The 100 Best Crime Novels and Thrillers since 1945

This is one of the 305 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

    This novel delves into the gripping tale of a cold case that resurfaces, challenging the skills of Copenhagen's Department Q, a division dedicated to solving long-forgotten crimes. The story centers around the mysterious disappearance of a promising young politician five years prior, believed to have perished in a tragic accident. However, new evidence suggests a much darker fate. The head of Department Q, Detective Carl Mørck, along with his assistant Assad, embarks on a relentless quest to uncover the truth. Their investigation leads them into a sinister world of captivity and desperation, where they must race against time to save a victim whose time is running out. This thrilling narrative combines suspenseful twists, complex characters, and the stark realities of crime's impact on human lives.

    The 9273rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren

    "The Man with the Golden Arm" is a novel that tells the story of Frankie Machine, a talented card dealer and drummer in post-World War II Chicago who becomes addicted to morphine. The narrative vividly portrays his descent into addiction and his struggles with poverty and crime, while also exploring themes of despair, corruption, and redemption. The book is notable for its gritty depiction of life in the urban underbelly and its nuanced characterizations.

    The 988th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Absolute Power by David Baldacci

    This thriller novel revolves around a professional burglar who witnesses a horrific crime involving the President of the United States during a break-in at a wealthy supporter's mansion. The incident sets off a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, as the burglar becomes the target of a cover-up led by the most powerful figures in the government. With the help of a disillusioned young attorney, he must navigate a dangerous path to expose the truth, challenging the very limits of authority and the concept of absolute power. The story combines elements of political intrigue, moral dilemmas, and suspense, making it a compelling read about corruption, betrayal, and the quest for justice.

    The 8283rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Deadly Percheron by John Franklin Bardin

    This novel is a captivating blend of mystery and psychological thriller, set in post-World War II New York. The story follows a psychiatrist who becomes embroiled in a bizarre case involving a patient who claims to be part of a complex scheme orchestrated by leprechauns. As the psychiatrist delves deeper, he finds himself caught in a web of murder, amnesia, and intrigue, challenging his perceptions of reality and sanity. The narrative takes unexpected twists, exploring themes of identity, madness, and the thin line between truth and illusion, making it a compelling read for fans of unconventional detective stories.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

    This gripping novel delves into the life of a young boy who embarks on a dangerous quest to bring closure to his family, tormented by the loss of his uncle, a victim of a notorious child serial killer. Living in a small English village, the boy decides to correspond with the imprisoned murderer, hoping to locate his uncle's body and heal his family's wounds. However, his actions unwittingly draw him into a chilling psychological game with the killer. The narrative masterfully explores themes of grief, redemption, and the desperate human need for closure, all while weaving a suspenseful tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

    The 9529th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dodgers by Bill Beverly

    This novel follows the journey of East, a young Los Angeles gang member, who is sent by his uncle along with three other teenagers on a mission to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The narrative delves into the cross-country trip that serves as a rite of passage for East, exploring themes of brotherhood, survival, and the quest for a life beyond the violent streets that shaped him. As the group navigates the unfamiliar terrains of rural America, their loyalties and their resolve are tested, leading to a climax that forces East to confront his past and future. The story is a poignant exploration of the complexities of growing up under the shadow of inevitable violence, and the possibility of redemption and change.

    The 10010th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal

    In this gripping sequel set in the bustling streets of Cairo, the protagonist, a private detective with a troubled past, finds himself embroiled in a complex case during the sweltering summer months. The investigation begins with what seems to be a straightforward task but quickly spirals into a dangerous journey through the city's underbelly, uncovering a web of corruption that reaches into the highest echelons of society. As religious tensions simmer and a mysterious figure from the detective's past reemerges, the case becomes a race against time to prevent a catastrophic event that could shake the city to its core. This novel masterfully blends suspense, richly drawn characters, and the vibrant, chaotic backdrop of Cairo to deliver a compelling tale of crime and redemption.

    The 9724th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Asphalt Jungle by W. R. Burnett

    This novel delves into the gritty underworld of urban crime, focusing on a meticulously planned jewelry heist that promises to be the ultimate payday for its diverse crew of small-time crooks and down-on-their-luck characters. However, as the operation unfolds, the group's carefully laid plans begin to unravel due to a mix of greed, betrayal, and the relentless pressure from law enforcement. Set against the backdrop of a bleak, post-war American city, the narrative explores themes of desperation, the elusive American dream, and the thin line between order and chaos in the pursuit of survival and redemption.

