The Best Suspense Short Stories
Suspense is slightly different from regular thrillers in the sense that the main character only gradually realizes that they’re in danger — though the audience may know before them. Think of the neighborly gossip that comes to reveal dark pasts in Big Little Lies, or the seemingly innocent invitation to an island retreat in Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. The irresistibly built-up tension of these tales is the exact feature that makes writing suspense short stories such a difficult balance. In only so many words, a short suspense story must build an electric atmosphere and tell an enthralling tale, yet not give away too much until the very end.
But it’s because of all this build-up that these narratives are so impossible to neglect! Whether you read them in a cozy corner of your living room or (if you’re brave enough) in bed before you go to sleep, good suspense tales — be it domestic thrillers or masterful crime stories — will always leave you wanting more.
Looking for more suspense short stories?
Perhaps our list of stories can satisfy you. The collection compiled here includes all the short suspense stories that are submitted to us for Reedsy’s weekly contests. From promising authors come suspenseful stories set across a variety of settings — some inspired by iconic suspense works, some venturing into lesser-trod areas. Atop the list are those that stood out amidst hundreds of other stories (of all different genres!) in individual contests.
And of course, if you’ve exhausted the list and want to try your hand at storytelling, or if you just like writing suspense short stories in general, join us in the latest weekly challenge! You might very well walk away with the next cash prize — and the chance to appear in Prompted, our new literary magazine!