The best books with exciting first appearances of serial thriller characters

Why am I passionate about this?

Nick Albert is British, but for close to 20-years, he has lived in a ramshackle farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland with his wife and several unruly but affectionate dogs. He's the author of the bestselling comedy memoir series, Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, and the twisty thriller Hunting the Wrecking Crew. Nick is a voracious reader with an eclectic collection of books, and for a good reason. In a recent interview, he gave this advice to aspiring authors, "Before you write, read. Read a lot. Read what you enjoy. Read the kind of books you would like to write, but be sure to observe the author's craft as you read. Take note of how they mix dialogue with narration, how they paint their pictures, and how they guide your mind. Try to look beyond the words to understand how the story was constructed. Do all this and more before you put pen to paper."


I wrote...

Hunting the Wrecking Crew: Eric Stone Book One

By Nick Albert,

Book cover of Hunting the Wrecking Crew: Eric Stone Book One

What is my book about?

Hidden behind the walls of power, the corrupt and materialistic businesses, and the convenient death of every inconvenient whistle-blower, hides a secret organisation called the Wrecking Crew. For years they have been manipulating companies and empowering Governments. They don't care what they do or how they do it, as long as the price is right – but this time, they have gone too far. Now one man is on a mission to stop them.

Eric Stone is trustworthy, easygoing, and friendly – he's your all-around nice guy. His first rule in life was always "Don't get involved," but when he discovers the shocking truth behind his friend's death, he feels compelled to act. Stone is no stranger to risk, but the Wrecking Crew is the most dangerous adversary anyone has ever faced. Soon he and his friends are dragged into a desperate race for survival, where no one can be trusted. Can Eric Stone destroy the Wrecking Crew, or will he become their next victim?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Lincoln Lawyer

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

In the first of this six-book series, we're introduced to Mickey Haller. He's a struggling lawyer, reduced to using his Lincoln car as an office and taking the sort of cases others wouldn't touch, but there's more to this man than meets the eye. Haller is clever, experienced, devious, and kindhearted. What's more, he knows his way around the legal system. His clients may not be reputable, but they are grateful for his services, willing to repay the debt, and keen to keep their lawyer alive – even if it means breaking the law.

When a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller gets his first high-paying client in years. The evidence mounts on the defence's side, and Haller might even be in the rare position of defending a client who is actually innocent.

But then the case starts to fall apart. And neither the suspect nor the victim is quite who they seem, and Haller quickly discovers that when you swim with the sharks, you might just end up as prey...

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 A is for Alibi

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

Sue Grafton is one of those authors who grafted for 15 years as a screenwriter and wrote seven novels before becoming an "overnight success" when the first of her 25 "alphabet novels" was published. I am amazed and inspired by her gritty tenacity. It's little wonder this quality is evident in private detective Kinsey Millhone, the character Sue Grafton features in each of the books. Written in the first person, Millhone is funny, irreverent, and caring, yet she is also insecure and emotionally vulnerable. It makes for a great combination.

"My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind…"

When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies' man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access, and opportunity, Nikki was their number one suspect. The Jury thought so too.

Eight years later and out on parole, Nikki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her husband. But the trail has gone cold, and there is a chilling twist even Kinsey didn't expect…

By Sue Grafton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A is for Alibi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind . . .'

When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies' man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access and opportunity,…


Book cover of Deal Breaker

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

This is the first of 11 books featuring Myron Bolitar, a hotheaded but tenderhearted sports agent. He is one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction.

Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend — a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead — the deal starts to go sour. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret, and a man's lies, Myron is up against the dark side of his business — where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The truth can get you killed... A stunning thriller from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of SIX YEARS.

Investigator and sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big-time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour.

Suddenly Myron is plunged into a baffling mystery of sex and blackmail. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret and a man's lies, Myron is…


Book cover of The Monkey's Raincoat

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

Introducing Elvis Cole, L.A. Private Eye, who, along with his business partner Joe Pike, features in 18 books. Cole is a literate, wisecracking Vietnam vet who is determined to never grow up. Pike is a former Marine, quiet, ruthless, and deadly.

When Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-Deco office, she's lost her husband and her young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower, Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs, sex, and murder.

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thriller featuring LA private eye, Elvis Cole set in the seamy side of Hollywood.


Book cover of Killing Floor

Nick Albert Why did I love this book?

No list of serial thriller characters would be complete without Jack Reacher. In the first of his 26 Reacher books, Lee Child wrote the lead character in the first person, giving a fascinating insight into the inner workings of what makes his hero tick. 

Military policemen are trained to be better than the best killers the Marines can produce. Reacher was the best of the best, but now he's an unemployed drifter and an easy target for suspicious, lazy cops. Reacher was just passing through Margrave, Georgia, when he was arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.


You might also like...

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

Book cover of Return to Hope Creek

Alyssa J. Montgomery Author Of A Spanish Seduction

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian USA Today bestselling romance author who writes contemporary romance and uses the pen name Alyssa James to write medieval romance. I think the makeover trope resonates with me because although I’m no beauty queen now, I was definitely an ugly duckling in my teens. For reasons best known to him, my father insisted on close-cropped hair, and financial circumstances dictated out-of-style hand-me-down clothing. After university, I found my own style, but it wasn’t until I was accepted as an international flight attendant that I believed that I couldn’t be all that ugly if Qantas employed me!

Alyssa's book list on makeover romances

What is my book about?

Return to Hope Creek is a second-chance rural romance set in Australia.

Stella Simpson's career and engagement are over. She returns to the rural community of Hope Creek to heal, unaware her high school and college sweetheart, Mitchell Scott, has also moved back to town to do some healing of his own.

Mitchell, a former NFL quarterback, doesn't need the complication of encountering Stella again so long after the messy end to their relationship, but as each tries to build a new life, they are drawn together and find their chemistry is just as strong as ever.

Will their love be stronger the second time around?

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

What is this book about?

When two old flames come back to their home town, sparks are bound to ignite. A rural romance from USA Today bestselling author Alyssa J. Montgomery.


A horrific car accident ended former world number-one Stella Simpson’s tennis career, and a betrayal ended her relationship with her fiancé/coach. When a family friend offers to sell her half of a property in the rural community where she grew up, it seems like the perfect place to escape, heal and begin the next phase of her life. Until she discovers that the man who broke her heart ten years ago has bought the…


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