15 crime fiction books you should read

11 September 2017

By Pan Macmillan

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.

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 Girlfriend

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller, based on the fall-out following an unforgivable lie.

It looks at the potentially charged relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and his mother, which most women can identify with, and locates it in an extreme but believable setting.

Michelle talks about why the potentially fraught and competitive relationship between a mother and daughter-in-law is the perfect basis for a thriller in one of our blog posts.


Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is a mind-bending thriller that makes you question your very existence.

If you woke up one day to find out your entire life had been a lie, how would you react? In Dark Matter, Jason Dessen is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find himself in that situation.

No longer just an ordinary college teacher, he's now a renowned genius - but that success comes with a price: his son was never born and his wife is no longer his wife... who, or what, does he have to battle to get back to his life?


Are You Sleeping

Kathleen Barber's Are You Sleeping is an addictive and twisty thriller about a hugely popular podcast that reopens a murder case.

Since the murder of Josie's father, she has spent her time constructing a new life that is under threat of being unraveled with fresh investigations into what happened.

Buy now

The Trap

Bestselling author Linda Conrads has mystified her fans for 11 years by never setting foot outside her home.  After discovering her sister in a pool of blood, murdered, she's haunted by the face of the man fleeing the scene. 

When she sees her sister's murderer on television, she does what she knows best - and writes her next novel with an irresistable trap for him... but was he really her sister's killer or has Linda got it wrong?

Read an extract Buy now


Featuring a serial killer that collects the bones of his victims, Rattle by Fiona Cummins is a thriller that will keep you page turning until the very end - and make you want to leave the light on. 

The Collector has set his sights upon his next victims: two children named Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle: two different children but desirable for similar reasons. 

Will the police find them before it's too late? 

Read an extract Buy now

Dead Simple

The first in the thirteen-strong Roy Grace series, Dead Simple starts with a bang: a stag-night prank that goes terribly wrong.

Some people get tied to lamp posts stark naked on their stag nights, others get buried alive... at least, that's the prank Michael Harrison's friends play on him. Leaving the scene of the prank, Michael's friends are all killed - and no one knows Michael is buried underground.

The race against time is on - will the police find Michael on time?

Listen to Dead Simple's audiobook Buy now

Cry Baby

In Cry Baby, "I would do anything for my child" is put through the true test. 

When Eric Vogel is attacked and left unconcious in her apartment, she wakes only to find that her six-month-old daughter has been abducted. 

She's offered a chance to get her back: but at an unthinkable price. 

Cry Baby is the fourth novel in the Detective Callum Doyle series.

Find out more

Luckiest Girl Alive

Optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon, Luckiest Girl Alive will appeal to fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn. 

You may be fooled by Ani FaNelli's glamourous life; the clothes, the fiancĂ© and the money, but beneath the facade lies a dark past where terrible things have happened.

Set on proving to the world she has turned her world around, and after inviting a television crew into her life, the past comes back to haunt her...

Listen to the audiobook Buy now

The Axeman's Jazz

A serial killer stalks New Orleans in 1919 and issues an ultimatum: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim.

As the fearful city complies with his demands, three individuals are set on unmasking the the killer's identity. 

The Axeman's Jazz features gruesome murders, a mystery and is based on true events

Read an extract Buy now

Child 44

You may know this title from the film starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman. Child 44 is about a killer who begins murdering people at will. When investigations into the crime begin, Leo Demidov finds himself demoted and exiled.  

In a country where crime "doesn't exist", Leo has to uncover the truths about the killer but also Stalin's Soviet Union...

Find out more

The Moonstone

Widely considered to be the first full length detective novel in English literature, The Moonstone is still one of the most popular in the genre.

The action centers around a young English woman who inherits an Indian diamond on her eighteenth birthday which is stolen after she wears it at a party.

read the first chapter

The Liar's Chair

A fast-paced psychological thriller, The Liar's Chair is about power and control. 

Rachel and her husband David seem to have the perfect life with a big house and a successful business, but not everything is as it may appear. David is desperate to control his wife, but Rachel is not exactly the woman that can be kept on a leash.

The image of perfection starts to unravel after a drunk-driving accident kills a man and the two try to hide their guilt: but who will crack first?

Listen to THE AUDIOBOOK  Buy now

Into the Water

From Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, comes this much-anticipated second book. 

Into the Water is a psychological thriller that revolves around a small British town and its long history of women drowning themselves in the local river. 

When a single mother and teenage girl are discovered in the river, history and its secrets are brought to the surface.

Find out more

Little Deaths

Inspired by a true story, Little Deaths is the story of Ruth, a single mother of two who wakes up to find her kids missing and no clue what happened to them... until both turn up dead.

With all evidence pointing to Ruth and the town having made up its mind over her guilt, it's a story of discovering what really happened and if this mother-of-two could really kill her own children.

Read an extract Buy now

Final Girls

Fans of teen slashers like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer will be equally gripped by Final Girls.

It tells the story of three different "Final Girls" - girls that have survived a massacre - who are then targeted by a fresh killer; someone who wants to end the Final Girls... will they discover who is behind the sinister motive or will they be picked off one by one?

More Information

Addicted to crime? Sign up to The Thin Blue Spine newsletter to get the latest and best crime thriller recommendations straight to your inbox every month. 


You may also like