    The 2306th Greatest Book of All Time
  • August Heat by Andrea Camilleri

    In "August Heat," readers are plunged into the sweltering Sicilian summer, where Inspector Montalbano finds himself grappling with a particularly perplexing case amidst the oppressive heat. The story unfolds as Montalbano seeks refuge in a beach house to escape the scorching temperatures, only to stumble upon a perplexing mystery involving a murdered girl and a labyrinthine villa that hides more than just family secrets. As he delves deeper, the inspector must navigate a complex web of deceit, passion, and betrayal, testing his detective skills to their limits. This installment of the beloved series combines a gripping mystery with the rich, evocative setting of Sicily, showcasing the inspector's sharp wit and the local flavors of the island.

    The 9199th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell

    This book is a witty and intricately plotted murder mystery that follows the adventures of a group of young London barristers who become embroiled in a murder case while on holiday in Venice. The story is narrated by the erudite and humorous Professor Hilary Tamar, who, although never physically present, guides the reader through the twists and turns of the investigation. When one of the barristers is accused of murdering a man found dead in her bed, the group must navigate the complexities of Venetian law, art, and high society to uncover the truth. Combining elements of a classic whodunit with sharp wit and academic flair, the novel is both a homage to and a parody of traditional detective fiction.

    The 6654th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder

    This gripping Scandinavian crime novel unfolds in the small Swedish town of Backudden, where a brutal murder shatters the winter calm. A local mechanic is found shot in the head, his body lying in the snow, leading Inspector Christian Tell and his team on a complex investigation. As they delve deeper, the case intertwines with the personal lives of the townspeople, revealing hidden connections and secrets. The narrative masterfully combines a meticulous police procedural with the exploration of human relationships and the impact of the past on the present. With its chilling atmosphere and intricate plot, the novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats until its startling conclusion.

    The 9529th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Long Goodbye: A Novel by Raymond Chandler

    This novel follows the story of a hard-boiled detective in Los Angeles who becomes embroiled in a complex case when he befriends a drunk named Terry Lennox. After Lennox's wife is found dead, Lennox disappears to Mexico and the detective is left to unravel the mystery. The detective then takes on another case of a missing husband, which becomes intertwined with the Lennox case, leading to a web of deceit, corruption, and murder. The detective's pursuit of the truth leads him through a gritty and corrupt world, testing his resolve and morality.

    The 160th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Killing Floor by Lee Child

    In this gripping thriller, a former military policeman drifting through a small town is arrested for a murder he didn't commit. Upon his release, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy involving counterfeit money, a vast criminal enterprise, and the mysterious death of his brother. Determined to uncover the truth and exact revenge, he must use his skills to outwit the local police, FBI agents, and the mastermind behind the town's dark secrets, all while navigating a complex web of corruption and violence.

    The 1973rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

    In this classic murder mystery, a year after the apparent suicide of a beautiful heiress during a dinner party, the same guests are reconvened by the determined husband who believes his wife was murdered. As the evening unfolds, it becomes clear that each guest has a motive for murder. Through a series of clever twists and turns, the story delves into the complexities of human relationships and the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface of respectability. The narrative culminates in a surprising revelation, as the true murderer and their ingenious method are finally uncovered, showcasing the author's mastery in crafting suspenseful and engaging whodunits.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

    This novel details the story of a high-ranking Russian submarine captain who aims to defect to the United States without sparking a war between the two nations. The American government, upon receiving information about the captain's intentions, sends its best analyst to aid in the successful defection of the captain and his crew. The novel is a thrilling tale of espionage, filled with suspense and detailed technical descriptions of military technology and procedure.

    The 951st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

    This book is a gripping crime novel set on the remote Shetland Islands, where Detective Jimmy Perez returns home with his fiancée, only to be caught in a murder investigation when a renowned scientist is found dead. As a storm isolates the island from the outside world, Perez must navigate through a close-knit community full of secrets and lies to uncover the murderer. The harsh and beautiful landscape of the Shetlands, along with the complex relationships and tensions within the small community, provide a compelling backdrop to this mystery, testing Perez's detective skills and understanding of human nature to the limits.

    The 9529th Greatest Book of All Time
  • About The Author by John Colapinto

    This book presents a satirical and darkly comedic narrative centered around Cal Cunningham, an aspiring but unsuccessful writer who finds himself in a morally ambiguous and complex situation. After a freak accident leaves his more talented friend and roommate incapacitated, Cal seizes the opportunity to claim his friend's exceptional manuscript as his own. This decision catapults him into literary stardom, bringing fame, fortune, and a constant fear of exposure. The story delves into themes of identity, ambition, and the high price of stolen success, all while exploring the cutthroat world of publishing and the lengths to which people will go for recognition and acclaim.

