As an avid reader, I always have the same feelings about the end of the year: I hate to watch it go, but I love to watch it leave. One minute, all the “best books” lists come out and remind me of all the books I didn’t get to read, but then the next minute, I am distracted by all the lists of amazing upcoming books in the new year! You can’t really lose as a reader—it’s pretty great.
One of my favorite genres to read is crime books. Give me all your thrilling suspense novels! I love crime thrillers with lots of twists and turns and unreliable narrators, and crime novels with tried and true heroes, and cozy mysteries with punny titles set in sleepy towns. Spoiler: I love them all! Which is why I am excited about this list, because it highlights some of the biggest mystery and suspense releases of 2021.
On this list, you’ll find stand-alone mysteries, political thrillers, domestic suspense books, cozy mysteries, and more! Some are from debut authors and others are from the biggest names in the business. Several of these books are continuations in a series, which is doubly exciting, because it means you have the pleasure of jumping into a series headfirst or starting from the beginning. Just talking about these books is making me want to stop writing and go pick one up, so let’s get started!
Archaeologist Nora Kelly and rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson team up again, this time to make sense of a mummy found in an abandoned New Mexico building. The key to its identity could lie in a 16th-century Spanish gold cross found hidden on the body, but it could also reveal a terrifying historic secret of epic proportions.
Marcie's affair with the powerful Jason Maddox eventually led to her becoming his second wife. But now Jason's boss has a new, younger wife that Marcie's husband can't seem to keep his eyes off. But Marcie fought hard and dirty to be a part of this elite world...and she’ll kill to keep it. Now in paperback!
by James O. Born
In Michael Bennett’s 13th adventure, the NYPD detective’s impending nuptials to his long-time love are waylaid when a vicious killer carries out a series of grisly murders around the city. As Bennett and his new partner race to uncover the killer’s identity, they discover they may be dealing with the most prolific and coldblooded murderer the country has ever seen. And he’s thinking of inviting himself to the wedding...
Walter Mosley, who recently received the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, has brought his most beloved character back for another case. Hardboiled Los Angeles detective Easy Rawlins knows a big gamble when he hears one, which is why he knows he shouldn’t help a white man who claims to have protected a white woman from a Black man. But Easy didn’t get his nickname from taking easy cases, and something about the Vietnam veteran’s story compels him to help.
In Jonathan Kellerman’s 36th Alex Delaware novel, LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis calls on his best friend, psychologist Alex Delaware, to help him solve a decades-old cold case involving a murdered woman and a torched car. Milo’s reputation is on the line as they race to solve a seemingly unsolvable case, and soon discover the clues they’ve unearthed about the past will have consequences for them now.
by Roy Johansen
New York Times bestselling mother-and-son team Iris and Roy Johansen have brought the brilliant investigator Kendra Michaels back for her eighth case. When a popular pop singer is kidnapped in plain sight from the Hollywood Bowl, Kendra, the singer’s bodyguard, and a special agent, must work to find her location before it is too late. But this case might mean curtains for everyone.
I have not been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it. Imagine if Shirley Jackson wrote Big Little Lies—it's like that. It's the story of a picture-perfect suburban neighborhood, where new residents who don't seem to fit in set off a chain of secrets and misunderstandings that lead to devastating circumstance
J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, is back with New York City Police and Security Department lieutenant Eve Dallas. This time, Eve is investigating the murder of an artist in a West Village apartment. Something about the way the crime was reported doesn’t add up, and it’s up to Eve and her team to find out what it is. This is the 52nd book in the series—that means you could read the whole series in a year, if you read one a week!
In Cotton Malone’s 16th adventure, a secret dossier from a World War II-era Soviet spy comes to light that could rewrite history when former-Justice Department agent Malone discovers it holds truths about the fates of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and Martin Bormann, and the missing millions in gold.
And if you like your mysteries more on the sweet side, you should check out this series starring baker—and amateur detective—Hannah Swensen. This time, Hannah’s Easter baking plans at the Cookie Jar are disrupted when the town’s mayor is murdered and Hannah’s sister is the prime suspect.
