When you’re in the mood for a thrilling crime novel, any basic story about a jaded cop or a self-righteous vigilante type simply won’t do. If you need a book that’s sure to shock you and keep you entertained with endless twists and turns, clear a space on your bookshelf for these one-of-a-kind storytellers.
10. Jim Thompson
Author Jim Thompson has shown a keen interest and talent in writing since he was a young boy, selling his very first story to True Detective when he was just 14 years old. Thompson has written nearly 30 novels, many of which were adapted for film, such as The Killer Inside Me and After Dark My Sweet. He has also helped write screenplays for various Stanley Kubrick films, including The Killing and Paths of Glory. Be sure to read Pop. 1280 if you become a fan.
9. Elmore Leonard
Elmore Leonard has authored 45 crime fiction novels, as well as dozens of Westerns and crime short stories. Several of his books have inspired movie adaptations (such as Get Shorty and Rum Punch), and the FX series Justified is based on Leonard’s character, Raylan Givens. Due to his immense talent for writing, Leonard has been nicknamed the “Dickens of Detroit,” and he has won numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America.
8. Jo Nesbo
Award-winning author Jo Nesbo is the genius behind the compelling character, Harry Hole. Nesbo’s most popular novels feature him, including The Redeemer, The Snowman, The Leopard, and Phantom. Nesbo has been awarded the Glass Key for Best Nordic Crime Novel, and he has also written a surprising number of children’s books as well..
7. Lee Child
Bestselling author Lee Child is famous worldwide for his captivating page-turners. Today, over 100 million copies of his books are in circulation, and he has received multiple awards for his work. In 2019 alone, he was named Author of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards, and he was appointed CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Plus, two major movies have been made about his character, Jack Reacher, and the popularity of these films suggests that more may be in the making.
6. Michael Connelly
#1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly has written over 30 crime fiction novels that have been translated into 40 different languages. Over 74 million copies of his books were sold globally, and he has won numerous awards for both his journalism and his fictional works. 2 of his novels were made into movies (Blood Work and The Lincoln Lawyer), and Connelly is also an executive producer of the Amazon series Bosch, which is based on one of his most beloved characters.
5. Robert Bryndzda
International #1 bestselling author Robert Bryndza has dabbled in a number of genres, writing both popular crime fiction novels and romantic comedies. His books have been translated into 28 foreign languages and have sold over 3 million copies. Currently, his Detective Erika Foster series is Bryndza’s best-known work, beginning with The Girl in the Ice.
4. Teresa Driscoll
A master of psychological suspense, #1 bestselling author Teresa Driscoll became inspired to write crime fiction after being a journalist for over 15 years. After seeing so much real horror and tragedy faced by others, she began writing stories as a way to cope with the emotional toll. Her first novel, I Am Watching You, became an immediate success and became a #1 bestseller in the UK, US, Australia, and Italy. Rumor has it that Driscoll’s stories may be adapted to film in the future as well.
3. Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn, the #1 bestselling author of Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, has achieved incredible success and recognition for her work. Her books have received several awards, and Gone Girl went on to become an award-winning movie, earning the Hollywood Film Award in 2014. If you’ve somehow missed these nail-biting thrillers, make sure to add Flynn’s novels to your to-read list!
2. John Grisham
John Grisham is best known for his legal thrillers, a topic which he was familiar with long before he finished his first novel. Grisham worked at a small law practice before his first book was published, where he likely got much of his inspiration for his novels. Today, Grisham has sold over 300 million copies of his books around the world, and they have been translated into 29 languages for crime fiction lovers everywhere to enjoy.
1. Rachel Caine
A New York Times, USA Today, and #1 international bestselling author Rachel Caine has written more than 50 crime fiction novels, which include numerous beloved series. Her best works include the Morganville Vampires series, the Great Library series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, and the Revivalist series. Her novel Stillhouse Lake has earned international praise and popularity: a book every crime aficionado should check out!
Rising Talent: Andrew Diamond
Up-and-coming writer Andrew Diamond has a dark sense of humor and a sharp wit that truly shines in his mystery and crime novels. A few of his books have already been recognized, such as Impala, being awarded the “Best Mystery of the Month” by Amazon editors, the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for mystery, and the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest award for genre fiction. Diamond’s latest novel, To Hell with Johnny Manic, was described by Kirkus Reviews as “a feverishly readable psychological noir,” and BestThrillers.com added the book to their Best of 2019 list.
If you need more crime fiction novels, be sure to check out our featured and free mystery books for a frequently-updated list of reading material you can download from Amazon at a discount or at no cost!