The best crime fiction books that made me love the human race

Who am I?

I’m agnostic to book genre. If I see it, I will try it. I read all over the place. I just finished a book on online dating and race, the buzzy fiction of the moment, and a self-help book. There are two genre’s that are my absolute favorites, though, women’s fiction, and police procedurals. I’ve read Elizabeth George, Julia Spencer Fleming, Michael Connelly, and Tana French since they started publishing. While I enjoy the whodunit nature of the books, my favorite parts are those quiet moments of pure, unfettered relations between people who care for each other in an otherwise chaotic world. It’s what I write and what I read.

I wrote...


By Aime Austin,

Book cover of Judged

What is my book about?

Cleveland lawyer Casey Cort is desperate to get her law practice off of life support. When a federal judge seeks her out for her expertise in juvenile court, Casey thinks she’s found a lifeline. Frustrated with Cuyahoga County’s arbitrary handling of abuse and neglect cases, Casey’s determined to keep the judge’s daughter from the clutches of foster care. But she’s unprepared for a system that snubs its nose at justice. With a client prone to self-sabotage, can Casey redeem herself by saving them both?

Judged is the first book in the high-stakes Casey Cort legal thriller series.

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The books I picked & why

Deception on His Mind

By Elizabeth George,

Book cover of Deception on His Mind

Why this book?

In this ninth installment of the Inspector Lynley series, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is recovering from a broken nose and ribs she earned on the job.

Throughout the series, Havers, has become friendly with the neighbors who lives in the front house, single father Taymullah Azhar, and his eight-year-old daughter Khalidah Hadiyyah. After the book’s opening scene of murder, there’s this lovely moment where Havers and Hadiyyah discuss the latter’s invitation to take the police detective for ice cream.

The little girl comes over, reads about ‘throbbing members’ in one of Haver’s romance novels, then announces she has to take back her invitation because she and her father are traveling to an Essex seaside town.

This scene, and this book, really delve into the relationship between a motherless girl and a loner cop, two people who unexpectedly need each other.

Out of the Deep I Cry

By Julia Spencer-Fleming,

Book cover of Out of the Deep I Cry

Why this book?

This book is the third installment in the The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries.

This series features a small town, upstate New York police chief (Van Alstyne) and an Episcopal priest (Fergusson). When the series starts Van Alstyne is happily married, and Fergusson is new to her church.

By this book, it’s clear that the cop and the priest are attracted to each other. There’s this single scene when they’re driving in his pickup as they gather clues to solve the murder. They look at each other and it’s one hundred percent clear that not only do they have an attraction that can’t be denied.

Also they’re going to have to break their vows, his to marriage, and hers to the priesthood.

The Lincoln Lawyer

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Lincoln Lawyer

Why this book?

This is the first title in a spinoff of Connelly’s popular Harry Bosch series.

Mickey Haller is Bosch’s half-brother and a very successful criminal defense lawyer. In this novel, Mickey goes up against his second ex-wife in court. His first ex-wife Lorna Taylor manages his practice. While it’s abundantly clear that Haller is a great attorney, it’s also apparent he made an awful husband twice over.

Despite less than amicable divorces, he has very endearing relationships with both Maggie McPherson, his daughter’s mother, and Taylor his practice manager. Haller is self-aware enough to realize that he may not be great at marriage, but the women he loved still have a very important place in his life.

The Searcher

By Tana French,

Book cover of The Searcher

Why this book?

Irish author Tana French is known for her Dublin Murder Squad series and is what some call a literary crime writer.

The Searcher, a standalone novel, explores themes of restorative justice. Chicago cop Cal Hooper retires to rural Ireland where he undertakes the renovation of a dilapidated cottage. While he toils, he’s joined by a nearly silent teen Trey.

It’s another book where an adult and child don’t realize they need each other, but so quietly and beautifully help heal each other’s wounds.

This was my absolute favorite book in this author’s canon. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly imperfect.

The Last Coyote

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Last Coyote

Why this book?

The Harry Bosch series has been long and often predictable.

Bosch has a strong belief that if everybody doesn’t count, nobody counts. He has to hold up his image of justice against an LAPD that plays politics, and a city populace easily swayed by the latest headlines.

What I love about The Last Coyote is that it’s a very personal novel where Bosch examines his relationship with his deceased mother Marjorie Phillips Lowe, a prostitute who was brutally murdered. While on psychiatric leave, Bosch takes on the case of his mother’s unsolved murder.

It’s a wonderfully nuanced exploration of the relationship between a mother and son, a cop and his own psyche, and a city and its most reviled citizens.