Which Crime Novels Would You Recommend?
Reading has been my salvation for as long as I can remember. This year, I’ve struggled with health and work issues, and somehow, I’ve lost the ability to focus on a book. I start books but sometimes leave them unfinished.
Of course, I’m also reading fabulous short stories for the Forge Literary Magazine. (If you write short stories or flash fiction, we want to see them!)
For now, I’m reading crime novels because they seem to hold my interest. Crime books mostly deal with the seamier side of human nature, and the guilty parties get punished, more often than not.
I’m looking for detective novels, mystery novels, literary crime novels, good thriller books involving crime– a bunch of crime novel recommendations, in short.
A few books I read this year:
The Killing Lessons by Valerie Hart–I liked this one, but found the protagonist too tortured, and the scenes a little staged/forced. Did not feel like picking up anything else by this author.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh: Did not like the twist in this one, but loved the protagonist.
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson: lovely writing, and the characters were fantastic. A bit slow, but it is not a chore to take the time on this journey.
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, which has a wonderful voice. This was a signed copy by the author, and I have fond memories of the reading. The book is quite a long one, but the ending is very well earned.
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson: This had a very promising beginning, but was so implausible in parts that I was happy to put it down. This author can write, just that this book didn’t do it for me. At all.
The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens: I liked the premise, but not so much the execution of this courtroom novel.
I’m reading The Girls by Emma Cline this week, and liking it so far.
What novels are you reading? Do you read or write crime?
Would you recommend a crime novel you read this year?
Drop me the title in the comments, and I’ll look it up!
For those of you who read books you loved but they weren’t crime novels–please add them, too. Who knows, they might just help me find my ‘reading-focus’ again!
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Interesting article. Anand Bose from Kerala.
The Client is my favorite crime novel – although I think technically it’s a legal thriller.
It is not really my genre, but what could be better than “Crime and Punishment”!
Thank you for following Sound Bite Fiction, much appreciated, I hope you find much to entertain you.
Now, crime novels, what to recommend?
Like many here, I am a fan of Michael Connelly, but I perhaps prefer John Connolly’s dark and powerful stories.
I would also like to highly recommend three of my fellow Scots:
Ian Rankin – his Rebus novels are internationally acclaimed
Christopher Brookmyre – laugh-aloud funny, bloodthirsty, and very clever, start with his first novel Quite Ugly One Morning
Stuart MacBride – his Aberdeen-based detective Logan Macrae is dour, dogged, and full of black humour, start with Cold Granite
While it is not a genre I would normally consider, a friend handed me the Millennium Trilogy insisting I read them. Honestly, I couldn’t put them down. It was all woven together so beautifully. That was last year. This year she got me hooked on Andre Camilleri and the Inspector Montalbano series…
I used to read a lot of crime novels/murder mysteries; not so much anymore, although recently I’ve been (re)reading some Maigret romans policiers. But a series I really love is the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters. The sleuth is a 12th-century Welsh monk! Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cadfael_Chronicles
I also love Josephine Tey (I like horses, so Brat Farrar is my favorite, and I also loved The Daughter of Time) and P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh books.
There are SO many. I recently read “Snap” by Belinda Bauer which was a 5 star read for me. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed “The bird tribunal” by Agnes Ravatn as well as “Missing, presumed” and its sequel “Persons unknown” by Susie Steiner.
FlabberGassed by Michael Craft. This book is a mystery, lighthearted, and clever – featuring a gay architect turned crime solver and an Abyssinian cat who likes to hint at clues.
I just picked up Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and that one feels like a good book. Not a thriller but for your TBR. 😛
Try Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s books… especially if you like the supernatural in your crimes…Just keep in mind if reading in English there is a translator involved. I loved “I Remember You”…best ghost story I read in a long, long time!
I have just completed The Woman In The Window by A J finn, Black Ice by Greg Enslen, White Lines by Greg Enslen, and currently reading The Girl In The Water by Paula Hawkins.