    The 8604th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

    The novel is a political thriller that delves into the dark world of espionage and brainwashing during the Cold War. It follows the story of a former prisoner of war who, upon returning to the United States, is hailed as a war hero. Unbeknownst to him and the public, he has been programmed by a foreign power to be an unwitting assassin. His conditioning is triggered by a complex set of stimuli, and he is directed to carry out a high-profile political assassination that could alter the course of history. As the plot unfolds, a fellow soldier begins to unravel the conspiracy, racing against time to prevent the programmed soldier from executing his deadly mission, which is orchestrated by a Communist conspiracy aiming to seize control of the American government.

    The 1188th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

    In this gripping crime novel, the protagonist, a Los Angeles homicide detective, finds himself suspended from the LAPD and grappling with personal demons. Amidst this tumultuous period, he becomes obsessed with solving the decades-old murder of his own mother, an unsolved case that has haunted him since childhood. As he delves deeper into the investigation without the badge to shield him, he uncovers a web of corruption and secrets that challenges his understanding of justice and family. His journey is not just a quest for the truth, but also a path towards personal redemption and understanding.

    The 8179th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

    In "The Andromeda Strain," a team of scientists investigates a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that has wiped out an entire town. As they race against time to understand and contain the mysterious organism, they must navigate through various obstacles, including the threat of a potential outbreak and their own internal conflicts. With a blend of science, suspense, and government secrecy, this thrilling techno-thriller keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

    The 1312th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin

    In this classic British detective novel, a poet on holiday in Oxford stumbles upon a woman's body in a toyshop at night, only to find the shop has vanished by morning. Teaming up with an eccentric literature professor, the poet embarks on a whimsical and cerebral quest to solve the mystery, navigating a labyrinth of literary references, quirky characters, and puzzling clues. The story combines elements of farce and traditional whodunit, leading to a climactic chase and an unexpected twist, all set against the backdrop of the historic university town.

    The 1221st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

    The novel is a gripping espionage thriller set in the frigid, remote reaches of Siberia, where a secret scientific research facility, hidden deep within the vast and treacherous Kolyma region, draws the interest of Western intelligence. The protagonist, a brilliant and linguistically gifted Englishman, is recruited for an almost impossible mission: to infiltrate the top-secret installation, Kolymsky Heights, and uncover its mysteries. Disguised as a native Siberian truck driver, he embarks on a perilous journey through the icy wilderness, facing extreme weather, treacherous terrain, and the ever-present risk of discovery by Soviet authorities. His quest for knowledge becomes a harrowing adventure of survival and espionage, as he delves into the enigmatic purpose of the facility and attempts to relay its secrets to the outside world.

    The 5146th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Ipcress File by Len Deighton

    The novel is a cold war espionage thriller that follows an unnamed British intelligence agent who is tasked with investigating the mysterious disappearances of prominent scientists. As he delves deeper into the case, he finds himself entangled in a complex web of intrigue, betrayal, and brainwashing. Set against the backdrop of the 1960s, the protagonist navigates the shadowy corridors of international espionage, dealing with cryptic codes, high-stakes negotiations, and the ever-present threat of a global conflict. With its gritty realism and intricate plot, the story offers a gripping look into the world of spies and the psychological toll of undercover operations.

    The 1114th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ratking by Michael Dibdin

    In this gripping crime novel, readers are introduced to a complex and moody detective, Aurelio Zen, who is tasked with solving a high-profile kidnapping case in Italy. The victim, a wealthy industrialist, is held captive by a mysterious entity known as the Ratking, a term that symbolizes the entangled and corrupt nature of the Italian elite. As Zen delves deeper into the investigation, he navigates through a labyrinth of deceit, power struggles, and family secrets, challenging his own ethics and the corrupt system he is a part of. The novel combines a richly atmospheric setting with intricate plot twists, offering a dark and sophisticated exploration of crime, society, and human nature.

    The 3074th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Pledge by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

    This book is a gripping crime story that delves into the complexities of human nature and the limitations of the justice system. It follows the journey of a retired police detective who becomes obsessed with solving the murder of a young girl, promising the victim's parents to find the perpetrator. As he delves deeper into the investigation, his methods become increasingly unconventional, straying from standard police procedure and relying instead on a meticulously crafted plan to catch the killer. The narrative challenges the conventional detective story format, exploring themes of obsession, the unpredictability of life, and the moral ambiguities of justice, ultimately questioning whether the ends justify the means in the pursuit of truth.

