PositiveBooklistSome convenient character connections require a little suspended disbelief, but this story pays off with page-turning drama and mind-twisting deception.
Rachel Howzell Hall
PositiveBooklistGray’s survival story is interwoven with her driven unraveling of Isabel’s secrets, adding compelling weight in a confidential tone. A page-turner with heart.
RaveBooklist... a gut-wrenching finale that will leave readers hoping desperately that McGuire...has an O’Connor prequel in the works. O’Connor’s palpable alienation and the subtly drawn comparisons between the Irish insurgency and America’s then-recent civil war create layers of depth in this exceptional period thriller.
RaveBooklistIt’s a wild ride that defies comparison: pill-popping idealist Cass Neary’s obsessive hunt piles on teeth-grinding, story-propelling tension, and Hand’s gifted portrayal of subcultures seamlessly links Cass’ past in New York’s ’80s punk scene, London’s rare-book dealers, and Odinist neo-Nazis.
RaveBooklistThe menacing atmosphere of Nikki and Susan’s gritty Glasgow—a side of the city previously unknown to Margo—effectively supports the novel’s themes of reconciliation, class divides, and violence against women. Mina is a master of the genre, with wide appeal, especially for those who appreciate character-driven stories with literary weight, like those of Tana French, Karin Slaughter, and Laura Lippman.
Camilla Läckberg, Trans. by Neil Smith
PositiveBooklistComparisons to Gone Girl and Lizbeth Salander will undoubtedly be drawn, and the cunning revenge plot does justify those parallels, but there are satisfying themes of redemption, loyalty, and power here that push the story beyond vengeance. A darkly glamorous and utterly absorbing departure from Läckberg’s atmospheric Fjällbacka series.
PositiveBooklistAnother breathtaking hit from Sager, who’s proven himself a master at crafting new twists on classic horror tales.
Sarah Stewart Taylor
PositiveBooklistLayers of Dublin details will ensnare biblio-travelers, and this series starter offers a compelling introduction to Maggie D’arcy as she faces her life’s mystery, struggles to reconcile the deterioration of her relationship with Erin, and explores possibilities with an unforgettable love interest. Taylor, a mystery veteran, shifts into noirish territory after her humorous Sweeney St. George series, and it works just fine.
PositiveBooklistIceland is a small country, which lends credibility to the clever links between the cases, into which Jónasson weaves a haunting thread of parental loss and revenge. Sharp-witted, socially awkward Hulda’s story is told in reverse in this series, and readers well acquainted with Hulda will find the backstory of her daughter’s death intensely moving.
PositiveBooklistValencia, a former CIA operative, is an expert manipulator and strategist, which casts intriguing doubt on her motives and propels the story toward a jaw-dropping twist. Fans of Zoë Sharp’s Charlie Fox and Chris Pavone’s Kate Moore will want to see more of Valencia Walker.
Hye-Young Pyun, Trans. by Sora Kim-Russell
PositiveBooklistReaders’ groups and fans of literary suspense will find appeal in this dark meditation on the destructive power of self-deception.
RaveBooklistTurow has established the gold standard for legal thrillers for decades, and he delivers another bar-raising example of his talent here, with his signature absorbing legal details, cerebral suspense, and fascinatingly flawed characters all on full view.
PositiveBooklistHillier cleverly masks a villain with dueling sympathies, pitting Marin’s mounting despair against \'professional girlfriend\' McKenzie’s calculated manipulations and Sal’s decades of unrequited love. Hillier, known for crafting creepy psych thrillers...offers a compelling take on the domestic thriller.
PositiveBooklistSeries fans have had a long wait to dive back into Spencer-Fleming’s cleverly constructed mysteries, and this ninth entry, which delivers a haunting exposure of the town’s dark side, won’t disappoint.
PositiveBooklistFans of Jones’ best-selling Charley Davidson series and Janet Evanovich’s romps will devour this steamy series launch, which introduces both an irresistible pair of crime-busting Gilmore Girls and a quirky, mysterious setting.
RaveBooklist... [a] series bar-raiser ... Paretsky is celebrated for bringing Chicago to life through Vic’s investigations into corporate wrongdoing and political corruption; here, while again mining that territory, she also offers a full-sensory foray into rural Kansas as Vic hunts for Zamir and Coop while dodging an assassin who somehow predicts her every move. A high point in Paretsky’s long-running and much-loved series.