Let me add these to my list! Thanks, Anindya.
I absolutely love crime novels. From my recent reads, Honeymoon and Postcard Killers by James Patterson. Patricia Cornwell is another author I love but I prefer her older books than newer ones because even though the new series have a good plot, it talks too much about the protagonist’s emotions. The first in the series is Postmortem and it was really good.
Then there’s a whole A to Z series by Sue Grafton.
The girl with Dragon Tattoo and the rest in the millennium trilogy is my all time favorite.
And if I don’t find anything, I go back to good old Agatha Christie. They are classic.
Quite a few of these are familiar names, and I think I’ve read more than one book by Sue Grafton. So many books, such little time.
I’m currently reading David Baldacci’s First Family; so far, so good. Anything by Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, John Le Carre; Daniel Silva’s The English Spy was intriguing but a bit more violent than expected.
If you like crime and mystery you should check out all the books by Keigo Higashino. Each one is a master piece.
An honest confession is that I have stopped being a reader now. However, I was a good reader back in the days when I wasn’t a writer. My favourite crime author was Jeffrey Deaver and I used to read all his books until 2009-10 I believe. Minette Walters, then, got add to my list along with Steve Martini (legal crime). I also tried to write a short-story based on how Jeffrey Deaver writes but failed miserably.
So sorry to hear you don’t get to read as much. If I don’t read at least 10 mins a day, I would die. Honest.
Well, I read a lot, but not novels and books. I’m always researching on the content I write so I read other stuff. Technically, I read 2-3 hours daily but on sites and blogs.
Wow. I would bookmark this page for discovering more thrillers. I love the old school variety. Some of my favourites are Mary Higgins Clark, Jeffrey Deaver, Ken Follett. Before Ken Follett wrote historicals, he was doing quite good as an espionage thriller writer. His book Triple is a favourite, also Eye of a Needle. Mary Higgins Clark really spooks you. One of the best thriller writers I have read is Sidney Sheldon.
I think I read a few Sidney Sheldons and at least one Follett. I used to read Alistair Maclean as well.
I may have read a Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve only recently started keeping track of books I read, so will have to check a few of her titles to figure out if I’ve read her.
Thanks for sharing the Forge link… I will submit a story!
You should have a look at my short stories… a few can fit the crime bill… and hopefully will keep you hooked long enough to get to the end! 😉
Thanks Pam, look forward to your stories!
We read anonymous submissions, and if I recognise a piece I’ve read I pass it on to the other editors— our magazine responds super-quick, and pays, so is definitely worth a look!
I’ll check out your crime stories for sure.
Not Pam! AJ’s the handle… AJ Vosse! 😉
Sorry AJ! I confused you with Pam Lazos, who goes by PJ Lazos. So, so sorry!
Hi Damyanti! Not a problem… I wasn’t fighting, promise! Just would still love for you to read and review my stories when you eventually get around to doing so.
I have looked at the Forge submission info… I will send in a tale in the next day or so! 😉
Have you read any books by Keigo Higashino? They’re really interesting! I also like Jo Nesbo’s crime novels.
The name sounds familiar: will look up this author! Thanks, Shinjhini.
The best one I have read from Keigo is the Salvation of the Saint……gave me the chills really…..he is amazing….thanks for mentioning him, Shinjini 🙂
I would recommend Sue Coletta’s books. She is rocking the crime thriller genre. 🙂
Sue Colletta is going on my wishlist! So many books, such little time.
I know you won’t be disappointed!!! <3
I read a lot of mystery novels, because I like them and have been doing so since I was a child. I also write the Beyond mystery series. But the book I’m going to recommend you read is “A Tap on the Window” by Canadian bestselling mystery writer Linwood Barclay (it is the pre-cursor to his Promise Falls series which is set in New York state). You might also like to check out many, many more Canadian crime writers on the Crime Writers of Canad website http://crimewriterscanada.com/ and their bios are there too.
