Crime Region: The Best Ozark Mysteries

Crime Region: The Best Ozark MysteriesThe Ozarks is a region in the U.S. states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and a bit of southeastern Kansas. It’s a great place to set a crime novel, with tons of forest, some of the oldest rocks in America, and two mountain ranges to hide in (or hide someone in). And the Ozarks itself is a bit of a mystery. The top question about the Ozarks in Google’s search is “Is the Ozarks a real place?”

Much of the attention brought to the Ozarks these days comes from the Netflix show Ozark, about a financial advisor who relocates his family to a small resort community in Missouri after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong. But of course, not only does trouble follow, but the family also finds themselves surrounded by criminals.

And this is not a stretch–crime is on the rise in that region of the country. Springfield, Missouri reported a 40% increase in crime in the last five years. So it’s easy to see why it is a popular setting for a show about crime. And books about it, too.

But long before there was Ozark, there was Daniel Woodrell, the most famous author of the Ozarks, who writes gritty, rural noir novels full of bad deals, criminals, and violence. And he’s not the only one! Here are 9 great mysteries set in the Ozarks for when you just can’t get enough of rural crime.




Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.