11 Best Crime Books From Novels to True-Crime

If you’re in the mood for a gripping crime story that will keep you turning pages well into the night, look no further. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best crime books that you absolutely must read right now. From classic whodunits to sensational true crime accounts, these books are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

11 Best Crime Books From Novels to True-Crime

Classic Crime Novels That Stand the Test of Time

If you’re a fan of the classic detective novel, you won’t want to miss these timeless crime stories. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of mystery or just looking for a compelling read, these books are sure to thrill.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

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First published in 1930, The Maltese Falcon is widely considered one of the greatest detective novels ever written. With its dark, shadowy streets and morally ambiguous characters, this book set the standard for the hardboiled detective novel and continues to inspire crime writers to this day.

In the novel, private detective Sam Spade is hired by a mysterious woman to track down a valuable statue known as the Maltese Falcon. But as he gets deeper into the case, he soon realizes that there are a lot of people willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the Falcon – and Spade may be in over his head.

The Maltese Falcon is also notable for its strong female characters, particularly Brigid O’Shaughnessy, who is both alluring and dangerous. Hammett’s portrayal of O’Shaughnessy was groundbreaking for its time, and has since become a staple of the genre.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep

If you’re looking for a classic noir detective story, look no further than The Big Sleep. Written by Raymond Chandler in 1939, this novel is known for its fast-paced plot, clever dialogue, and gritty atmosphere.

The novel follows private detective Philip Marlowe as he investigates a complicated case involving a wealthy family and a series of mysterious deaths. As Marlowe delves deeper into the case, he finds himself entangled in a web of lies, deceit, and danger.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Big Sleep is its exploration of the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. Chandler’s vivid descriptions of the city’s dark alleys and hidden corners give readers a sense of the city’s dangerous and alluring nature.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood (Vintage International)

Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is a true crime classic that reads like a novel. A gripping account of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, this book is widely considered to be Capote’s masterpiece.

The book follows the investigation of the brutal murders and the subsequent trial of the two men responsible. Capote interviewed the killers extensively and wove their stories together with a masterful, novelistic touch. The result is a haunting and unforgettable account of a horrific crime that still resonates today.

One of the most fascinating aspects of In Cold Blood is Capote’s exploration of the killers’ motivations. By delving into their pasts and examining their psychological states, he creates a nuanced and complex portrait of two men who committed a heinous crime.

Gripping Psychological Thrillers

If you’re in the mood for a twisty, turny psychological thriller, these books are sure to keep you guessing until the very end. From unreliable narrators to shocking plot twists, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is a runaway bestseller for good reason. This dark, twisty novel tells the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, a seemingly perfect couple whose marriage starts to unravel when Amy goes missing.

As Nick tries to find his wife, he becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. The book alternates between Nick’s narration in the present day and Amy’s diary entries from the past, making for a chilling and complex portrayal of a dysfunctional relationship.

As the novel races towards its shocking conclusion, you’ll find yourself questioning everything you thought you knew about love, marriage, and trust. Gone Girl is a masterful exploration of the darker side of human nature, and it will leave you breathless until the very end.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train: A Novel

If you loved Gone Girl, you’ll want to check out Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. This gripping thriller follows Rachel Watson, a lonely alcoholic who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees from the train window every day on her way to work.

But when Rachel sees something shocking one day, she gets drawn into the couple’s dark and twisted world. As she tries to unravel the mystery, she realizes that she may be more involved than she ever could have imagined.

Full of unreliable narrators and shocking twists, this book is sure to keep you guessing until the very end. The Girl on the Train is a thrilling ride that will leave you breathless.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient

Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, The Silent Patient, is a stunning psychological thriller that will leave you breathless. The novel follows Alicia Berenson, a celebrated artist who shot her husband five times and has not spoken a word since.

Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, becomes obsessed with unlocking Alicia’s secrets and helping her speak again. As he delves deeper into the case, he realizes that there may be more to Alicia’s story than meets the eye.

As the novel unfolds, you’ll be drawn into a web of secrets and lies that will keep you guessing until the very end. The Silent Patient is a haunting and unforgettable novel that will leave a lasting impression.

Compelling Detective Series

If you love a good detective story, these series are sure to keep you entertained for hours on end. With complex, multi-layered protagonists and intricate plots, these books will keep you hooked from the very first page.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

No 1. Ladies' Detective Agency

Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is a heartwarming and charming take on the detective novel. The series follows Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s first and only female private detective, as she solves a variety of cases both big and small.

