I am a true crime/crime fiction addict. Seriously, it’s all I read and watch, and my family are constantly telling me that if they go missing, I probably did it. Anyway, since I’ve read so many recently, I thought I’d share a few that are worth the read. Keep in mind that whilst some of these books were sent to me by a publisher, they are all my own reviews and opinions.
- The Suspect by Michael Robotham
I’m a massive fan of this author, for so many reasons. The first book in this series that I read was Say You’re Sorry, but I’ve read the rest since and they are brilliant. The series revolves around psychologist Joseph O’ Loughlin, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and his part in solving crimes around England. I love this angle of crime thriller, that focuses on the mind of the perpetrator, and the “why did you do it?”, rather than just the “who did it?”
JOSEPH O’LOUGHLIN APPEARS TO HAVE THE PERFECT LIFE –
a beautiful wife, a loving daughter and a successful career as a clinical psychologist. But even the most flawless existence is only a loose thread away from unravelling. All it takes is a murdered girl, a troubled young patient and the biggest lie of his life.
When an unknown young woman is found dead with multiple stab wounds – all of them self-inflicted – the police ask Joe to help them understand the crime. Are they dealing with a murder or a suicide? Reluctantly, he agrees to help and the brutalised body he views at the mortuary turns out to be someone he knows: Catherine Mary McBride, a nurse and former colleague.
At the same time, Joe is grappling with a troubled young patient, Bobby Moran, whose violent dreams are becoming more real. As Bobby’s behaviour grows increasingly erratic, Joe begins to ponder what he’s done in the past and what he might do next. Is there a link between his terrible dreams and Catherine McBride?
Caught in a complex web of deceit and obsessed by images of the slain girl, Joe embarks upon a search that takes him into the darkest recesses of the human mind. Ultimately, he will risk everything to unmask the killer and save his family..
4/5– Brilliant story, characters, etc. This only loses a single rating for me simply for the middle of the book being dragged out a tiny bit.
2. The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor
Mind blown. That is the perfect way to describe what this book had me feeling. The writing is brilliant, the story is so captivating, right until the very last page and the characters are well rounded, relatable and understandable. I loved the mind games this book plays with you, making you wonder if almost every character, including your protagonist, could be the killer. Crime fans, read this. Now.
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.
4/5– Again, amazing read, but I found the ending kind of rushed and sudden, which left me saddened when I surprisingly hit the last page.
3. What Have You Done by Matthew Farrel.
This was so good in different ways. The characters were wonderfully written, and the book allowed you a peek into each of their minds and lives without confusing the reader too much. It builds really well throughout the book, without boring the reader with its delay in revealing the true perpetrator. For me, I always guess the killer too soon, which ruins it for me. I was pleasantly surprised that I was so taken aback when the killers identity was eventually revealed. This book was twist upon twist and I loved it.
An edgy crime thriller reminiscent of a CSI episode, What Have You Done is an explosive debut by Matthew Farrell. The novel is a cross between a domestic suspense and a hard-bitten crime story, opening with a mutilated body investigated by forensics specialist Liam Dwyer. But soon Liam realizes he knows the victim. And he has no memory of the night she was murdered.
As he’s always done in times of trial, Liam turns to his big brother Sean, a brash, bold, charismatic homicide detective. But as evidence stacks up against him, Liam begins to suspect Sean is somehow involved.
Exploring themes of family, trust and identity, this is a great plot-driven novel you’ll easily plough through and enjoy.
5/5: Great characters, brilliant plot, mind boggling reveal. What more could you ask for?
4. The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
I was curious about this book after seeing it on social media quite often, and I was not disappointed when I got to read it. The plot burdens you for the character, and makes you eager to figure out this heartbreaking mystery. A little slow at the middle, the story still unfolds in a sensible way that leaves the reader satisfied.
Abby and Olivia are as close as any mother and daughter can hope to be. Abby’s a single mom who has done everything in her power to give seventeen-year-old Olivia a stable and happy life, and she’s pretty sure she’s succeeded. Olivia is intelligent, well-mannered, and ambitious, the kind of girl who doesn’t break the rules and rarely gives her mother reason to worry. But then, Abby is awakened one night by a call from the local police, a call that alerts her to the fact that Olivia has been keeping some devastating secrets, secrets that have apparently caused her to throw herself off a bridge. Now, Olivia is brain-dead and pregnant, and Abby is left with all manner of questions.
At first, Abby can’t get past her grief. For seventeen years, it’s been just the two of them against the world, and she can’t begin to imagine what her life will be like without Olivia in it. Fortunately, Abby is a pretty practical person and it’s not long before she begins searching for the truth behind what happened to Olivia. Who is the father of Olivia’s unborn child, and is he somehow linked to Olivia’s death?
Abby expects the police to be actively looking for answers, but the detectives in charge of the investigation are convinced Olivia committed suicide. Abby admits this is possible, but something about it doesn’t feel right to her, and she begs the detectives to dig a little deeper. When they still seem reluctant, Abby decides to take matters into her own hands, and she begins doing everything she can to reconstruct the last several months of her beloved daughter’s life.
4/5– Interesting read, but slightly predictable and slow in the middle.
5. Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
This really surprised me. Since it’s a YA book, I didn’t expect much from it as far as a crime thriller, but it was unexpectedly good. The characters, whilst young, are quite relatable and likeable, and the story unfolds in a quick, fluid way.
Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
4.5/5– no complaints about this one, just would have loved it to be a little more crime related, and less dramatic.
Those are just a few crime thrillers I’ve loved lately. Hit me up with some of your suggestions of books I should read.