Jussi Adler-Olsen, Trans. by William Frost
RaveBooklistIn a feat of unparalleled storytelling, this eighth Department Q episode brings the full team back together as Adler-Olsen weaves el-Assad’s heart-wrenching story into a pair of relentless manhunts.
K. Ferrari, Trans. by Adrian Nathan West
PositiveBooklist... offers sharp social commentary, pitch-black humor, and a twist on the classic frame-up; his unsympathetic and cluelessly entitled narrator leaves readers with little choice but to align with a killer who leaves bodies in trunks.
PositiveBooklistThis fast-paced, irony-strewn blend of ruthless ambition, jealousy, and buried secrets is guaranteed armchair escapism.
PositiveBooklistThis locked-room thriller has all of the requisite tangled motives and deductive crime-solving, along with a riveting introduction to edgy survivor Shana and Tim, her steady, easygoing foil.
Chan Ho-Kei, Trans. by Jeremy Tiang
PositiveBooklistTheir search, punctuated by hacking details and sharp-witted verbal sparring, unveils a dangerous swirl of petty feuds, cybertheft, and the existence of a predator stalking Hong Kong’s vulnerable teens. An intense but rewarding blend of technology, deduction, and flawed relationships; fans of Chan’s well-written English-language debut, The Borrowed (2016), will find even more to like here.
RaveBooklistHere, Betty’s struggles with PTSD and challenges to her identity as a cop spark compelling character evolution as she lowers walls to bond with a pair of old souls she meets on the streets. A gripping, powerfully human procedural.
PositiveBooklistStonewalled by the convent’s former staff, Paula follows her gut toward a cleverly masked killer and a connection to Carol’s wrongful-conviction investigation. Without Tony’s expertise, the dive into murderous psyches isn’t as deep as in previous cases, but McDermid’s procedural detail and character evolution are as pitch-perfect as ever.
PositiveBooklistRader-Day’s compelling characters deserve a stronger resolution here, but her gifted storytelling makes this a fine read, nonetheless.
PositiveBooklistNYC fixer Leonid McGill, last seen in And Sometimes I Worry about You (2015), knows he’s in trouble when prospective client Catfish Worry throws out the name Ernie Eckles, a legendary hit man known as the Mississippi Assassin ... Spieled in a powerful, streamlined voice, this wrenching American noir will stick with readers long after the final page.
Ausma Zehanat Khan
PositiveBooklistKhan masterfully weaves story-driving character development and pitch-perfect investigation with timely social commentary on the impact of cultural tensions.
PositiveBooklistLinna’s acts of heroism occasionally strain reality, but the resulting action, combined with the unflinching mood of Scandinavian noir, holds strong appeal for American thriller fans, especially those of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.
Gunnar Staalesen, Trans. by Don Bartlett
PositiveBooklistClever, straight-shooting Veum gains depth here as he struggles against the albatross of his arrest. A strong dose of noir best enjoyed after reading Staalesen’s Wolves in the Dark (2017).
M. L. Longworth
PositiveBooklistAtmosphere, seasonal and culinary, complements, rather than overshadowing, this well-constructed mystery.
C. J. Tudor
PositiveBooklistA breathless escape story with hints of the supernatural and the promise of redemption dangling just out of reach.
RaveBooklistSister Johanna’s refuge in a rural French convent can’t hide her from the past, which comes screeching to the fore in the form of orders from manipulative, politically savvy Cardinal Raffin ... Her increasingly explosive revelations drive this gripping, masterfully constructed story toward redemption and justice.
PositiveBooklistThe story, told through Dewey’s case notes, is an absorbing take on good vs. evil, and disasters pulled from today’s headlines lend unsettling realism to the supernatural-tinged apocalyptic setting.
PositiveBooklistValerie unflinchingly taps into her own weaknesses as a way to gain insight into her quarry; this angle, along with the skilled story crafting, will appeal to fans of Carol O’Connell and Chelsea Cain.
RaveBooklistBruen’s masterful blend of free verse and sharp prose sends readers on a free fall into Taylor’s head and evokes a shadowed Galway that meets him with hostility, pity, and grudging respect. Something’s shifted in Taylor, and his fans will be forced to endure an excruciating wait to see where it takes him.
RaveBooklistHand expertly plays the excitement of Chicago’s burgeoning entertainment industry against the killer’s unsettling obsession with dolls, twisting the story even darker ... A well-crafted and deliciously unsettling period thriller that will find fans among those who enjoy Caleb Carr’s mix of early modern technology and investigative action.
