10 Books Full of Fast and Flash Fiction for Impatient Readers

Sometimes you simply don’t have the time or mental energy to traverse the complex landscape of a literary classic. In times such as these, a fast-paced story is ideal. Don’t let the fast-moving plot fool you, though.

These ten fast-paced fiction books are quick and wonderful to read, with thrilling storylines, complex characters and a myriad landscapes.

10. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

First Published: 1939

What It’s About:

An eccentric millionaire invites ten strangers to his private island near the coast of Devon. Strangely, when the guests gather at the island, their host is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the guests find that they have nothing in common except a shared interest of hiding their past. As each guest is targeted by a murderer one by one, a race to find the killer along with solving each of their hidden crimes ensues. Who is the real killer? Only time will tell.

Why You Should Read It:

The queen of crime is known for her ability to tell the most ingenious stories and And Then There Were None is one of her finest works. The fast-paced mystery leaves hints about who the killer may be, while keeping the reader intrigued throughout. Every page brings a new twist and it will appeal to anyone who loves an old-fashioned mystery set in a chilling atmosphere.

Best Quote:

“One little Indian left all alone, he went out and hanged himself and then there were none.”

9. Kiss Kiss, by Roald Dahl

First Published: 1959

What It’s About:

Roald Dahl is best known for his acclaimed children’s stories such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Witches and Big Friendly Giant, but in this collection of short stories written for an adult readership, Dahl presents a completely different style of work. The stories are bizarre, creepy and downright chilling at times. In this collection of short stories, each one has a plot that will keep you hooked from one page to the next. Dahl’s stories are full of twists and the atmosphere is unsettling, yet one that you won’t be able to stop reading about.

Why You Should Read It:

Whether or not you are familiar with Dahl’s work as a children’s writer, these fast-paced short stories will appeal to anyone with an interest in all things macabre with a diabolical surprise thrown in every so often.

Best Quote:

“And he turned and saw his landlady sailing into the room with a large silver tea-tray in her hands. She was holding it well out in front of her, and rather high up, as though the tray were a pair of reigns on a frisky horse.”

8. Angels And Demons, by Dan Brown

First Published: 2000

What It’s About:

Robert Langdon, a world famous symbologist from Harvard is suddenly summoned by a top secret Swiss research facility to make sense of a mysterious symbol that has been found painfully seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. Through what he sees at the research facility, it is clear to Dr. Langdon that this is the work of a deadly ancient brotherhood, the Illuminati. What ensues is a race against time as the Illuminati focuses its deadly strength at the Catholic Church, its most despised enemy. Langdon must join forces with the murdered physicist’s daughter, Vittoria to get to Rome before the Illuminati destroys Vatican City.

Why You Should Read It:

This thrilling page-turner will teach you a lot about crypts, catacombs, the history of cathedrals while taking you inside one of the most notoriously secretive vaults on earth, the Vatican archives. Science versus Religion, ancient symbols and plenty of violence, this is fast-paced fiction at its best.

Best Quote:

“Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand.”

7. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

First Published: 1945

What It’s About:

Welcome to Manor farm, run by a drunk farmer Mr. Jones. A meeting is called by the best pig in the farm to discuss a dream he had the previous night about how the farm animals were being exploited by man. Soon after the meeting, the animals come together to discuss the importance of freedom and how humans are oppressing them. Three pigs take over the farm after scaring away the human owner and change the farm’s name to Animal Farm, after which the animals learn to read and write. Although life on animal farm runs smoothly for a while, chaos soon erupts with each animal that takes charge resembling the previous oppressive tyrant. When finding heaven on earth seems like impossible, what’s an animal to do?

Why You Should Read It:

George Orwell’s masterpiece is an allegory of the Russian revolution. With each new step that the animals take, it becomes clear that the distinction between good and evil is not always clear.

Best Quote:

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

6. Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie

First Published: 1911

What It’s About:

Meet some of literature’s best loved characters: Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up, Tinker Bell, his fairy friend, and the evil pirate, Captain Hook. They all live in Neverland. Peter befriends three children, Wendy, John and Michael who fly with him to Neverland. There they meet a range of fascinating characters including a crocodile that ticks, and mermaids.

Why You Should Read It:

This widely acclaimed work by Barrie was adapted into one of Walt Disney’s most popular animated movies in 1953. The characters in this beautiful feat of imagination are endlessly dazzling and Barrie was inspired to write this book after his younger brother died as a child. He then befriended a group of children and based several of his book’s characters on them. It’s a fast-paced novel that will be loved by both, adults and children alike.

