While crime books, and all the subgenres they contain, have a long way to go regarding representation, we have been getting some amazing books by marginalized authors and authors of color that you should not miss. So I’m going to highlight some in different genres and subgenres, from thriller books to cozies, to hopefully satisfy a wide range of reading moods. And this is obviously not an exhaustive list but rather a great place to find your next read! We hope you’ll take it as inspiration to dive into the author’s back-catalog, explore adjacent authors in the genre, and expand your reading horizons.
For historical mystery fans, The Widows of Malabar Hill is the start to an excellent series, which is in part inspired by India's first female attorney. Set in 1921 in Bombay, Perveen Mistry is one of the first female lawyers in Indian and is working for her father’s firm. When a wealthy Muslim mill owner dies, Perveen finds something wrong with his three widows' signatures on a will and decides to ask questions, landing herself smack in the middle of a mystery, of course. You’re also treated to flashback chapters that show you Perveen’s recent history and reveal how she got to where she is now.
For fans of dark crime novels and literary novels, The Secret History of Las Vegas is one of my favorite works. Conjoined twins, Fire and Water, are found bathing near a barrel that turns out to be filled with blood, so of course the detective working to solve the murder case points the finger at them. That leads to a doctor who specializes in sociopaths, Sunil, being called in to prove the twins are sociopaths. But he doesn’t believe they are and instead tries to understand the twins.
For a crime novel with western vibes, pick up Murder on the Red River, the first in another great series with a voice we rarely get to read in literature. Set in northern Minnesota along the Red River, the story introduces us to Renee Blackbear, a Chippewa teen known as Cash, and the Sheriff who saved her as a child and has kept an eye out for her since. Now there’s an Indian lying dead in a field, and Cash’s dreams may help solve this case...
If slow-burn suspense is more your speed, you should be reading Hye-Young Pyun, especially if you love dark Korean horror and/or psychological suspense. In The Hole, we have a man, Oghi, who is left basically incapacitated after a car accident that killed his wife. His mother-in-law is now his caretaker, and they seem to have only each other left. But is it odd that his mother-in-law has started digging up her late daughter’s garden?
If you’re a fan of YA and want an excellent catalog of crime books to read, Tiffany D. Jackson is your author. Monday’s Not Coming, like all of Jackson’s books, is written for and focuses on Black girls. Told in an out-of-order timeline, we learn about two best friends, Claudia and Monday, and Claudia’s concern that junior high has started and Monday is not there. This is a mystery that unravels the secrets that we keep even from our best friends.
If you’re a fan of PIs, thrillers, and action movie scenes, August Snow is the series for you. Snow is an ex-marine and ex-cop who just won a gigantic lawsuit for wrongful dismissal against the police department and has moved back home to Mexicantown, Detroit. Not long after he arrives, he’s already embroiled in a mystery when a client he turned down dies. Also a great read if you’re a fan of getting to know the neighbors and, unrelated, things that go boom!
If you’re looking to marathon more than a handful of cozies, A Noodle Shop Mystery is your dream series. Lana Lee’s life kind of imploded, and she’s back in her hometown, working at her parents' Chinese restaurant. Totally not what she wants. Also, not on the menu (heh), are the dumplings she delivers that kill the owner of the mall where the restaurant is located. Talk about awkward! Of course, Lana lands on the list of suspects. And of course, she has to investigate things herself, crush on the detective, and then continue being a nosey sleuth.
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Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.