In 2023 mysteries and thrillers continue to be some of the most popular genres in fiction. We just love that edge-of-your-seat feeling and that satisfaction of solving a crime. But we also love the way historical books open up truths about the past we may otherwise have never known. If you love mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels and you also love history, there’s really no need to choose between the two. Plenty of books are tackling both and doing it really well. Here are 11 historical mystery-thrillers we’re planning to add to our crime fiction reading this year.
Ex-U.S. Justice Department agent turned antiquarian book dealer Cotton Malone has captured the attention of readers everywhere over the course of several of Steve Berry's action-packed thrillers. Berry's latest book about Cotton, The Last Kingdom, sees the character and his protégé Luke Daniels in a race across Bavaria in a hunt at a place that may or may not exist. History tells us that King Ludwig II of Bavaria searched the world for a new kingdom that he could retreat into and rule as he wished. But did he ever find it?
Time's Undoing is a deeply personal historical mystery novel, based in part in author Cheryl A. Head's own family history. Detroit reporter Meghan McKenzie grew up hearing her family's stories about her great-grandfather's murder. No one ever found his body, and no one is quite sure what happened to him. Searching for answers, Meghan travels to Birmingham to find the truth about the racially-motivated tragedy that has weighed on her family since 1929.
The 9th Man is another must-read historical mystery from bestselling authors Steve Barry and Grant Blackwood. Jillian Stein has made a huge mistake and now her life might be on the line. Thankfully, Luke Daniels is there to help. Washington insider Thomas Rowland knows that everything we know about the John F. Kennedy assassination is wrong. There is so much more to the story, and Rowland will stop at nothing to keep the world from finding out the truth, even if it means killing anyone who might be a threat, including Luke and Jillian.
From Pan Jenoff, the bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris, comes another riveting thriller set against the backdrop of World War II. After Hannah Martel narrowly escapes Nazi Germany following the death of her fiancé, she can think of nowhere else to turn but her cousin Lily in Brussels. There, Hannah joins a secret resistance network called the Sapphire Line. Hannah is devoted to the resistance, but when her family is threatened, she is forced to examine her priorities and decide once and for all where her loyalties lie.
Hungry Ghosts is a mystery involving two families. In 1940s Trinidad, Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury on their farm on a hill overlooking Bell Village. Below them is the Barrack, a building made of wood and tin, divided into rooms that each house whole families. This is where the Saroops—farmhand Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna—live. When Dalton goes missing, Marlee feels like her safety is compromised, and so she asks Hans to move to the farm and post up as a watchman. As the story progresses, the mystery surrounding Dalton’s disappearance begin to unfold, and the stories of these two families from very different backgrounds become intertwined.
Crook Manifesto is the next chapter in two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author Colson Whitehead's Harlem saga. This story follows Ray Carney and his hijinks over the course of several years in the 1970s. All All Ray Carney wants to do is keep his head down and keep his furniture store up and running. But staying on the straight-and-narrows is harder than Ray could imagine. Crook Manifesto is a stunning portrait of Harlem at a time when the city was going through major (often violent) changes. But this is also a story of the meaning of family.
Set on a luxury cruise in 1934, The Cuban Heiress delivers a fascinating historical fiction story and a heart-racing fight for survival. Catherine Dohan seemingly has it all, but her past is more complicated than she lets on. And that past comes back to haunt her when Catherine discovers someone wants her dead—but who? After a devastating betrayal, Elena Palacio has been left penniless and intent on revenge. For Elena, this cruise is her chance to right the wrongs that have been done to her. After the ship sets sail, these two women's fates become dangerously intertwined.
A Legacy of Bones is a historical murder mystery set on a remote Hawaiian island in 1850. Kaumaha Island is a mysterious place with a long legacy of violence. Told through dual timelines, this novel explores how the island's history of loss and pain has affected not just the Lathrop family, who owns the island, but many islanders through the generations.
In 1964, 20-year-old Christaphine is determined to settle down and make a life for herself and her husband Tommy. But when she discovers Tommy is on the verge of committing a terrible crime, she does what she has to do to stop him, even if that means she has to disappear. Fifty years later, she thinks the past is far behind her. But then an unexpected stranger appears. The Wrong Good Dead is a historical thriller filled with shocking secrets and surprising turns.
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