The most recommended books about Northern England

Who picked these books? Meet our 3 experts.

3 authors created a book list connected to Northern England, and here are their favorite Northern England books.
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Book cover of Death at the Seaside

Nick Quantrill Author Of Sound of the Sinners

From my list on crime set in the North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

The North of England is home. I was born here, I work here and it’s where I will see out my days. It’s a place with its own character, a place largely forged on hard industrial work and one trying to find a new purpose after decades of financial neglect. My home city of Hull captures this in miniature as we’ve shared a journey over the last decade via my novels from 'UK Crap Town of the Year’ to ‘UK City of Culture.’ Tied in with my background in studying Social Policy and Criminology, I’ll continue to map the city and the region’s trials and tribulations.

Nick's book list on crime set in the North of England

Nick Quantrill Why did Nick love this book?

The North of England isn’t all post-industrial urban centres of decay. As well as being home to large and important cities, its green spaces are plentiful and attract numerous tourists to its many attractions. Frances Brody’s PI Kate Shackleton series makes use of Yorkshire’s picturesque and pleasant rural settings, not least the rolling moors leading to the coastal town of Whitby in the series’ eighth outing. Set in the 1920s, Brody’s series is also a reminder of the importance of subverting and challenging social norms, but never at the expense of entertaining the reader.

By Frances Brody,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death at the Seaside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Frances Brody has made it to the top rank of crime writers' Daily Mail

'Brody's writing is like her central character Kate Shackleton: witty, acerbic and very, very perceptive' Ann Cleeves

AN IDYLLIC SEASIDE TOWN

Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.

A MISSING GIRL

Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma's daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn…


Book cover of Sirens

Russ Thomas Author Of Nighthawking

From my list on crime novels set in the grim North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s a saying in England: It’s grim up north! Largely used pejoratively (by the south), it’s true to say it is generally colder and wetter, the landscape more unforgiving, the people – friendlier in my opinion – are more outspoken and candid. The cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, with their declining industries and rising unemployment, provide fertile ground for crime writers. So when I started my own series following the investigations of DS Adam Tyler and his cold case team it didn’t take long to settle on my adopted home of Sheffield as the setting. Be warned: we’re a long way from the sleepy villages of Agatha Christie here.

Russ' book list on crime novels set in the grim North of England

Russ Thomas Why did Russ love this book?

The first in Knox’s Manchester-set Detective Aidan Waits series, Sirens sees disgraced cop Waits looking to redeem himself by rescuing the teenage daughter of a prominent politician. Waits finds himself forced into an undercover operation to infiltrate the shady world of Zain Carver, an enigmatic figure who lures young women into his world only for them to disappear. Dark, gritty, and gruesome, this is Northern Noir at its best.

By Joseph Knox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Brooding, blistering. Sirens is a remarkable literary thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin and James Lee Burke' AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

WATERSTONES THRILLER OF THE MONTH

I stopped going to work. I went missing. We still live in a world where you can disappear if you want to. Or even if you don't.

Detective Aidan Waits is in trouble

After a career-ending mistake, he's forced into a nightmare undercover operation that his superiors don't expect him to survive.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again

When the teenage daughter of a prominent MP joins Zain…


Book cover of Long Way Home

Nick Quantrill Author Of Sound of the Sinners

From my list on crime set in the North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

The North of England is home. I was born here, I work here and it’s where I will see out my days. It’s a place with its own character, a place largely forged on hard industrial work and one trying to find a new purpose after decades of financial neglect. My home city of Hull captures this in miniature as we’ve shared a journey over the last decade via my novels from 'UK Crap Town of the Year’ to ‘UK City of Culture.’ Tied in with my background in studying Social Policy and Criminology, I’ll continue to map the city and the region’s trials and tribulations.

Nick's book list on crime set in the North of England

Nick Quantrill Why did Nick love this book?

Stretching the geographical boundary a little, Dolan’s police series takes us to Peterborough, another location scared by political and financial neglect. It’s the terrain I tread in the Joe Geraghty series, our cities are not too different. Beyond that, Dolan also makes giving the police series a fresh shot of adrenaline looks easy. Based in the Hate Crimes Units, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, give voice to those who are marginalised and without voice, a welcome rebalancing and one that questions the power and position of the police.

By Eva Dolan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A man is burnt alive in a shed.

No witnesses, no fingerprints - only a positive ID of the victim as an immigrant with a long list of enemies.

Detectives Zigic and Ferreira are called in from the Hate Crimes Unit to track the killer, and are met with silence in a Fenland community ruled by slum racketeers, people-trafficking gangs and fear.

Tensions rise.
The clock is ticking.
But nobody wants to talk.


Book cover of Cuddy

Stephanie Ellis Author Of The Woodcutter

From Stephanie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Poet Word eater

Stephanie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Stephanie Ellis Why did Stephanie love this book?

This appears to be a big book, but don’t let that put you off! The first part is very much a story in verse, and the poetry is absolutely beautiful, telling the story of St. Cuthbert (Cuddy), an early saint of the North of England.

