Sematary
Stephen King

This is probably the most frightening novel Stephen King has ever written. When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son and now an idyllic home. As a family, they've got it all...right down to the friendly cat. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth, more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful.The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

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Eye of the Needle
by Ken Follett

This is early Ken Follett, when he was turning out shorter, leaner thrillers. This one is a pure page-turner.

Eye of the Needle
Ken Follett

This is early Ken Follett, when he was turning out shorter, leaner thrillers. This one is a pure page-turner.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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A Judgement in Stone
by Ruth Rendell

One of the greatest crime novels ever written, and yet, in the first paragraph, Ruth Rendell tells you who the victims will be, who did it, and why. And you can’t not read on. I can think of no one else who has ever pulled this off.

A Judgement in Stone
Ruth Rendell

One of the greatest crime novels ever written, and yet, in the first paragraph, Ruth Rendell tells you who the victims will be, who did it, and why. And you can’t not read on. I can think of no one else who has ever pulled this off.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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The Cartel
by Don Winslow

This is the follow-up to Don Winslow’s earlier novel about the Mexican drug cartels, THE POWER OF THE DOG. If Tolkien had decided to write a novel about the drug wars, it would have been this.

The Cartel
Don Winslow

This is the follow-up to Don Winslow’s earlier novel about the Mexican drug cartels, THE POWER OF THE DOG. If Tolkien had decided to write a novel about the drug wars, it would have been this.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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9 Dragons
by Michael Connelly

All of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels are great police procedurals, but this novel ups the ante in a flatout nonstop thriller where the stakes for Bosch are intensely personal.

9 Dragons
Michael Connelly

All of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels are great police procedurals, but this novel ups the ante in a flatout nonstop thriller where the stakes for Bosch are intensely personal.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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The Missing Chums
by Franklin W. Dixon

Well, it really wasn’t Franklin W. Dixon. I have no idea who actually wrote this installment of the Hardy Boys. But it was one of the first in the series I ever read as a kid, and it helped hook me on mysteries.

The Missing Chums
Franklin W. Dixon

Well, it really wasn’t Franklin W. Dixon. I have no idea who actually wrote this installment of the Hardy Boys. But it was one of the first in the series I ever read as a kid, and it helped hook me on mysteries.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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Misery
by Stephen King
Unlike another of my favorites, PET SEMATARY, which has supernatural overtones, MISERY is a real-world thriller about an author’s psychotic “number-one” fan. Beyond terrifying.
Misery
Stephen King

When novelist Paul Sheldon is in a terrible car crash on a wintry night, he is rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes, who just happens to be his biggest fan. But when his latest novel isn't to Wilkes's liking, Sheldon becomes prisoner to her violent temper. The novel is gripping and nightmarish and the 1990 film features Kathy Bates at her creepy, demented best.

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Silence of the Lambs
by Thomas Harris
The most famous, and most disturbing, of the Hannibal Lecter novels. An important, influential novel that’s also an adrenaline-spiking read.
Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris

To understand the machinations of serial killer "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is assigned the task of interviewing criminally insane Dr. Hannibal Lecter for insight. A former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind, Dr. Lecter is formidable twisted mind that Clarice must decode to solve to the case.

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Defending Jacob
by William Landay
Magnificent. You don’t expect a legal thriller to take your breath away. This book did that for me, twice. It left me shaken.
Defending Jacob
William Landay

I love books that bend genre. DEFENDING JACOB’s legal heft and realism reflect William Landay’s expertise as a former prosecutor, but the novel tells a lawyer’s story from an intensely personal perspective. It’s as much about family, loyalty, and community as it is about the American legal system. It’s also a darn good thriller.

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And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie
Perhaps her most famous novel. Agatha Christie didn’t just use plenty of the twists we’ve come to know in crime fiction; she invented them.
And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie might be the most famous mystery writer in the world, with a massive fan base and lasting legacy. Her family has given author Sophie Hannah full support to release a new story of Christie's famous character, Poirot. AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, Christie’s most popular work, is a now classic mystery and the perfect introduction to the author’s books.

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Red Dragon
by Thomas Harris

Earlier Hannibal Lecter, and nearly as terrifying as the aforementioned SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Lecter may be crime fiction’s most notorious villain after Professor Moriarty.

Red Dragon
Thomas Harris

Earlier Hannibal Lecter, and nearly as terrifying as the aforementioned SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Lecter may be crime fiction’s most notorious villain after Professor Moriarty.

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The Valley of Fear
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Speaking of Moriarty, no list would be complete without this story where he goes up against Sherlock Holmes.

The Valley of Fear
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Speaking of Moriarty, no list would be complete without this story where he goes up against Sherlock Holmes.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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Casino Royale
by Ian Fleming
The James Bond novels by Ian Fleming defined the modern-day thriller, and this one set the tone for all that would follow.
Casino Royale
Ian Fleming

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

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The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson
Okay, not a novel, but this true tale about a serial killer and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair sure reads like one.
The Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

On Elizabeth’s wish list

As days grew shorter and nights colder I (naturally) began listening to more podcasts and watching documentaries about a cheery subject: serial killers. I’m excited to curl up with THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY because of Erik Larson’s fantastic eye for character, storytelling, and impeccable research in his true-crime investigation into the serial killer who haunted the 1893 World’s Fair. Cocoa and killers go well together, right?

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Personal
by Lee Child

The Jack Reacher novels have placed Lee Child on the throne that was once occupied by Ian Fleming. They’re all great fun, but this one is a, well, personal favorite.

Personal
Lee Child

The Jack Reacher novels have placed Lee Child on the throne that was once occupied by Ian Fleming. They’re all great fun, but this one is a, well, personal favorite.

MENTIONED IN:

23 Thrilling Novels from the Bookshelf of Linwood Barclay

By Linwood Barclay | December 29, 2016

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