Killer Thrillers List

Thrillers aren’t always the first choice for book groups. Books that are as plot driven as the typical thriller can be difficult to discuss. But NPR hasthrillers-top-100 released the results of their “Killer Thrillers” poll, and their audience has come up with a list that will inspire curiosity and trigger exciting memories in almost any reader.

Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs was voted number one, followed by Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m not a big reader of thrillers, but some of my personal favorites on the list that would support a discussion nicely include Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River, Stephen King’s It, The Alienist by Caleb Carr, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, and Bangkok 8 by John Burdett.

As you can see from the list, people’s ideas of what make a book a “thriller” are widely disparate. A good supplement to any book group discussion of thrillers would be trying to create a definition of the genre.

This would also make a fun topic for a thematic meeting if you don’t want to try to discuss just one title. Invite your readers to bring some of their favorite thrillers and introduce  them to the group. Create your own list of killer thrillers and see how it compares with that generated by NPR.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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