13 Thrilling Crime Novels That Keep You Guessing

By
Tue, 3 Jul 2018

Crime fiction has been captivating audiences for decades. Police chases, dangerous criminals, and brilliant detective work are exciting themes that will leave you saying "just one more chapter" all night long. If you want to add some thrilling crime novels to your personal library, check out these thirteen criminally good books. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

13 Thrilling Crime Novels That Keep You Guessing

Title Author More By The Author
1. The Melody Lingers On Mary Higgins Clark All Dressed in White The Cinderella Murder The Sleeping Beauty Killer
2. Rather Be the Devil Ian Rankin Knots and Crosses Tooth and Nail Hide and Seek
3. The Passenger Lisa Lutz The Spellman Files How to Start a Fire Spellman Six
4. Dirty Magic Jaye Wells Cursed Moon Deadly Spells Volatile Bonds
5. Orphan X: A Novel Gregg Hurwitz The Nowhere Man Hellbent The Kill Clause
6. The Neon Rain James Lee Burke Crusader's Cross Pegasus Descending Swan Peak
7. Life or Death Michael Robotham Close Your Eyes Watching You Bleed for Me
8. The Fire Witness Lars Kepler The Nightmare Stalker The Sandman
9. The Echo Killing Christi Daugherty N/A
10. I Know You Know Gilly Macmillan Odd Child Out The Perfect Girl What She Knew
11. The Guise of Another Allen Eskens The Heavens May Fall The Deep Dark Descending The Life We Bury
12. A Share in Death Deborah Crombie All Shall Be Well Leave the Grave Green Garden of Lamentations
13. Empires and Kings A.C. Bextor Saints and Savages Angels and Demons Keep Happy
  • True Crime
  • Detective Fiction
  • Legal Thriller
  • Spy Novel
  • Police Procedural
  • Forensic Crime Fiction
  • Caper Story
  • Psychological Thriller

Why Do We Love Crime Fiction?

In Depth

From page-turning tales that make our pulses jump to exciting reads that are hard to put down, crime fiction books have captured the world's interest with non-stop suspense, action, and mystery. In no particular order, here are 13 thrilling crime novels that will keep you up all night.

At #1 is the notable novel "The Melody Lingers On" by #1 New York Times best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark. The Queen of Suspense has seamlessly incorporated the elements of betrayal and deception into a huge financial scandal. Lane Harmon sets out to seek answers about the crooked investment banker Parker Bennett, who is supposedly dead. With billions of dollars at stake along with Lane's unexpected attachment to Parker's family, this mysterious drama and its memorable characters will send readers into an unforgettable chase.

The #2 book is Ian Rankin's "Rather Be the Devil," the 21st installment in the "Inspector Rebus" crime novel series. Rebus starts questioning the long-ago murder of a woman at a famous hotel. However, he soon learns that someone will stop at nothing to protect the crime. The last pages deliver multiple shocking twists that will satisfy all questions about this tough case. In a heart-pounding tale of greed, corruption, and rivalries, the author kicks it up to eleven as his protagonist is sharper and more impressive than ever.

In a heart-pounding tale of greed, corruption, and rivalries, the author kicks it up to eleven as his protagonist is sharper and more impressive than ever.

At #3 is "The Passenger" by Lisa Lutz, the story of a woman who escapes her past by coming up with new identities while traveling across the country. Fleeing from city to city with new names and new hair, she forms dangerous alliances to outrun her past. The psychological thriller's unexpected twists and satisfying ending will leave its readers going back to the first few pages to experience the excitement all over again.

The #4 book is the first volume of "Prospero's War" by Jaye Wells. "Dirty Magic" combines police action with dark fantasy in urban settings where cops are fighting wizards over dangerous and illegal dirty magic. With patrol cop Kate Prospero landing herself in the middle of an investigation, this paranormal thriller unleashes a highly unique story straight out of a fresh, magical world. The author has done a great job creating believable characters who are caught between cooking potions and enforcing the law.