PositiveBooklistCorie’s combat skills and investigative prowess are still up to snuff, but her snarky commentary and hilarious interactions with her father are the real page-turners here.
PositiveBooklistNo doubt Barr’s many fans are craving another Anna Pigeon novel, but this stand-alone with plenty of heart won’t disappoint.
RaveBooklistSet against a neo–Dark Ages England, Fairfax’s innocent truth-seeking is a thought-provoking lens through which to view this tale of murder and obsession. Strongly recommended for book groups.
RaveBooklistThis is a beautifully written and instantly gripping crime novel; Darren Matthews is brutally honest both in his troubled personal life, as he deals with a deteriorating marriage, and on the job, as he faces down both casual hatred and the more virulent variety promulgated by the Aryan Brotherhood.
R. H. Herron
PositiveBooklistHerron, a former emergency dispatcher, offers a twisty revenge tale buoyed by successful red herrings, relatable characters, and headline-grabbing themes (police brutality, racism, child exploitation, and sexual identity).
RaveBooklistA gripping, thoughtful portrayal of family loyalty, hard-won redemption, and the destructive force of racial injustice. Cha offers a strong contender for the summer’s blockbuster read.
PositiveBooklistTeenager’s violent, evasive killer and Cathal and Helen’s evolving, unsettled relationship create a new level of suspense for this must-read series of detail-saturated procedurals.
Juli Zeh Trans by. John Cullen
PositiveBooklistA gripping, character-driven thriller that’s rooted in insightful political commentary—perfect for beach reading and book groups.
PositiveBooklistSadie’s and Henley’s voices, both marked by world-weary determination, add compelling dimension to this affecting opioid thriller.
PositiveBooklistHappily, Nieh leaves the door open for a sequel to this staccato-paced, character-driven thriller, and readers will welcome the opportunity to follow good-guy Victor’s path of retribution and self-discovery.
M. T. Edvardsson
PositiveBooklistAn intense legal thriller that successfully plays realistic, gripping emotion against a shocking legal twist.
RaveBooklisthe space behind Roy’s sensual descriptions of rural Georgia and Imogene’s final, fierce defiance of her father’s legacy is filled with a creeping, entangling sense of danger. It’s the kind of writing you would expect from the Edgar-winning author, but it’s made even more powerful here, filled with the purpose of exposing a hateful legacy and issuing a timely warning of its historical ebb and flow.
PositiveBooklistSager’s third reinterpretation of iconic horror themes is an utterly riveting thriller that melds Rosemary’s Baby with Sager’s masterful storytelling.
RaveBooklistMina’s grim gangster time hop, The Long Drop (2017) seemed unbeatable, but Mina—pivoting dramatically here—delivers another winner with this suspenseful, humorous, and surprisingly hopeful ode to storytelling. Mina’s longtime fans will happily recognize traces of Paddy Meehan’s snarky survivors’ nature as Anna chain-smokes her way toward a satisfying showdown.
Ragnar Jonasson, Trans. by Victoria Cribb
PositiveBooklistAnother suspense-laden Icelandic gem: Jónasson’s confidential, intimate prose evokes both Iceland’s harsh, beautiful solitude and the deep connections Icelanders forge.
PositiveBooklistInstantly gripping, with realistic action, a breath-snatching twist, and a few untied ends that hopefully signal a sequel.
PositiveBooklistFollowers of the popular podcast Lore and the horror film Slender Man will enjoy this suspenseful tale. Also recommend C. J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man (2018) and Luca Veste’s The Bone Keeper (2018).
PositiveBooklistPowerful courtroom scenes invite comparisons to Scott Turow, but Kim’s nuanced exploration of guilt, resentment, maternal love, and multifaceted justice may have stronger appeal for readers drawn to the Shakespearean tragedies in Chris Bohjalian’s Midwives (1997) and William Landay’s Defending Jacob (2012).
RaveBooklistSwanson has crafted another bar-raising psychological thriller with this tense, unexpected spin on serial killers and those obsessed with them.
PositiveBooklistImbued with all the grit, blood, and pervasive damp of the best Celtic crime, this series is destined to become a favorite among Adrian McKinty’s and Denise Mina’s followers.
PositiveBooklistA tense exploration of manipulation and betrayal ... A solid psychological thriller with carefully developed characters and disturbing, cleverly masked revelations that will appeal to fans of Tana French and Sophie Hannah’s procedurals.
