There’s not much better than curling up with a great book – and you can’t beat a thriller for keeping you reading until the small hours! The best thrillers and crime novels are fast-paced, full of suspense with a satisfying ending.
Whether you’re reading it in print, on your e-reader or listening to the audiobook, we’ve got some great page-turners to add to your to-read list…
Miss Austen Investigates by Jessica Bull
When I first heard about this book, which casts Jane Austen as an amateur detective, I thought it sounded a bit gimmicky – but it is so clever and well done. When Jane’s younger brother, Georgy, who is disabled, is falsely accused of a murder, she must clear his name and find the real killer.
The Woman On The Ledge by Ruth Mancini
This twisty mystery is truly original and I didn’t have a clue what was coming! When a woman falls from the 25th floor of an office building in the heart of London, Tate – the last person to see her – is arrested on suspicion of murder. But had they really not met before, as Tate claims?
The Square by Celia Walden
One of the key things I look for in a thriller is that it keeps me guessing, and this did, brilliantly. When ‘fitfluencer’ Laila is found dead, her neighbours in fancy Addison Square are all suspects – especially as it becomes clear that one of them had been cyberstalking her.
A Bird In Winter by Louise Doughty
While Doughty’s thriller Apple Tree Yard was a nail-biting courtroom drama, this is more introspective – but just as engaging. When intelligence officer Heather realises she’s likely to be implicated in internal wrongdoings, she goes on the run, but who and what is she fleeing from?
The Shell House Detectives by Emylia Hall
This cosy crime novel from the author of The Book Of Summers is set in a small Cornish town. Recently widowed Ally is walking her dog on the beach when she discovers a young man who’s fallen from the cliffs above – or was he pushed? When the police seem to be getting nowhere, Ally teams up with former policeman Jayden to investigate.
The Twist Of A Knife by Anthony Horowitz
Another clever thriller from Horowitz, in which he stars himself (as the main suspect!). When legendary theatre critic Harriet Throsby is found dead in her London townhouse, and the murder weapon is covered in Horowitz’s prints, it’s up to DI Daniel Hawthorne to clear his name.
Black Thorn by Sarah Hilary
A dream housing complex becomes a nightmare when six people are found dead and the community is evacuated. Agnes, an autistic young woman, is determined to find out what happened and who’s to blame – no matter how close to home that may be.
Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister
McAllister has become one of my favourite writers with her unexpected thrillers. DCI Julia Day is investigating the mysterious disappearance of Olivia Johnson, who was last seen entering a dead-end alleyway that she never came back out of. But the case is closer to home than Julia realises in this intricately plotted read.
The Last Passenger by Will Dean
This thriller has the most spine-chilling set-up ever: Caz wakes up after her first night on a luxury cruise to find that not only has her partner, Pete, disappeared but she’s entirely alone in the middle of the ocean. Where the story goes from there (without giving spoilers) is a rollercoaster ride. I barely had any nails left by the end!
Windmill Hill by Lucy Atkins
Atkins’s last book, Magpie Lane, was a word-of-mouth hit and this new thriller is just as intelligent and gripping. Astrid is an 82-year-old eccentric former actor who lives in a windmill with her housekeeper, Mrs Baker. Both women have big secrets they’re trying to get away from – but the past is fast catching up with them.
The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
I was so engrossed in this terrifically twisty thriller that I missed my Tube stop! The story centres around Harriet, a British novelist living in New York, who finds herself an unwilling participant in a game of cat and mouse when she gets engaged to the heir of a wealthy and powerful family. Think Succession on steroids!
The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson
Fans of Golden Age crime novels will love this delightful country house mystery about three rival actors who team up to solve a murder. Fans and VIPs have gathered together at the home of legendary crime writer Lettice Davenport for a weekend of fun and games, but things take a sinister turn when a real murder happens during a re-enactment.