Best Quote:

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”

5. The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo

First Published: 2007

What It’s About:

This crime thriller is both, creepy and fast-paced. Set in Oslo, it follows detective Harry Hole as he investigates the disappearance of several women on the first day of snowfall. The killer’s trademark style involves leaving a snowman in his victims’ front yard and sending the investigator a menacing letter. The Scandinavian landscape in this thriller is barren and freezing, while the characters are flawed. Harry Hole is an investigator who can’t take orders and someone who would be seen more as an anti-hero than a rescuer. A tense novel with plenty of suspense, read this with the lights on!

Why You Should Read It:

What makes The Snowman stand out is how realistic its depiction of life, death and its characters is. This chilling story takes you into the mind of an evil killer. Readers who enjoy a plot with plenty of twists and turns will love reading this book.

Best Quote:

“What is worse? Taking the life of a person who wants to live or taking death from a person who wants to die.”

4. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

First Published: 2007

What It’s About:

Based on the author’s own experience when interning at a fashion magazine, The Bell Jar follows the life of beautiful and talented 19-year-old Esther, who has recently joined a prominent magazine in New York as an intern for one month. The novel follows Esther as she faces a harrowing breakdown and attempts at recovering from the darkest moments of her young life.

Why You Should Read It:

Sylvia Plath wrote this novel as a pseudo autobiography to discuss the effects of depression. Whether or not you have been affected by depression, this honest look at the effects of a mental disorder on an ordinary person will shock anyone. The novel itself is not very long and the swift transition that the protagonist makes when falling further into depression is what makes it stand out. In real life, Plath’s battle with depression ended with her suicide in 1963.

Best Quote:

“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”

3. Sphere, by Michael Crichton

First Published: 1987

What It’s About:

A group of American scientists is called to the bottom of the ocean floor to explore a huge vessel discovered there, but what they find defies every explanation. They are faced with a spaceship that is miraculously undamaged despite having fallen from the sky; and what is even more shocking is that it appears to be three hundred years old.

Why You Should Read It:

The book deals with scientists and aliens, but what differentiates it from being a run-of-the-mill science fiction novel is the way in which it is written as a thriller. It is, no doubt, a page-turner with twists and turns, with a major twist hidden at the bottom of the ocean. If it’s chilling, dramatic sci-fi that you’re looking for, turn to The Sphere. It is also worth mentioning that the movie doesn’t do this complex novel any justice.

Best Quote:

“Do you want to understand how to swim, or do you want to jump in and start swimming? Only people who are afraid of the water want to understand it. Other people jump in and get wet.”

2. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

First Published: 2006

What It’s About:

News reporter Camille Preaker has recently come out of a stay at a psychiatric hospital when she is assigned to cover the grisly murders of two little girls in her hometown. Camille left her home eight years ago and since then has not spoken to her family, which includes her hypochondriac mother and a half-sister with whom she has no connection. A childhood tragedy has left its mark on Camille and covering the story of the violent crime brings to surface some old demons. Camille soon realizes that in order to move on with her present, she must face the truth about her past.

Why You Should Read It:

Written by the author of bestselling thriller Gone Girl, this novel is just as gripping, gritty and fast-paced and leaves you with a sense of dread as you follow Camille taking a walk back into her dark past.

Best Quote:

“A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.”

1. The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins

First Published: 2015

What It’s About:

Rachel lives a nondescript life, taking the same train every day and every evening. During her daily journey she looks out of her window, observing the cozy surroundings. She even starts to recognize the familiar faces she sees in the suburban houses that the train passes. One day, at a particular point in the journey, Rachel sees something that completely shocks her and makes her go to the police. She is inevitably involved in the ensuing investigation, which may hit closer to home than she realized.

Why You Should Read It:

It’s being called the best debut psychological thriller of 2016. Read this for an intense tale about how every story has two sides, and then the truth. Fast-paced, unsettling and relatable at the same time, the book stands out due to its description of the protagonist’s ordinary life that is shattered by a thrilling turn of events, which turn her life upside down. Read it before the movie comes out later in 2016.

Best Quote:

“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.”

Conclusion

When you are in the mood to read something fast-paced and thrilling, these 10 books have it all. Whether it’s science fiction, fantasy, psychological thriller or even downright bizarre, these quick reads and short stories are too good to put down.

Keeping sharing simple