It is not a religious story but a very human one. The story weaves from that early time to modern-day England, incorporating Cuddy’s story along the way, moving from poetry to prose in a variety of forms but, all the while, using absolutely gorgeous language. The whole book is a poem.

It is a beautiful, beautiful book.

By Benjamin Myers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2023** **Chosen as a book to watch out for in 2023 by The Times, Observer, Guardian, Irish TImes and Scotsman** 'An epic the north has long deserved' FINANCIAL TIMES 'A sensational piece of storytelling ... A singular and significant achievement' GUARDIAN 'Marvellous, artful, enchanted' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Cements Myers's standing as one of our finest, and most deftly imaginative, writers' I NEWS The triumphant new novel from the Walter Scott Prize-winning author of The Gallows Pole and The Offing Cuddy is a bold and experimental retelling of the story of the hermit St. Cuthbert, unofficial patron…


Book cover of My Brother's Keeper

D.J. Butler Author Of Witchy Eye

From D.J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Gamer Teacher Dad Learner

D.J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

D.J. Butler Why did D.J. love this book?

My Brother’s Keeper is a thrilling gothic fantasy novel swirling with family curses, megaliths, folk magic, buried demons, sects of one-eyed French werewolf hunters, the werewolves they’re hunting, ruined temples to the goddess Minerva, Minerva herself, ghost dogs, the Yorkshire moors, double-bladed daggers, and haunted churchyards. And the protagonist is Emily Brontë.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Brother's Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a ghost story. It is a story about werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. It is a story of an ill-fated land, the pathless moors of Northern England so well chronicled in Wuthering Heights. And it is the story of a real family whose des


Book cover of Far from the Tree

Russ Thomas Author Of Nighthawking

From my list on crime novels set in the grim North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s a saying in England: It’s grim up north! Largely used pejoratively (by the south), it’s true to say it is generally colder and wetter, the landscape more unforgiving, the people – friendlier in my opinion – are more outspoken and candid. The cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, with their declining industries and rising unemployment, provide fertile ground for crime writers. So when I started my own series following the investigations of DS Adam Tyler and his cold case team it didn’t take long to settle on my adopted home of Sheffield as the setting. Be warned: we’re a long way from the sleepy villages of Agatha Christie here.

Russ' book list on crime novels set in the grim North of England

Russ Thomas Why did Russ love this book?

The first book in Rob Parker’s excellent Thirty Miles Trilogy sees twenty-seven bodies discovered, vacuum-packed, and buried in a woodland trench. DI Brendan Foley and his newly established police force are the ones tasked with cracking the case but is it a coincidence that these bodies have been buried in Foley’s hometown? Set in the historic town of Warrington, located midway between Manchester and Liverpool, the book explores the murky underworlds of the two cities and the consequences of a war between two drug-dealing gangs as it spills out into the surrounding area.

By Rob Parker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Far from the Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brendan Foley has worked to balance the responsibilities of a demanding job and a troublesome family. He's managed to keep these two worlds separate, until the discovery of a mass grave sends them into a headlong collision. When one of the dead turns out to be a familiar face, he's taken off the case. 

Iona Madison keeps everything under control. She works hard as a detective sergeant and trains harder as a boxer. But when her superior, DI Foley, is removed from the case, her certainties are tested like never before. 

With stories of the Warrington 27 plastered over the…


Book cover of Right to Kill: A gripping Yorkshire murder mystery for 2022 (DS Joe Romano crime thriller series book 1)

Russ Thomas Author Of Nighthawking

From my list on crime novels set in the grim North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s a saying in England: It’s grim up north! Largely used pejoratively (by the south), it’s true to say it is generally colder and wetter, the landscape more unforgiving, the people – friendlier in my opinion – are more outspoken and candid. The cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, with their declining industries and rising unemployment, provide fertile ground for crime writers. So when I started my own series following the investigations of DS Adam Tyler and his cold case team it didn’t take long to settle on my adopted home of Sheffield as the setting. Be warned: we’re a long way from the sleepy villages of Agatha Christie here.

Russ' book list on crime novels set in the grim North of England

Russ Thomas Why did Russ love this book?

When a local drug dealer goes missing in the small town of Wortley, West Leeds, no one cares. No one except Detective Sergeant Joe Romano, back on home turf in ‘God’s Own County’ of Yorkshire. And even when the drug dealer turns up dead some believe it poetic justice. Romano believes every life counts though, and with the killer about to strike again he puts everything on the line, including his career, to prove that no one has the right to kill. This is a very modern take on the classic police procedural novel, a world-weary cop fighting against the world-weary system in order to do the right thing. 

By John Barlow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in a gripping new crime thriller series set in Yorkshire, for fans of Ian Rankin and Joseph Knox. 'A striking debut' Peter Robinson

On a Thursday night in February, DS Joe Romano finds himself back on home turf in Wortley, West Leeds. He's following up on the disappearance of drug dealer Craig Shaw.