At #5 is the thriller novel "Orphan X" by Gregg Hurwitz. In his younger years, Evan Smoak was placed in the "Orphan Program" to train as an assassin for government agencies. As an adult, he moves towards becoming a freelance assassin and practicing his skills to fight off corruption. His adventures have been compared with those of the "Bourne" book series. With plenty of twists and turns, this international bestseller has been considered a masterpiece by various publications, including The Washington Post and U.S.A. Today.

As an adult, he moves towards becoming a freelance assassin and practicing his skills to fight off corruption.

Landing at #6 is James Lee Burke's "The Neon Rain," the first book of the award-winning Dave Robicheaux series. This detective novel is action-packed from the beginning and spirals into a captivating tale centered on genuine characters and a complex plot. Published in 1987, the story places a New Orleans police detective in circumstances that reflect events related to the C.I.A.'s rumored involvement in drug trafficking. The author has come up with a setting that is so intense that readers can feel the tension in the realness of the dialog.

The #7 book in the list is Michael Robotham's "Life or Death," which puts the spotlight on a convict who soon becomes an underdog hero, resulting in a breathtaking chase. Audie Palmer is caught in a pursuit, running to save not his own life, but someone else's. This prison-break tale revolves around fascinating characters and cliff-hanging excitement, catching readers' interest as they find out how these different scenes meet to form one inter-connected plot.

At #8 is the third Joona Linna thriller from author Lars Kepler. Titled "The Fire Witness," this best-selling crime novel from Sweden has already appealed to fans of Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson. A detective inspector finds himself caught in a disturbing case while having to deal with personal troubles involving his family. This volume boasts a brilliant investigation carried out by well-developed characters in a Scandinavian crime fiction setting.

This volume boasts a brilliant investigation carried out by well-developed characters in a Scandinavian crime fiction setting.

Coming in at #9 is Christi Daugherty's "The Echo Killing," the first novel of a series that features crime reporter Harper McClain, who comes across a crime scene similar to one she saw in her childhood, when she found her own mother dead. What starts as an incredibly tense moment for the main character turns into a gripping, multifaceted story as she sets out to investigate the murder that could be linked to her mother's death. The book concludes with a clever ending that smoothly paves the way for a sequel.

The #10 book, "I Know You Know," comes from New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan. The novel uses characters with depth, including a filmmaker who has been haunted by his childhood best friends' death, and a detective who reopens a long-forgotten case and puts his career at risk. This well-plotted suspense will keep readers on the edge of their seats, from its first thrilling chapters all the way through the shocking finale.

At #11 is Allen Eskens' "The Guise of Another," a dark, intelligent story revolving around a Minnesota detective whose life goes spiraling down after he is suspected of corruption. As he comes across an identity theft case, he seeks help from some unexpected people to keep his life from spinning out of control. This chilling yet heartbreaking novel has a deadly surprise in every corner for its readers, haunting them long after they are done with the book.

This chilling yet heartbreaking novel has a deadly surprise in every corner for its readers, haunting them long after they are done with the book.

At #12 is A.C. Bextor's bestselling mafia story, "Empires and Kings." From the beginning, the book pulls its readers towards a wide range of emotions that add up to a flawless, passionate tale. Full of suspense, romance, and action, it uses the perspective of a Russian crook to delve into an organized crime setting. The feisty daughter of a traitor wants to know his secrets, and a raging pursuit follows. Despite certain dark elements, the novel also highlights the importance of family and loyalty.

Finally, the #13 book is the first volume of the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie. Resembling Agatha Christie's mysteries, "A Share in Death" introduces Duncan, the Scotland Yard Superintendent, who goes on vacation and does not want to give away any clues about what he does for a living. However, two murders at the Followdale House ignite his sense of duty. With the help of his assistant, Sergeant Gemma, he attempts to identify the killer and solve the case.