I’m adding your recommendation to my list! I have these ongoing wishlists on Amazon that I keep hacking away at, in different categories!
Following… I’ve been out of Crime novels for a while, focusing on Westerns (don’t ask–does anyone else read Westerns?).
The last Western I read was as a teen! 🙂
My all time favourite crime writer is Raymond Chandler, I judge just about any other crime book against that standard. I am currently writing a crime novel of my own.
An absolutely worthy standard.
Your list reminds me that it’s been too long since I read a good crime novel!
There are plenty of them around from far and wide.
I’m reading Anita Nair’s Cut like a wound, and have liked it so far. Set in Bangalore, and very atmospheric.
Comeback was the first Parker novel I ever read by Richard Stark. It’s a great intro to the series if you’ve never read any of them.
Thanks Mike, will look up Richard Stark!
“The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories.” There are several anthologies of this collection of short stories on crime.
Sounds fascinating, thanks Nita.
If you can read Hindi, you can have a go at my Hindi mystery novel – Qatl Ki Aadat.
Thanks for the heads up, Jitendra. Will look it up—sounds fascinating! I read Hindi, but not too great with writing it.
Hearty thanks Damyanti Ji. It will be an honour for me if a person of your stature reads my novel. It’s available on pothi.com.
Pls just call me Damyanti! Not sure what you mean by stature—everyone who visits here is a friend. I’ll look up your book.
In case you read Indian authors, I love Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s The Taj conspiracy and the Hunt for Kohinoor.
I’ve read her, and gave signed copies from when I met her in Singapore:)
I’ve always read widely but of late given up on crime novels and videos. I heard a psychologist recently claiming kids exposed to violence in any form through books, movies or the internet games are desensitised to violence and look on it as a norm in life which is OK for them to tolerate and practice. Not sure if they did any research on adults but it is something to think about.
Definitely something to think about. I read crime because it gives a very good insight into psychology, sociology and of course, I love the whodunit factor.
Yes that was what used to get me in too 🙂
The last crime/mystery novel I read was by Michael Connelly and it didn’t leave me too happy. Before that I read a James Patterson and I seemed to struggle through the story. I have bought more books this year than in the last 3 years combined but most of them are horror and sci-fi.
I struggled with Patterson as well, and then gave up. Just not my kind of book. Could you recommend crime writers from your country, Peter?
I recommend P.D. James for British murder mysteries — they are quite literary, too — and Patricia Cornwell’s early mysteries, Tony Hillerman for his Navajo mysteries. For thrillers, I love reading Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels (I’m about halfway through the series) because they’re fast reads, complex, with a fascinating protagonist. And then, there’s my novel, too! 🙂
I’ve read a P D James or two in my time, and at least one Cornwell, I think.
I shall look up the Allon novels, and of course, your book. Thanks for the heads up! My Kindle is a labyrinth of books that need to be read.
I have yet to buy an e-reader. Maybe now that I have a fulltime job, I’ll splurge and buy one for myself for Christmas! I hope you enjoy my book….:-)
There is something about Minnesota, especially southern Minnesota that generated great crime fiction. I am not sure what it is, perhaps the prairie wind but whatever it is works.
The best local writer is Allan Eskens, whose novels The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending have all made the NYT best seller list.
Of course, there is always John Sanford (John Camp) who won a Pulitzer-prize for his writing on the 1980’s farm crisis then went onto become a best selling novelist with his Prey and Virgil Flowers series.
A bit of a side note, John Sanford’s protagonists worked for the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – as did I for 30 years (though not as a cop).
And let’s not forget William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series which takes place among the pines and lakes of northern Minnesota or as we say, “up north”.
I think I picked up Eskens this year on your recommendation!
I’m going to look up John Sanford and William Kent.
Right now I’m reading The Quiet Game by Greg Iles, a crime mystery/thriller.
Let us know how you like it—if you recommend it, on it goes to my list!
Thrillers are my new favourite but they have to be psychological thrillers. I have read I Let You Go. Will check others. Thanks.
