The best crime fiction books with fantastic plots and characters you won't forget

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by crime ever since I was a junior reporter working on a daily newspaper and covered a huge number of court cases. I’ve written all my working life and turned to crime writing after reaching the final of a UK TV channel’s Search for a New Crime Writer competition. I’ve built up contacts within the police force during my career which has enabled me to write Storm Deaths, the first in a series of police procedural crime novels. I’ve seen so many films and TV shows that don’t follow the proper procedure, so I ensure that all my writing is as authentic as possible. 


I wrote...

Storm Deaths

By Steve Orme,

Book cover of Storm Deaths

What is my book about?

A reporter is murdered, a television weather presenter inexplicably disappears. Are the cases linked? Detective Inspector Miles Davies has to find out. His attempts are continually thwarted by his boss who seems intent on ensuring that Davies doesn’t discover the truth. But why is Davies reluctant to investigate whether any members of a local basketball team are involved? Davies knows he has to weather the storm and find answers—before more bodies are discovered.

A cross between John Harvey and Stephen Booth.”

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Left You Dead

Steve Orme Why did I love this book?

Peter James is one of the world’s finest crime writers. His books are fast-paced and once you start one of his novels, it’s so difficult to put it down.

His main character, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, is totally credible and takes the reader right into the heart of British policing. You get to know the most intricate details of murder investigations.

Left You Dead features Niall and Eden Paternoster going to a supermarket just before it closes – but Eden doesn’t come back out. A few days later Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder. But you know that with Peter James nothing is as it seems and there’ll be a twist that you just won’t expect.

By Peter James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Left You Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The brand new Roy Grace novel from Peter James - Picture You Dead - is available to pre-order now*

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award-winning author Peter James, faces his most engrossing case yet in Left You Dead.

Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do - with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home.

But this Sunday ends differently - because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up…


Book cover of A Song for the Dark Times

Steve Orme Why did I love this book?

For more than three decades Ian Rankin has been the master of “tartan noir” – police procedural fiction set in Scotland. The curmudgeonly, hard-faced, no-nonsense detective Inspector John Rebus has a tendency to bend the rules as investigations take over his life.

A Song For The Dark Times starts with Rebus’ daughter Samantha calling him to say her husband is missing. Rebus fears the worst and from his experience realises that his daughter will be the prime suspect. You’re always on the edge of your seat wondering whether Rebus will have to prevent the truth from coming out and compromising his position as an upholder of the law.

By Ian Rankin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Song for the Dark Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the iconic Number One bestseller Ian Rankin, comes one of the must-read books of the year: A SONG FOR THE DARK TIMES

'Genius ... Only great novels capture the spirit of the age. This is one of them.'
THE TIMES

* * * * *

'He's gone...'

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it's not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn't the best father -…


Book cover of Darkness, Darkness

Steve Orme Why did I love this book?

The 12th and final novel in John Harvey’s series about Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, the jazz-loving, exotic sandwich-eating loner who investigates crimes in the East Midlands city of Nottingham where I’ve spent a lot of my working life.

Darkness, Darkness is partly set in 1984 during the miners’ strike which threatened to tear England apart. Thirty years later the remains of a young woman, an activist who campaigned for justice while her husband continued to work during the strike, are found in a garden.

You root for Resnick, the world-weary detective who despite coming across every possible flaw in the human condition is still driven to bring criminals to justice – even if this means troubled times in his life come back to haunt him.

By John Harvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darkness, Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thirty years ago, the British Miners' Strike threatened to tear england apart, turning neighbor against neighbor, husband against wife, father against son-enmities which still smolder.

Charlie Resnick, recently promoted to Detective Inspector and ambivalent, at best, about some of the police tactics used in the Strike, had run a surveillance-gathering unit at the heart of the dispute.

Now, in virtual retirement, the discovery of the body of a young woman who disappeared during the Strike brings Resnick back to the front line to assist in the investigation into the woman's murder-forcing him to confront his past-in what will assuredly be…


Book cover of Strange Affair

Steve Orme Why did I love this book?

Peter Robinson has managed to create a character, DCI Alan Banks, who remains likeable even though he can be petty, headstrong and displays behavioural traits not expected of a top police officer. We can all empathise with him when he acts in a way that causes him shame and regret.

In Strange Affair he’s become depressed after a devastating fire at his cottage. But he’s shaken out of his lethargy when he gets a telephone call to say his estranged brother Roy is missing and Roy’s girlfriend has been shot dead. 

The clever plot involves Banks digging into his brother’s life and discovering Roy’s dodgy business practices which threaten to engulf Banks whose life is in danger. It’s one of Robinson’s best thrillers.

By Peter Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strange Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Move over Ian Rankin - there's a new gunslinger in town looking to take over your role as top British police procedural author...' Independent on Sunday

Following on from Playing With Fire, Strange Affair is the fifteenth novel in Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series, which inspired the major British ITV drama DCI Banks.

When Alan Banks receives a disturbing message from his brother, Roy, he abandons the peaceful Yorkshire Dales to seek him out amidst the bright lights of London. But Roy seems to have vanished into thin air.

Meanwhile, DI Annie Cabbot is called to a quiet stretch of…


Book cover of So Much Blood

Steve Orme Why did I love this book?

Few characters in crime fiction are as charismatic as Charles Paris, a struggling actor whose career has more ups and downs than a seesaw. Simon Brett presents us with a fascinating character, a middle-aged man who is endearing even though he is a drunk and a womaniser. 

There is always a murder whether Paris is acting in weekly rep or has a cameo role in a film. So Much Blood involves Paris appearing at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Brett skilfully weaves in the drama of putting on a show and the dynamism of the Scottish city with Paris’ occasionally amateurish sleuthing as he tries to uncover who committed the crime. Excellent entertainment.

By Simon Brett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked So Much Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Appearing in his own one-man show on Thomas Hood at the Edinburgh Festival, middle-aged actor Charles Paris finds himself falling for a gorgeous young girl with navy-blue eyes. He also finds himself being dragged into a complex murder investigation involving the death of a fading pop star, a bomb scare in Holyrood Palace and a suicide leap from the top of the Rock.


You might also like...

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

Book cover of Rip Current

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

What is my book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.

Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary. When a young internet influencer…

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

What is this book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.
Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary.
Soon after a young internet…


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