Clive Cussler; Graham Brown
When a former NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) colleague disappears in Antarctica, Kurt Austin and his assistant Joe Zavala set out to find him. But instead they unearth a photo from the infamous German Luftwaffe expedition of 1939, which leads them to a dangerous villain and an even more dangerous new form of ice.
Lisa Renee Jones; L. R. Jones
No one yet knows the identity of The Poet, the serial killer who composes words for Detective Samantha Jazz by the bodies of his victims, or how he even chooses his victims, but he's scared a whole city with his actions. As Jazz searches for a solution to the crimes, The Poet is writing his way into her heart—in the worst way possible.
by Harlan Coben
New York Time's bestselling author Harlan Coben, fresh off the success of Netflix's adaptation of The Stranger, spins a thrilling new tale of crimes old and new. When a recluse is found murdered in his apartment, two items are recovered that are linked to the decades-old unsolved abduction of Win Lockwood's cousin. But searching for the final answer to the cold case may cause Win to lose.
Janet Evanovich; Steve Hamilton
FBI agent Kate O’Hare and international con man Nicholas Fox may not seem like a likely team, but together they've cracked some huge cases. In The Bounty, they're up against their most dangerous rivals yet as they encounter a shadowy international organization while on the trail of a lost train full of missing gold.
Stone Barrington is hoping for some relaxing time at his New York home, but some unpleasant family business requires his attention in Maine. When he arrives, he quickly finds himself entangled in the web of someone with a score to settle. Not knowing who he can trust, Stone will have to devise a clever plan to lure his enemy into the open.
by David Ellis
James Patterson's highest-rated stand-alone thriller ever now has a sequel! Detective Billy Harney, the newest member of Chicago PD's elite strike force, Special Operations Section (SOS), will have to discover the political motivations and culprits behind a drive-by shooting on Chicago's west side. But his search leads him somewhere he'd rather not visit: his own past.
The highly anticipated new thriller in Caroline Kepnes’s hit You series, now also a blockbuster Netflix show, follows public bookseller and secret psychopath Joe Goldberg as he gives up city living for small-town charms. His attentions are immediately captured by the local librarian, and Joe knows that even if she doesn't return his interest, he'll get her attention, one way or another.
In his fourth mission, former Navy SEAL James Reece is the only one who can be trusted to carry out a secret CIA assignment that has dangerous ties going all the way back to 9/11.
John Sandford favorites Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces to solve the murder of three Coast Guardsmen, who had come out to investigate a mysterious diver in the middle of the ocean without a boat shortly before they were killed.
A. E. Osworth
Eliza Bright was an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games, then she's fired and doxxed after reporting workplace harassment. When she unwillingly becomes a hero to women across America, she is stalked, threatened by incels, and winds up being taken in by a secret organization called the Sixsterhood.
A young woman who has been held captive on a remote farm for seven years has finally figured out a way to escape and save herself and her unborn child. But when another captive is brought to live on the farm, can she save her too? Or will she have to make a hard decision about who gets to live?
by Jake Tapper
In the thrilling sequel to New York Times bestseller The Hellfire Club, CNN's Jake Tapper brings back Charlie and Margaret, two rising stars in 1960s Washington DC. This time they've agreed to help their old pal Robert Kennedy with a matter of national security, which requires rubbing elbows with the rich and famous in Los Angeles.
W. E. B. Griffin; William E. Butterworth; William E. Butterworth
Philadelphia detective Matt Payne may be in over his head as he investigates the death of the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur. The whole crime is captured on video—including the killer—but actually capturing him and bringing him to justice may be the last this Payne does.
Bestselling author Janet Evanovich is bringing back Stephanie Plum's formidable adversary Gabriela Rose for more high-octane adventures of her own!
Ambulance-chasing lawyer Jay Shenk is surprised when he is hired to defend the father of a man he had helped sue a hospital a decade earlier. The victim? The star witness of the first trial. Meanwhile, Shenk's quiet son thinks he has what it takes to solve what really happened.
by Bill Clinton
Bestselling author James Patterson and former president Bill Clinton are back with a story about a fictional former President of the United States! The old commander-in-chief, relocated to rural New Hampshire, learns his daughter is the target of an assassin and must fight to stop her from coming to harm.
What to Read Next
Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, who hate to read.