Books Like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
When thrillers set on trains are mentioned, the first novel that springs to mind is Murder on the Orient Express. However, it's not the only book where the action and intrigue happen on the railway. One of the more modern favorites is The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by Morton Freedgood, writing under the pen name of John Godey. The novel, which features the hijacking of a train full of hostages, was popular enough to receive three film adaptations. The latest adaptation starred Denzel Washington as a train dispatcher and John Travolta as one of the criminals. For more action, drama, and thrills on trains, check out the following novels like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
by Kotaro Isaka
Bullet Train is a thriller by Japanese author Kotaro Isaka. The story is set inside a bullet train traveling from Tokyo, where five killers find themselves competing for a suitcase full of money. Two of the assassins were tasked with rescuing the kidnapped song of a gangster and bring back the briefcase full of cash, while another is on a mission to intercept the suitcase and escape with it. Unfortunately, the three of them do not realize that two other assassins also make their way onto the train, and all of their paths cross over the course of the journey. A film based on Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch and starring Brad Pitt, is also scheduled for release in 2022.
by Graham Greene
Orient Express is a 1932 novel by Graham Greene that was initially published under the title Stamboul Train. The novel takes place over the course of three days as a luxury express train journeys from Ostend to Istanbul. The train is filled with passengers from all walks of life, including a trader with a score to settle, a journalist, a dissident on his way to lead a revolution, as well as a murderer on the run. Although they don't know it yet, the fates of all the passengers on board the Orient Express will collide over the course of the journey. Orient Express received two film adaptations, one in 1934 and one in 1962, but the author was dismissive of both.
by Simon R. Green
Night Train to Murder is part of the Ismael Jones mystery series by Simon R. Green. Ishmael and his partner Penny take on a routine case whereby they must escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath. All they have to do is ensure that their VIP arrives safely. Ishmael knows that an attempt will be made on their client's life but has no idea how someone would orchestrate a murder in a crowded carriage without being noticed. The train also has no obvious means of escape, but that doesn’t stop a murder from taking place inside a locked toilet cubicle. To make matters worse, Ishmael Jones has less than an hour to solve this seemingly impossible crime.
by Dick Francis
The Edge is a 1988 thriller by Dick Francis and stars Tor Kelsey, a security agent for the British Jockey Club. Kelsey is on the trail of Julius Filmer, a man who has a penchant for getting away with extortion and murder. Determined to bring Filmer down, Kelsey goes undercover on The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train. It is a PR event for racehorse owners featuring a luxury train trip across Canada with race meetings along the way in every major city. Also planned for the trip is a "murder game" featuring hired actors to keep the passengers entertained. Kelsey is unsure what Filmer is planning and keeps an eye on him while playing the part of a waiter and actor.
by Carola Dunn
Murder on the Flying Scotsman is part of the very popular Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries series by Carola Dunn. The story is set in the spring of 1923 as Daisy returns home to Scotland on board the famous London-to-Edinburgh train, the Flying Scotsman. She plans on researching her next article for Town and Country, but her journey is not the relaxing trip she was expecting. Not only does she have her hands full with the young daughter of a Detective Inspector who stowed away aboard the train, but she also runs into an old schoolfellow named Anne. Anne, along with all her relatives, is on their way to visit the deathbed of the family scion, all hoping to get their piece of his family fortune. However, when the rightful heir is found murdered on the train, Daisy finds herself surrounded by an entire family of suspects.
by SJI Holliday
Violet is a psychological thriller by SJI Holliday about two strangers who end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express. The one, Carrie, planned on making a round-the-world trip with her best friend but has to do it alone after her friend has an accident. The other, Violet, is traveling alone after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand and is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian express, but nothing is available. When they meet by chance in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie impulsively invites Violet to take her best friend's place. However, as the two share a cramped cabin on the train and form a bond, things begin to unravel.
by Dorothy B. Hughes
Dread Journey is a 1945 novel by Dorthy B. Hughes that is set on board a train traveling from Lost Angeles to Chicago. A young starlet named Kitten Agnew accompanies a Hollywood big-shot named Vivien Spender on a trip through America's heartland. Spender is eager to produce a film adaptation of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Agnew is only the most recent of many actresses selected for a role. Unfortunately, Spender has a habit of discarding his leading ladies as soon as he sees a newer, fresher face. These rejected women all fall from grace as they are excised from the world of pictures. Kitty begins to suspect that Spender might do the same to her during their train trip together and is determined not to let it happen.