Thriller Short Stories: Suspense, Action and Psychological Fiction Online

Updated on May 23, 2019
Howard Allen profile image

Howard is an avid short story reader who likes to help others find and understand stories.

This page compiles stories of suspense, mystery and tension. Packed with action and careful planning, they're written to keep you wondering what happens next. I hope you find a new thriller story to enjoy.

Links are provided for easy reading.

Find suspense and intrigue in one of these thrillers.
Find suspense and intrigue in one of these thrillers.

1. "The Bodyguard"

2. "Invisible"

3. "The Thief"

4. "Last Supper"

5. "On the Train"

6. "Children's Day"

7. "Guy Walks Into a Bar"

8. "The Paperhanger"

9. "Night Drive"

10. "The Most Dangerous Game"

11. "The .50 Solution"

12. "Soft"

13. "Operation Northwoods"

14. "Epitaph"

1. "The Thief" by Gregg Hurwitz

Summary

Tommy is a fat teenager in Mrs. Connelly's special class at school. His mother is disappointed that he's in the habit of stealing things. His mother finds life hard at times and misses adult company. One day while she's out a man comes to the door. Tommy's not supposed to answer when he's alone but he does anyway.

Read "The Thief"

2. "Invisible" by Sean Michael Bailey

Summary

The narrator tells us that being invisible takes years of practice and the pain from getting caught. He learned to be invisible to his abusive Momma. His ability is put to the test when he escapes from a correctional facility.

3. "The Bodyguard" by Lee Child

Summary

The narrator is a real bodyguard—a thinker with experience who knows what he's doing. He started out working for an agency. Then he went into business for himself. The jobs were harder. He relates one such job. He worked for a rich young woman named Anna who wanted some freedom of movement.

Read "The Bodyguard" (Ctrl + F the title)

She took my formal qualifications for granted. I have scars and medals and commendations. I had never lost a client. Anything else, she wouldn’t have been talking to me, of course. She asked about my worldview, my opinions, my tastes, my preferences. She was interested in compatibility issues. Clearly she had employed bodyguards before.

— Lee Child

4. "Last Supper" by Rip Gerber

Summary

Chris and Mary are cooking together. Mary realizes she forgot the mushrooms. She goes out to get some. Mary happens to be at the grocery when a robbery is taking place. She becomes an accidental casualty. Years later, Chris is using religion and cooking to cope.

Read "Last Supper" (Ctrl + F the title)

5. "On the Train" by Rebecca Cantrell

Summary

Joachim is in a train with other prisoners. He has a yellow triangle on his jacket. A man with a pink triangle, Herman, says he knows Joachim and starts talking to him. Joachim claims not to know the man. Herman starts talking about escaping.

Read "On the Train" (Ctrl + F the title)

6. "Children's Day" by Kelli Stanley

Summary

It's children's day at a large exposition. Miranda, a private eye, notices a clown pulling a little girl along. She follows but loses them in the crowd. She gets the full story from the mother.

Read "Children's Day"

The clown and the kid, still in sight, headed toward Heather Row. But the clown was pulling the kid’s arm, the girl crying, upset. Fat lady in green nowhere to be seen.

— Kelli Stanley

7. "Guy Walks Into a Bar" by Lee Child

Summary

While at a bar, Jack Reacher notices a young blonde woman who seems to be in love with the band's guitar player. She has a pile of money on her table that she's using to buy wine and give big tips. Reacher also notices two tall Russians watching the girl. They look like they're preparing for action.

Read "Guy Walks Into a Bar"

8. "The Paperhanger" by William Gay

Summary

The doctor's wife's child vanished in broad daylight. It started with the wife arguing with the paperhanger. After calling him a name she stormed out of the room. She went to her car and called her little daughter. There was no answer.

Read "The Paperhanger"

9. "Night Drive" by Will F. Jenkins

Summary

Madge is just walking out the door to drive to Colchester when her phone rings. It's Mr. Tabor asking if his niece Eunice could ride with her. The mention of the Colchester road makes her uncomfortable because of its tragic link to Mr. Tabor. She agrees to help. She finds the drive—and Eunice—to be unsettling.

Read "Night Drive"

No woman liked to think about Mrs. Tabor before driving a car at night, alone. There was the other girl, too, but it wasn’t quite the same thing. Nobody knew who the other girl was, or how it happened. But Madge had known Mrs. Tabor.

— Will F. Jenkins

10. "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell

Summary

The crew of a ship talk about hunting and a nearby island with a bad reputation. After they turn in for the night, one of the men, Rainsford, hears three shots fired in the distance. While checking it out he falls overboard.

Read "The Most Dangerous Game"

11. "The .50 Solution" by Lee Child

Summary

A rich man has heard that an assassin has used a Barrett Model Ninety on occasion. He tells the assassin he wants that weapon used for a particular job. The assassin doesn't think that's the right weapon to use. He tries to talk him out of it, but the rich man explains his reason and insists.

Read "The .50 Solution"

12. "Soft" by F. Paul Wilson

Summary

The narrator and his daughter Judy are hiding out in their apartment. A plague called the softness is maiming and then killing everyone. They've been affected but they haven't died. They have immunity, but the narrator decides to ignore the calls for immune people to report for examination to aid in a cure.

Read "Soft"

13. "Operation Northwoods" by James Grippando

Summary

Jack Swyteck, a lawyer, gets a call in the early morning from his "investigator" and friend, Theo. He says to turn on CNN. The naval base at Guantanamo Bay is on fire. Theo says a client of Jack's is responsible.

Read "Operation Northwoods"

14. "Epitaph" by J. A. Konrath

Summary

The narrator is beaten up by a gang and left in an alley. He struggles back to his cheap hotel and self-medicates. After sleeping, he gathers some things and goes to see his client. He tells him they were the people they're looking for and assures him the job will be done.

Read "Epitaph"

I hurt a lot, but pain and I were old acquaintances. I took a deep breath, let it out slow, did some poking and prodding. Nothing seemed seriously damaged.

I'd been lucky.

— J. A. Konrath

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