    The 2306th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

    Set in a wealthy Italian monastery in the 14th century, the novel follows a Franciscan friar and his young apprentice as they investigate a series of mysterious deaths within the monastery. As they navigate the labyrinthine library and decipher cryptic manuscripts, they uncover a complex plot involving forbidden books, secret societies, and the Inquisition. The novel is a blend of historical fiction, mystery, and philosophical exploration, delving into themes of truth, knowledge, and the power of the written word.

    The 108th Greatest Book of All Time
  • L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy

    Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the novel follows three LAPD officers with different personalities and methods, who find themselves entwined in a web of corruption, sex, and murder. As they navigate the city's seedy underbelly, each officer faces his own moral dilemmas and personal demons, all while trying to solve a series of gruesome murders. The narrative explores themes of crime, power, and the thin line between right and wrong in a noir-style setting.

    The 2321st Greatest Book of All Time
  • City Of Veils by Zoë Ferraris

    In this gripping mystery set in Saudi Arabia, a young woman's brutal death becomes the center of an intense investigation that delves deep into the cultural and social fabric of the conservative Muslim society. The story intricately weaves the lives of several characters, including a female forensic scientist fighting against gender barriers, an American woman navigating her new life in a restrictive environment, and a devout Muslim detective torn between his duty and his faith. As they work together to solve the murder, they uncover a web of secrets and lies that challenge their beliefs and threaten to disrupt the delicate balance of their community. This novel not only offers a suspenseful crime story but also provides a nuanced exploration of the complexities of life in a society where tradition and modernity are in constant conflict.

    The 9465th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

    A British secret agent is tasked with bankrupting a French communist and paymaster of a Russian secret agency at a high-stakes card game in a casino. As he navigates the dangerous world of espionage, he encounters a beautiful woman who is being blackmailed by the enemy. The agent must outwit his opponents and survive numerous attempts on his life, all while grappling with his growing feelings for the woman.

    The 506th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    This thrilling novel revolves around the sudden disappearance of a woman on her fifth wedding anniversary. As the investigation unfolds, all evidence points to her husband as the prime suspect. However, the story takes a twist as the wife's diary entries reveal a darker side to their seemingly perfect marriage. The narrative alternates between the husband's present-day perspective and the wife's diary entries, leaving readers in suspense about what truly happened. The book explores themes of deceit, media influence, and the complexities of marriage.

    The 795th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

    "The Day of the Jackal" is a suspenseful thriller that revolves around an unnamed and highly skilled professional assassin who is hired by a French dissident paramilitary organization to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. The novel intricately details the meticulous preparations of the assassin, his many disguises, and his method of operation, while also depicting the desperate efforts of the French police to uncover his identity and prevent the assassination, leading to a tense cat-and-mouse chase across Europe.

    The 385th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by J. K Rowling

    This novel introduces readers to Cormoran Strike, a down-on-his-luck private detective living in London, who is barely scraping by. The story kicks off when Strike is hired to investigate the supposed suicide of a famous model, Lula Landry, who fell to her death from her apartment balcony. Despite the police ruling it a suicide, her brother believes foul play was involved and seeks Strike's help. As Strike delves deeper into the glamorous yet treacherous world of high fashion and celebrity, he uncovers a web of secrets and lies, revealing that Lula's life was far more complicated than it appeared. With the help of his determined and clever assistant, Robin Ellacott, Strike sets out to unravel the truth behind the model's death, leading to unexpected revelations and danger.

    The 9724th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin

    In "The Bellini Card," readers are transported to the 19th century, where the Ottoman Empire's intrigue and mystery set the stage for an enthralling historical mystery. The story follows the eunuch detective Yashim, who is tasked with a delicate mission by the Ottoman Sultan: to find a lost painting by the renowned Renaissance artist Bellini. The quest leads Yashim to Venice, a city as enigmatic and layered as the mystery he seeks to unravel. Amidst the city's canals and fading grandeur, Yashim navigates through a labyrinth of deceit, danger, and historical secrets, relying on his wit and resourcefulness. The novel masterfully blends historical facts with fiction, offering readers a vivid glimpse into the past while keeping them engrossed in the suspense and intrigue of the detective's journey.

