The most recommended mystery romance books

Who picked these books? Meet our 316 experts.

316 authors created a book list connected to mystery romance, and here are their favorite mystery romance books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of mystery romance book?


Book cover of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From my list on suspenseful science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Dwain Worrell Why did Dwain love this book?

I can only speak from my experience and, wow, this book hooked me right at the end of that first chapter, “but it’s happening faster.” Now to go into what that means, I will remain spoiler-free, but my jaw dropped. And the story only ramped up after that.

I love stories where the protagonist finds themselves in genuine peril, and Claire puts Harry August in a particular type of peril that truly had me terrified for his well-being in every chapter. The best type of suspense escalates in every chapter and it escalates here in this book in the best possible ways.

By Claire North,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'ONE OF THE FICTION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DECADE' Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club

Featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club, the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club
Winner of the John W. Campbell Award
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award


No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before.

Nothing ever changes - until now.…

Book cover of The Inn at Ocean's Edge

Tayler Marie Brooks Author Of Tangled Suspects

From my list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam.

Why am I passionate about this?

Unlike most authors, who only write one genre, I write mystery/suspense, thriller, fantasy, and dystopian. I love plotting and naming stories. I studied Criminal Justice & Legal Studies in college and absolutely loved it. I've also been reading these genres since I was little. I certainly never thought I’d be a writer, but the ideas kept coming so I guess the writing chose me. As a self-published writer, I get to make every decision concerning my books and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write my books, design the covers, make the trailers, market the books, and everything else. I enjoy using my writing to point to the things I believe are important.

Tayler's book list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam

Tayler Marie Brooks Why did Tayler love this book?

This is one of my all-time favorite books because I love a good mystery and I love the beach.

Colleen Coble never fails to deliver an edge-of-your-seat story with unbeatable scenery. Her books always have amazing plot twists. In The Inn at Ocean’s Edge was one of her finest stories yet. Claire Delamare just discovered that perhaps her picture-perfect life isn’t what she thought it was.

She apparently went missing for an entire year and has no recollection of that time. Not only that but she keeps having panic attacks now that she’s returned to the hotel she disappeared from. The ending was probably the most exceptional I’ve seen.

By Colleen Coble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inn at Ocean's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this USA TODAY bestselling romantic suspense, Claire's visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories that undermine all she holds dear.

In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year-and until now, Claire didn't even know she had ever been missing.

But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father,…

Book cover of Touch Not the Cat

Christina Dudley Author Of Everliving

From my list on spooky romance for chilly nights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who grew up reading anything she could get her hands on, and the local library and I were besties. If most writers can point to a particular book that made them fall in love with stories, then I must be one promiscuous reader. Because I’m happy to date just about any genre, and I don’t even keep to one at a time—you name it, I’ve loved it. But the ex I’ll return to over and over is romance in all its forms. And on a chilly night, nothing beats a spooky romance, so light a candle, huddle under a blanket, and get cozy with one of my favorites!

Christina's book list on spooky romance for chilly nights

Christina Dudley Why did Christina love this book?

Rejoice, for Mary Stewart’s wonderful books are finally available on Kindle! If Victoria Holt was fun but derivative, Mary Stewart knew how to do a fresh take on the imperiled-heroine-in-a-creepy-setting for the 20th century. And out of all her books, Touch Not the Cat was my favorite for its supernatural, telepathic element. (You can trace the echoes of this telepathy directly to my book because, baby, that’s what inspired them.) Just writing this paragraph makes me want to drop everything and go have a re-read. Enjoy.

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Touch Not the Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors.' Harriet Evans

Ashley Court: the tumbledown ancestral home of the Ashley family, all blessed with 'the gift' of being able to speak to each other without words. When Bryony Ashley's father dies under mysterious circumstances, his final words a cryptic warning to her, Bryony returns from abroad to uncover Ashley Court's secrets. What did her father's message mean? What lies at the centre of the overgrown maze in the gardens? And who is trying to prevent Bryony from discovering the truth?

Tell Bryony.…

Book cover of The Beverly Malibu

Iza Moreau Author Of The News in Small Towns

From my list on mysteries featuring lesbian detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Halfway through my first novel, I realized that I was writing in a genre that had received little critical study and had almost no visibility. To find my way around the genre—and my place within it—I began reading heavily and before I knew it, I had read well over 200 lesbian mystery novels and devoured almost every serious review and critical study The dozen books I have written over the last decade reflect this study. In them, I hope I have succeeded in expanding the genre in some small way and adding to the menu of a hungry and discerning LGBTQ audience. 

Iza's book list on mysteries featuring lesbian detectives

Iza Moreau Why did Iza love this book?