C J Tudor
PositiveBooklistJoe’s wisecracking is well-timed comic relief from Arnhill’s pervasive darkness; Tudor has crafted another fantastic horror-tinged thriller (after The Chalk Man, 2018) in the vein of John Connolly and Brendan Duffy.
RaveBooklistKepler delivers a page-turning hunt for an expertly camouflaged killer that draws shocking connections between the hallowed halls of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm’s prostitution and drug scene, and Sweden’s rural churches. The author’s dark, complex procedurals are must-reads for readers drawn to Stieg Larsson, Mons Kallentoft, and Michael Connelly.
PositiveBooklistReaders will root for the unwitting killer in this tense, well-crafted vigilante thriller.
Stephen Mack Jones
PositiveBooklistHard-driving noir, with a strong dose of neighborhood camaraderie; for read-alike comparisons, think Easy Rawlins and his close-knit L.A. neighborhood meet Jack Reacher.
PositiveBooklistHill’s writing prowess is on full view here; both newcomers and the series’ many established fans will find it difficult to leave the Serraillers’ world at the close of this long-awaited entry. A good choice for Louise Penny fans
Sara Blaedel, Trans. by Mark Kleine
RaveBooklistAfter a stint hunting missing persons, Blaedel’s no-nonsense heroine, Detective Louise Rick, is now the only female detective in Copenhagen’s homicide department and is forced to navigate the department’s chauvinism while tackling two high-profile murders ...The Louise Rick novels are must-reads for fans of Scandinavia’s female police detectives.
Keigo Higashino, Trans. by Giles Murray
RaveBooklistUnorthodox Tokyo detective Kyoichiro Kaga has been reassigned to the Nihonbashi precinct and is still acquainting himself with the quaint premodern neighborhood when another newcomer, Mineko Mitsui, is found strangled in her apartment. The savvy killer has left no trace of himself, leaving Kaga and the lead detective, Uesugi, to mine clues from the inconsistencies of Mineko’s last day ... Kaga’s second investigation is a cerebral puzzler’s delight that,...offers a thought-provoking take on the tension between modernity and traditional culture and leaves a trail of mended relationships in its wake.
RaveBooklistRenegade attorney Emelie Jansson and former gangster Teddy Maksumic haven’t spoken since they tangled with a pedophilic cabal in Stockholm Delete, leaving their mutual attraction unexplored after Emelie was unwilling to accept Teddy’s underworld ties. But when Emelie agrees to represent a woman who claims that she was victimized by the same cabal, she reaches out for Teddy’s help ... Lapidus smoothly draws Emelie’s, Teddy’s, Nikolas’, and Roksana’s stories together into a riveting plot while drawing sharp parallels between the dangerous loyalties and callousness of Stockholm’s elite and gangland worlds.
PositiveBooklistA complex, fascinating mix of Icelandic community and alienation, atmospheric tension, and timely issues ... Jónasson’s latest series is another must-read for crime fans who follow the work of Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardóttir.
PositiveBooklist[An] angst-soaked alienation tale ... punk rock in literary form, this activism allegory will draw fans of Chuck Palahniuk’s raw social commentary and Charlie’s Huston’s haunting, macabre symbolism.
PositiveBooklist...lures readers in with a disturbing hook: the dangers of innocence ... This is a beautifully written, unnerving tragedy woven from equal measures of hope and menace.
RaveBooklistGran’s unique mysteries are an irresistible blend of quirky philosophical quests, gritty fight scenes, and painful truths. This very special series will have Alan Bradley fans imagining what might have happened if Flavia de Luce had grown up and landed in noir-tinted California.
RaveBooklist OnlineIn the eleventh Alex McKnight thriller, the Detroit ex-cop’s past continues to follow him to remote Paradise, Michigan, this time confronting him with a mysterious connection to a serial killer prowling the Southwest. Abruptly picked up by the FBI, Alex is hustled to the Phoenix interrogation of Martin Livermore, who is accused of murdering six women and abducting a seventh. Livermore refuses to speak to the FBI until Alex arrives, but Alex is certain that he’s never met him or his victims ... Hamilton’s long-awaited reboot of the McKnight series is a streamlined, gut-wrenching thriller driven by Alex’s desperation to end Livermore’s killing spree and reconcile past mistakes
PositiveBooklistAfter six years of exile, Li Du...has returned to a much different Beijing than the one he left in 1705 ... Rich in period detail, a sharply rendered exotic setting, and a web of well-crafted plots, Li Du’s third novel will appeal to fans of historical mysteries by Lisa See, Laura Joh Rowland, and Abir Mukherjee.