You’re welcome, Tarang. Pls check the comments for other books you might like!
Greatly enjoyed, as always, the wonderful Mick Herron’s latest, ‘London Rules’, featuring the fascinatingly grubby and grotesque Jackson Lamb and his rag-bag team of incompetent spooks.
Considerably disappointed (and even bored) by the usually readable Alex Gray’s ‘Still Dark’ and am struggling to have any belief in the main character or her reasoning and actions in ‘Did You See Melody’ by Sophie Hannah.
However, greatly excited by having just acquired the newly-released fourth Cormoran Strike crime story from the ever reliable Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).
Of course, anyone looking to venture into Australian crime fiction could sample any of my five books featuring laconic investigator Bromo Perkins.
I shall look up your books, Tony! I liked the first Galbraith, but haven’t read the others since.
And if you want to follow through with more Aussie crime writers you have to read Peter Temple, Gary Disher and newcomer Jane Harper (the award-winning The Dry).
All of them are going to my TBR! My principle is keep a list of recommendations, and then dip into one book or another, as and when. My Aussie crime list is now flourishing, thanks to you!
Will sure let you know if I come across a good one.
I have read . I let you go’, and liked it a lot. And, also despaired over the torture the poor should goes through at the hands of her husband.
I enjoy reading crime novels, but haven’t read any since quite some time and would myself like some suggestions! 😛
Like a couple of others, I enjoy P.D. James. I also find Jacqueline Winspear’s crime novels entertaining and interest-holding. Recently, I read The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal. I’d never heard of MacNeal, but can say she is an excellent writer and her skill in writing a clever thriller-type book was phenomenal.
Thanks for all the recommendations, Sherry. I’m looking for a gripping crime book to get lost in for a day.
Someone mentioned P.D. James. I find her earlier books better than the ones after the turn of the century (and millennium). I particularly like A Taste for Death and Shroud for a Nightingale. She seems to get the most out of flawed characters and gloomy settings. Definitely good reads for dark winter evenings.
I remember them being gloomy! I might have missed the titles you recommend so will look those up!
Hi Damyanti. I’m currently reading Gothic novels, but I regularly read crime. I recommend Anne Perry, Kathy Reichs, Val McDermid (love her Tony Hill series), Ellis Peters and Michael Robotham. Some others have recommended Jo Nesbo – I have some of his books, but I have yet to read them (that reading list just keeps getting longer) 😉
Like yours, my reading list grows longer, too! Asking for recommendations is my way of keeping my list current and relevant. I recognize a few names from your recommendations—will look them up.
I love anything by Agatha Christie (her Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple or Tommy and Tuppence books). Right now I am re-reading the Hilda Johannson mystery series by Jeanne Dams. There are 7 books in the series, but they are rather difficult to find anymore. I also love the Ladies Number 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.
I’d read through all the Agatha Christie books as a teen, from my local library. I don’t remember all of them now—maybe it is time I revisited a few.
So many to choose from! I was going to go with the bigger names like Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin, Raymond Chandler, Herman M Cain and Val McDermid’s earlier novels, before she started leaning as much on the torture porn as she does in her more recent ones. But I’d really like to name a couple that I think aren’t as well known as they deserve to be: The Lazarus Effect by HJ Golakai and The Information Officer by Mark Mills.
I shall pick up the last two you mentioned. The big names could bear revisiting as well—I’m an omnivorous reader so I end up reading widely rather than deeply sometimes. I might have missed a few good ones from the stalwarts of the genre.
Hi Damyanti, I read mostly crime novels as I write in the genre. I’ve read a few that I recommend on my Goodreads page, and I also try and do a weekly review. This was for the third book in the unusual Fiona Griffiths series: https://rolandclarke.com/2018/09/06/the-strange-death-of-fiona-griffiths-a-review/ and links to the first two.
Thanks for the links: will look them up, as well as your work!