It's the start of a case that could make or break Romano's career. Because Shaw is about to go from missing to murdered.

While some don't think Shaw's killer should be brought to justice, Romano believes every life counts. But he's running out of time.…


Book cover of Standing in the Shadows

Rosemary McCracken Author Of Uncharted Waters

From Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Wordsmith Reader Self-starter Teacher Traveller

Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Rosemary McCracken Why did Rosemary love this book?

The 28th and final Inspector Alan Banks mystery novel was released in April 2023, six months after the death of its author, Peter Robinson. Reading Standing in the Shadows is a bittersweet farewell to an old and dear friend. We know this will be the last we’ll see of Inspector Banks.

The story is told from two viewpoints. One storyline is narrated in the first person by University of Leeds student Nick Hartley, who learns that his former girlfriend has been murdered. The second storyline kicks in 40 years later when a skeleton is found in Yorkshire. Inspector Banks and his team are called in.

There is so much to like in this mystery, all reminding me of what I’ll be missing: the palpable sense of place in the Northern England settings; the wide range of music Banks listens to, from rock bands to classical music and opera; England’s social…

By Peter Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Standing in the Shadows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The best mystery-procedural series on the market. Try one and tell me I'm wrong' STEPHEN KING

Late November, 1980. Student Nick Hartley returns from a lecture to find his house full of police officers. As he discovers that his ex-girlfriend has been found murdered in a nearby park, and her new boyfriend is missing, he realises two things in quick succession: he is undoubtedly a suspect as he has no convincing alibi, and he has own suspicions as to what might have happened . . .

Late November 2019. An dig near Scotch Corner unearths a skeleton that turns out…


Book cover of The Man on the Street

Russ Thomas Author Of Nighthawking

From my list on crime novels set in the grim North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s a saying in England: It’s grim up north! Largely used pejoratively (by the south), it’s true to say it is generally colder and wetter, the landscape more unforgiving, the people – friendlier in my opinion – are more outspoken and candid. The cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, with their declining industries and rising unemployment, provide fertile ground for crime writers. So when I started my own series following the investigations of DS Adam Tyler and his cold case team it didn’t take long to settle on my adopted home of Sheffield as the setting. Be warned: we’re a long way from the sleepy villages of Agatha Christie here.

Russ' book list on crime novels set in the grim North of England

Russ Thomas Why did Russ love this book?

Jimmy is a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD but when he hears the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne after an argument he does his best to pretend it’s not his problem. Then he sees the headline about a girl looking for her missing father, and the girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost. He decides to stop hiding from his past and take action but when the police don’t believe him it’s up to Jimmy and Carrie to find out the truth – whatever the cost. This Newcastle-set mystery is both gripping and incredibly moving, not least because of its tragic yet wholly loveable protagonist.

By Trevor Wood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

GRITTY, NEWCASTLE-SET CRIME FOR FANS OF IAN RANKIN AND ROBERT GALBRAITH.

WINNER OF THE CWA JOHN CREASEY DAGGER AND OF THE SPECSAVERS DEBUT CRIME NOVEL AWARD. A THEAKSTON'S NEW BLOOD AUTHOR FOR 2020 AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE THEAKSTON'S OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD.

'Fresh, original, authentic and gritty - should be an instant classic' LEE CHILD

'Intricate, expertly paced with a shocking conclusion ... Jimmy is a character you root for from page one ... Simply supberb' M. W. CRAVEN, author of THE PUPPET SHOW

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD,…


Book cover of The Dark Winter

Nick Quantrill Author Of Sound of the Sinners

From my list on crime set in the North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

The North of England is home. I was born here, I work here and it’s where I will see out my days. It’s a place with its own character, a place largely forged on hard industrial work and one trying to find a new purpose after decades of financial neglect. My home city of Hull captures this in miniature as we’ve shared a journey over the last decade via my novels from 'UK Crap Town of the Year’ to ‘UK City of Culture.’ Tied in with my background in studying Social Policy and Criminology, I’ll continue to map the city and the region’s trials and tribulations.

Nick's book list on crime set in the North of England

Nick Quantrill Why did Nick love this book?

It’s always strange when another writer tackles the same city you’re mapping, but it’s also a reminder that we see places in fundamentally different ways. I write about Hull as an insider looking out with David taking the opposite approach, arriving in the city as a journalist. In the debut outing for DI Aector McAvoy, it may be his writing background that allows him to look the place in the eye and draw a fantastically vivid city dealing with multiple social issues, but also one in which he finds its heart packed with spirit and hope.

By David Mark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times hails David Mark's work as "in the honorable tradition of Joseph Wambaugh and Ed McBain." DARK WINTER is the first book in the internationally acclaimed Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy series.

A series of suspicious deaths have rocked Hull, a port city in England as old and mysterious as its bordering sea. They have captured the attention of Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy. He notices a pattern missed by his fellow officers, who would rather get a quick arrest than bother themselves with finding the true killer. Torn between his police duties and his aching desire to spend…