The popularity of crime fiction cannot be understated as this year we’ve seen more and more mystery & thriller books heading the New York Times Best Sellers lists. From millennial cozy mysteries to hard-hitting police procedurals and detective / PI novels, the growing interest in stories from across the crime fiction spectrum is palpable. What is it that makes crime stories so appealing? We take a look at 28 of the most highly anticipated mysteries, thrillers, and true crime novels that will hit the shelves of book stores later this year to find out.
These titles range from hardboiled detective fiction in the vein of classic crime writers like Raymond Chandler to psychological suspense teeming with intrigue. They’re all vastly different in their tones, pacing, and plotlines with a few commonalities—all have nail-biting suspense, plots riddled with mysterious and dark atmospheres, and protagonists that are as unforgettable as they are committed to seeing their mission through to the end.
On the evening of November 24, 1971, D. B. Cooper hijacked Flight 305—Portland to Seattle—with a fake bomb, collected a ransom of $200,000, and then parachuted from the rear of the plane, disappearing into the night…and into history.
Fifty years later, Agent Pendergast takes on a bizarre and gruesome case: in the ghost-haunted city of Savannah, Georgia, bodies are found with no blood left in their veins—sowing panic and reviving whispered tales of the infamous Savannah Vampire.
As the mystery rises along with the body count, Pendergast and his partner, Agent Coldmoon, race to understand how—or if—these murders are connected to the only unsolved skyjacking in American history. Together, they uncover not just the answer…but an unearthly evil beyond all imagining.
There's chaos in Hollywood on New Year's Eve. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD Detective Renée Ballard seeks shelter at the end of the countdown to wait out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. As reports start to roll in of shattered windshields and other damage, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.
It doesn't take long for Ballard to determine that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky. Ballard’s investigation leads her to look into another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch.
Ballard and Bosch team up once again to find out where the old and new cases intersect. All the while they must look over their shoulders. The killer who has stayed undetected for so long knows they are coming after him.
by Zoje Stage
Imogen and Beck, two sisters who couldn't be more different, have been friends with Tilda since high school. Once inseparable, over two decades the women have grown apart. But after Imogen survives a traumatic attack, Beck suggests they all reunite to hike deep into the Grand Canyon’s backcountry. A week away, secluded in nature . . . surely it’s just what they need.
But as the terrain grows tougher, tensions from their shared past bubble up. And when supplies begin to disappear, it becomes clear secrets aren’t the only thing they’re being stalked by.
Alex Cross enters the final battle with the all-knowing genius who has stalked him and his family for years.
Dr. Alex Cross and Detective John Sampson venture into the rugged Montana wilderness—where they will be the prey.
They’re not on the job, but on a personal mission.
Until they’re attacked by two rival teams of assassins, controlled by the same mastermind who has stalked Alex and his family for years.
Darkness falls. The river churns into rapids. Shots ring out through the forest.
No backup. No way out. Fear no evil.
by Sandra Brown
Thatcher Hutton, a war-weary soldier on the way back to his cowboy life, jumps from a moving freight train to avoid trouble . . . and lands in more than he bargained for. On the day he arrives in Foley, Texas, a local woman goes missing. Thatcher, the only stranger in town, is suspected of her abduction, and worse. Standing between him and exoneration are a corrupt mayor, a crooked sheriff, a notorious cathouse madam, a sly bootlegger, feuding moonshiners . . . and a young widow whose soft features conceal an iron will.
What was supposed to be a fresh start for Laurel Plummer turns to tragedy. Left destitute but determined to dictate her own future, Laurel plunges into the lucrative regional industry, much to the dislike of the good ol’ boys, who have ruled supreme. Her success quickly makes her a target for cutthroat competitors, whose only code of law is reprisal. As violence erupts, Laurel and—now deputy—Thatcher find themselves on opposite sides of a moonshine war, where blood flows as freely as whiskey.
As an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, Lacy Stoltz sees plenty of corruption among the men and women elected to the bench. In The Whistler, she took on a crime syndicate that was paying millions to a crooked judge. Now, in The Judge's List, the crimes are even worse. The man hiding behind the black robe is not taking bribes—but he may be taking lives.
Scarpetta is back! In this twenty-fifth in the electrifying, landmark #1 bestselling thriller series chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts an ingenious killer who has mastered cutting-edge science for the most nefarious ends.
James Lee Burke
The latest installment in James Lee Burke’s masterful Holland family saga, Another Kind of Eden is both riveting and one of Burke’s most ambitious works to date. It dismantles the myths of both the twentieth-century American West and the peace-and-love decade, excavating the beauty and idealism of the era to show the menace and chaos that lay simmering just beneath the surface.
Seven years ago, Mia Briscoe was at a college frat rave with her best friend, Serena, when a fire broke out. Everyone was accounted for except Serena, who was never seen nor heard from again. Now an investigative journalist covering the political scene in New York City, Mia discovers old photos taken the night of Serena’s disappearance and begins to uncover a sinister string of events going all the way back to that disastrous party. Working with Sherlock, the secrets begin to unravel. But some very powerful—and very dangerous—people will do anything to keep them from learning the truth.
To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home.
Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.
by Allen Eskens
Lila Nash is on the verge of landing her dream job—working as a prosecutor under the Hennepin County Attorney—and has settled into a happy life with her boyfriend, Joe Talbert. But when a woman is pulled from the Mississippi River, barely alive, things in the office take a personal turn.
