Top 8 Thriller Books For Winter

The upcoming dark evenings call for one thing- an equally dark and eerie thriller to get your heart racing. Prepare to raise your body temperature this wintertime with a thriller book that is sure to have you double-checking whether you remembered to lock your front door.

We've compiled a list of the best thrillers to read this Winter so you can discover a few new favourites to read. So grab your blanket, settle and get ready for some twists and turns.


The Best Winter Thrillers To Read


19th Christmas by James Patterson

19th Christmas

Why We Love It:

  • - Short chapters with plenty of cliffhangers that make it a real page turner
  • - A secondary storyline that provides a real Christmas feel

James Patterson strikes again with his 19th instalment in the 'Women's Murder Club' series. It reunites Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends as they prepare to celebrate a quiet Christmas period devoid of crime. However, peace won't last long due to the renowned criminal known only as "Loman". Loman plans something deadly for Christmas morning and has a host of criminal colleagues to help him with his crime. You know what you're going to get with a Patterson book. Short chapters, with barely a word, wasted that leave you on a cliffhanger. And that's true of the '19th Christmas' too. But where it is different is in the second storyline, where Cindy finds an immigrant father who's been wrongly incarcerated. This storyline brings all the emotion and provides all the Christmas feels that make it the perfect winter thriller to read.


The Killer in the Snow by Alex Pine

The Killer in the Snow

Why We Love It:

  • - A complex but easy-to-follow plot that will keep you guessing
  • - A straight-on-the-nose police procedural
  • - A dark and foreboding undercurrent throughout the book keeps it interesting

Sometimes you just want a beautifully written, well-plotted police procedural to get you through the Christmas period. That's exactly what The Killer in the Snow is. It follows DI James Walker as he investigates the murder of a family of three on a farm on Christmas Eve. It turns out that this isn't the first murder on this farm, and he must investigate whether the cases are connected. The beauty of this book is that although the plot is pretty complicated, there isn't a moment where you are struggling to follow it. So as you work your way through it, there's enough to keep you guessing, but it isn't too much that you lose interest.


How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

How to Kill Your Family

Why We Love It:

  • - A thriller with a dark sense of humour
  • - A lead character who isn't a good person in any way, and yet you still like her
  • - An unexpected ending that you won't predict

'How To Kill Your Family' by Bella Mackie is a truly unique novel. For starters, it follows Grace Bernard, who is in jail for a murder she hasn't committed. But the story doesn't follow her fight against injustice. In fact, we learn that although Grace is innocent of this murder, she is guilty of murdering every other member of her family. And that's where this story is brilliant. It has a main character who isn't a nice person at all. And yet you can't help but warm to her snarky, sarcastic and wicked sense of humour. It is by no means the perfect book, but in Grace Bernard, it might have one of the most perfectly imagined lead characters we've seen in a while. 


Misery by Stephen King


Why We Love It:

  • - The way the tension and fear ramp up throughout creates a genuinely terrifying thriller
  • - A deep dive into when obsession with a hero becomes too much
  • - One of the most iconic and memorable villains of all time in Annie Wilkes

Misery is the story of Paul Sheldon, who is taken captive by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes, and forced to write a new ending for his book. That might not sound like a plot that you can wring a lot of tension out of, but Stephen King is the master of escalating tension. With every new revelation, the sense of threat and fear for the main protagonist increases. It almost gets to the point where you are literally shouting at the page, and any book that can prompt that reaction is worthy of being included on a list of the best thrillers to read at Christmas.


A Winter Memory by Lulu Taylor

A Winter Memory

Why We Love It:

  • - A brilliant wintery setting in Scotland
  • - The dual timelines are expertly woven together
  • - A fast-paced thriller that will keep your attention

Lulu Taylor brings readers a fascinating escape with this family drama set in Scotland. A Winter Memory follows the absorbing story of a variety of characters, interconnecting through dual timelines and a whole host of secrets… The setting of 'Ballintyre House' is one that sees betrayals, obsession and other thrilling familial issues that have spanned many decades. This novel is the perfect thriller for Winter- its fast pace will keep your attention, and the wintery setting will also match the current season.

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call - Two Rivers

Why We Love It:

  • - A smart character-driven mystery
  • - A brooding, slow burner of a thriller that really dives into the backstory
  • - Deals with some pretty big themes, like how much power the church can have over people

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves is the perfect character-driven mystery. It's the story of Detective Matthew Venn, who has to return to his former life as a member of a strict religious community to investigate a murder. The book is a brooding slow, burning thriller where you really get to know the investigator and his back story. As you work your way through his backstory and the investigation, the plots beautifully come together to explore topics as diverse as belonging and the power the church can have over people.


Man on Ice by Humphrey Hawksley

Man on Ice

Why We Love It:

  • - A fast-paced action thriller with plenty of twists and turns
  • - A straightforward read that you can breeze through
  • - A fascinating depiction of the politics that could potentially cause a global disaster

This fast-paced, action-packed thriller by Humphrey Hawksley is the ideal companion to any chilly winter evening. A happening deep in the snows of Alaska threatens the beginning of World War 3. America is in the throes of a presidential transition, and Russia is threatening invasion. A perilous mission across the ice to save the day ensues. If we just judged this book on the action and the twists and turns alone, it would be good enough to make this list. But where it gets really interesting is with the depiction of politics that underpin a potential World War. 


Black Ice by Brad Thor

Black Ice

Why We Love It:

  • - One of the most underrated characters in the genre
  • - A book that is brimming with action
  • - Plenty of time is dedicated to the character and his search for solace

Lots of actions, some thrills and a mission with political implications. Okay, Black Ice isn't breaking new territory here, but Scot Harvath is such a great character that we couldn't leave it off our least of the best winter thrillers. Black Ice follows Harvath as he is on vacation in Norway with his new love interest. As he is enjoying his downtime, he spots a man he thought was dead, and he is forced to decide whether to ignore it or act. We don't need to tell you what he does next, and it's almost not important. The enjoyment of reading a book with Scot Harvath in is the contrast of his softer, more thoughtful side compared to the gritty man who pushes things to the limit.



So those are some of the best winter thrillers to read. There's a little bit of everything in that list with the sociopaths, the odd anti-hero and more twists and turns than spaghetti junction. If you're looking for other potential winter reads, then check out some of our other booklists below:

- The Best Winter Mysteries 
- The Best Christmas Romances


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