Hi Damyanti – I’m afraid I go back in time … to the Christies, Ngaio Marsh, Sherlock Holmes … but now tend to read more serious books – still I’m going to enjoy seeing what others have recommended, as well as your list – thanks and I’m so glad you’re able to read to take your mind elsewhere – cheers and look after yourself – Hilary
I’ve never heard of Ngaio Marsh—will look them up. I’ve read all of Holmes as a teen, and it still didn’t feel enough!
Thanks for your kind wishes: I’m doing much better now.
What? Ngaio is a New Zealander and she has long been widely regarded as among the very top of the most revered crime writers. (Pronounced Nigh-O). Read and enjoy.
This is exactly why I make posts like this one: I just googled Ngaio Marsh and was truly ashamed of myself for never having heard of her!
Now, thanks to you guys, I’ll be making up for this rather sad and glaring gap in my reading!!
We had her books at home … but suspect I really only remembered her because of her name – it was different … and I enjoy that … actually her books were really clever – as Yarraboy mentions!
Edgar Allen Poe 🙂 Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler… newer I am enjoying the intrigue/crime by Dale Amidei, Sue Grafton and some breezy cozy mysteries of all whom I cannot name. Also, Brad Carl’s Grey Area (4 part saga), and his Craft Beer Burning. Indy Quillen Tracker, and Pursuit (Fox Walker novels, Native American crime/tracking etc).
The last few sound fascinating: will look them up and add to the list!
The Good Daughter and Blindsighted (both by Karin Slaughter)
Adding to the list!
I read The Broken Girls by Simone St. James at the beginning of the year and highly recommend it if you like a combination of mystery + crime + paranormal. And you may already be familiar with her but really anything by Agatha Christie. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, A Murder is Announced, And Then There Were None, and Murder on the Orient Express are some of my favorites.
I shall find The Broken Girls. Thanks for the recommendation!
Well, all of the Agatha Christie books are awesome but to name some I would say, Elephants can remember and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I hope you’ll like them too!
Thank you 🙂
I should revisit them—read Christie a long time ago 🙂
Focus can be a good thing. Still it is over rated. Un-focus can be just as important. Whether it is seeing the picture from a different perspective or a change of pace un-focus has its advantages. As for crime and mystery I have one small recommendation in a different direction. It is crimes by the gods. Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology is the one bit of fantasy I have managed to pick up and read of late. While it is mostly a quick read of short stories some of the predicaments the crimes create have rather lasting entanglements. I particularly enjoyed the story of Loki and the ‘Master Builder’. Take care Damyanti.
Loki has always been my favorite, and so has Gaiman.
Well, of course, as a mystery writer, I am going to recommend my novel “What Hides Beneath,” (J.L.Canfield, Black Rose Writing released August 2017) but I’ve been reading this summer Bernhard Cornwell’s historical fiction Saxon series and I always think P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Martha Grimes, Anne Perry, and Ellis Peters (aka Peter Tremaine) when someone wants to try crime and mystery. Any of their books are sure to keep you turning the pages and leave you feeling satisifed at the end.
I shall look up your book !
If you’re happy to read some back-titles, I’ve just read one from 1990, by Alice Thomas Ellis that I’d recommend. It’s called The Inn at the Edge of the World. Not quite sure how to classify it, as it’s not a straight-forward crime story, can’t say much more without giving the plot away.
Sounds like a fascinating one. It is going on the list.
I’ve been reading a number of Scandinavian authors last couple of years. Depending on the translations, give some a try. Jo Nesbo is more well known, but there are many others.
There’s something about the Scandinavian setting that makes crime novels come to life.
Anything by James Ellroy or Agatha Christie!
I haven’t read much Elroy. Maybe it is time I did.
If you looking for something innovative you can read two of my novels ETERNAL MAYHEM & CONUNDRUM
I recently read (and LOVED) The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Part mystery, part I-don’t-know-what, but it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you’d like a crime novel with a different twist, check this one out.
Sounds like a strong recommendation—added to the list! Thankyou 🙂