The best crime books to keep you turning the pages

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of the DI Winter Meadows series. I love reading and writing crime fiction, especially books set in rural locations. I live in South Wales where I go hiking mountains, exploring caves, and discovering waterfalls. I take inspiration from these remote areas and close-knit communities to create the settings, characters, and plots for my books.

I wrote...

The Silent Quarry

By Cheryl Rees-Price,

Book cover of The Silent Quarry

What is my book about?

One morning Gwen Thomas takes a short walk with her Siberian husky in the outskirts of the Welsh town she calls home. She's drawn to a desolate area where, some twenty years ago, she was brutally attacked and her friend killed. Disorientated by a sudden rush of memories, she has a fall. Later she begins to recollect the events that led up to her friend’s death.

DI Winter Meadows is encouraged to reopen what has for some time been a cold case. If Gwen can remember who attacked her, it could lead to a prosecution. But not everyone wants Gwen to recover her memory. She now faces a greater danger – from whoever knows what happened. Can DI Meadows find the attacker before Gwen once more becomes a victim?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake?

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did I love this book?

The book grabs your attention from the first chapter.

Lenny Moon is a struggling Private investigator who is asked to look into the disappearance of Betsy Blake. Betsy disappeared 17 years ago when she was 4 years old. The catch? Betsy’s father is about to go into heart surgery with only a 50 percent chance of survival. The clock is ticking.

The book quickly draws you in and keeps up the tension throughout. The characters are engaging, particularly the girl who is kept in the basement. The clues are all there and even if you think you’ve worked it out the twist at the end will leave you reeling. I raced through this book desperate to know the outcome.

By David B. Lyons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Best book of the year" - The Book Magnet

Whatever happened to Betsy Blake? can be read as a standalone story. Betsy Blake was only four years old when she vanished outside her family home in Dublin.
Her father – wracked with guilt for the past seventeen years – still can’t bring himself to admit the search is over, despite the fact that his wife has moved on and police have closed off the investigation.

When he is informed he must undergo major heart surgery that he only has a fifty percent chance of surviving, Gordon Blake hires a…

Book cover of The Burning Girls

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did I love this book?

This book kept me turning the pages well into the night.

The Rev Jack Brooks moves to a new parish for a fresh start with her teenage daughter but they have barely unpacked when strange things begin to happen.

The book is well-paced with clever use of local superstitions which gives the story a supernatural feel. There is a looming threat to the main protagonist which builds the unease till the explosive end.

By C. J. Tudor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The darkly compelling new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man, The Taking of Annie Thorne and The Other People, soon to be a major TV series

'Hypnotic and horrifying . . . Without doubt her best yet, The Burning Girls left me sleeping with the lights on' CHRIS WHITAKER, bestselling author of Waterstones Thriller of the Month We Begin at the End

'A gothic, spine-tingling roller-coaster of a story . . . CJ Tudor is a master of horror' C.J. COOKE, author of The Nesting

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death…

Book cover of A Place of Execution

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did I love this book?

One of the best twists I’ve read.

In 1963 13-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from her home. A man is convicted and hung for her murder. Her body is never found. 35 years later Catherine Heathcote is writing a book about the Carter investigation, but she is not prepared for what she is about to discover.

The story is atmospheric with well-drawn characters. The first half of the book follows the investigation in 1963 and gives you an insight into the family of the missing girl. I found myself fully immersed in the tight-knit community. Nothing is as it seems, and this is one book you won’t want to miss. 

By Val McDermid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A riveting psychological thriller from the Number One bestselling Queen of crime fiction - Val McDermid.

In the Peak District village of Scardale, thirteen-year-old girls didn't just run away. So when Alison Carter vanished in the winter of '63, everyone knew it was a murder.

Catherine Heathcote remembers the case well. A child herself when Alison vanished, decades on she still recalls the sense of fear as parents kept their children close, terrified of strangers.

Now a journalist, she persuades DI George Bennett to speak of the hunt for Alison, the tantalizing leads and harrowing dead ends. But when a…

Book cover of Awakening

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did I love this book?

This was the first book I read by Sharon Bolton and it got me hooked on this author.

The book draws you into the lives of the residents of a small village where beneath the idyllic setting lurks secrets and malice. We follow newcomer Clara, a local vet, who is called upon when poisonous snakes turn up in the residents’ homes. The book has a brooding atmosphere which will leave you checking under the bed before you sleep.

By Sharon Bolton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clara Benning, a veterinary surgeon in charge of a wildlife hospital in a small English village, is young and intelligent, but nearly a recluse. Disfigured by a childhood accident, she generally prefers the company of animals to people. But when a local man dies following a supposed snakebite, Clara's expertise is needed. She's chilled to learn that the victim's postmortem shows a higher concentration of venom than could ever be found in a single snake—and that therefore the killer must be human.

Assisted by a soft-spoken neighbor and an eccentric reptile expert, Clara unravels sinister links to an abandoned house,…

Book cover of Before I Go to Sleep

Cheryl Rees-Price Why did I love this book?

I couldn’t complete my list without mentioning this book. When the book was first released I took it on holiday and stayed up all night reading.

The plot is intriguing, menacing, and a true page-turner.

The story is told from Christine’s point of view. She has amnesia and each night her memory is wiped clean. She relies on her husband to fill in the blanks. With the help of a doctor she starts to piece together her life and keeps a journal to retain information. She soon discovers that she can’t trust anyone, but can she trust herself?

By S.J. Watson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Before I Go to Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Mesmerising and unsettling . . . The best debut thriller for years' Sunday Times

Now a major film starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong

Over 7 million copies sold worldwide

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.


Readers are obsessed with Before I Go To Sleep:

***** 'A genius plot with an incredible twist. Before…

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By David Joiner,

Book cover of Kanazawa

David Joiner Author Of Kanazawa

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My book recommendations reflect an abiding passion for Japanese literature, which has unquestionably influenced my own writing. My latest literary interest involves Japanese poetry—I’ve recently started a project that combines haiku and prose narration to describe my experiences as a part-time resident in a 1300-year-old Japanese hot spring town that Bashō helped make famous in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. But as a writer, my main focus remains novels. In late 2023 the second in a planned series of novels set in Ishikawa prefecture will be published. I currently live in Kanazawa, but have also been lucky to call Sapporo, Akita, Tokyo, and Fukui home at different times.

David's book list on Japanese settings not named Tokyo or Kyoto

What is my book about?

Emmitt’s plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of purchasing their dream home. Disappointed, he’s surprised to discover her subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo.

In his search for a meaningful life in Japan, and after quitting his job, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa’s most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English. He becomes drawn into the mysterious death of a friend of Mirai’s parents, leading him and his father-in-law to climb the mountain where the man died. There, he learns the somber truth and discovers what the future holds for him and his wife.

Packed with subtle literary allusion and closely observed nuance, Kanazawa reflects the mood of Japanese fiction in a fresh, modern incarnation.


By David Joiner,

What is this book about?

In Kanazawa, the first literary novel in English to be set in this storied Japanese city, Emmitt's future plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of negotiations to purchase their dream home. Disappointed, he's surprised to discover Mirai's subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo, a city he dislikes.

Harmony is further disrupted when Emmitt's search for a more meaningful life in Japan leads him to quit an unsatisfying job at a local university. In the fallout, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa's most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English.

While continually resisting Mirai's…

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