The most recommended crime books

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,264 experts.

1,264 authors created a book list connected to crime, and here are their favorite crime books.
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What type of crime book?


The Fist of God

By Frederick Forsyth,

Book cover of The Fist of God

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From the list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Who am I?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Why did Jay love this book?

“The man with ten minutes to live was laughing.” Thus begins one of the greatest war novels by one of the greatest living writers of espionage thrillers. 

Frederick Forsyth’s epic story of the Persian Gulf War mingles fact with fiction, and never lets up its humming current of suspense. Incidentally, that laughing man was Gerald Vincent Bull, a real historical figure who invented a super-gun for Saddam Hussein. Not exactly the safest line of work. 

His assassination triggered a Rube Goldberg series of events that only Forsyth would have the… well… foresight to use as the first sentence in this violent, epochal tale. 

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Fist of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From behind-the-scenes decision making of the Allies to the secret meeting of Saddam Hussein's war cabinet, from the brave American fliers running dangerous missions over Iraq to a heroic young spy planted deep in the heart of Baghdad, Forsyths incomparable storytelling keeps the suspense at a breakneck pace.

Peopled with vivid characters, brilliantly displaying the intricacies of intelligence operations moving back and forth between Washington and London, Baghdad and Kuwait, and revealing espionage tradecraft as only Frederick Forsyth can, The Fist of God tells the utterly convincing story of what may actually have happened behind the headlines.

Blood Brothers

By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Book cover of Blood Brothers

Catherine Hokin Author Of The Secretary

From the list on stories set in Berlin.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with the history-soaked city of Berlin where my novels are set since a school exchange trip as a teenager. It was the border that did it. Machine guns, dog runs, barbed wire, watchtowers. They were daunting. More striking still was our guide’s story about her sister who lived on the other side in the East. They were barely a mile apart but hadn’t seen each other in the twenty years since the Wall went up. I’ve been back many times since and have had a passion for German history from that day, particularly for the experiences of its people who have lived through such turbulent times.

Catherine's book list on stories set in Berlin

Why did Catherine love this book?

I stumbled on this novel when I was looking for something else (a common writers’ problem). It was written in 1932 and banned the next year by the Nazis and is set amongst the gangs of young men struggling to survive in a harsh and desperately impoverished Berlin. The descriptions of the hard side of the city are brilliantly drawn and the characters are so real you long for their lives to improve even when you know there is almost no hope of it. Haffner was a social worker who clearly knew Berlin’s streets well. To add to the poignancy of his writing, nothing is known about his fate beyond a summons before a Nazi tribunal in the late 1930s. After that, he disappears. I really hope his book doesn’t.

By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blood Brothers is the only known novel by German social worker and journalist Ernst Haffner, of whom nearly all traces were lost during the course of the Second World War. Told in stark, unsparing detail, Haffner's story delves into the illicit underworld of Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, describing how these blood brothers move from one petty crime to the next, spending their nights in underground bars and makeshift hostels, struggling together to survive the harsh realities of gang life, and finding in one another the legitimacy denied them by society.

Book cover of The Postman Always Rings Twice

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From the list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Who am I?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

Why did G.E. love this book?

Watching bad people self-destruct is hard work, but author Cain makes sure that the bad people get what they deserve. A drifter takes a job at a roadside diner that is run by an old man and his beautiful and unhappy wife; the two youngsters begin a dangerous affair and then plot to kill the husband so that the girl inherits the property. But matters do not turn out as they planned. The novel has been adapted for film at least seven times, with the favorite being the 1946 movie starring Lana Turner.

By James M. Cain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Nobody has ever quite pulled it off the way Cain does, not Hemingway, and not even Raymond Chandler' Tom Wolfe

'It is no accident that movies based on three [of Cain's novels] helped to define the genre known as film noir' NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

'The most starkly elemental thing that has been written for years' EVENING STANDARD

The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and…

Five Days of Fog

By Anna Freeman,

Book cover of Five Days of Fog

Caitlin Davies Author Of Queens of the Underworld: A Journey into the Lives of Female Crooks

From the list on female crooks.

Who am I?

I first became fascinated by the portrayal of female criminals when I wrote a novel, The Ghost of Lily Painter, based on the first women to be executed at Holloway Prison in London in 1903. Holloway was the most infamous female jail in Europe and shortly before it closed down in 2016, I was given access to the prison archives. That led to Bad Girls, nominated for the Orwell Prize, and it also led to the discovery of a forgotten criminal aristocracy -  the women who were once so notorious they were Public Enemy No.1. 

Caitlin's book list on female crooks

Why did Caitlin love this book?

