The best mystery and suspense novels based in Texas

Why am I passionate about this?

I have enjoyed mysteries since childhood. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belton, and others filled my bookshelves. Mysteries continue to be one of my favorite genres, and I particularly love the way Texas is represented in these stories. Texas has a rich and unique history, culture, topography, and climate that stimulates the creative spirit but is rarely represented accurately in most genres. As a native Texan, I enjoy reading others’ take on my favorite state, and it’s where I chose to base my writings. The added benefit is that these are female authors who have inspired my own work.


I wrote...

And They Danced

By Tiffany Seitz,

Book cover of And They Danced

What is my book about?

Tess Corona left home thanks to a traumatic experience with the paranormal and has only recently returned home from a secretive military career. Her only desire is to reconnect with her family and find meaningful work. That plan changes when a Texas Ranger lands on her doorstep looking for her twin brother.

Thanks to the suspicious actions of a murder victim’s family, Texas Ranger Crock Ward is asked to investigate the twenty-five-year-old case. With the evidence missing and the victim’s husband now deceased, Crock seeks alternatives to solve the murder in the form of Dr. Lazaro Corona and his ghost-hunting team.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Ghost Agents

Tiffany Seitz Why did I love this book?

Based in Galveston, Texas, Claire Abelard works as a ghost tour guide as a cover for her real job for The Bureau of Historical Preservation. As a high-level sensitive, her responsibilities are to protect the projections (ghosts) under her care, although she frequently answers the call of rogue projections. While assigned to give a private tour to a ghost-hunting group, she receives reports that rogue projections are disappearing.

Ghost Agents and the subsequent two books were page-turners. I don’t normally subscribe to newsletters for additional materials, but I especially wanted to discover more once the series ended. The projections (ghosts) are entertaining, the historical elements are well-researched and support the plot. I particularly enjoyed the family dynamics and the romance that develops for the main character.

By Nita DeBorde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An organization that has operated in secret for centuries... a mystery that threatens to burn it all to the ground... and she's the only agent who can stop it... To the residents and tourists of Galveston Island, Claire Abelard is the friendly young woman who works at the local candy store by day and leads ghost tours of the island's haunted locations by night. They don't realize this persona is a cover for Claire's real job as an agent of the Bureau for Historical Preservation, a clandestine organization that monitors and assists energy projections, or the entities more commonly known…


Book cover of Interview with a Dead Editor

Tiffany Seitz Why did I love this book?

Based in the fictional town of Stirling Mills, Texas, Lexie Lincoln’s history of being in the right place at the right time served her well as a journalist until she is laid-off. When she arrives for an interview at a small town newspaper, she finds the editor murdered and herself as the suspect. To get to the bottom of the mystery and clear her name, Lexie uncovers not only the town’s unusual history but the reality that her luck stems from ghostly interactions.

After thoroughly enjoying Ms. Swendon’s Enchanted, Inc series, I was pleased to hear she was writing a cozy series. With seven books to date in the Lucky Lexie series, the quirky town of Stirling Mills is a great place to visit.

Book cover of Deadly Keepsakes: A Tori Winters Mystery

Tiffany Seitz Why did I love this book?

Tori Winters learns she has inherited a house in Granbury, Texas, and the timing is perfect. As a hospice nurse, she is the primary witness in a homicide. To escape the threats, she packs up and heads to Texas, where she finds a house and a family history that she never expected.

Ms. Dickason is a retired Dallas police officer who wove a little-known part of Dallas’ prohibition history into this novel. The characters and plot are believable and well-written. I am looking forward to the second book.

By Anita Dickason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The past becomes a deadly future.

When Tori Winters becomes the star witness in a murder trial, someone tries to kill her. Terrified, she’s not giving the killer a second chance. With all her worldly possessions packed in her car, Tori is on the run. A mysterious phone call about an inheritance leads her to Granbury. After all, who would look for her in a small, quaint Texas town?

Instead, Tori’s life is about to spin into an existence where nothing is as it seems. The historic house she inherits is steeped in secrets from the past. Secrets that may…


Book cover of The Preacher's First Murder

Tiffany Seitz Why did I love this book?

Pastor Matt Hayden is trying to make a new life in the small town of Wilks, Texas, but he has a secret. Once a Miami detective, he is now in hiding from the people who destroyed his family. He can no longer be an officer, but he can assist the local sheriff in uncovering the town’s best-kept secrets.

I’ve truly enjoyed the Pastor Matt series as it’s easy for me to visualize the small Texas town and its people. Rooting for Matt and Angie, as well as the other characters, to find a little faith and happiness in the darkest parts of life keeps the pages turning. This is a series with four books, and the fifth is forthcoming.

By K.P. Gresham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Preacher's First Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Preacher’s First MurderHe was a good cop until he ran into a bad one. Then, to save what was left of his family and his sanity, Michael Hogan, Jr., entered the Fed's Witness Protection Program and became Pastor Matthew Hayden.Just out of seminary, Matt takes a church in rural Texas, expecting peace, quiet and a good dose of humility. What he finds is a town ruled by the past and an old woman murdered. To make matters worse, the dead woman's daughter, Angie O'Day, runs the town's Ice House and is truly an angel by day and a devil…


Book cover of Chicken Scratch

Tiffany Seitz Why did I love this book?

Maddy Reynolds returned to her hometown to straighten out her life. She started a business doing odd jobs, including that of a chicken farmer. Discovering the body of her boss in a chicken house wasn’t something she wanted to be added to her list of accomplishments. When a neighboring farmer is arrested, the accused’s mother hires Maddy to investigate.

The stories and people that make up the charm of Small Town, Texas, are well-represented in this book. Maddy’s story and motivations are relatable, as well as her mistakes and missteps. Her need to take care of her family is shown in her willingness to do any work and in her need to survive.

By Becki Willis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named 2016 Best Mystery Series by Texas Association of Authors. When Madison Reynolds finds herself widowed and penniless before forty, she does the only thing she knows to do – she packs up her teenage twins and moves back home with her eighty-year-old grandmother. Life in The Sisters, Texas has not changed much since she’s been gone, but at least her best friend Genesis is there to soften the transition back into small-town life. To make ends meet, Madison opens In a Pinch Temporary Services. Her first real client is Ronny Gleason, but when she shows up for the first…


You might also like...

Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

Book cover of Oaky With a Hint of Murder

Dawn Brotherton

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York’s wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it’s time to dig into the details and see what ferments.

Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior’s disapproval of wineries growing legs? Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery’s reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the corner, Aury harvests more than she bargained for when the killer tries to bottle her up for good.

Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

What is this book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York's wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it's time to dig into the details and see what ferments.


Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior's disapproval of wineries growing legs?


Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery's reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the…


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