I get a little focused on romance, given my chosen writing genre, but I read pretty widely when I get the chance. Some of my favorite books are thrillers, and here are a few I've loved enough to read again and again.
THE STAND - Stephen King
The great, apocalyptic Good vs. Evil story of modern literature. Sure, it's a tad overwritten and windy, especially the unabridged version, but the characters are compelling, the story complex and all too believable, and the ending is deeply satisfying.
NIGHT FALL - Nelson DeMille
A well-written, complex fictional exploration of the crash of Flight 800 over the Atlantic east of Long Island. Running with the rumors of a missile streak seen shortly before the plane exploded and fell from the sky, DeMille's hero, John Corey, explores the mystery behind the crash and comes to startling, timely conclusions. The last chapter is stunning and sobering.
PATRIOT GAMES - Tom Clancy
Jack Ryan back before he became a politician. Action, a smidgen of romance, IRA terrorists looking for vengeance, loved ones in danger and a visit from royalty. What more could you want from a political thriller?
RED STORM RISING - Tom Clancy
It's a little light on characterization, although there are a few characters who stand out in my mind, but the shocking events of the story are compelling, and I happened to be reading it when the first Gulf War began, so this novel about an unexpected war had extra immediacy for me at the time.
WATCHERS - Dean Koontz
Einstein, the genius Golden Retriever, made this my all time favorite Koontz book.
BLACKOUT - John Nance
Maybe it's the combination of political intrigue and flying that really got me with this book, but Nance delivered a heck of a story. Like a lot of thriller writers, he's not great at writing the romantic elements of the story (DeMille, listed above, does a much stronger job with romantic relationships between his characters, as does Koontz and even King), but the action and suspense is non-stop.
I really need to read more female thriller writers. I love thrillers in my category romances like IM and Intrigue, but I haven't really gotten attached to any single title thriller writers who are women. Anybody have suggestions?