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10 Exciting Christian Suspense Authors You Should Read Now

Shadowy picture of man sitting at table in dark room, christian suspense authors

Christian Fiction may have started when Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly came out in 1979, but the genre has changed a lot since then. Christian Suspense, a broad term that can cover supernatural thrillers like This Present Darkness and military thrillers like Hide and Seek, has become an ever-growing part of the genre. Some of these books are clean and great for teenagers. Others are edgier and best for adult readers. Here are 10 Christian suspense authors you can start reading today.

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This Present Darkness Piercing the Darkness hardcover combined edition

1. Frank Peretti

If there’s one author who expanded Christian Fiction past historical romance, it’s Frank Peretti. His debut novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness changed the genre in historic ways.

“Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.

This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer. Since its original publication more than 2.7 million copies have been sold. The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces”

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Dead Time by Eleanor Taylor Bland book cover, Christian suspense authors

2. Eleanor Taylor Bland

Eleanor Taylor Bland was one of the first African-American women to become famous for writing mystery/crime fiction. Dead Time starts her mystery series about Baptist widow and detective Marti McAlister in high style:

“Black, widowed, and mother of two, police detective Marti MacAlister has relocated from Chicago to Lincoln Prairie, Illinois, only to be confronted with small-town attitudes and a partner who’s not sure women belong in homicide. But Matthew “Vik” Jessenovik’s old-fashioned thinking is far less compelling a problem than a brutal murder at the Cramer Hotel, home to the elderly, poor, and mentally ill.

When Marti and Vik discover that two abandoned children might have seen the killer, the case becomes even more urgent as Marti must use all of her street smarts to find a killer who is desperate to eliminate any possible witnesses to the crime-- even if it’s two innocent homeless kids...”

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Thr3e by Ted Dekker, Christian suspense authors

3. Ted Dekker

If anyone picked up the Frank Peretti mantle to make suspense an essential part of the Christian Fiction market, it’s Ted Dekker. While he’s become better known for his fantasy series The Books of History Chronicles, his breakout work was novels like Thr3e.

“Kevin Parson is alone in his car when his cell phone rings. A man calling himself Slater offers a deadly ultimatum: “You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you’re driving will blow sky high.” Then the phone goes dead.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a demand? What sin? Yet not sure what else to do, Kevin swerves into a parking lot and runs from his car. Just in case. Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness. And that’s only the first move in this deadly game.”

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The Pawn by Steven James, Christian suspense authors

4. Steven James

Steven James has written many great thrillers but is perhaps best-known for The Pawn, the beginning of The Bowers Files.

“Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he’s called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again.

It will take all of Bowers’s instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they’re not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent’s pieces?”

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Collision of Lies Tom Threadgill, Christian suspense authors

5. Tom Threadgill

Tom Threadgill’s novel Collision of Lies starts his Amara Alvarez crime fiction series with a plot that many have tried, very few pull off: mysterious disappearances.

“Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others—and herself—that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home. A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.”

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Blaze by Hope Bolinger, Christian suspense authors

6. Hope Bolinger

Hope Bolinger has written everything, from fantasy (The Cassandra Curse) to romance (Virtually in Love). Her Blaze trilogy retells the story of Daniel in a high school setting, where things are not what they seem:

“Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful, but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot worse), he — and his three best friends — each receive an email from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. His mother has other ideas. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich crowd.

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it was purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.”

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Deceived by Irene Hannon, Christian suspense authors

7. Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon’s romantic suspense thrillers usually revolve around law enforcement personnel pulled back into the game for one more case… which proves to be their most confusing one. Deceived takes that formula into gut-wrenching territory.

“For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case, he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.”

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The String by Caleb Breakey, Christian suspense authors

8. Caleb Breakey

Caleb Breakey is new to the Christian Fiction scene, but his debut thriller The String looks to be the start of an entertaining series. At Trenton University, everyone is looking forward to the tribute for a local celebrity. Unfortunately, someone is targeting people with a twisted game.

“Welcome to the string, a game of impossible decisions and deadly consequences. Let's go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.

Rule #2: If anyone refuses to play, all threats will come to pass.

Game on.

Get ready for a deadly social experiment as a sociopath known as The Conductor delivers disturbing threats and twisted moral dilemmas to unsuspecting students and staff. As a powerful instinct for self-preservation sweeps through the campus, one man has a grave decision to make. Will university cop Markus Haas play the game to protect those he loves? Or will he break the string and incite massive chaos--and even death?”

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Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa, Christian suspense authors

9. Mike Nappa

Nappa’s Coffey & Hill series combines detective fiction tropes (the dynamic duo who solve crimes) with action thriller elements and references to Edgar Alan Poe. The first book in the series is (of course) titled Annabel Lee.

“Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl--before it’s too late. With its stunning writing and relentless pace, Annabel Lee will captivate readers from the first page.”

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These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker, Christian suspense authors

10. Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker may be best-known for his fantasy series The Day The Angels Fell, but his work crosses genres in exciting ways. These Nameless Things is an interesting mishmash of thriller and fable.

“Before Dan opened his door to find a wounded woman who had escaped from the tormentors in the mountain, his life had become rather quiet. He and the eight other people in the mostly abandoned town had become friends. They spent peaceful evenings around the campfire and even made vague plans to journey east one day and leave the ominous mountain behind.

But the woman’s arrival changes everything. Who is she? How does she know so much about Dan’s brother, who is still held captive in the mountain? Why are long-forgotten memories rising to the surface? And why does Dan feel so compelled to keep her presence in his house a secret?”

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Connor SalterG. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,000 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.




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