RaveBooklistThis redemption story is a departure from the chilling Gone Girl–like tale of manipulation Mejia wove in Everything You Want Me to Be (2017), instead exploring familial love and offering an honest, compassionate take on mental-health issues. Here the author uses Lake Superior’s violent storms and the Boundary Waters’ forbidding wilderness to intensify the story’s emotional impact and heighten its exploration into the unpredictability of half-buried secrets.
PositiveBooklistSeries fans and newcomers alike will revel in the partners’ fierce loyalty, served up with an endearingly humorous slice of South Philly family life. A sure bet for legal-thriller fans.
RaveBooklist\"Sager’s second thriller is as tense and twisty as his best-selling Final Girls (2017), but this one is even more polished, with gut-wrenching plot surprises skillfully camouflaged by Emma’s paranoia and confusion, the increasingly creepy setting, and a cast of intriguingly secretive characters.\
PositiveBooklistZhou’s story is thoughtfully constructed (and skillfully translated)... This procedural, the first novel in China’s most popular suspense trilogy, boasts the rich cultural immersion, the bird’s-eye view of procedural technique in an international police force, and the complex mysteries that have long driven the popularity of Scandinavian crime fiction.
RaveBooklist OnlineNatalie is a sharp-witted survivor with a relatable self-sabotaging streak whose move into the dark world of card cheats climaxes with a spin worthy of the most adept con artists.
RaveBooklistScottoline, a master at crafting intense family dramas, expertly twists Maggie’s reality with a page-turning mix of guilt, self-delusion, and manipulation.
RaveBooklistGardner alternates gripping narratives of D. D. and Flora’s investigation with Roxanna’s essays about family, illuminating the vulnerability of children in America’s strained, deeply flawed foster-care system. Suspenseful and wholly believable, this ninth entry will win new fans for the series, especially among those who favor Karin Slaughter’s gritty procedurals.
PositiveBooklistMackintosh’s three bar-raising psychological thrillers (starting with I Let You Go, 2016) have proven her adept at crafting compellingly flawed, authority-bucking characters and creating twists from the ripple effects of their relationships and personal issues, including abuse, mental illness, and alcoholism. This one’s perfect for Kate Atkinson and Tana French readers.
Lars Kepler, Trans. by Neil Smith
RaveBooklistIf any Scandinavian crime series is poised to top the characterization and gripping action of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, it’s this one. Kepler has crafted a phenomenal hero in Linna, who wields intuition, strategic genius, and refreshing vulnerability against a foe as compelling and calculating as Hannibal Lecter.
RaveBooklistThe narcissistic, controlled killer is engaging quarry and McDermid’s procedural details are as on point as ever. But, as usual, this story’s true center is the evolution of Tony and Carol’s relationship as the pair questions each other’s strong interdependence, and Tony fights to pull Carol back from a path of self-destruction. The final twist is both shocking and fitting, a must-read for series fans.
RaveBooklistWare masterfully harnesses the millhouse’s decrepit menace to create a slow-rising sense of foreboding, darkening Isa’s recollections of the weeks leading to Ambrose’s disappearance. Previous blockbusters guarantee popularity for Ware’s latest thriller, and, with arguably her most complex, fully realized characters yet, this one may become her biggest hit yet.
PositiveBooklistSager cleverly plays on horror-movie themes from Scream to Single White Female, creating an homage without camp. Despite comparisons to Gone Girl, this debut’s strong character development and themes of rebirth and redemption align more closely with Flynn’s Dark Places.
PositiveBooklistTurow applies the same storytelling magic to the ICC that has drawn scores of readers into his Kindle County courtrooms, weaving fascinating details about the challenges of prosecuting war crimes into a suspenseful story of redemption and the complexities of justice.
PositiveBooklistZoe’s practicality lends gut-clenching credence to her distress, creating sharp contrast to Kelly’s wavering stability, and the steadily thickening paranoia will leave readers questioning their comfortable routines. This follow-up to Mackintosh’s debut, I Let You Go (2016), is a well-crafted blend of calculated malevolence, cunning plot twists, and redemption that will appeal to fans of Sophie Hannah, Ruth Rendell, and Ruth Ware.