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

Why am I passionate about this?

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...

Judged

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

Book cover of Deception on His Mind

Aime Austin Why did I love 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.

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deception on His Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Balford-le-Nez is a dying seaside town on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town's small but growing Asian community is found dead near its beach, the sleepy town ignites. Working without her long-time partner, Detective Inspector Lynley, Sergeant Barbara Havers must probe not only the mind of a murderer and a case very close to her own heart, but also the terrible price people pay for deceiving others . . . and themselves.


Book cover of Out of the Deep I Cry

Aime Austin Why did I love 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.

By Julia Spencer-Fleming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Deep I Cry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April, 1 1930, Jonathon Ketchem's wife, Jane, walked from her house to the police department to ask for help in finding her husband. The men, worn out from a night of chasing bootleggers, did what they could. But no one ever saw Jonathon Ketchem again.. Now decades later, someone else is missing in Millers Kill. This time it's the clinic's physician that bears the Ketchem name. Suspicion falls on a volatile single mother with a grudge against the doctor, but Reverend Clare Fergusson isn't convinced. As Clare and Russ investigate, they discover that the doctor's disappearance is linked to…


Book cover of The Lincoln Lawyer

Aime Austin Why did I love 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.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Lincoln Lawyer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They're called Lincoln Lawyers: the bottom of the legal food chain, the criminal defence attorneys who operate out of the back of a Lincoln car, travelling between the courthouses of Los Angeles county to take whatever cases the system throws in their path.

Mickey Haller has been in the business a long time, and he knows just how to work it, how to grease the right wheels and palms, to keep the engine of justice working in his favour. When a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years.…


Book cover of The Searcher

Aime Austin Why did I love 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.

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Searcher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Terrific - terrifying, amazing' STEPHEN KING
'Completely, indescribably magnificent' MARIAN KEYES
-----

A DISAPPEARANCE. A SMALL TOWN. A QUESTION THAT NEEDS ANSWERING...

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do…


Book cover of The Last Coyote

Aime Austin Why did I love 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.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Coyote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LAPD detective Harry Bosch is down on his luck - his house is condemned in the aftermath of the earthquake, his girlfriend has left him and he has been suspended for attacking his superior officer.

To occupy time, he examines the old case files covering a murder which took place on October 28, 1961. The victim was Marjorie Phillips Lowe - his mother . . .

The case forces Bosch to confront the demons of the past, and as he digs deeper into the case, he discovers a trail of cover-ups that lead to the high-ups in the Hollywood Hills…


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Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

Book cover of Let Evening Come

Yvonne Osborne Author Of Let Evening Come

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a family farm surrounded by larger vegetable and dairy operations that used migrant labor. From an early age, my siblings and I were acquainted with the children of these workers, children whom we shared a school desk with one day and were gone the next. On summer vacations, our parents hauled us around in a station wagon with a popup camper, which they parked in out-of-the-way hayfields and on mountainous plateaus, shunning, much to our chagrin, normal campgrounds, and swimming pools. Thus, I grew up exposed to different cultures and environments. My writing reflects my parents’ curiosity, love of books and travel, and devotion to the natural world. 

Yvonne's book list on immersive coming-of-age fiction with characters struggling to find themselves amidst the isolation and bigotry in Indigenous, rural, and minority communities

What is my book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through young adulthood. Miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are displaced from their land by multinational energy companies. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie’s aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.

Stefan promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his story, has grown sympathetic to his cause and complicit in his pushback against prejudiced accusations. Their mutual attraction is stymied when Stefan’s older brother, Joachim, who stayed behind, becomes embroiled in the resistance, and Stefan is compelled to return to Canada. Sadie, concerned for his safety, impulsively follows on a trajectory doomed by cultural misunderstanding and oncoming winter.

Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

What is this book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through the pitfalls of young adulthood.
Hundreds of miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are forced off their land by multinational energy companies and flawed treaties. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie's aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.
Stefan, whose own father died in prison while on a hunger strike, promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his…


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