There aren’t many novels featuring professional female crooks, and Anna Freeman’s gripping story, set in London during the Great Smog of 1952, portrays a really believable all-female gang. Florrie Palmer is torn between her allegiance to the Cutters, led by her mother, and a desire to go straight. It’s a suspenseful, atmospheric read, and partly inspired by the real Forty Elephants.

By Anna Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Think Patrick Hamilton meets Peaky Blinders with a feminist twist' Metro

'Utterly transporting, read and lose yourself completely' Stylist

'A cinematic, rogueish, and utterly entertaining page-turner by the queen of feisty historical women. Goes down in one jewel-fisted slug' Abigail Tarttelin, author of DEAD GIRLS

'My mum always said, a fistful of rings is as good as a knuckleduster'

The Great Smog descends on London overnight; a leadership feud breaks out amongst a gang of female thieves who have terrorized the city for years; and Florrie, the girl who is set to inherit the bloody crown, falls in love with…

In the Teeth of the Evidence

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Book cover of In the Teeth of the Evidence

Lewis Hinton Author Of The Face Stone

From the list on settings evoking mystery and a tinge of supernatural.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by the supernatural and love to link it with a particular setting. The books listed all inspired my writing from their pace, elegant prose, and especially, descriptive settings and atmosphere evoked from those settings (something I strive to do as an author, using places I know really well). I was lucky enough to spend my early years in southwest Wirral, with its red sandstone hills, heathland, and views across the Dee estuary to Wales. This was a perfect setting for The Face Stone, with the atmosphere of the local woodlands, especially at dusk, making it easy to imagine that ancient spirits still guarded rock and tree.

Lewis' book list on settings evoking mystery and a tinge of supernatural

Why did Lewis love this book?

This collection of short detective stories features Sayers’ most famous sleuth Lord Peter Whimsey, but also the lesser-known Montague Egg. Sayers was a marketing professional, and this comes out in the Egg stories, about a travelling salesman who gets involved in mysteries, the police allowing him to do so partly because of his quirky and unassuming personality. Egg frequently quotes useful maxims from his favourite book The Salesman’s Handbook, thinking laterally to solve puzzles that elude formal detectives. This book has no supernatural aspect but is included here as the idea of a ‘detective that is not a detective’ always intrigued me. I chose this device for my (very different to Egg) detective protagonist Jack Sangster, partly as a result of reading In the Teeth of the Evidence.  

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Teeth of the Evidence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dorothy L Sayers' amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey returns in this collection of mysteries, introduced by crime writer Elizabeth George. A must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

All that was left of the garage was a heap of charred and smouldering beams. In the driving seat of the burnt-out car were the remains of a body . . .

An accident, said the police.

An accident, said the widow. She had been warning her husband about the danger of the car for months.

Murder, said the famous detective Lord Peter Wimsey - and proceeded…

None Shall Sleep

By Ellie Marney,

Book cover of None Shall Sleep

Ella West Author Of Rain Fall

From the list on YA crime because book lovers should start young.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved crime books and I love writing YA so why not combine the two! It makes fun school talks (I get to do a lot – so much more enjoyable than talking to adults!), especially when you get to discuss crimes with teenagers before the teachers realise! Most of them are amazed the kids are getting into reading before they actually realise we’re discussing ways to kill people! And this is what books should be about (not necessarily violence of course) but thrilling, page turning, who did it, what happened stories. If I can get kids reading – then job done!

Ella's book list on YA crime because book lovers should start young

Why did Ella love this book?

Ellie is an Australian writer and we share the same publisher so I’ve got to know her a little. This is her first book set in the States (us antipodean writers need bigger readerships!) and I think she’s done great. I can’t even start to imagine the research that’s gone into it to make every fact right. And the blood! I love this book. I think it’s the perfect introduction for teenagers into the world of crime fiction. Go Ellie!

By Ellie Marney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked None Shall Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1982, two teenagers-serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell-are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can't crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case-a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers-things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country's most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson.

Despite Travis's objections,…

Catering to Nobody

By Diane Mott Davidson,

Book cover of Catering to Nobody

Ellie Alexander Author Of Muffin But the Truth

From the list on heartwarming foodies to cozy up with this winter.

Who am I?

I wrote my first mystery in second grade, thinking I was writing a page-turning thriller when in reality I penned a sweet, little cozy where everything turns out okay in the end and everyone always has a cup of hot chocolate and a vanilla cookie in hand. Somehow, I’ve managed to turn my love of baking and writing into a long-term career. With over 30 mysteries and counting I’m not sure if I’m going to run out of recipes or ways to kill someone off first. 

Ellie's book list on heartwarming foodies to cozy up with this winter

Why did Ellie love this book?

