This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I love crime. Well, not in real life, that's not right. But I love to read about it and I love a good mystery. I love the thrill of finding a gruesome murder, and wading through people's messed-up lives, like a voyeur, trying to guess whodunit. Crime fiction has moved on a lot since Agatha Christie, and it's nothing like guessing in the library, with the dagger by Miss Scarlet. Detectives come in all shapes and sizes. Old women, young women, mums, professionals, amateurs, Belgian men with funny moustaches, fiesty female cops. And even one of the Walsh sisters.
Now the breadth of thrillers / crime / detective / psychological novels out there is huge. There is no way I could list them all. But here are ten books that I've enjoyed or have been recommended to me.
1. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith – I admit it – I was one of those who ordered this crime thriller after it was discovered Galbraith was a pseudonym for JK Rowling. I thoroughly enjoyed Rowling's Harry Potter books. From a writer's point of view I love how she has plotted and thought about every last detail. And as I enjoy crime fiction it goes without saying I'd buy this, her foray into crime. In The Cuckoo's Calling a famous model is found dead outside her apartment. The verdict is suicide, she jumped off her penthouse balcony. But private detective Cormoron Strike is brought in to prove it was murder.
2. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly – Lisa Kallisto is a working mum of three. She's very busy trying to juggle everything and is a little overwhelmed. Then her best friend's daughter disappears. And it's all Lisa's fault.
3. The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes – The final Walsh sister, Helen Walsh, gets a book of her own. She's a Private Investigator and was doing quite well. But the work is drying up and her flat is repossessed. And the dreadul demon, depression, is pushing its way, quite ferociously, into her mind. Then her ex-boyfriend turns up, he's got a missing persons case for her. So now she's on the hunt for Wayne from the boyband Laddz.
4. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen – The first book by Tess that features fiesty homicide detective, Jane Rizzoli. (Rizzoli & Isles is now a TV series on the Alibi channel). A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The way in which the victims are killed demonstrates medical knowledge and he has been nicknamed The Surgeon by the media.
5. Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt – Mel Sherratt is a wonderful example of how self-publishing can lead to a traditional book deal (just like Novelicious Founding Editor Kirsty and columnist Anna). Her self published book, Taunting the Dead, is about the murder of Steph Ryder and Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton's quest to find out who was responsible. It will be published in the traditional way in December.
6. Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie – Nell Dysart has no career and a recently finished marriage. She ends up finding a job at a down and out detective agency. Her life is now no longer dull and humdrum. But then, someone starts killing…
7. The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart – In this modern classic, Nicola Ferris is on holiday in Crete. She is looking forward to a quiet time, but she stumbles upon a murdurous crime.
8. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson – Jackson Brodie is a former police inspector turned private investigator and trying to unravel three case histories. Only to find the cases start to overlap.
9. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz – Spellman Investigations is a private detective agency and Izzy is the 28-year old daughter in this family run business. The Spellmans investigate everything, including each other, and when Izzy's fourteen year old sister is hired to find out about Izzy's private life, she decides it's time to go. But before she goes, she's asked to solve one last case.
10. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner – Kate Klein is in surburban hell. Nothing ever happens, her children are at nursery and Kate's life is empty. The unsolved murder of a fellow mother is a jolt of excitement in a land of beige. So Kate decides to investigate.