    The 9359th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Third Man by Graham Greene

    Set in post-World War II Vienna, the story revolves around an American writer who arrives in the city to discover that his childhood friend, whom he had planned to meet, has recently died in a mysterious accident. As he delves deeper into the circumstances surrounding his friend's death, he uncovers a web of intrigue involving black market dealings, corrupt officials, and a complex moral landscape. The writer's investigation leads him to question loyalty, morality, and the ambiguous nature of friendship in a city divided by occupation and rife with espionage and criminality.

    The 1015th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Time To Kill by John Grisham

    In a racially charged courtroom drama set in the Deep South, a young, white attorney takes on a controversial case defending a black father who takes the law into his own hands after his ten-year-old daughter is brutally assaulted by two white men. As the lawyer struggles against personal threats, social outrage, and political pressure, the town is torn apart by violence and prejudice, forcing its inhabitants to confront their own beliefs about justice, equality, and retribution. The narrative weaves through themes of racial tension, legal ethics, and the quest for vengeance, culminating in a tense and morally complex trial that puts the entire community's values on trial.

    The 1276th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Little Face by Sophie Hannah

    This psychological thriller revolves around a young mother, Alice, who insists that the baby in her home is not her daughter, Florence, but a stranger's child. Her husband, David, dismisses her claims, suggesting she's suffering from postpartum depression or worse. As Alice fights to prove her sanity and uncover the truth, the narrative delves into dark family secrets, manipulative dynamics, and the complexities of maternal bonds. The tension escalates with each chapter, weaving a tale of suspense, doubt, and the desperate lengths one will go to protect their loved ones.

    The 9199th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Death Notice by Zhou Haohui

    This gripping novel unfolds in a Chinese city where a vigilante killer, who goes by the name of Eumenides, is on a mission to exact justice on those who have escaped the legal system. The killer announces their intentions by sending death notices to the victims before carrying out the executions, challenging the police with the cunning and complexity of each crime. As the investigation unfolds, led by an elite police task force, the team uncovers disturbing links to a decade-old case. The narrative weaves through a maze of suspense, delving into themes of justice, revenge, and the moral ambiguity of taking the law into one's own hands. The story keeps readers on the edge of their seats, blending intricate plotting with a deep exploration of the characters' pasts and motives.

    The 9791st Greatest Book of All Time
  • With A Bare Bodkin by Cyril Hare

    This novel is a classic British mystery set during World War II, revolving around the peculiar happenings in a government office relocated to a remote country house for the duration of the conflict. The protagonist, an amateur sleuth working in the office, becomes entangled in a web of intrigue when a series of cryptic messages and a suspicious suicide prompt an investigation. With a blend of wit and suspense, the story delves into the complexities of human behavior under the pressures of war, revealing secrets and solving the mystery with clever deduction and an understanding of the human psyche.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper

    In the unforgiving Australian outback, the death of a middle brother brings the surviving family members together to confront their complex relationships and secrets. The intense heat and isolation of the landscape serve as a backdrop to the unraveling mystery of the man's death, revealing deep-seated family tensions and hidden truths. As they delve into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, the family must navigate their personal grief and suspicions, ultimately uncovering shocking revelations that challenge their understanding of loyalty, love, and survival. The novel masterfully combines elements of a family drama with a suspenseful mystery, creating a compelling narrative that explores the depths of human emotions and the harsh realities of life in the remote Australian wilderness.

    The 10207th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Fatherland by Robert Harris

    Set in an alternate history where Nazi Germany won World War II, the novel follows a German detective who uncovers a vast conspiracy while investigating a murder. As he delves deeper into the case, he realizes that the government is hiding a monumental secret that could shake the very foundations of the Reich. His pursuit of the truth leads him into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the state's oppressive security forces, challenging his loyalty to the regime and forcing him to confront the moral complexities of a world dominated by fascism.

    The 1775th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

    In this gripping psychological thriller, a young FBI trainee is enlisted to interview an incarcerated and manipulative cannibalistic serial killer to gain insight into the mind of another active serial murderer. The trainee must navigate a complex game of cat and mouse, using her own wits and the killer's insights to understand and anticipate the criminal's moves before he strikes again. As she delves deeper into the investigation, she confronts not only the horrors of the criminal mind but also the darkness within her own past, leading to a tense and chilling confrontation.

    The 727th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

    In this psychological thriller, the story revolves around a troubled woman who becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. As she rides the train every day, she fantasizes about the seemingly perfect couple she sees from her window, until one day she witnesses something shocking in their backyard. Her decision to report it to the authorities leads her down a dark path of intrigue, as she struggles to piece together her fragmented memories and the tangled web of lies, deceit, and complicated relationships that surround the case. Her involvement becomes increasingly dangerous as she tries to prove not only what she saw, but also her own worth and sanity.

