The best books when you want to dabble in crime with no risk and no lawbreaking

Who am I?

My fascination with crime fiction has come from reading about it. I have no idea how many novels I have read focused on baddies and the catching of them, but it’s numbering now in the many hundreds. I think the fact that a crime novel can incorporate elements of all other genres – horror, history, romance, the supernatural, etc. are what make them so appealing and add to the joy of writing them. Untangling the threads that make up a crime novel is very satisfying. Maybe in another reality, I would be a detective – I love that idea, but for now, in this bit of the multiverse, I’ll just carry on making them up.  

I wrote...

Body in the Canal

By Diane M. Dickson,

Book cover of Body in the Canal

What is my book about?

Book 5 of the police procedural series featuring Jordan Carr, posted in Liverpool and loving the city. Body in the Canal sees the disappearance of an elderly widow and the discovery of the body of a young woman in the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The body has unusual injuries and as the two cases intertwine Jordan and his colleague Stella May are drawn into the dark and dreadful side of the internet and those who abuse it.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Killing Floor

Diane M. Dickson Why did I love this book?

This book introduced me to the world of Jack Reacher. His lifestyle fascinated me. The idea that he would simply hitchhike or ride public transport anywhere he fancied was so appealing. Add to that the intricate and multifaceted personality that Lee Child imbued him with and the intricate detail that was evident in all of the books and I was fascinated. I introduced my dad to the series and reading them together was a pleasure we enjoyed until he died.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

11 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.

Book cover of The Crossing Places

Diane M. Dickson Why did I love this book?

I love to get into a good series and when the characters are unusual it adds much to the enjoyment. Ruth Galloway is someone totally unlike a detective or crime fighter and yet through her inquisitiveness and intelligence she finds herself involved in things other than teaching archaeology. Added to the crime aspect is the wee frisson of romance that develops throughout the series and the scene setting in a place that I don’t know at all is wonderful. A great introduction to a much-loved series. 

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries, one of the most popular crime series in Britain, with this beautiful special edition.


Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child's bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier - or are the bones much older?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual…

Book cover of Full Dark House

Diane M. Dickson Why did I love this book?

Another series. I really enjoy getting to know characters and look forward to watching them develop over the time that I read about them. Bryant and May are so very unusual. Quirky, and a little bit mad, it has to be said, as are the whole of the Peculiar Crime Unit. The back stories are expertly woven into the narrative and the detail and relating of little-known facts about London are absolutely fascinating. Again I have read the whole series, though as these two elderly detectives grow older and more frail I found them harder to read, but this book – the first in the series was a delight. 

By Christopher Fowler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Full Dark House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a bomb devastates the office of London's most unusual police unit and claims the life of its oldest detective, Arthur Bryant, his surviving partner John May searches for clues to the bomber's identity. His search takes him back to the day the detectives first met as young men in 1940.

In Blitz-ravaged London, a beautiful dancer rehearsing for a sexy, sinister production of 'Orpheus In The Underworld' is found without her feet. Bryant & May's investigation plunges them into a bizarre gothic mystery, where a faceless man stalks terrified actors and death strikes in darkness. Tracking their quarry through…

Book cover of The Family Upstairs

Diane M. Dickson Why did I love this book?

Right from the very first page this book is enthralling. It was creepy and intriguing and enthralling – the characters are all fascinating and the plot is a stew of content from misplaced love, a bit of madness, actually quite a bit of madness, murder, redemption and hope, and a dog! There’s not much more you could want. I have read the sequel.

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I swear I didn't breathe the whole time I was reading it. Gripping, pacy, brilliantly twisty.' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Creepy, intricate and utterly immersive: an excellent holiday read.' GUARDIAN

'A twisty and engrossing story of betrayal and redemption.' IAN RANKIN


In a large house in London's fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.

They've been dead for several days.…

Book cover of Natural Causes

Diane M. Dickson Why did I love this book?

Another Police Procedural series introduction. I love James Oswald’s writing and his characters are fascinating. There are some of the usual tropes in here but there is enough that is new and different to keep it fresh. I loved the fact that this had a horror element to it – I don’t read horror but enjoyed it in this case as a bit of seasoning. I think Edinburgh seems to be a great place to set a crime novel, and Oswald seems to know it well and it becomes a character in its own right I think. 

By James Oswald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Natural Causes is the first novel in the Detective Inspector McLean series, from Sunday Times best-selling author James Oswald.

A young girl's mutilated body is discovered in a sealed room. Her remains are carefully arranged, in what seems to have been a cruel and macabre ritual, which appears to have taken place over 60 years ago.

For newly appointed Edinburgh Detective Inspector Tony McLean this baffling cold case ought to be a low priority - but he is haunted by the young victim and her grisly death.

Meanwhile, the city is horrified by a series of bloody killings. Deaths for…

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The Ninja's Oath

By Tori Eldridge,

Book cover of The Ninja's Oath

Tori Eldridge Author Of The Ninja Daughter

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Ninja Hiker Love Boat Mermaid Mom

Tori's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja, Lily Wong travels to Shanghai in an explosive joint mission with her father’s former-triad cook, Lee Chang, and the infuriatingly alluring assassin J Tran.

As this uneasy trio hunts for Chang’s kidnapped twelve-year-old niece, they must also move Chang’s family out of their condemned home, a task complicated by the feud between brothers and the old resentments and intrigues entwined with the stunning history of Shanghai. Meanwhile, back home in Los Angeles, Lily’s father is hospitalized with an unknown disease, and Lily is shocked by the true identity of her ninja teacher, known only as Sensei, and the truth behind why he left Japan. Although fourth in the series, it can be read as a standalone thriller or introduction to Lily Wong.

The Ninja's Oath

By Tori Eldridge,

What is this book about?

The Ninja's Oath takes Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja, Lily Wong, to Shanghai in an explosive joint mission with her father's former-triad cook and the assassin J Tran. Get ready for the riveting next book in Tori Eldridge's bestselling Lily Wong series!

International action adventure ensues when Lily Wong—a Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja—travels from Shanghai to Japan to help family friend and former triad enforcer, Lee Chang, locate and rescue his kidnapped twelve-year-old niece while, back home in Los Angeles, her father’s health wanes.

Their mission is aided and complicated by an enigmatic assassin with a discomforting fascination for Lily. When the hunt…

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