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Books Thrillers Top 100 - Adventure Books

Books Thrillers Top 100

Vote For The 100 Best Ever : NPR

Voting Closed On July 28. Check Back On Aug. 4 For Results.

Illustration: Man running under sniper target. Chris Silas Neal

Last month when we asked the NPR audience to submit nominations for a list of the 100 most pulse-quickening, suspenseful novels ever written, you came through with some 600 titles. It was a fascinating, if unwieldy, collection.

Now, with your input, a panel of thriller writers and critics has whittled that list down to a manageable 182 novels. That roster, which we now offer for final voting, draws from every known thriller sub-genre — techno, espionage, crime, medical, psychological, horror, legal, supernatural and more.

Which raises the question, what defines a thriller? Clearly it's not setting or subject matter.

For the purposes of this contest, we'll stick with the answer James Patterson once gave, which is that thrillers are defined by the "intensity of emotions they create ... of apprehension and exhilaration, of excitement and breathlessness. By definition, if a thriller doesn't thrill, it's not doing its job." If the closely related mystery genre is about discovery, then thrillers are more oriented towards action and suspense. The villain may be known from the start; the fun comes from finding out how the hero will foil whatever evil plans are afoot.

In the end, you'll decide what makes the top 100. Everyone gets 10 votes. Feel free to lobby for your favorites in the comments area. We'll announce the winners on August 4. (Click here for a complete, printable list of all the Killer Thriller finalists.)


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It was the first best seller in the

2012-07-01 15:16:19 by NewMsLoree

Post nuclear war / post apocalyptic genre. I believe it was published in 1958. It was also made into a movie in 1959 that was nominated for a couple of academy awards.
It was a best seller because it was well done... though by now some of the ideas are dated and there have been subsequent books in the same genre that are better.
It's comparable to Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, though Alas, Babylon had a much smaller audience as it was marketed as science fiction while On the Beach was a mainstream book that was first serialized in a London weekly magazine called The Sunday Graphic in 1957.


2007-02-28 15:53:58 by Bexter

Was "A Canticle for Leibowitz." Should be amusing read for atheists as it posits a sort of post-apocalyptic, Catholicist cargo cult based on the contents of a Jewish guy's lunch box.
An oldie. As far as sci fi is concerned, I like speculative fiction but find a lot of the hard sci-fi (e.g., Verner Vinge) really boring.
Of course, now I'm heavily enamored of Neal Stephenson who is often able to approach the literary... but can't quite be considered a literary fiction writer.
My favorite books are literary fiction or essays. I'm particularly fond of Margaret Atwood, Barbara Ehrenreich, Barbara Kingsolver and Louise Erdrich

This is going to end well ...

2007-08-08 17:22:28 by Helen_Back

With the endorsement of the Defense Department, Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military, is mailing the controversial Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game to our military forces in Iraq. The game is inspired by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' bestselling pulp fiction series about a blood-soaked Battle of Armageddon pitting born-again Christians against anybody who does not adhere to their particular theology. In LaHaye's and Jenkins' books, the non-believers are ultimately condemned to "everlasting punishment" while the evangelicals are "raptured" up to heaven

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