I know we’re seeing all the “Best Of 2018” lists and all the “What To Look Forward To In 2019” lists right now, but the year hasn’t finished yet and we have new mystery and thriller releases for December! So here are some mystery and thrillers to pair with your favorite warm drink and cozy reading spot while you await the New Year.
Inspector John Rebus is back in this gripping story of corruption that disrupts Rebus' retirement once more. When the skeletal remains of a private investigator who went missing more than a decade earlier are discovered, Rebus remembers the original case—surrounding a shady land deal—all too well. His old friend Siobhan Clarke is assigned to the case, but as she and her team investigate this cold case murder, Clarke soon learns about a different side of her mentor—the side full of secrets which he would prefer to keep in the past.
I’ve become a huge fan of Australian crime novels the last couple of years, and I can’t pass up a procedural one! The second in the series, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock has recently moved to Melbourne and is struggling to adjust—including with her new partner who is difficult, to say the least. What would the deaths of a homeless man and an upcoming action star have in common? Well murder for one, the rest Woodstock is going to have to figure out…
Here’s to ringing in the New Year with great mysteries!
Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.
Looking for the best crime fiction of the year? We’ve lined up our favorite award-winning mysteries and thrillers of 2018 just for you! If you haven’t read these yet, we recommend adding them to your 2019 reading lists, too.
2018 Edgar Award for Best Novel and 2018 Anthony Award for Best Novel
Best novel, indeed! Attica Locke is a master of unfolding a mystery that will keep you turning the page, creating characters that immediately come to life, and placing you in her settings where you’ll be fanning yourself from the heat even in the dead of winter. With her latest novel, we follow Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger who is technically on suspension. But his suspension isn’t going to keep him from investigating a small town after a black man from out of town and a local white woman end up dead. An exploration of race and justice in the U.S., set in East Texas, this is a crime novel not to be missed. Don’t believe me? It won Best Novel!
2018 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author
2018 Agatha Award for Best First Novel and 2018 Anthony Award Winner for Best First Novel
2018 Lamda Literary Award for Lesbian Mystery
2018 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel
I’ve become a bit obsessed with Australian crime novels the last few years, so any list that points me to more titles to read is always good. Especially, an award list. Set in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock takes the case of a former high school classmate who has been murdered. Time to unravel all the secrets! Why did Rosalind move back to her small-town? Why was she in a rundown apartment when her father is rich? And is this case going to be what drags Woodstock’s own secrets out into the light? Definitely time for a dun-dun-Dun!
2018 Audie Awards for Best Female Narrator and Young Adult
Enjoy these award-winning mystery and thrillers!
Ever since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became a worldwide phenomenon and Lisbeth Salander a household name, there has been a lot of talk about badass female characters in mystery novels and thrillers.
I was always struck that people found Lisbeth to be a new archetype in crime novels. She definitely stretched the boundaries for a lot of readers, but so did V.I. Warshawski in Sarah Paretsky’s masterful series, James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder Club, Amelia Sachs in Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme novels (and for me, Amelia has always been more interesting than Lincoln), Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles, Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell, and I could go on… and that’s just recent history!
For me, though, there is no one in the cannon who is more incredibly badass than FBI agent Clarice Starling in Thomas Harris’s seminal novel The Silence of the Lambs.
Those cell block meetings between Clarice and Lecter struck me then—and now—not for Lecter’s viciousness, but rather for Clarice’s ability to get what she needs. She keeps her focus on saving the Senator’s daughter who has been kidnapped by one of Lecter’s former patients. No matter how much Lecter tries to toy with her, Clarice gives as good as she gets and has the chops to decipher the cryptic clues Lecter gives her as rewards for allowing him to delve into her childhood. As Lecter said, “Quid pro quo.”
And while the FBI men race across the country, Clarice figures out where the killer actually is by putting together the clues that every cop and investigator had missed.
That’s what I call badass.
Bonus: The film version of The Silence of the Lambs is one of only three films to ever win all big five categories at the Academy Awards—Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The other two films to do so were It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Looking for more books with badass female leads?
Brian McLendon is the Vice President, Associate Publisher/Marketing Director of Grand Central Publishing and Twelve. When in high school, he discovered the works of Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Scott Turow, who remain three of his favorite authors to this day. Brian says that he has one of the best jobs in the world because he gets to work with some of the best mystery and thriller authors writing today.