Looking for something new to read this June? In celebration of Pride Month, we lined up some of our favorite crime fiction books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. From older series to those forthcoming, this reading list will take you from San Francisco all the way to the elusive M16 and have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
Things are looking up for Detective Betty Rhyzyk. She’s settled into a happy marriage and been promoted to Sergeant in the Dallas Police Department. But when a hostage stand-off puts her on the phone with legendary cartel leader The Knife, things take a turn. The Knife has heard a rival is making a play for the streets of Dallas—none other than Evangeline Roy. The matriarch of a ruthless cult, Evangeline also happens to hold a personal vendetta against Betty. So who better to draw Evangeline out of hiding? Betty’s got two weeks to catch her. Or else.
With Betty’s young charge Mary Grace already missing—having left her seven-month-old baby behind in Betty’s care—and the drug dealers of Dallas donning strange red wigs and delivering cryptic messages, Betty’s in a race for answers. With the clock ticking down, it will take everything she’s got to finally put an end to Evangeline’s reign of terror, and to keep her beloved Dallas—and her own family—safe at last.
Villanelle (a codename, of course) is one of the world’s most skilled assassins. A catlike psychopath whose love for the creature comforts of her luxurious lifestyle is second only to her love of the game, she specializes in murdering the world’s richest and most powerful. But when she murders an influential Russian politician, she draws a relentless foe to her tail.
Eve Polastri (not a codename) is a former MI6 operative hired by the national security services for a singular task: to find and capture or kill the assassin responsible, and those who have aided her. Eve, whose quiet and otherwise unextraordinary life belies her quick wit and keen intellect, accepts the mission.
The ensuing chase will lead them on a trail around the world, intersecting with corrupt governments and powerful criminal organizations, all leading towards a final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed. Codename Villanelle is a sleek, fast-paced international thriller from an exciting new voice in fiction.
P. J. Vernon
Oliver Park, a recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they've made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn't be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse. But through the entrance he goes, and it's a line crossed. Inside, he follows a man into a private room, and it's the final line. Whatever happens next, Nathan can never know. But then, everything goes wrong, terribly wrong, and Oliver barely escapes with his life.
He races home in full-blown terror as the hand-shaped bruise grows dark on his neck. The truth will destroy Nathan and everything they have together, so Oliver does the thing he used to do so well: he lies.
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?
Members of the prestigious and long-revered Amelia Gower Women's Club are suddenly dropping like flies. The director has been strangled to death and the founder's granddaughter has taken a fatal fall from the third-floor. Minneapolis restaurateur-sleuth Jane Lawless enlists the help of her best friend, Cordelia, to help her search for clues in the frightening deaths. But the crime scene only becomes more and more dangerous with each secret they uncover, including a possible connection between Jane's lover and the murders. In this gripping, exciting early mystery from one of the genre's best, Ellen Hart's series is as delightful as ever.
Laurie R. King
In Laurie R. King's Grave Talent, the unthinkable has happened in a small community outside of San Francisco. A series of shocking murders has occurred, the victims far too innocent and defenseless. For lesbian Detective Kate Martinelli, just promoted to Homicide and paired with a seasoned cop who's less than thrilled to be handed a green partner, it's a difficult case that just keeps getting harder.
Then the police receive what appears to be a case-breaking lead: it seems that one of the residents of this odd colony is Vaun Adams, arguably the century's greatest woman painter and a notorious felon once convicted of a heinous crime.
But what really happened eighteen years ago? To bring a murderer to justice, Kate must delve into the artist's dark past—even if it means losing everything she holds dear.