DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her FBI: Houston series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.
DiAnn’s new novel, Trace of Doubt, releases from Tyndale House this month. Exclusively for Divine Detour this week, DiAnn shares a list of her all-time favorite suspense novels!
DiAnn’s Top 10 Suspense Fiction Reads
The adventuresome side of me that energizes my writing also fuels my reading habits. My favorite writers who inspire me to create suspense never fail to take me on a mission of intrigue. Below is a list of ten books and writers who will continue to live long in my reader heart. When I completed my list, I saw half are general market writers and half are Christian.
1. Joel C. Rosenberg’s books lure me into a world of suspense, thrills, and exceptional characters, a world beyond my own. Rosenberg’s latest novel, The Beirut Protocol, is number four in the Marcus Ryker series. I’ve slipped my size 5½ feet into Ryker’s thrilling exploits and walked with him through trenches that appeal to my spirit but not my logic. The Beirut Protocol dropped me into one death trap after another. For sure I thought he’d die from the torture inflicted by a Hezbollah kidnapping. Every scene is unpredictable, credible, and shows Ryker’s courage to help others, his incredible skills, and his unwavering faith.
2. David Baldacci has thrilled me for years with his plot twists and characterization. The Memory Man series has rooted in my heart. Hero Amos Decker stole my affections when Baldacci introduced him in the first book, Memory Man. An NFL tackle in Decker’s early twenties affected his brain and causes him to see emotions in color with a perception that aids him in solving incredible crimes, including the killer of his wife and child. I love the underdog, and while Decker’s labeled a social misfit, I treasure his ability to solve crimes and move forward in his personal goals. Start with book one, and you’ll be hooked!
3. Steven James writes stories that explore the motivations of the good, the bad, and the ugly with clarity that causes me to examine my own behavior. Good always triumphs over evil and shows the faith of a masterful writer. A favorite title is Every Wicked Man, number eleven in the Patrick Bowers series, featuring FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers. And I’ve read each one. This novel explores the dark secrets of evil minds when a politician’s son videos his suicide and it’s released online. The thrill in this story is how close the killer gets to Bowers’s loved ones.
4. Harlan Coben is one of my go-to authors. His action-packed suspense novels keep me up late at night. Run Away grabbed me from the first page with the intensity of a father trying desperately to bring his estranged daughter home. Like all of Coben’s books, life is never what it seems, and the hero has to face the dark path his daughter has taken and risk those he loves for reconciliation.
5. Jerry Jenkins believes in the power of a suspenseful story to entertain readers and show a glimpse of God. The Left Behind series is over twenty-five years old, and the characters still walk into my mind and take over my thoughts. The first book, Left Behind, is loved and yellowed on my shelf. Rayford Steele’s journey from being left behind in the Rapture to walking with his friends and not-so friends in a world beset with evil is a classic.
6. Hank Phillippi Ryan is a popular bestselling writer and teacher of creating incredible fiction. Her books seem to leave a legacy of masterful writing to readers. My favorite is The First to Lie. I followed the tale of women who sought justice at any price and sacrifice. Revenge is a ruthless motivator. Loved this book!
7. James Scott Bell always delivers an incredible story. I’ve read them all, and my favorite is Your Son Is Alive. I can’t imagine losing a child to a kidnapper and fifteen years later someone leads the parents to believe they might get him back. I shed tears, wanted vengeance, and cheered the faith of the parents in this thrilling novel.
8. Nora Roberts has written bestselling novels for years, and readers thrill to read the next one and the next. The story that haunts me still is The Witness. A sheltered and overprotected teen witnesses a horrible murder—and runs. She thought she couldn’t make it, but twelve years later she’s alive. Unfortunately, the killers have never given up.
9. Joel Rosenberg is back on my favorites list with The Kremlin Conspiracy. This is book one in the Marcus Ryker series, and Rosenberg drew me into this world of intrigue right from the beginning. None of us want to think of a nightmare what-if, but when it’s presented and Moscow and Washington move toward nuclear war, my eyes are glued to every page.
10. Robert Dugoni takes readers into the world of suspense and thrillers that keep me looking for his next book—and his backlist. My recommendation is the Charles Jenkins series. The hero is a former CIA case officer in his sixties. He’s approached by the CIA at a time when his security business is not doing so well. Traveling undercover to Russia leads him on a path he never imagined. (Me too.)
~ DiAnn Mills
About DiAnn’s New Book
Trace of Doubt (Tyndale House, September 2021) weaves the story of Shelby Pearce’s struggle for a fresh start. Fifteen years ago, she confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con especially when lies and secrets are never truly hidden.
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