Noirs from around the world

From the Australian Outback to Scottish archipelagos and a Nigerian university town, discover our favourite noirs from around the world. 

Defined by narrative darkness, morally grey characters and ambiguities between right and wrong, noir is an intoxicating sub-genre of crime fiction. And it is having a moment; as put by author Megan Abbott, a master of the subject – ‘noir speaks to us powerfully right now when certain structures of authority no longer make sense’. Spanning both continents and decades, delve into the dark heart of noir with our favourites from around the world. 


by Jane Harper

Book cover for Exiles

Jane Harper has a reputation as ‘the Queen of Outback Noir’, and her most recent release, Exiles, only strengthens this acclaim. After a mother disappears from a festival, leaving her baby alone in the pram, federal investigator Aaron Falk is called. But deep in the South Australian wine country, all is not as it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a woman he’s drawn to and the missing mother, long-held secrets emerge. With her characteristically atmospheric settings and troubled pasts, this is Jane Harper at her finest.

Don't Miss

A complete guide to Jane Harper's books

Read more

Monsieur Pain

by Roberto Bolaño

Book cover for Monsieur Pain

Originally written in 1983, Monsieur Pain is one of Chilean author Roberto Bolano's lesser-known novels. Renowned Peruvian poet, Cesar Vallejo is dying in hospital surrounded by doctors struggling to give him a diagnosis. He seems, genuinely, to be hiccuping himself to death. His wife’s last hope is the reclusive bachelor Pierre Pain. But after the appearance of two mysterious Spaniards, Monsieur Pain finds his access to the hospital barred and things soon go awry. With a dark combination of unrequited desire, grief and betrayal, this is a gripping noir conspiracy as rich as it is strange. 

Raven Black

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for Raven Black

As one of the nation’s favourite Scottish crime writers, any novel from the Shetland series would be well placed here. For readers new to Ann Cleeves, start at the beginning with Raven Black. When the body of a teenager is discovered under a deep layer of snow, Inspector Jimmy Perez must find the killer. In doing so a veil of distrust and fear is thrown over the entire community. With its fifteen hundred miles of coastline, sheltered beaches and dramatically exposed cliffs, this remote archipelago is the perfect setting for Ann Cleeves’ tartan noir series. 

Don't Miss

All of Ann Cleeves' Shetland books in order

Read more

The Long Take

by Robin Robertson

Book cover for The Long Take

Shorlisted for the Booker Prize in 2018, The Long Take has been described as ‘film noir on the page’. Walker is a D-Day veteran, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, his trauma preventing him from returning to his home in Nova Scotia. Instead, he seeks freedom in LA, but still cannot shift the weight of a past sin for which he cannot forgive himself. And as he tries to piece his life back together, America is beginning to come apart. Written in an epical style, Robin Robertson’s novel is both a haunting personal story and a beautiful evocation of cities in flux.

The Lonely Ones

by Håkan Nesser

Book cover for The Lonely Ones

Dubbed ‘the Godfather of Swedish crime’, Håkan Nesser doesn’t disappoint with The Lonely Ones, the fourth novel in his quintet about Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti. Beginning at Uppsala University in 1969, three young couples meet and become friends until a summer trip to Eastern Europe ends in tragedy. Years later, a lecturer at a different university is found dead in similar circumstances to the tragedy years before. This is more than just a crime novel: Håkan Nesser examines and reflects upon human behaviour – from its most humane and principled to its vilest and most depraved – in this gripping Scandi noir. 

Don't Miss

The most gripping Nordic noir books

Read more

Red Queen

by Juan Gómez-Jurado

Book cover for Red Queen

Mow a major TV series, this serial-killer thriller is packed full of mystery, but also offers a portrait of a fascinating young woman. Antonia doesn’t go outside much. Why would she when she can solve crimes from her attic in Madrid? She also never gets visitors. That's why she really doesn't like it when she hears unknown footsteps coming up the stairs. Having already sold more than two million copies in Spain, Juan Gómez-Jurado’s Iberian noir has now been translated for English audiences. Continue the mystery with Black Wolf, the highly anticipated sequel.


by Femi Kayode

Book cover for Lightseekers

Femi Kayode’s debut novel takes noir crime fiction to contemporary Nigeria. When three young students are murdered in a Nigerian university town, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is called. But this isn’t a whodunnit – the attack was caught on social media and the world knows who the murderers are. Instead, Taiwo must answer a much more difficult question – why were the boys brutally killed? With layered characters and a fast-paced mystery all set against a vividly drawn setting, Lightseekers is not merely a crime fiction novel, but a commentary into the tensions of a poverty-stricken society.

The Devotion Of Suspect X

by Keigo Higashino

Book cover for The Devotion Of Suspect X

After selling more than two million copies in Keigo Higashin’s native Japan, The Devotion of Suspect X is being discovered across the world, and has inspired a cult film. Yasuko spends her days working in a bento shop and caring for her daughter. But when her ex-husband, Tigoshi, re-enters her life and is then rumoured to be murdered, Yasuko’s daily routines are turned upside-down. With the narrative following the police investigation from the point of view of the perpetrator, this is a must-read for anyone interested in international fiction.