The author’s list of Top Ten Thrillers for Sugar Scape


Angel has lived through more than a young girl should have, but she’s determined to stay alive.

Her mother is dead, her body buried in a shallow grave by her latest boyfriend, Scotty – a ruthless, illegal hunter who is prone to violence and who now wants Angel dead before she can talk to the police.

But on the run in the scorching heat of the open desert, where can she hide?

A thrilling, horrifying cat-and-mouse game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won’t be able to put it down before it ends, one way or another.

Like the sound of that? Check out Desert Angel author Charlie Price’s Top 10 Thrillers below..

I’m most comfortable with a broad definition of the thriller genre like the one I checked in Wikipedia: “fiction in which tough, resourceful, but essentially ordinary heroes are pitted against villains determined to destroy them.” The International Thriller Writers Organization provides a long list of styles including mysteries, true crime, horror, espionage, and suspense, adding that readers might expect rushes of excitement, “sometimes at a breakneck pace.” I appreciate these inclusive definitions because my enjoyment of the genre is broader than just crime or spy or mysteries.

Since I finished writing Desert Angel, I’ve been reading again at full speed and when I choose a new book, I’m not interested a typical hero stereotype. I’m after a carefully crafted book with economical prose that grips me immediately, and a character-driven plot that’s believable. Lately, many of my favorites come from terrific Young Adult writers. The adult thrillers I’ve enjoyed most tend to have a great blend of younger and older characters.

Here’s my current Top Ten:

1. The Killer’s Cousin, a 1999 Edgar winner by Nancy Werlin, is riveting and downright spooky without being supernatural in any way.

2. Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams is a surprising and gradually revealed crime novel with a clever and funny girl protagonist — I could listen to her conversation for weeks and I loved watching her figure things out.

3. Living Dead Girl. Elizabeth Scott wrote a chilling novel from the point of view of a young girl who’d been kidnapped and forced to live with her captor for several years. Would she ever escape?

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is so captivating and well written it deserves to be part of this list, even if it pushes the “thriller” boundaries a bit. The villain is cancer: ominous, irrepressible, constantly threatening to snuff the couple that wins our hearts when they meet as early as page 8. How many days will these “cancer kids” have to love each other? Whew! I’ve rarely been more enthralled, but bring a towel.

5. Hunger Games, a dystopian novel by Suzanne Collins, is another exciting romance/suspens/adventure that kept me turning the pages.

6. Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin follows a high school girl’s murder that breaks two friends apart and continues to haunt them into adulthood forcing a late but powerful resolution. What happened to the girl who went to the movies with one of the boys and was never seen again?

7. Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton is a crime/mystery/romance that begins with a boy whose past is so traumatic, he becomes electively mute. He meets the love of his life as a teenager but must abandon her as he is practically forced into a life of crime. (Edgar winner) – Bonus: we get a graduate-level course in safe-cracking!

8. Period 8 is Chris Crutcher’s brand new total thriller that I’ve read in an early version and will buy as soon as it’s released. He’s written several books that operate like mysteries in that his characters face extremely difficult problems and the reader is never sure how the whole situation can possibly resolve.

9. Mule, the new paperback by Tony D’Souza never lets up for a minute as a happy young couple with a baby go broke in today’s economy and, desperately needing money, turn to interstate drug sales for cash. The characters are absolutely real, their predicament absolutely true, and we, the readers, are pulled rapidly through events knowing at any moment the scheme will collapse in jail or worse.

And finally . . . forgive me, a novel about a shy girl’s bizarre secret home life and the boy who did everything he could to rescue her, which unexpectedly wound up in two killings.

10. The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price. I know. I know. Shameless. Bad form to include my own book, but it won last year’s Young Adult Edgar Mystery Award and the last time I read it, I couldn’t put it down. Is that sick or what? (I even knew how it ended.)

I often visit with other readers/writers and one of the first things we do is quiz each other for recent book and movie recommendations. That’s how I first heard about several of the novels above. Since you’re reading this, I’m imagining you do the very same thing.

Desert Angel by Charlie Price is out now!

What do you think of Charlie’s Top 10 Thrillers? Which ones do you want to read most, and are there any you could recommend to him? Comments please!