Killer Thrillers

National Public Radio has posted its list of the Top 100 Thrillers of all time. An audience of 100,000 readers voted in the survey. Here are the top 10:

  • 1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • 2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • 3. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
  • 4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
  • 5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
  • 6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
  • 7. The Shining, by Stephen King
  • 8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
  • 9. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
  • 10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

On the whole it's not a terrible list as these sorts of things go, although the snubs are embarrassing (no Jim Thompson? No James M. Cain?). But I was struck by the number of books on the list which are better known for their film adaptations than for the novels themselves. Does anyone really think that The Bourne Identity would have come in as the fourth greatest thriller of all time (!) if Doug Liman hadn't directed a kick-ass movie version starring Matt Damon?