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Must-Read Crime Books

Looking to start crime fiction? Below is a list of thrillers, mysteries, and gritty suspense novels that will keep you on the edge of your seat and up all night. This list is guest-written by Abby from Crime by the Book.
  1. 1

    The Snowman

    Gritty and gripping, this thriller pits Norwegian detective Harry Hole against a vicious serial killer. It’s Book 7 in Nesbo’s internationally bestselling Harry Hole series, but can be read as a standalone. Bonus: it’s being made into a movie starring Michael Fassbender this October!

    The Snowman Book Cover Picture
  2. 2

    One of my favorite psychological thriller writers, Mackintosh knows how to write books you just can’t put down. Her newest is made even creepier by its plausible plot: women are being targeted and stalked on public transportation. I dare you to read this one on the train and not get goosebumps. 

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  3. 3

    The Crow Girl

    Originally published as a trilogy in Sweden, this massive crime book is a true masterpiece. Follow detective Jeanette Kihlberg as she investigates the brutal murder of a young boy, and discovers a web of conspiracy and lies. Dark and twisted, with unforgettable characters and a layered, complex plot.

    The Crow Girl Book Cover Picture
  4. 4

    Eeny Meeny

    Book 1 in Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series, Eeny Meeny is pure entertainment. Fans of TV shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order: SVU will feel right at home in Arlidge’s world. In Eeny Meeny, a serial killer is kidnapping pairs of people, and forcing them to choose who between the two of them will live, and who will die.

    Eeny Meeny Book Cover Picture
  5. 5

    The Ice Beneath Her

    A superb psychological thriller that blends the moody atmosphere and grit of Scandinavian crime fiction with the plot twists and unreliable characters of thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. When a woman is found dead in a famous businessman’s apartment, it sparks a shocking investigation into his life.

    The Ice Beneath Her Book Cover Picture
  6. 6

    Psychological thriller fans, this is a must read. Two different women rent the same house at different periods in their life when they need solace—but the second tenant soon discovers that the home’s previous inhabitant met a strange end, and her life is beginning to follow the same patterns. A psychological thriller with a dash of 50 Shades of Grey, this book is impossible to put down.

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  7. 7

    The Child

    Inspired by Barton’s own career as a journalist, The Child is a character-driven psychological suspense novel following journalist Kate Waters, who also made an appearance in Barton’s debut, The Widow. When the skeleton of an infant is found at a construction site, Kate doggedly pursues the story.

    The Child Book Cover Picture
  8. 8

    The Girl Before

    Not to be confused with JP Delaney’s book of the same title, Rena Olsen’s The Girl Before is a short little book that packs an emotional punch. A woman’s life is shattered when armed men storm her home and drag her husband away. Who was she married to, and how much did she know about his business activities? Emotional, insightful, and surprising.

    The Girl Before Book Cover Picture
  9. 9

    The Dinner

    Not exactly a crime book, but crime fiction readers will love Koch’s razor-sharp insight into human nature. Set over the course of one meal, The Dinner follows a well-to-do family who must come together to decide how they will handle an unnamed crime their boys have committed. Koch’s dark humor and sharp social commentary make for a totally engrossing and sometimes shocking read.

    The Dinner Book Cover Picture

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