    The 3732nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • London Rules by Mick Herron

    In this gripping installment of a spy thriller series, the story revolves around a group of British intelligence agents who are part of a secret service department known as Slough House. These agents, often referred to as "slow horses" due to their career mishaps, find themselves in the midst of a complex web of terrorism, conspiracy, and political intrigue. As a series of seemingly random attacks unfold across London, the team must navigate the murky waters of espionage, uncovering secrets and facing personal demons along the way. With a blend of dark humor, sharp wit, and intense action, the narrative delves into the challenges of loyalty, the impact of past decisions, and the relentless pursuit of justice in a world filled with ambiguity and danger.

    The 10207th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen

    In this darkly comedic novel, readers are plunged into the chaos of Florida's tourist season, where a motley crew of characters, including unorthodox journalists and eccentric locals, find themselves entangled with a radical group intent on sabotaging the state's booming tourism industry. As bizarre incidents unfold, from alligator attacks to the kidnapping of a beloved local figure, the narrative weaves a satirical tale that explores the environmental and cultural impact of unchecked tourism. Through sharp wit and a gripping plot, the novel delivers a compelling critique of exploitation and corruption, all while entertaining with its absurdity and vivid portrayal of Florida's wild side.

    The 2941st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

    The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Tom Ripley, a young man struggling to make ends meet in New York City. When a wealthy shipbuilder mistakes Tom for a close friend of his son, Dickie Greenleaf, he offers him an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy to persuade his wayward son to return home. Instead, Tom becomes obsessed with the luxurious lifestyle of Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge, and goes to extreme lengths to make it his own, including identity theft and murder.

    The 154th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Cotton Comes To Harlem by Chester Himes

    This novel is a vibrant and gritty detective story set in the heart of Harlem, where two astute African American detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, find themselves embroiled in a complex case involving a bale of cotton stuffed with stolen money. As they navigate through the neighborhood's colorful characters and chaotic events, the detectives confront racial tensions, economic disparities, and the intricate dynamics of their community. The narrative combines humor, social commentary, and action, offering a vivid portrayal of Harlem in the 1960s and a critical look at issues of race and justice.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

    This novel introduces readers to a masterful criminal known only as "Ghostman," who lives off the grid and specializes in making problems disappear for the underworld's elite. After a casino heist in Atlantic City goes disastrously wrong, he is called upon by a former accomplice to fix the situation under a tight deadline. As he delves into the task, he must navigate through a maze of betrayals, federal agents, and the remnants of his own past mistakes. With a unique set of skills and a penchant for meticulous planning, the Ghostman races against time to avert disaster while confronting ghosts from his own mysterious past. This gripping thriller combines high stakes, a shadowy protagonist, and a deep dive into the intricacies of crime, making it a compelling read from start to finish.

    The 9724th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Smilla's Sense of Snow: A Novel by Peter Høeg

    The novel revolves around Smilla Jaspersen, a woman of Greenlandic-Inuit and Danish descent living in Copenhagen, who investigates the mysterious death of a small Inuit boy who falls from the roof of their apartment building. Despite the authorities ruling it as an accident, Smilla's understanding of the Arctic snow and ice, her intuition, and her relentless pursuit for truth lead her to uncover a much darker, dangerous conspiracy involving powerful corporations and government agencies.

    The 1044th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

    This novel is a mystery within a mystery, where an editor receives a manuscript for the latest book in a popular detective series, only to find the last chapter missing. As she delves deeper into the manuscript and the life of the author, she uncovers a real-life murder that mirrors the fictional ones. The narrative ingeniously intertwines the world of the manuscript with the reality of the editor, blending classic whodunit elements with contemporary intrigue. This layered narrative challenges the reader to solve not just the fictional crime, but also the mystery surrounding the author's death, making it a compelling read for fans of clever, puzzle-like mysteries.