The police believe the woman’s assailant is local photographer Gavin Spenser, but the case quickly flounders as the evidence wears thin. It seems Gavin saw this investigation coming—and no one can imagine how carefully he has prepared.
The more determined Lila is to put Gavin behind bars, the more elusive justice becomes. In a race against an evil mastermind, it will take everything Lila’s got to outsmart a killer—and to escape the dark hold of her own past.
by Nancy Allen
A young lawyer takes on the judge who is destroying her hometown—and ends up in jail herself.
In picture-perfect Erva, Alabama, the most serious crimes are misdemeanors. Speeding tickets. Shoplifting. Contempt of court.
Then why is the jail so crowded? And why are so few prisoners released? There’s only one place to learn the truth behind these incriminating secrets.
Sometimes the best education a lawyer can get is a short stretch of hard time.
On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.
One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”
Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?
Stephen Graham Jones
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies...especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.
She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love
But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted.
Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn't that always what women think—that they're the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she's looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she's not sure whether she's the predator—or the prey.
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
A woman awakes in the morning to find that someone has picked her apartment’s supposedly impregnable door lock and rearranged personal items, even sitting beside her while she slept. The intrusion, the police learn, is a message to the entire city of carnage to come. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are brought in to investigate and soon learn that the sociopathic intruder, who calls himself "the Locksmith,” can break through any lock or security system ever devised. With more victims on the horizon, Rhyme, Sachs and their stable of associates must follow the evidence to the man’s lair… and discover his true mission.
When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past.
Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival’s other guests—an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children’s author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian—along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line.
When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?
by J. D. Barker
In the shadow of Mount Hood, sixteen-year-old Tennant is checking rabbit traps with her eight-year-old sister Sophie when the girls are suddenly overcome by a strange vibration rising out of the forest, building in intensity until it sounds like a deafening crescendo of screams. From out of nowhere, their father sweeps them up and drops them through a trapdoor into a storm cellar. But the sound only gets worse . . .
Kobo has some problems. His cybernetics are a decade out of date, he's got a pair of twin sister loan sharks knocking on his door, and his work scouting for a baseball league run by pharmaceutical companies is about to go belly-up. Things couldn't get much worse.
Then his childhood best friend—Monsanto Mets slugger J.J. Zunz—is murdered at home plate.
Determined to find the killer, Kobo plunges into the dark corners and glittering cloud condos of a world ravaged by climate change and repeat pandemics, and where genetic editing and advanced drugs mean you can have any body you want—as long as you can afford it. But even among the philosophical Neanderthals, zootech weapons, and genetically modified CEOs, there's a curveball he never could have called.
Providence, RI, 1986. Twenty-nine-year-old Danny Ryan is a hard-working longshoreman, loving husband, loyal friend, and occasional “muscle” for the Irish crime syndicate that oversees much of the city. He yearns for something more and dreams of starting over fresh, someplace far away. But when a modern-day Helen of Troy triggers a war between rival mob factions, Danny is embroiled in a conflict he can’t escape. Now it is up to him to step into the breach to protect his family, the friends who are closer to him than brothers, and the only home he’s ever known.
With Steven Matthew Constantine
Lurking beneath the progressive activism and sex positivity in the 1970-80s, a dark undercurrent of violence rippled across the American landscape. With reported cases of sexual assault and homicide on the rise, the FBI created a specialized team—the “Mindhunters” better known as the Behavioral Science Unit—to track down the country's most dangerous criminals. And yet narrowing down a seemingly infinite list of potential suspects seemed daunting at best and impossible at worst—until Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess stepped on the scene.
by Andy Marino
Sydney's spent years burying her past and building a better life for herself and her young son. A respectable marketing job, a house with reclaimed and sustainable furniture, and a boyfriend who loves her son and accepts her, flaws and all. But when she opens her front door, and a masked intruder knocks her briefly unconscious, everything begins to unravel.
She wakes in the hospital and tells a harrowing story of escape. Of dashing out a broken window. Of running into her neighbors' yard and calling the police.
The cops tell her a different story. Because the intruder is now lying dead in her guest room—murdered in a way that looks intimately personal.
Sydney can't remember killing the man. No one believes her. Back home, as horrific memories surface, an unnatural darkness begins whispering in her ear. Urging her back to old addictions and a past she's buried to build a better life for herself and her son.
Louise Penny; Hillary Rodham Clinton
What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.
Meet Leda Foley: devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. When Leda, sole proprietor of Foley's Flights of Fancy, impulsively re-books Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight, her life changes in ways she couldn’t have predicted.
After watching his original plane blow up from the safety of the airport, Grady realizes that Leda’s special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can’t crack.
Despite her scattershot premonitions, she agrees for a secret reason: her fiancé’s murder remains unsolved. Leda’s psychic abilities couldn’t help the case several years before, but she's been honing her skills and drawing a crowd at her favorite bar's open-mic nights, where she performs Klairvoyant Karaoke—singing whatever song comes to mind when she holds people’s personal effects. Now joined by a rag-tag group of bar patrons and pals alike, Leda and Grady set out to catch a killer—and learn how the two cases that haunt them have more in common than they ever suspected.
Related: Eight Cozy Mysteries To Curl Up With
What to Read Next