Thrillers & chillers

From great spy and crime thrillers to psychological and erotic chillers, here’s our pick of the best edge-of-the-seat books and films 

We’re spending more time reading and watching movies at home right now. In the last issue we listed our all-time, must read and must watch book and film classics. This time, we’re focusing our selection on great thrillers and dramas. You’ve likely read or seen some of them before – but like all the best things stories, they’re just as compelling the second or third time around. Buy them or stream them online


Strangers by Dean Koontz

A group of individuals find themselves drawn to a motel in the Nevada desert from thousands of miles apart, united in an escalating sense of terror which manifests differently in each of them.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

First published in 1938, a nameless narrator has married a European playboy and moved into his vast mansion. But she finds herself haunted by the memory of his dead wife Rebecca and her still very loyal servant, Mrs Danvers.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Now considered one of the greatest spy thrillers ever written, this complicated tale captures the essence of espionage and the futility of the work, even of war itself.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So popular that it brought about the revival of Sherlock Holmes. Set largely on Dartmoor, this is the compelling story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A gripping psychological crime thriller film based on the 2005 novel by the late Swedish writer. Centred around a highly emotionally damaged computer hacker caught up in a decades-old missing person’s case.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

An elaborate murder mystery with lashings of religion, history, art, and conspiracy theories at every turn. Albino monks have never been more menacing.

Orient Express by Graham Greene

As the Orient Express hurtles across Europe on its three-day journey, the driven lives of several of its passengers become bound together in a fateful interlock.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Set in a small, posh Australian community, Big Little Lies traces a tangled web of secrets that eventually prove deadly. The book became a hit drama on TV starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.



Based on Stephen King’s novel about a troubled man’s slow descent into madness while serving as the winter caretaker of an isolated and haunted hotel. Starring a menacing Jack Nicholson and directed by Stanley Kubrick.


A pulsating, erotic and pretty violent film starring Michael Douglas as a messed-up homicide cop and Sharon Stone as a seriously sexy femme fatale who knows just how to cross her legs.


Kurt Russell is quite awesome as a man driven by desperation as he tries to find his wife who has disappeared after their car broke down on a desert road.


We’re talking the original here with Robert Mitchum as the brutal, evil ex-con Max Cady waging a campaign of terror on the household of Gregory Peck, the lawyer whose testimony sent him to prison.


A fantastic survival thriller starring Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds as Atlanta businessmen who get more than they bargained for on a canoe trip through the wilderness.


Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter star in an unsettling movie that revolves around an underground club where men who are fed up with their mundane lives find solace in battering each other to bits.


As far away from Mary Poppins as you could possibly get. Rebecca De Mornay is suitably unhinged as the nanny wreaking bloody havoc on the family she believes responsible for the death of her husband and unborn child.


Jodie Foster is superb as FBI cadet Clarice Starling, while Anthony Hopkins is utterly unforgettable as the chianti-loving cannibal psychiatrist Dr Hannibal Lecter. A near-perfect chiller.