    The 10010th Greatest Book of All Time
  • In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

    This classic crime novel delves into the dark and twisted mind of a serial killer masquerading as a war hero in post-World War II Los Angeles. Through a chilling first-person narrative, the story explores themes of deception, the aftermath of war, and the psychology of murder. The protagonist's outward charm and gallantry hide his true nature, leading to a suspenseful and psychological journey as his facade begins to crumble. Set against the backdrop of a city struggling to recover from war, the novel is a gripping exploration of loneliness, obsession, and the capacity for violence that lies within.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • No Way Out by Cara Hunter

    This gripping novel follows the investigation into a devastating house fire in Oxford, which claims the lives of two children and leaves their mother fighting for her life. As detectives dig deeper, they uncover a tangled web of secrets and lies, revealing that the tragedy is far from a simple accident. The narrative, rich with suspense and unexpected twists, explores themes of family, deception, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their secrets. The detective leading the case must navigate through the misleading clues and pressure from the community to solve the mystery, uncovering shocking truths that challenge the boundaries of justice and morality.

    The 10290th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indriðason

    In this gripping installment of a popular Nordic noir series, the protagonist, a deeply introspective detective, embarks on a personal journey that intertwines with an official investigation into a decades-old case. Set against the haunting and desolate backdrop of Iceland's landscape, the detective delves into the mysterious disappearance of a woman during a snowstorm, a case that has remained unsolved and has personal significance to him. As he uncovers long-buried secrets and confronts his own demons, the narrative explores themes of loss, redemption, and the inescapable nature of the past. The detective's quest for truth leads to a poignant and unexpected resolution, making this story a compelling blend of human emotion and suspenseful mystery.

    The 9529th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Unnatural Causes by PD James

    This gripping novel delves into the mysterious death of a prominent crime novelist found lifeless in his peaceful study. As detectives embark on a complex investigation, they uncover a web of personal and professional rivalries, secrets, and lies. Set against the backdrop of the English countryside, the narrative masterfully intertwines suspense with deep psychological insights, exploring themes of ambition, jealousy, and the nature of truth. The detective's methodical approach to solving the crime reveals not just the murderer, but also the intricate dynamics of human relationships and the dark undercurrents of the literary world.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun by Sebastien Japrisot

    This novel is a thrilling tale of mystery and suspense that follows the journey of a young secretary who, on a whim, decides to take her boss's car for a drive to the sea. What starts as an impulsive trip quickly spirals into a nightmarish adventure as she encounters a series of bizarre and frightening events, including being accused of a crime she has no memory of committing. With its intricate plot, the story masterfully blends elements of amnesia, paranoia, and deception, leading the protagonist and the reader through a labyrinth of twists and turns, all while questioning the reliability of memory and perception.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson

    This novel transports readers to the remote Icelandic town of Siglufjörður, where Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is faced with her final case before retirement. A young Russian woman's body is found washed ashore, and despite the initial ruling of suicide, Hulda's instincts tell her there's more to the story. As she delves deeper, she uncovers a web of secrets and lies, challenging her own sense of justice and morality. Set against the backdrop of Iceland's stark landscape, the story masterfully intertwines suspense with the complexities of human nature, revealing the darkness that can lie beneath the surface of seemingly tranquil lives.

    The 9941st Greatest Book of All Time
  • March Violets by Philip Kerr

    Set in 1936 Berlin, the narrative follows a hard-boiled private investigator navigating the treacherous terrain of Nazi Germany. Tasked with solving a high-profile case involving the theft of a diamond necklace and the murder of a wealthy industrialist's daughter and her husband, the detective delves into a world where political intrigue, corruption, and the rising tide of fascism intersect. As he uncovers more about the case, he finds himself entangled in the dangerous machinations of the Third Reich, revealing a sinister backdrop of power, betrayal, and moral ambiguity. This gripping tale masterfully combines historical detail with the classic elements of noir fiction, presenting a vivid portrayal of a society on the brink of moral collapse.

    The 7116th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino

    "Out" by Natsuo Kirino is a gripping and dark psychological thriller set in Tokyo. The story revolves around four women who work the night shift at a factory and become entangled in a web of murder and cover-up. As they struggle to dispose of a dead body, their lives quickly spiral out of control, revealing their hidden desires and the depths they are willing to go to protect themselves. With its intense plot and exploration of societal pressures and gender dynamics, "Out" is a compelling and thought-provoking read.

    The 3635th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

    This novel is a gripping Southern Gothic mystery set in the 1930s East Texas. It follows the story of a young boy, Harry Crane, who stumbles upon the mutilated body of a black woman in the Bottoms, an area near the Sabine River. As more victims emerge, the community is gripped by fear and suspicion, with racial tensions running high. Harry and his father, Jacob, a moral and just man, find themselves at the heart of the investigation, confronting not only the brutality of a serial killer but also the harsh realities of racism and injustice in their small town. The narrative weaves a tale of suspense, family bonds, and the loss of innocence, against a backdrop of a deeply segregated society.

