Some crime novels are slow and steady, building to an explosive climax over the course of a few hundred pages. Others are “cozy” and invite you to follow a quirky detective through a picturesque yet mysterious town. And still others, like the ones on this list, begin with a curveball and don’t stop throwing them until the very last page (and, if the book is part of a series, maybe not even then!). All approaches are great, but if you prefer to get a real adrenaline rush out of your crime fiction, then you’ve come to the right place.
These mystery suspense books encompass a wide array of genres, from political thrillers to tales of personal vendettas. They waste no time introducing readers to the characters, their troubles, and the consequences should the hero fail. In that spirit, let’s waste no more time on this introduction and take a look at some crime novels.
Detective Michael Bennett's job is not an easy one. He moves from crime scene to crime scene, constantly exposed to the worst of humanity and the suffering it causes. In Blindside, the mayor of New York City tasks Bennett with tracking down his missing daughter, a computer whiz who is somehow involved with a group of elite hackers—and the hackers are now being targeted by a serial killer.
Windsor "Win" Horne Lockwood III is surprised when the police find a suitcase belonging to him in a murder victim's apartment. He is even more shocked when the police also find a painting stolen from his family decades ago by the same people who kidnapped his cousin. Those individuals were never brought to justice. Now, with new leads to the identity of his cousin's kidnappers, Win will do whatever is necessary to avenge the crimes perpetrated against his family.
Vera Kelly has hardly open the doors of her detective agency when she receives a life-changing case: a family torn apart by war pleads for her help in finding a missing child. The investigation takes her from the streets of New York City to the countryside of the Dominican Republic—and into the path of some shady characters who won't hesitate to end her investigation the hard way. Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery is an award-winning historical novel about finding love and purpose where you least expect it.
When hackers target America's largest newspapers, some members of the U.S. government are convinced that Russia is behind the attack. Chief of Staff Hayley Chill is less certain, and it's her job to untangle the truth from the rumors. If she is to get to the bottom of things before war breaks out, she must keep a level head on her shoulders and confront her own secrets before they cloud her judgment.
There are some crimes that the police can't—or don't want to—solve. That's where "IQ" Quintabe and his loyal friend, Juanell Dodson, come in. These untrained but talented investigators have tackled all sorts of crimes, but in Smoke, they may face their toughest challenge yet. A serial killer is terrorizing California, and IQ and Juanell have been separated and banned from solving cases, possibly forever. How much are they willing to risk to end the killing?
Two interlocking mysteries make Anders Roslund's Knock Knock an edge-of-your-seat thriller. First, a young woman who watched someone murder her entire family when she was a child may now be the target of someone wishing to silence her; Criminal Inspector Grens scrambles to find her before it's too late. Then there is Piet Hoffman, a police informant who suddenly realizes his family is in danger. The two men will have to work together to protect those they care about.
Nina Morgan’s bloodstained car was found a decade ago on a lonely Florida road. Forensic evidence suggested she’d been murdered, although her body was never found. Her disappearance left her infant children to the care of their father.
Once a pilot, mother, wife, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina had to flee her old life to save her family. She reinvented herself as Leah Trenton, a guide in the Allagash Wilderness in northern Maine. She never expected to see her children again, but now tragedy has returned them to her—only they have no idea that she’s their mother—and delivered all of them back into danger. “Aunt Leah” will need some help, and an old ally has a suggestion: an enigmatic young hitman named Dax Blackwell.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.