From the chaos of a bank robbery gone wrong to corrupt detectives breaking all the rules, this list is guaranteed to deliver the criminally good stories you’ve been craving. They feature protagonists on the run or just plain trying to escape the cards they’ve been dealt.
When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules—a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.
When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders—a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman—have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes—and save himself in the process—before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. From a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire, Bluebird, Bluebird is a rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas.
Doc McCoy is the most skilled criminal alive. But when for the first time in Doc’s long criminal career, his shot doesn’t hit the mark, everything begins to fall apart. And Doc begins to realize that the perfect bank robbery isn’t complete without the perfect getaway to back it up.
The Getaway is the classic story of a bank robbery gone horribly wrong, where the smallest mistakes have catastrophic consequences, and shifting loyalties lead to betrayals and chaos. The basis for the classic Steve McQueen film of the same name, as well as a 1994 remake with Alec Baldwin, Thompson’s novel set the bar for every heist story that followed–but as Thompson’s proved time and again, nobody’s ever done it better than the master.
Frank “Dolly” Dillon has a job he hates, working sales and collections for Pay-E-Zee Stores, a wife named Joyce he can’t stand, and an account balance that barely allows him to pay the bills each month. Working door-to-door one day, trying to eke money out of folk with even less of it than he has, Dolly crosses paths with a beautiful young woman named Mona Farrell. Mona’s being forced by her aunt to do things she doesn’t like, with men she doesn’t know—she wants out, anyway she can get it. And to a man who wants nothing of what he has, Mona sure looks like something he actually does.
Soon Dolly and Mona find themselves involved in a scheme of robbery, murder and mayhem that makes Dolly’s blood run cold. As Dolly’s plans begin to unravel, his mind soon follows.
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.
The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice—if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.
Ex-marine Jimmy Boone-former bodyguard to Los Angeles’s rich and famous-is fresh out of Corcoran, on parole, and trying to keep his nose clean until he figures out his next move. He has a job tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard, serving drinks to tourists, and is determined to put the past behind him.
But trying to do the right thing has always been Boone’s downfall. When he backs up a buddy on a hero-for-hire gig—looking into the mysterious death of a kid on a downtown bus—he once again finds himself in a world of trouble.
As Boone learns more about the boy, an innocent who got involved with the wrong people, his investigation becomes a mission. Along the dangerous margins of Los Angeles, he encounters down-on-their-luck drug dealers, a vengeful stripper, a dog-fighting ring, a beautiful ex-cop, a vicious crime boss and his crew, and a fortune in counterfeit bills. Before long, Boone realizes that his quest to get at the truth about a ruthless murder may also turn out to be his last chance at redemption.
Police detective Alex Morrow has met plenty of unsavory characters in her line of work, but arms dealer Michael Brown ranks among the most brutal and damaged of the criminals she’s known. Morrow is serving as a witness in Brown’s trial, where the case hinges on his fingerprints found on the guns he sells.
When the investigation leads to a privileged Scottish lawyer who’s expecting to be assassinated after a money laundering scheme goes bad, and a woman who’s spying on the people who put her in jail, Morrow has her hands full. And that’s before she even gets to her family issues.
The Red Road is a thrilling new novel from a masterful writer, proving once again that “If you don’t love Denise Mina, you don’t love crime fiction.” (Val McDermid)
For reasons she can’t quite explain, Alex Morrow is addicted to watching surveillance footage of Roxanna Fuentecilla—a gorgeous Spanish mother of two, in a tempestuous relationship with her boyfriend, who recently relocated to Glasgow under mysterious circumstances. She is also Morrow’s prime suspect in an investigation that resembles a soap opera, filled with glamorous jetsetters and enough money to interest the highest levels of law enforcement. Until Roxanna vanishes.
Morrow traces Roxanna’s steps to Helensburgh, a sleepy, picturesque seaside community. But behind the idyllic Victorian homes and quaint storefronts, darkness lurks. Home to a man with blood on his hands who is haunted by guilt, a mysterious woman with ulterior motives back in town for the first time in decades, a sexually frustrated restaurateur looking to blow off steam, and a crew of vicious small-time gangsters blindly following orders, it’s a town ruled by base instincts where no one is quite what they seem. And it’s the perfect place to get rid of someone.
When she uncovers an unsettling connection to Roxanna’s job back in Glasgow, Morrow suspects that her missing person is more than a white-collar criminal on the lam—she may also be a victim caught up in a sophisticated conspiracy that stretches far beyond Helensburgh and is more personal than Morrow ever imagined. As the truth rises to the surface and the conflicts that lie beneath Helensburgh’s calm waters threaten to explode, Morrow must find Roxanna before any hope of solving the case disappears with her.
Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus’s team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends.
Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves “The Saints,” and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer—and may also play a role in the present, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence.
Allegiances are being formed, enemies made, and huge questions asked. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?
An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme. Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed for business, and his masters would rather he retire than stick around. But as Rebus investigates, he must deal with the sleazy Edinburgh underworld, and maybe even fall in love.
In the parish of St. Bruno, sex is easy, corruption festers, and double-dealing is a way of life. Rene Shade is an uncompromising detective swimming in a sea of filth.
As Shade takes on hit men, porn kings, a gang of ex-cons, and the ghosts of his own checkered past, Woodrell’s three seminal novels pit long-entrenched criminals against the hard line of the law, brother against brother, and two vastly different sons against a long-absent father.