Forrest’s Kate Delafield, a San Francisco homicide detective, is surely the most famous character in lesbian mystery fiction. She is also the first lesbian police officer. Although most of Forrest’s 10 Delafield novels deserve 5-star ratings, The Beverly Malibu goes far beyond the usual whodunit limits in that it revisits the terrible McCarthy era when minorities—including the LGBTQ community—were kicked down at by the elite. This is also the book where Kate meets her long-time lover Aimee. 

By Katherine V. Forrest,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Thanksgiving Day, LAPD homicide detective Kate Delafield and her partner, Ed Taylor, are called to an apartment building on the edge of Beverly Hills to investigate a premeditated and pitiless murder.

No one appears particularly grieved by the shocking end to old-time Hollywood director Owen Sinclair. Surely not three other tenants of the Beverly Malibu, who worked in the motion picture industry during the blacklist years and loathed Sinclair for having been a "friendly witness" before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Nor is Sinclair's latest ex-wife grieved or even his children. Nor film actress and former paramour Maxine Marlowe.…

Book cover of The Late Mrs. Willoughby

Deborah Kalb Author Of Off to Join the Circus

From Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Voracious reader Book blogger Ex-journalist New podcaster

Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Deborah Kalb Why did Deborah love this book?

The Late Mrs. Willoughby is the second in Claudia Gray’s series featuring Jane Austen’s characters solving mysteries. (The first was The Murder of Mr. Wickham.)

The two chief detectives are Jonathan Darcy, son, of course, of Elizabeth and Darcy; and Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine and Henry, and the dynamic between the two is lively and often hilarious. You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy these books, but if you do love Austen’s characters, this is a new way to appreciate them!

Book cover of Rescued by a Kiss

Sharon E. Cathcart Author Of Bayou Fire

From my list on set in New Orleans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by New Orleans ever since hearing Bobby Bare’s novelty record “Marie Laveau” when I was a child. I had wanted to visit for ages, and Hurricane Katrina made me despair of ever getting there. Now that I’ve been there, New Orleans owns a piece of my heart. When I set out to write Bayou Fire, I was determined to do it right. I read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction, about 1830s New Orleans. I wanted not only the facts but the atmosphere. Furthermore, I made several research trips, not only to Crescent City but to the plantations. I immersed myself in the period and the culture to the greatest degree possible to bring an authentic tale to light.

Sharon's book list on set in New Orleans

Sharon E. Cathcart Why did Sharon love this book?

Schnauzer rescuer Brandy Alexander is tired of living with her parents, not sure what's going on in her relationship with her boyfriend, Dante, and is looking for a little fun. She gets way more than she bargained for when she kisses a handsome stranger during a Mardi Gras parade ... as he's shot in front of her and pretty soon it seems like the New Orleans gangsters are after her, too. This is a super-cute cozy mystery featuring dogs, intrigue, fun characters, and the Big Easy. What more could you ask for?

By Colleen Mooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rescued by a Kiss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One kiss and her world turns upside down. Can she solve the case that threatens his life?

Brandy Alexander never thought living in the Big Easy could feel so dull. And, as she waits painfully for her long-time NOPD boyfriend to propose, she’s not sure their hearts are beating to the same tune. When she’s kissed by a handsome stranger at a Mardi Gras parade, her electric thrills turn to shock when he’s shot right before her eyes.

Watching in horror as he’s whisked away by an ambulance, she is haunted by his gasping request. Brandy races to track down…

Book cover of The Wife Upstairs

Heather Gudenkauf Author Of Not a Sound

From my list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some of my fondest memories have been of curling up with the family dog and reading a good book. This started as a child with our golden retriever OJ, and continues today with Lolo, our sweet but spoiled German shorthaired pointer. Dogs are such wonderful companions, always up for anything: hiking, exploring, car rides, sitting on the couch, and lounging. It’s no surprise, then, that not only do I love reading books featuring dogs I’ve also included a canine sidekick in each of the nine thrillers that I’ve written. I hope you enjoy this dogged list of mysteries and thrillers as much as I have. 

Heather's book list on thrillers and mysteries about dogs

Heather Gudenkauf Why did Heather love this book?

