Thriller Short Stories: Crime, Psychological, Romantic or Legal

These short stories are all meant to keep you in suspense and interested to the end.

“The Weapon” by Jeffery Deaver

On Monday afternoon, a government man meets with Colonel Peterson. There’s intel on a weapon that can do significant damage, and it’s going to be used on Saturday morning. The government is looking to IAS, run by Peterson, to get the information they need. An Algerian professor and journalist is the best lead—he’s recently been in contact with the group in question. He’ll need to be taken to a black site.

This story can be read in the preview of Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down(17% in)

“The Thief” by Gregg Hurwitz

Tommy is a fat teenager in the special class at school. He has a habit of stealing things, which disappoints his mother. She finds life hard at times and misses the company of adults. One day, while Tommy is home alone, a man comes to the door. He’s not supposed to answer when he’s by himself, but he does anyway.

This story can be read in the Amazon preview of First Thrills(17% in)

“Last Supper” by Rip Gurber

Chris and Mary were cooking together. When Mary realized she forgot the mushrooms, she went out to get some. She happened to be at the grocery store when a robbery was happening. She was accidentally killed. Years later, Chris is using religion and cooking to cope.

This story can be found in the above anthology, First Thrills.

“On the Train” by Rebecca Cantrell

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 Herman. Herman starts talking about escaping.

This one can also be found in the above anthology, First Thrills.

“Detour” by Joyce Carol Oates (psych)

Abigail feels light-headed as she’s driving home. Three-quarters of the way there, she sees a “Detour” sign. She thinks about ignoring it, but it’s not in her nature. She follows the signs through the country roads.

“Detour” can be read in the preview of Night, Neon: Tales of Mystery and Suspense(9% in)

“James Penny’s New Identity” 

James Penny, a Vietnam vet, is called into the office at work. He gets laid off, along with many others. A fellow worker tells him the company informed the bank of the layoffs. Penny has payments to make on his house, car, and furniture. His desperation and fury impel him to action.

This story can be read in the preview of Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night. (15% in)

“The Man Who Knew How” by Dorothy Sayers

Pender reads a mystery while riding the train. The man sitting across from him has an unsettling expression, which upsets Pender. They get talking about murder mysteries. The man claims to know a sure and undetectable way of killing people, by adding a simple solution to the targets bath water. Pender becomes obsessed with scouring the newspaper for reports of people dying in the bath.

This is the second story in the preview of A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women(65% in)

“30 and Out” by Doug Allyn

Jax Ladart has been hired onto the force back in his home county. He’s fresh out of the army, the Military Police. He’s checks in with Sgt. Charles Marx, from Major Crimes, who’s due to retire soon. Marx had helped Jax out years ago, but Jax doesn’t remember him. His attitude about crossing the line has changed. The DEA have requested assistance with locating a motor home in the woods.

This story can be read in the preview of The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year: 2021(28% in)

“Operation Northwoods” by James Grippando

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.

This story can be read in the preview of Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night(48% in)

“The Witness for the Prosecution” by Agatha Christie

Leonard Vole has been charged with murder, and the case against him is strong. His solicitor, Mr. Mayherne, stresses the importance of frankness—the more he knows, the stronger the defense he can mount. It all started when Leonard did a good deed to an elderly woman. As he tells the story, it turns out the case against him is even worse than he thought.

A lot of this story can be read in the preview of The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories. (10% into preview)