Most people don’t actually want to be called for jury duty, but they definitely want to be the fly on the wall of a case, and legal thrillers are happy to provide that. Plus, legal thrillers appeal to a wide audience because they offer so much. Thrills, obviously, but for procedural fans–much of the crime genre’s fans–you get a look at the justice system from characters working in the legal profession and/or by watching a case in court, or as it’s being prepared for trial. There’s also usually a who or whydunnit mystery threaded throughout. Like I said, lots to like! So here are some great 2019 legal thrillers and one upcoming 2020 title because that’s what TBR lists are for!
Alison is a lawyer. Drinks too much. Has a young daughter. Is having an affair with a coworker. And was just handed her first murder trial. Putting the thrill in thriller, this novel welcomes readers to Alison’s destructive world which collides with her new client who wants to plead guilty to murdering her husband. Can Alison save her client, and herself?...
After an oxygen chamber called the Miracle Submarine explodes, a mother is on trial. Was she responsible for the fire? If so, did she intentionally set the fire in an attempt to kill her son? As her trial takes place, we get to know the family who ran the Miracle Submarine, the “patients,” and watch as secrets and lies unfold. Not only do you get great courtroom trial scenes, but many things, including family and immigrant life, are explored. This one has deservingly been on a lot of must-read lists this year.
H. S. Chandler; Helen Fields
Maria’s husband is in a vegetative state and she’s on trial for attempted murder. She called 9-1-1, confessed, and admitted she wanted her husband dead. But why?... Sitting on the jury is Lottie–a housewife with a crappy husband who views this as time away from home–who finds herself attracted to a fellow juror. And that’s just a bit of the jury room that we are welcomed into during this trial! This is probably one of those the-less-you-know-going-in-the-better books.
M. T. Edvardsson; Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translator)
This multi-point-of-view, Scandinavian whydunnit takes you into the trial of eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell, who is accused of murder. We start with her father, a pastor, talking about Stella, the family's dynamic, Stella's upbringing, and recent "troubles." Then we hear from Stella as she’s in jail, meeting with her lawyer, and recounting her friendship with her best friend and the man she had recently met. Finally, we end with Stella’s mother, a lawyer trying to make sense of her daughter’s trial. Bonus: The audiobook has a different narrator for each section!
The 2020 Bonus Pick:
Imagine being set to retire at the age of eighty-five after maaaaaany years as a defense attorney when an old friend needs a lawyer after charges of fraud, insider trading, and–wait for it… murder! Do you drop everything to help? Alejandro "Sandy" Stern does. But will he regret this choice when the case forces him to learn who his friend really is? My bum is going to really hurt come 2020 because I’m already on the edge of my seat!
Hope you found a new favorite legal thriller!
What to Read Next
Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.