Exploring Thrillers: the Good, the Bad, and a Few Top Picks for Future Reads

I love thrillers.  I can't really remember a time when I didn't enjoy them.  As a kid, I definitely read some of the more popular, age-appropriate books (Sweet Valley series, Babysitters Club series, etc.), but I also read authors like Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

My taste in books has changed a lot over the years, but one constant has been my love of thrillers.  Today I'll be discussing some reasons why I love them, some things I tend not to like, and a few books in this genre that I can't wait to read.

I Will Probably Love a Thriller If:

- It has an excellent twist (or two or three).

I love reading a book that can really shock or surprise me, and one surefire way to do that is by throwing in a great twist (or multiple great twists) to mess with my head and make me question everything I thought I knew about the story.

- It has a weird, fucked up premise.

One thing I love about reading is that it offers a form of escape from my day-to-day life.  My life isn't overly exciting (not that I'm complaining), so I don't always want to read about regular people doing normal, everyday things.  (I do enjoy reading about these things in blogs, but I also don't want or expect the same things from a blog that I want and expect in a work of fiction.)  I want to read about things that creep me out, make my skin crawl, and just generally make for good entertainment.  A weird, fucked up storyline is perfect for me for all of those reasons.

- It features anything listed in my post about things that make me want to read a book.

While it's not a guarantee that I'll love a book simply because it has one or more of the characteristics on that list, there's a good chance I will.  (Especially if the book is well-written and is able to shock or surprise me in some way!)

Some of My Favorite Thrillers Include:

These books range from more traditional, fast-paced thrillers to slow burn suspense thrillers to literary thrillers.  All of these books may not work for everyone, but I loved every single one of them.

I Will Probably Dislike a Thriller If:

- It has an obvious "twist" or ending.

I say "twist" in this case because it's not really a twist if it's obvious.  Thrillers should be at least somewhat unpredictable, so if I guess the ending or a "twist" early on, it's probably not going to work for me.

- The twist or ending makes no fucking sense.

I understand an author's desire to surprise or shock the reader in a thriller -- I mean, that's exactly what I want.  But if an author just starts tossing out random things, it's probably not going to work.  A twist and ending need to make sense in the context of the story.  Otherwise, it's pointless (and will most likely make me rage).

- The book relies too heavily on supernatural elements.

I'm generally not a fan of fantasy/paranormal books, so if a thriller relies on this type of thing, I'm probably not going to like it.  There are exceptions, of course -- I'm really drawn to stories involving demonic possession, for example.  But, for the most part, I don't want supernatural elements in my thrillers.

Some Thrillers I Didn't Enjoy Include:

Each of these books received a two star or lower rating from me.  They were each disappointing in their own way, though they all had one or more of the characteristics listed in the "I Will Probably Dislike a Thriller If" section.

I wanted to end this post with a few thrillers I'm most looking forward to reading.  Hopefully I'll get to them sooner rather than later!

A Few of My Top Picks For Future Reads:

I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've read any of the books mentioned in this post.  Are there any books on my "To Read" list that I should bump to the top?

I'd also be interested in your opinions on the thriller genre.  Do you love thrillers?  Hate them?  Only enjoy them if they're fast-paced?  If you decide to write a post about it (or have already done so), please share a link here so I can check it out!

And, of course, special thanks to Lauren at Bookmark Lit for inspiring this post!

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