A Game Of Lies by Clare Mackintosh
Reality shows have become a popular subject for crime writers, but this new thriller from the award-winning author notches the tension up a level with a smart twist where the participants all have closely guarded secrets. This sequel to The Last Party stars one of my favourite detectives (in a crowded field), Ffion Morgan, who is again torn between her job and her private life.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
This twisty thriller reminded me of my favourite Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None. Daisy and her family are reunited at her grandmother’s Cornish island home to celebrate her 80th birthday. Once the tide comes in, they’re cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours – then, on the stroke of midnight, the murders begin… Completely brilliant.
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
The author of the word-of-mouth hot The Appeal is back with another original, ingenious whodunnit. At its heart is the disappearance of a teacher during a class trip back in 70s that is in some way connected to the famous children’s author Edith Twyford. Her former pupils, led by ex-convict, Steve, band together to the solve the mystery.
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz
This stood out among the many thrillers published this month because it focuses on the victim and her life rather her killer. With echoes of The Lovely Bones, it’s narrated by Alice, a teenage girl found dead in the Hudson and Ruby, the woman who discovered her body.
Reputation by Sarah Vaughan
This timely thriller whisks you into the corridors of Westminster to show the kind of scrutiny women in the public eye face. MP Emma Webster is on the up until a tabloid journalist she’s entangled with is found dead in her home. Smart and hugely compelling.
Notes On An Execution by Danya Kakufka
I stayed awake long into the night reading this electrifying tale of a serial killer on death row awaiting his execution and what had led him to that point. Woven into his narrative are those of three women in his life: his mother, his ex-wife and the detective who caught him.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
This murder mystery by the Pointless presenter is brilliant: smart, charming and wryly funny. When a property developer is found dead, octogenarians Joyce, Elizabeth, Ibrahim and Ron, who all live in a luxury retirement village, band together to solve the crime. This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read more!
Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly
This slow-burn thriller set in the ballet world is Kelly’s best yet. The knives are out when Ava, prima ballerina at the London Russian Ballet Company, gets the coveted role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. The storyline cleverly mirrors the ballet with switched identities, deception and multi-fold clever twists and turns.
The House Guest by Charlotte Northedge
When Kate arrives in London to look for her missing older sister, she’s drawn into a friendship with the enigmatic Della, a life coach who runs a support group for young women. Kate ignores the warnings signs until she is fully entangled in Della’s life. This twisty thriller is jam-packed with tense moments and a growing sense of unease.
The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain
This clever thriller starts with a bang: what starts as a normal day for Erin and Danny, ends with him jumping from their balcony to his death, just as his Police colleagues knock on the door. 18 months later Erin is charged with murder. Just as you think you’ve got a grip on this twisty story, it goes off in another direction!
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
When Helen meets outgoing Rachel at antenatal classes, she gets sucked into a friendship with her until Rachel has taken over every aspect of Helen’s life, including her spare room. Rachel’s motives start to seem dubious but what is she hiding? There are secrets everywhere in this tense, taut thriller that pulls you along with it right to the last page.
Saint X by Alexis Shaitkin
Claire is only seven when her 18 year old sister is found dead while the family is on holiday on the paradise island of Saint X. 25 years later, Claire comes into contact with one of the suspects and decides to befriend him in order to find out the truth of what happened. If you like a slow burn thriller where character, location and social issues are just as important as the crime, this is for you.
Trust Me by TM Logan
The king of the fast-paced thriller is back! I barely paused for breath as I raced through this gripping thriller about a woman who is handed a baby to look after on a train – and then the mother vanishes.
House Of Correction by Nicci French
In this clever courtroom drama, Tabitha is on trial for the murder of a neighbour. The evidence against her is strong and, due to the medication she takes, she has virtually no memory of what happened, but she’s sure she’s innocent and has to build a case to clear her name.
Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
I absolutely love this series of fiendishly clever literary mysteries, which started with The Word Is Murder, and I wolfed this new one down. The clues to a real-life murder in a fancy hotel lie within the pages of a crime novel and its editor must work out the links to solve it.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
Once again, Jewell delivers a story with characters you care about and enough twists to keep you hooked. When teen Saffyre goes missing, a teacher who’s been dismissed for sexual misconduct is the main suspect. But there are others in Saffyre’s life who have much to hide.
Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
It’s been a while since I’ve been as sucked in by a thriller as I was with this one. Not only does the plot keep you guessing, the characters are interesting and well-drawn and there’s a real sense of menace. When the eight-year old daughter of an Oxford University lecturer disappears in the middle of the night, the police turn to her nanny, Dee, for answers.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Her debut thriller, The Hunting Party, was a number one bestseller and Foley looks set to have another hit. Power couple Jules and Will have whisked their friends and family away to a remote Irish island for their high-profile wedding. All is going to the bride’s (highly detailed) plan, until a scream during the evening do and a body is found. Foley is brilliant at building up the tension to breaking point and the creepy setting really adds to the atmosphere.
Three Hours by Rosemary Lupton
I hardly dared to breathe as I raced through this incredible book, set in a school under siege by masked gunmen. Although it’s the very definition of a page-turner, the storyline about a pupil who is a Syrian refugee with PTSD makes it especially moving.
The Recovery Of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
This spine-chilling thriller tells the story of Rose who spent 18 years of her life believing she was ill. In reality, her mother was slowly poisoning her. Having spent time in prison, Rose’s mother has been released and Rose agrees she can live with her. Her mother might think she can still manipulate her but Rose has her own agenda – who will win the battle of wills? Read it for the two incredibly complex central characters and the propulsive plot.
The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica
When Sadie and her husband Will return to her home town, they’re hoping for a fresh start. But when one of their neighbours is killed it sends Sadie into a spiral. She becomes haunted by the old house they live in and memories from her past. Nothing is as it seems in this atmospheric, serpentine thriller.
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
When Libby turns 25, she receives an inheritance: the huge house in Chelsea where her parents were found dead in mysterious circumstances when she was just a baby. She sets out to uncover the truth about what happened. Lisa Jewell is brilliant at creating a menacing atmosphere and this is almost unbearably tense at times, with a knock-the-wind-out-of-you ending.
The Lying Room by Nicci French
This rare standalone thriller from the crime-writing duo is a stonker. Neve, a married mum of two, has been having a fling with her boss. When he texts her to meet him at his flat, she’s shocked to find him dead with a bloody hammer by his side. What she decides to do next sets off a ripple effect of deception and her lies are soon spiralling out of control. This tense and clever page-turner demands to be read in one sitting.
Platform Seven by Louise Doughty
From the author who is best known for Apple Tree Yard comes a thriller unlike anything I’ve read before. Part mystery, part ghost story, it follows Lisa Evans who killed herself at Peterborough train station 18 months ago and is now trapped in purgatory until she can piece together what led to her death. While the plot is gripping, it’s the well-drawn characters that make it something special.
Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran
Harriet and Lexie are neighbours who have never met but from what they’ve heard through the thin wall between their flats, they’re deeply envious of each other’s lives. Harriet is a party girl, while Lexie is settled with boyfriend Tom and desperate to be a mum. Their interest in each other soon spirals into an obsession. Some thrillers peter out, but this atmospheric read really ramps up the pace as it nears its chilling end.
The Most Difficult Thing by Charlotte Philby
The author is the granddaughter of double-agent, Kim Philby, which gives this spy thriller set in upper-class London a real ring of authenticity. It opens with Anna walking out on her life with her husband and six-year-old twins, intending never to see them again. Compulsive and chilling.
Sleep by CL Taylor
Anna is trapped in a hotel on a remote Scottish island during a storm with seven guests, when she realises one knows more about her past than they’ve let on. Sleep by CL Taylor is everything we love in a thriller: creepy, tense and pacy enough to get your heart racing.
The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz
I’m a big fan of Anthony Horowitz’s very clever mysteries. A successful celebrity-divorce lawyer is the victim in The Sentence Is Death, but which of his many enemies did it?
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