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins centers around Jane who, penniless, arrives in Alabama and begins to walk dogs in an upscale, gated community. Jane hates her job, is no dog lover, and has resorted to sliding client’s valuables into her pockets. Life is a bit grim for Jane who wanted so much more for herself. Things begin to appear more hopeful when Jane meets Eddie Rochester and she begins to fall for the wealthy widower whose wife died in a boating accident. Jane even begins to develop a fondness for her dog clientele – especially Adele, a sweet Irish setter puppy, Eddie buys expressly for Jane to walk.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jane’s canine clientele: Bear, a collie; Mary-Beth, a dalmatian; Major and Colonel, shih-tzus; Harper, a lab; and of course, Adele. Dog heaven, right? But as with all great thrillers, nothing is as it seems. Can Jane trust…

By Rachel Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Top 10 New York Times bestseller 'I was completely blown away by The Wife Upstairs. This is a compulsive, irresistible retelling of Jane Eyre with a modern, noir twist - and wow, does it work' Samantha Downing, bestselling author of My Lovely Wife Stylist's best paperbacks of 2021 Hello Magazine's best new books released in 2021

A girl looking for love...
When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can't believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year…

Book cover of Quarter to Midnight

C.F. Francis Author Of Sanctuary Island

From my list on romantic suspense twists to make your head spin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I walked to the library every Saturday to find a new mystery. I think I read everyone and read some more than once. As I matured, I discovered the mixture of romance and suspense I was hooked. I literally read every book in the genre’ at my local library. 

C.F.'s book list on romantic suspense twists to make your head spin

C.F. Francis Why did C.F. love this book?

Intricately woven romantic suspense set in New Orleans.

I love a book where the ending is a surprise, and the characters are entertaining and intelligent. You will fall in love with the secondary characters. Gabe is a chef who father is dead, but the authorities call it a suicide. He doesn’t believe it and hires a private investigator, Molly.

There are good cops and some really bad cops. Fantastic ride. Finished it in one sitting. 

By Karen Rose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The truth of what happened that night lies with a secret witness.

Quarter to Midnight is the first thrilling novel in a brand new series by Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Rose, set in New Orleans.

Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night.

His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death.

PI Molly Sutton knows what it's like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack…

Book cover of Lethal White

T. R. Croke Author Of The Devil's Luck

From my list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my childhood reading of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books I’ve been addicted to series. I love the character development, that ability to learn more about your favourite with each new story. Crime thrillers became my preferred leisure reading as an adult and, unsurprisingly my passion when I began a full-time writing career. My background as a retired detective from Ireland’s police force helps me understand the individual stresses on investigators and the strain of maintaining relationships and family life while pursuing suspects and protecting lives. I lived in Dublin for over twenty-five years and enjoy using the ever-changing city as a base for my series.

T. R.'s book list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more

T. R. Croke Why did T. R. love this book?

What attracts me to the series is the relationship between the main character, Cormoran Strike and his sundry accomplices, especially his one-time secretary and now partner, Robin Ellacott.

A wonderful aspect of book four in the series is that we find out more about what motivates Robin to continue taking on dangerous tasks. The parallel storyline of her fraught relationship with her new husband adds to the tension as she, Strike, and their various collaborators work furiously to unmask a killer.

Recommended if you enjoy character-driven series.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that…

Book cover of Flight

Savannah Kade Author Of Crash & Burn

From my list on steamy romantic suspense for savvy readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a contemporary romance writer who does some series in paranormal romance and some in romantic suspense. I know lots of romance is about the fantasy and I write to that, but I want each of my romances to have you walking away believing in real-life love, too. I want heroes and heroines who could walk right off the page! I want to acknowledge smart women finding men who love a snappy comeback and a sharp brain. My favorite stories come together when our heroine is the only one who could solve this crime or mystery. I was first invited to write RS in the Dark Falls series and I shockingly won a Maggie for my first book. I loved the genre so much that I went on to build a whole series of my own!

Savannah's book list on steamy romantic suspense for savvy readers

Savannah Kade Why did Savannah love this book?

This is the second book in the Texas Murder Files series and Griffin is the author who brought us the Tracers books (another great series. Go read it!) In Flight, Miranda is desperately trying to take a break and recoup from a far too stressful job. We can all relate. But when she stumbles upon a murder, her skills as a forensic photographer mean her break is over. Local Detective Joel is just the hero we need and the tension builds slowly and wonderfully. This is great romantic suspense!

By Laura Griffin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Laura Griffin is one of those skilled writers who hook me with the first sentence' reader review

'Wow, this is an absolutely brilliant and hot crime read. I loved the characters and how real it all feels' reader review

If you love Karen Rose, Melinda Leigh and Lisa Gardner, you'll be gripped by Laura Griffin!
With her signature breathless pacing and suspenseful twists and turns, 'Laura Griffin never fails to put me on the edge of my seat' (USA TODAY).

'I love smart, sophisticated, fast-moving romantic thrillers and Laura Griffin writes them brilliantly' JAYNE ANN KRENTZ

'A pulse-pounding romantic thriller'…