If you like cliff-hangers and intrigue, these are the novels to buy today.

Crime fiction constantly tops the bestseller lists. Why? According to The Guardian, it is because ‘as a genre, crime always promises suspense and action in a way that general and literary fiction does not’. Sure enough, our national thirst for thrillers shows no sign of abating.

Here are the titles to buy now as presents or stocking fillers for the crime lovers in your life – or just as a treat for yourself.

The Bullet That Missed By Richard Osman

Published in September, this is the third in Richard Osman’s wildly popular Thursday Murder Club series. Join the ageing amateur sleuths at their retirement village as they turn their attention to the mystery of two murders that were committed 10 years apart. Osman, formerly known as a tall and well-liked TV presenter, is now a chart-topping master of the adult crime genre. He says: ‘Fortunately, I’m really proud of the books. I can see why people are recommending them to friends and family.’ Buy it.

No Plan B By Lee Child And Andrew Child

Lee Child published his first Jack Reacher novel in 1997; the new one, No Plan B, is his 27th. He decided a few years back that he wanted to retire, so he asked his younger brother Andrew, also a writer, if he’d like to take over the ragingly successful franchise about a ‘US military police veteran turned itinerant crime-fighter’. Andrew agreed and since 2020, they’ve collaborated on each new Reacher novel with a view eventually to Andrew taking over. Fans will not be disappointed by their latest efforts. Buy it.

Desert Star By Michael Connelly

The US writer Michael Connelly has sold 80 million books worldwide and won almost every major award there is for crime writing. Here, in his 37th novel, his characters Ballard and Bosch return to investigate the unsolved, brutal murder of an entire family by a psychopath who is still at large. Buy it.

A Heart Full Of Headstones By Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin has been publishing John Rebus novels since 1987 so the maverick detective is a firm fixture in the annals of great crime writing. The Rebus series is translated into 22 languages and flies off the shelves in several continents. The latest one, A Heart Full of Headstones, is sure to follow the same path. The Scotsman says: ‘Rankin is always fluent, always engaging, always ready to throw a spanner in the works towards the end.’ Buy it.

Long Shadows By David Baldacci

American novelist David Baldacci has said: ‘When times are stressful and it looks like the bad is winning out over the good, along comes the genre of crime novels to put the balance back in life. People inherently don’t like folks who do bad to get away with it. In real life they do, all the time, because of a variety of factors. But in novels, evil is punished, and the good guys mostly win, after solving the puzzle. And all is right with the world. At least fictionally.’ Test out his theory on his latest novel, Long Shadows. Buy it.

The Man Who Died Twice By Richard Osman

The Man Who Died Twice is the second in Osmond’s Thursday Murder Club series. Published in September 2021, it is still on the bestseller lists. The only authors whose books sold as quickly as this one did are JK Rowling, Dan Brown and Harper Lee. Philippa Perry says of the book: ‘I absolutely loved it. Osman’s not only done it again, but he’s done it even better.’ Buy it.

Girl, Forgotten By Karin Slaughter

Award-winning US crime writer Karin Slaughter has written 21 novels. The most famous to date is Pieces of Her, which was adapted into a TV series for Netflix. With murder and mystery in small-town America, Girl, Forgotten promises much. The Daily Mail says: ‘Karin Slaughter’s [latest] compelling thriller is an unsettling tale of the cruelty that lurks just beneath the surface of everyday lives.’ Buy it.

How To Kill Your Family By Bella Mackie

‘I got weirdly obsessed with murder when I was very small, and for my ninth birthday, I got a subscription to a true crime murder magazine,’ recalls Bella Mackie, whose witty and knowing first novel sees a twentysomething girl plot to murder her rich and unfeeling father – and take out several of his relations along the way. The Observer says: ‘Ironic twists and caustic commentary on everything from liberal guilt to the consumerist con that is ‘self-care’ sharpen a debut novel.’ Buy it.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.