From the bustling city of Gaborone to the sweeping plains of the Kalahari Desert, the series takes readers on a journey through the vibrant culture and traditions of Botswana. Along the way, readers will meet a cast of colorful characters, from Mma Makutsi, Precious’ loyal assistant, to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the kind-hearted owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

But while the series is full of heartwarming moments, it also tackles serious issues, from domestic abuse to political corruption. Through it all, Precious remains a beacon of hope and justice, using her keen intelligence and strong moral compass to solve even the most challenging cases.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

If you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling’s work, you won’t want to miss her detective series written under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The series follows private detective Cormoran Strike as he investigates a variety of cases in London and beyond.

With its vivid descriptions of London’s streets and landmarks, the series immerses readers in the gritty, bustling world of the city. But it’s Strike himself who truly steals the show, with his sharp wit, dry humor, and complex backstory.

As the series progresses, readers will be drawn deeper into Strike’s world, learning more about his troubled past and his complicated relationships with those around him. And with each new case, they’ll be kept on the edge of their seat, wondering if Strike will finally meet his match.

You can find this book here.

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

The Reversal (A Lincoln Lawyer Novel Book 3)

Michael Connelly’s The Reversal is a gripping and fast-paced crime novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The novel follows three main characters: Harry Bosch, a veteran LAPD detective; Mickey Haller, a defense attorney; and Maggie McPherson, a prosecutor.

As the three work together to build a case against a convicted child killer, they must navigate a web of lies, secrets, and political maneuvering. But as the trial heats up, they begin to realize that there may be more at stake than just bringing a criminal to justice.

With its intricate plot and complex characters, The Reversal is a masterclass in the crime genre. And as always, Connelly’s writing is sharp and evocative, transporting readers to the gritty streets of Los Angeles and immersing them in the world of law enforcement and criminal justice.

True Crime Stories That Will Keep You Up at Night

If you’re obsessed with true crime, these books are sure to satisfy your craving for all things dark and twisted. Featuring shocking crimes, relentless investigators, and complex motives, these books are as fascinating as they are disturbing. But what is it about true crime that captivates us so much?

Perhaps it’s the thrill of the chase, as investigators work tirelessly to bring killers to justice. Or maybe it’s the dark fascination with the human psyche, as we try to understand what drives someone to commit such heinous acts. Whatever the reason, true crime has become a cultural obsession, with podcasts, documentaries, and books devoted to exploring the darkest corners of the human experience.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a riveting account of the hunt for the Golden State Killer, one of the most infamous and elusive serial killers in American history. McNamara, a true crime writer and amateur sleuth, became obsessed with the case and devoted years of her life to tracking down the killer.

But tragically, she died before he was caught. This book, completed by McNamara’s collaborators after her death, is a haunting and powerful tribute to her work – and a chilling reminder of the darkness that lurks in our world. The book takes readers on a journey through the investigation, exploring the many twists and turns that made this case so difficult to solve. It also provides a glimpse into the mind of a killer, as McNamara delves into the psychology of the Golden State Killer and tries to understand what drove him to commit such horrific crimes.

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter is a classic true crime book that tells the story of the Manson Family murders. Written by the prosecutor who tried the case, this book is a gripping and authoritative account of one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century.

The book takes readers inside the twisted psyche of cult leader Charles Manson and his followers, and provides a chilling portrait of the counterculture of the 1960s. But it also delves into the legal system and the challenges of prosecuting such a high-profile case. Bugliosi’s attention to detail and his ability to weave together a complex narrative make this book a must-read for anyone interested in true crime.

Whether you’re a fan of classic detective novels, gripping psychological thrillers, or compelling true crime stories, these books are guaranteed to satisfy your appetite for all things dark and twisted. But be warned – once you start reading, you may find it hard to put them down. So why not curl up with one of these best crime books and let yourself be transported to a world of suspense and intrigue?


What are the highest-rated crime books?

The top-ranked crime books of all time are as follows: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Dead Simple by Peter James, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Next in Line by Jeffrey Archer.

Who are the best crime authors?

John Grisham, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ann Cleeves, Agatha Christie, Lee Child, and Patricia Highsmith are all fantastic crime authors.

What are the best crime films based on books?

Famous movies such as The Silence of the Lambs, Gone Girl, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Death on the Nile, and No Country For Old Men all have literary origins.

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