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.
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.
Billions of dollars are missing from Iraqi banks, and journalist Luca Terracini will risk everything to discover where it is. His Iraqi-American background has made it easier for him to infiltrate the darkest corners of the war, but death of his beloved Nicola in a suicide bombing has made him reckless. He has nothing left to lose.
In pursuit of the money, he meets UN representative Daniela Garner, who seems to know more about the heist than anyone else. She's a valuable asset in Baghdad where the possibility of an explosion lurks at every checkpoint. Luca's investigation proves volatile as well, and as he gets closer to the missing money, his actions begin to reverberate around the world.
In London, Richard North, a top-tier international banker and the one person who might be able to explain where the money has gone, vanishes. The manhunt for him will get Luca evicted from Iraq, separated from Daniela, and possibly end both his investigation and his life.
As usual, it's all about the money: who has it, who's lost it, and who's ultimately going to pay, as clandestine agents emerge from the shadows and powerful nations seek to control information and bury secrets, whatever the cost.
by Jim Thompson
Foreword by Laura Lippman
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.
by Marcia Clark
It started with a haunting image: a Ford Explorer, iridescent in the moonlight and alone on a desolate stretch of beach. Its owner, Melissa Gibbons, has gone missing. Her husband says she flew the coop. But Los Angeles Deputy DA Rachel Knight is convinced otherwise: Melissa Gibbons has been murdered.
So begins the confounding case that Rachel must present before a disbelieving jury. A dissatisfied heiress and her philandering husband—what really happened? The husband has a fiendishly convincing case that Melissa faked her own death and fled. But with the support of her trusty sidekick, Detective Bailey Keller, Rachel pieces together a much more sinister truth.
by Chris Holm
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he's not so bad a guy.
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life—and beloved fiancée—and set out on a path of redemption...or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.
Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts—he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he'll make sure whoever's coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living—but a great way to make himself a target.
Frank Marr was a good cop with a bad habit, until his burgeoning addictions to alcohol and cocaine forced him into retirement from the DC police. Now barely eking out a living as a private investigator, he agrees to take on a family case: a favor for his aunt, who was like a second mother to him growing up.
Frank's surveillance confirms that his cousin Jeffrey is involved with a small-time drugs operation. Modest stuff, until Frank's own home is burglarized, leaving a body on the kitchen floor: Jeffrey. Worse, Frank's .38 revolver-the murder weapon-is stolen, along with his cherished music collection, his only possessions of sentimental value: dozens of vinyl albums that belonged to his late mother. Only Frank's stash, his dwindling supply of the cocaine he needs to get through the day, is untouched. Why?
Clearly, his cousin was deeper in the underworld than anyone realized. With the weight of his family, his reputation, and his own life on the line, he'll have to find the culprit by following the stolen goods through a tangled network of petty thieves, desperate addicts, deceiving fences, good cops, bad cops, and one morally compromised taxi driver.
Frank's as determined to uncover the truth as he is to feed his habit, and both pursuits could prove deadly. This time, it may just be a question of what gets him first.
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.
by Ian Rankin
Rebus investigates a cold case that just turned red hot. As he settles into an uneasy retirement, Rebus has given up his favorite vices. There's just one habit he can't shake: he can't let go of an unsolved case. It's the only pastime he has left and up until now, it's the only one that wasn't threatening to kill him. But when Rebus starts reexamining the facts behind the long-ago murder of a glamorous woman at a luxurious hotel - on the same night a famous rock star and his entourage where also staying there - the past comes roaring back to life with a vengeance.
And as soon as Rebus starts asking questions about the long forgotten crime, a fresh body materializes. His inquiries reunite him with his old pals-Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox-as they attempt to uncover the financial chicanery behind the savage beating of an upstart gangster, a crime that suggests the notorious old school crime boss Big Ger Cafferty has taken to retirement as poorly as Rebus himself.
As he connects the mysteries of the past to the those of the present, Rebus learns—the hard way—that he's not the only one with an insatiable curiosity about what happened in that hotel room forty years ago, and that someone will stop at nothing to ensure that the crime remains ancient history.
by Denise Mina
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.
Related: Why We Love Denise Mina's Mysteries
Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair—Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard—a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam vet and Republican—but they're the closest friend either of them has in the world.
After years of crime-solving companionship, something's changed: Hap, recently married to their P.I. boss, Brett, is now a family man. Amidst the worst flood East Texas has seen in years, the two run across a woman who's had her tongue nearly cut out, pursued by a heavily armed pair of goons. Turns out the girl survived a mob hit, and the boss has come to clean up the mess.
On a chase that blows even the East Texas swampgrass back, Hap and Leonard must save the girl, and vanquish her foes, before the foes get them first. With a new case to solve, and a brand-new challenge to their relationship, will Hap and Leonard's friendship survive? Will Hap and Leonard survive?