The best crime novels with a quirky series character

Susan Fleet Author Of Guilty: a Frank Renzi crime thriller
By Susan Fleet

Who am I?

My print-journalist father covered the crime beat. He often took me with him to the police station and I got hooked on crime. My background is eclectic, a professional trumpet player with a BA in Mathematics and a Masters in Fine Arts. While teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I discovered my dark side and began writing crime thrillers. Most are inspired by actual events or news reports about stalkers, domestic homicides, or serial killers. In 2001, I moved to New Orleans. My crime thriller series features NOPD Homicide Detective Frank Renzi. I'm fortunate to be able to consult three former NOPD homicide detectives who advise me on police procedures and investigations.


I wrote...

Guilty: a Frank Renzi crime thriller

By Susan Fleet,

Book cover of Guilty: a Frank Renzi crime thriller

What is my book about?

A serial killer stalks unfaithful young women in New Orleans. He kidnaps them and holds them in his secluded hideaway for days, berating them for their infidelity. Eventually, he kills them and sends their spouse a gruesome photograph: a closeup of their face with guilty printed on their forehead.

Local polititians and terrified residents pressure New Orleans police to catch him. But they have no bodies, only hideous photographs of dead women. Homicide Detective Frank Renzi desperately tries to find the killer before he strikes again. When a photo of his boss's daughter arrives, Renzi fears the worst. Is she already dead like the others? If she's still alive, can he find her in time to save her?

The books I picked & why

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Mind Prey

By John Sandford,

Book cover of Mind Prey

Why this book?

Even while pursuing the nastiest criminals Detective Lucas Davenport and his sardonic sense of humor make me laugh. A deranged man wants to punish the female psychiatrist who once put him in a mental hospital. When he kidnaps the woman and her two young daughters, Lucas focuses on who stands to benefit. The combative resentful husband she's divorcing, her business partner, and her elderly father's trophy wife who will inherit his fortune if his daughter dies. 

The kidnapper inflicts harsh punishment on the psychiatrist and plays mind games with Lucas. He telephones Lucas, taunts him and threatens to kill his captives. Lucas has no idea where they are, but he can play mind games too. An emotional roller-coaster ride until the last page of this gritty suspense thriller.

Mind Prey

By John Sandford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Don't miss John Sandford's brand-new thriller Ocean Prey - out now**

A LUCAS DAVENPORT THIRLLER BY GLOBAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOHN SANDFORD

He knows how killers think. But what if this killer knows more?

It's raining when psychiatrist Andi Manette leaves the parent-teacher meeting with her two daughters. She's tired and distracted, so she doesn't notice the red van parked beside her, or the van door slide open. The last thing she does notice is the hand reaching out for her and her girls . . .

Hours later, deputy chief Lucas Davenport stands in the car park holding a blood-stained…


The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

By Lisa Gardner,

Book cover of The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

Why this book?

I love Boston Detective D.D. Warren. She may be a knockout blonde but she's no ditsy airhead. She's a smart, hard-nosed detective who takes no guff from anyone. But her current case is a complex puzzle. One night while her print journalist husband is away at work, a young mother disappears, leaving her four-year-old daughter home alone, fast asleep in bed. 

The husband stonewalls D.D.'s questions and won't let her question his daughter. The couple appears to lead a squeaky-clean life with their daughter, but both parents have dark secrets. D.D.'s investigation yields a plethora of suspects but damn few answers. Worse, D.D. believes the four-year-old saw whoever took her mother, putting her life in danger. Multiple bombshells and heart-wrenching revelations drive The Neighbor to a shocking conclusion.

The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

By Lisa Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A young mother, blond and pretty, vanishes from her South Boston home, leaving behind only one witness—her four-year-old daughter—and one suspect—her handsome, secretive husband.

From the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses’ snug little bungalow, instinct tells her that something is seriously off with the wholesome image the couple has worked so hard to create. 
 
With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and a media firestorm building, D.D. must decide whether Jason Jones is hiding his guilt—or just trying to hide. But first she must stand between a potential killer and his…


Gone Tomorrow

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Gone Tomorrow

Why this book?

Picture Jack Reacher on an NYC subway car at 2 AM with a suicide bomber. Will she blow up the car and everyone in it? I love how Lee Child keeps us in suspense, not just for a page or two, for twenty-seven pages! Reacher finds out the woman had a dangerous secret, but everyone he talks to lies to him. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger and more questions. 

But many people want Reacher to stop asking questions: a former Delta Force operative running for the US Senate, two Al Qaeda agents, NYC cops, and FBI agents. They want Reacher to get lost and forget the suicide bomber. Fat chance! The complex plot will intrigue you. The climactic ending will terrify you even more than the suicide bomber.

Gone Tomorrow

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enhances his status as a mythic avenger. . .You'll be left with a thumping heart and a racing pulse but, be warned, Chapter 63 will give you nightmares." (Evening Standard)

Suicide bombers are easy to spot.
They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs.There are twelve things to look for.No one who has worked in law enforcement will ever forget them.

New York City.The subway, two o'clock in the morning.
Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers.Four are OK.The fifth isn't.
The train brakes for Grand Central Station.

Will Reacher intervene, and save lives?
Or is he wrong?Will his intervention cost…


Suspect

By Robert Crais,

Book cover of Suspect

Why this book?

I just know you're gonna love Maggie. She's smart, experienced and utterly devoted to her partner. Surprise! Maggie is an 85-pound black-and-tan German shepherd. While working with her military handler Pete, in Afghanistan, an IED explosive killed Pete, and Maggie was shot. Maggie recovers but her world revolved around Pete and Maggie is desolate. 

Fast forward to present day Los Angeles. Maggie gets a new handler, LAPD Detective Scott James. It takes time for them to bond, but soon Maggie is devoted to him; they are “pack.” They eat together, play together, sleep and work together. Scott also suffered a tragic loss; his police officer girlfriend was murdered. As Scott and Maggie track down her killer, their lives are in mortal danger. An intensely emotional thriller you won't soon forget.

Suspect

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Suspect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking late-night assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing out explosives before losing her handler to an IED.

They are each other's last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them…


Radiant Angel

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of Radiant Angel

Why this book?

Half the fun of reading a Detective John Corey novel is his smartass humor and snarky dialogue. The other half is watching his dogged pursuit of the bad guys. In Radiant Angel, he's working for the Diplomatic Surveillance Group in New York City. His assignment? Keep tabs on a Russian diplomat who may be an enemy agent on a deadly mission. 

The threat? A nuclear bomb—aka radiant angel—small enough to fit in a suitcase, big enough to blow New York City to smithereens, with enough radioactive fallout to cripple the US for years. The bonus is experiencing the action from the Russian agent's perspective, including his fear of failing to complete his mission. And the clock is ticking so John Corey must figure out how to stop him pronto.

Radiant Angel

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Prescient and chilling, DeMille's #1 New York Times bestselling novel takes us into the heart of a new Cold War with a clock-ticking plot that has Manhattan in its crosshairs.

After a showdown with the notorious Yemeni terrorist known as The Panther, John Corey has left the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and returned home to New York City, taking a job with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Although Corey's new assignment with the DSG-surveilling Russian diplomats working at the U.N. Mission-is thought to be "a quiet end," he is more than happy to be out from under the thumb of the FBI…


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