Featuring daring detectives, cunning crimes and ruthless murders, you're guaranteed to be gripped by these white-knuckle crime novels. For the best crime thriller books, both classic and contemporary, check out the list below.
When it comes to compelling crime writing, no-one can beat the master of mystery herself, Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious 'U.N. Owen'. Over dinner, a record starts to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. Tensions escalate as the survivors realise that the killer is not only among them, but is preparing to strike again, and again, and again...
Quick-witted but unambitious policeman Hamish Macbeth returns in this engrossing novel. He hears reports of a castle outside the village of Drim which some believe is haunted. Mysterious lights have been spotted at night, but Hamish expects it to be local youths gathering to take drugs. He decides to spend a night in the castle with his colleague, Charlie 'Clumsy' Carson - but when Charlie falls through the floor and Hamish finds the corpse of a boy in the cellar, things take a very sinister turn. Hamish's claims are dismissed as the words of a drunk, and he must take it upon himself to identify the body and its killer before the 'ghost' strikes again.
Just as Elizabeth II's coronation looms, wartime commander Colonel Cartwright is murdered. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright's possession, as well as a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto resolve to crack the case, but Edgar's investigation into a fortune-teller's death must be put on hold, and Max is busy rehearsing for his television debut. Could a small-town mesmerist in New York provide the key to the entire situation? Sergeant Emma Holmes is also on the case and finds a clue buried in the files of the Zabini case. She discovers there's a group hell-bent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day. Can the plot be foiled in time?
This dark novel follows Police Sergeant William South, who is desperate to avoid being part of murder investigations - because he is a murderer himself. His victim was a passionate birdwatcher and his only friend. Now, he's teamed up with newly-recruited Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi to crack the case of a body found violently beaten inside a wooden chest. Memories come flooding back for South, and when they track down a suspect - Donnie Fraser, a drifter from Northern Ireland - he's horrified to realise they knew each other in their youth. Could South's violent and aggressive past be exposed? This compelling book touches on themes of grief, guilt and humanity.
The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief, but it was true. Every dreadful word of it. Days later, another desperate escapee is found - and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned, then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed. Lose your life, or lose your mind. Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation into an unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors who hold the key to the case. And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die... This chilling debut novel is sure to enthral its readers.
This twisted thriller follows Laura and her boyfriend Kit, who witness a brutal attack in the shadows of night. They call the police shortly after the incident, but four lives change almost immediately. Fifteen years later, the couple are still living in fear. Laura believes she was right to speak out, but knows that no-one will ever establish the truth. She also knows that someone is hiding something - but she could never have guessed what it is.
The first novel in the Women's Murder Club series follows the only woman homicide inspector in San Francisco, Lindsay Boxer. Nothing she has seen prepares her for the horror of the honeymoon murders. A brutal maniac begins viciously slaughtering newly-wed couples on their wedding nights. Lindsay is determined to bring the murderer to justice, but her resolve is threatened by her own personal tragedy. She turns to Claire, a leading coroner, Cindy, a journalist, and Jill, a top attorney, for help with both her crises. Working together to crack cases and support each other, the Women's Murder Club is born...
This renowned novel begins with a snowdrift, which stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of year, but by the morning, it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment with a dozen stab wounds, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and aware that there's a killer roaming the carriages, it is up to detective Hercule Poirot to get to the bottom of this distressing case - before the killer can strike again.
Join the brilliant paraplegic forensic detective, Lincoln Rhyme, in this dark and riveting read. When an escalator gives way mid-chase, Amelia Sachs is forced to let a killer escape as she helps the man trapped in the depths. She teams up with Rhyme to investigate if the collapse was a freak accident or a calculated plan. Could they be on the trail of a technical whiz who knew exactly what to do to cause this fatal incident? This spine-chilling thriller is sure to keep you guessing.
This is the first book in the compelling Shetland series. It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour amongst the white. Ravens circle above the strangled body of Fran's teenage neighbour, Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance. The locals on the island stubbornly blame one man: loner and simpleton, Magnus Tait. But a veil of suspicion and fear envelops the entire community when the police insist on opening up the investigation. Catherine's neighbours nervously lock their doors as a killer lives in their midst...
Looking for more criminally good reads? Check out our full range of the best crime thriller books.