18 crime fiction books you should read

Need a good crime fiction novel to sink your teeth into? Here are our suggestions that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

04/05/2018
2 minutes to read
A photo of a gun between pages of a book on a wooden desk

Is there a better way of escaping the real world than by losing yourself in a really good book? We haven't found one if so, but seeing as we're committed to bringing you the very best of thrills here on the Thin Blue Spine, we thought we'd share our list of must-read crime fiction books.

If you're looking for a true classic, we have a list of the best classic crime novels right here.


The Favourite Sister

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Are You Sleeping

by Kathleen Barber

Book cover for Are You Sleeping

'I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough . . . a terrific debut' – Jenny Blackhurst, author of Before I Let You In.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie . . . is the truth.

When a family man is killed at point blank range in his home, it shakes a sleepy town to its core. The murder is a strange, horrifying crime but for the authorities it’s an open-and-shut case.

Ten years on, the victim’s daughter, Josie, has started afresh in New York – far from the tragic events that blew her family apart. No-one knows the truth about her previous life, not even her fiancé.

Investigative journalist Poppy is convinced the wrong man is in jail for the murder and she’s determined to prove it. What starts off as a true-crime podcast snowballs into a national phenomenon and everyone has an opinion on the case. Poppy’s relentless pursuit of the truth threatens to expose old secrets. Josie realizes that her father’s murder could have consequences more devastating than she had ever imagined.

Are You Sleeping is a gripping debut psychological thriller from Kathleen Barber for fans of Serial, Disclaimer and Luckiest Girl Alive. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer will be starring in the TV adaptation, produced by Reese Witherspoon.

Rattle

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for Rattle

The No.1 bestselling psychological thriller by Fiona Cummins.

A serial killer to chill your bones
A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge. It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

'It's a rare debut that has this much polish. Harrowing and horrifying, head and shoulders above most of the competition' - Val McDermid, author of the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series.

The Girlfriend

by Michelle Frances

Book cover for The Girlfriend

‘I was blown away. The Girlfriend is the most marvellous psychological thriller . . .’ - Jilly Cooper

The Number One bestselling debut thriller from Michelle Frances.


She loves your son. She wants your life. How far would you go to protect your son?

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it.

When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever . . .

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller – the story of a mother, a son, his girlfriend and an unforgivable lie.

Fearless

by Jessie Keane

Book cover for Fearless

PLAY DIRTY. PLAY TO WIN.

From the top ten bestselling author Jessie Keane comes a gripping thriller featuring two women who will do anything to win the man they love.

Josh Flynn is the king of the bare-knuckle gypsy fighters. His reputation is un-blemished; his fist a deadly weapon.

Claire Milo has always loved Josh, they were destined to be together from the day they met. Two gypsy lovers with their whole lives ahead of them. If only Josh would find a different way of earning a living instead of knocking the living daylights out of another man in the boxing ring. One day, she knew something really bad was going to happen. She could feel it . . .

Shauna Everett always wanted what she couldn’t have, and nobody, especially Claire Milo was going to stand in her way. She’s had her eye on Josh Flynn for years and she knew just how to get him. If it meant playing dirty, then so be it. What had she got to lose?

In a world ruled by violence, crime and backstreet brawls, only one woman will win in Jessie Keane's Fearless, but how low is she prepared to go to achieve that goal?

The Other Woman

by Sandie Jones

Book cover for The Other Woman

A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick. 'One of the most twisted and entertaining plots' – Reese Witherspoon

The Other Woman by debut author Sandie Jones, is a gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Michelle Frances's The Girlfriend and B A Paris's Behind Closed Doors.

When Emily meets Adam she knows he is the One.

That together they can deal with anything that is thrown at them.

But lurking in the shadows is another woman, Pammie.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother.

There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants . . .

What everyone is saying:

‘Thoroughly entertaining. Pammie is the mother-in-law from hell!’
Michelle Frances, number one bestselling author of The Girlfriend

‘Such a compulsive, claustrophobic read. It made my heart rate climb, speaking to my darkest fears as a wife and mother’
Emma Kavanagh, author of The Killer on the Wall

‘A twisty, deliciously fun read’
Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of The Wife Between Us

‘Exceptional debut novel! If you only read one book this year, make it this one!’
Beverley on amazon

‘This is a page turner that will keep you flipping pages when you should be sleeping!’
Lynnette on netgalley

‘I don't usually do reviews but will make an exception for this debut book by Sandie Jones . . . I can assure you this book is really worth 5 stars’
Rosemary on amazon

Wow, it's nearly midnight, way past the time I should be asleep, but I could not stop this until the end - and what an ending!
Joanna on netgalley

Capture or Kill

by Tom Marcus

Book cover for Capture or Kill

For fans of Ant Middleton and the BBC's Bodyguard. Read this gripping thriller from former MI5 operative, Tom Marcus, author of the bestselling Soldier Spy.

Matt Logan is an MI5 agent for the British government. Working on the frontline of counter-terrorism in the UK he’s trained to protect its citizens against all threats.

When two brothers known operationally as ‘Iron Sword’ and ‘Stone Fist’ are suspected of plotting a major terrorist event, Logan and his team work undercover to track them down. If they fail, an attack will be unleashed that will rock the country to its very core.

Frustrated by always needing to obey the rules, Logan yearns for a way to break through the red tape that hinders their progress. His wishes seem to come true when he is offered the chance to join a new, deniable outfit known as ‘Blindeye’.

Then devastating news reaches Logan, throwing his world into turmoil. But one thing remains certain, he will join the team and become their fiercest, most ruthless operative . . .

Capture or Kill is the first in Tom Marcus's breathtaking series featuring tortured MI5 operative Matt Logan.

The Moonstone

by Wilkie Collins

Book cover for The Moonstone

One of the great Victorian novels, The Moonstone has engrossed, entertained and enraptured readers since its first publication in 1868. This edition features an introduction by the renowned historian, journalist and author, Judith Flanders.

Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover.

Lady Verinder’s uncle gives her the Moonstone – a magnificent diamond as large as an egg – for her eighteenth birthday, but it is not quite the generous gift it first seems. For he obtained it through bloody and nefarious means in India, and legend says the diamond’s guardians will stop at nothing to get it back. When the Moonstone is stolen, an innocent man is accused of the crime and from this simple beginning, Wilkie Collins creates a stunning, complex narrative of dark mystery, suspense and atmosphere – and one of the very first detective stories ever written.

Little Deaths

by Emma Flint

Book cover for Little Deaths

Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth's perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can't help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press. Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

Dark Matter

by Blake Crouch

Book cover for Dark Matter

'Brilliant. . . I think Blake Crouch just invented something new' Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series.

From Blake Crouch, the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human – a relentlessly surprising thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player One.

'Are you happy in your life?'
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before the man he's never met smiles down at him and says, 'Welcome back.'

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined – one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

The Axeman's Jazz

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The Trap

by Melanie Raabe

Book cover for The Trap

The Trap by Melanie Raabe is set, and ready to spring.

I know you killed my sister.
I wrote this novel for you.


Twelve years ago, Linda's sister Anna was murdered. Her killer was never caught, but Linda saw him. Now, all these years on, she's just seen him again. On TV.

He has since become a well-known reporter, and Linda – a famous novelist and infamous recluse – knows no one will believe her if she accuses him, so she does the only thing she can think of: she writes a thriller about a woman who is murdered, her killer never caught. When the book is published, she agrees to give just one media interview. At home. To the one person who knows more about the case than she does.

He knows what happened that night and she wrote a book about it but, when the doorbell rings, neither of them can be sure how the story will end.