This is the series that got me hooked on culinary mysteries and Diane Mott Davidson is the GOAT. If you’re looking for a cozy winter escape filled with food and a side of delectable murder, this is the book for you. Could you pick up any of the books in this long-running series, sure, but don’t do it—resist temptation. Start at the beginning when we meet Colorado caterer Goldy Bear as she whips up delicious sweet and savory eats while solving a murder. Trust me, you’ll thank me later because once you finish this book you’ll be running to the nearest bookstore for the next installment and running to your kitchen for a midnight snack.

By Diane Mott Davidson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Catering to Nobody as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Diane Mott Davidson’s winning recipe of first-class suspense and five-star fare has won her and caterer Goldy critical raves and a regular place on major bestseller lists across the country. In Goldy’s tantalizing debut, she serves up a savory dish of secrets, suspicions, and murder....

Catering a wake is not Goldy’s idea of fun. Yet the Colorado caterer throws herself into preparing a savory feast including Poached Salmon and Strawberry Shortcake Buffet designed to soothe forty mourners. And her culinary efforts seem to be…

Book cover of The Line That Held Us

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From the list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Who am I?

I’m a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer who now only writes crime novels. I try to write about a world that exists in varying degrees and shades of black and white. The characters in my books are flawed, sometimes deeply, trying their best to navigate a complex world while grappling with their own psychological and emotional scars. As a result, they often make decisions that wind up not being in their (or anyone else’s) best interest. In trying to breathe life into these characters, I get to know them better than I know myself, and it’s this I think allows me to admire the five books I’ve chosen.

Charles' book list on memorable, morally complicated characters

Why did Charles love this book?

David Joy, an Edgar Award finalist for his first novel, Where All the Light Tends to Go, is a master of character, mood, and setting. This novel is set in Appalachia and immediately we’re pulled into a dangerous world that has its own set of fierce rules for survival. The novel opens with Darl Moody hunting for a monster buck which if snagged can mean the difference between meat for the winter and an empty freezer. Hunting for men like Moody is not about sport but survival. Unfortunately, he’s followed his prey onto private land, where not only shouldn’t he be but where he certainly be hunting. When he accidentally kills not a buck but a man—it turns out he’s killed a Brewer, a member of a family notorious for vengeance and violence—his life is turned upside down and it’s touch and go as to whether he’ll survive. From…

By David Joy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An accidental death, and the cover-up that follows, sparks a dark series of events that reverberates through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck, a kill that could make the difference between meat for the winter and an empty freezer, he never expected he'd accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he's killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. 

With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But…


By Rosamund Lupton,

Book cover of Sister

Louise Stone Author Of S is for Stranger

From the list on to send shivers down your spine.

Who am I?

I love psychological thrillers because I have firsthand dealt with OCD and gaslighting. Therefore, I find the human mind fascinating, and how the line between sanity and insanity is changeable. I think as humans we want to feel safe and hence, we box things into categories but all these thrillers I have recommended force you to look outside of the boxes and they can be chillingly thought-provoking. I am obsessed with writing that gives the reader such graphic insight into a character’s thoughts and actions. If you want unputdownable books, these are the ones for you!

Louise's book list on to send shivers down your spine

Why did Louise love this book?

A beautiful story of sisterhood and the drive for one sister to find out the truth about her murdered sibling.

The writing is pacy, tense, and is a read-in-one-sitting book. I remember not being able to breathe for the entirety of the novel! It is, honestly, one of the finest thrillers of all time.

By Rosamund Lupton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Tear-jerking and spine-tingling' New York Times


You're missing. I'm coming to find you . . .

When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of…

The Flatmate

By Gemma Rogers,

Book cover of The Flatmate

Miranda Rijks Author Of The Homemaker

From Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Mountain-lover

Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Miranda love this book?

I love a book set in a work setting, especially as I’m a full-time author, so I no longer have dodgy colleagues! The Flatmate follows Ria, who has returned to work following an enforced sabbatical after the shocking death of her colleague and best friend, Livvy.

Enter Amanda, her new flatmate, and Livvy’s replacement. When Ria starts receiving messages and gifts from dead Livvy, her colleagues think Ria is losing her mind.

Author Gemma Rogers is great at pacing and creating believable and sometimes unpleasant characters. I loved the believability of this story and read the book in one sitting.

By Gemma Rogers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Always trust your very basic instincts or prepare for the consequences...

It was surreal returning to work after a sabbatical following the suspicious death of my best friend Livvy.

On my return to the company apartment, I was surprised to find Livvy's replacement, Amanda Dowd firmly entrenched as my new flatmate.

She'd seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

But something didn't feel right. I felt on edge.

Everyone seemed to love Amanda, even my ex-Jayden was blinded by her outgoing personality and model-like looks.Yet her desperation to become friends felt unnatural.

When I began to receive calls, photos and presents from…