    The 8536th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

    A disgraced journalist is hired by a wealthy industrialist to solve a forty-year-old mystery involving the disappearance of his niece. He is assisted in his investigation by a brilliant but deeply troubled hacker. As they delve deeper into the mystery, they uncover a twisted web of family secrets, corruption, and murder. The story is a dark and gripping exploration of Swedish society, as well as a thrilling mystery.

    The 948th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré

    This novel is a fascinating tale of espionage during the Cold War, centered around a British intelligence officer who is seemingly ready to end his spy career. However, he is given one last mission before his retirement: to bring down the head of East German Intelligence. As he navigates the dangerous world of spies and double agents, he is forced to confront his own past and the sacrifices he has made for his country. The story is a complex exploration of morality, loyalty, and the personal cost of political conflict.

    The 152nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

    This gripping novel follows the harrowing journey of a woman named Alex, who is kidnapped and imprisoned in a wooden cage by an unknown assailant. The story unfolds through a dual perspective, intertwining Alex's desperate fight for survival with the relentless pursuit of her captor by Commandant Camille Verhoeven, a diminutive but brilliant detective. As Verhoeven delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers layers of complexity surrounding Alex's past, revealing that she is no ordinary victim. The narrative escalates into a cat-and-mouse game filled with twists and turns, challenging the reader's perceptions of victimhood and vengeance, and culminating in a shocking and unforgettable climax.

    The 9601st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Acqua Alta by Donna Leon

    In this gripping installment of a celebrated mystery series set in Venice, the protagonist, a thoughtful and diligent detective, finds himself embroiled in a complex case that intertwines a brutal attack on a famous opera singer with a sinister burglary at a local museum. As the detective delves deeper into the investigation, navigating the atmospheric and flood-prone streets of Venice, he uncovers a web of deceit, corruption, and long-buried secrets. With the city's unique and treacherous acqua alta (high water) providing both a backdrop and a clue, the detective must use all his skills and local knowledge to solve the case before the rising waters erase all traces of the perpetrator's crimes.

    The 8283rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

    A Miami loan shark travels to Los Angeles to collect a debt from a low-budget movie producer, only to get entangled in the Hollywood scene. Through a series of events, he ends up pitching a movie idea based on his own life as a mobster. This comedic crime novel explores the similarities between the film industry and organized crime, while offering a satirical look at the behind-the-scenes workings of Hollywood.

    The 1103rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis

    This gritty crime novel follows the story of a tough and morally complex protagonist who returns to his hometown to investigate the mysterious death of his brother. Set against the backdrop of the grim and violent underworld of the 1960s northern England, the narrative delves deep into themes of revenge, loyalty, and the inescapable pull of one's past. As the protagonist navigates through a maze of gangland politics and family secrets, he is forced to confront his own dark history and the realization that escaping one's origins is not as simple as it seems. The book is a compelling exploration of the criminal landscape and the bonds of blood, set to the rhythm of sharp dialogue and vivid, noirish atmosphere.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Company by Robert Littell

    This espionage novel delves into the intricate and shadowy world of the CIA, spanning from the early days of the Cold War in the late 1940s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Through the eyes of both fictional and historical figures, the narrative weaves a complex tapestry of loyalty, betrayal, and the moral ambiguities of intelligence work. The story follows the lives, careers, and personal sacrifices of CIA operatives as they engage in covert operations, counterintelligence, and the struggle against the KGB. The novel offers a gripping and detailed exploration of the global chess game between the United States and the Soviet Union, highlighting the personal and political costs of espionage.

    The 8708th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

    This gripping novel is set in 1980s Houston, Texas, and follows Jay Porter, a struggling African American lawyer who becomes embroiled in a complex murder investigation after he hears a woman scream and subsequently rescues her from the bayou. As he delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of corruption and deceit that stretches from the oil industry to the highest levels of political power. The protagonist's past as a civil rights activist and his determination to seek justice in a society rife with racial tension add layers of depth to this thrilling narrative, making it not just a compelling mystery but also a poignant exploration of race, power, and the quest for redemption.

    The 9465th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

    In this gripping espionage thriller, a man is found adrift in the Mediterranean Sea with no memory of his identity but with an array of extraordinary skills that suggest a dangerous past. As he embarks on a desperate quest to discover his true identity, he learns that he is known as Jason Bourne and is pursued by assassins and government agents. Tangled in a web of covert operations, Bourne must outmaneuver his enemies while piecing together fragments of his past, which lead him to confront a global conspiracy and the realization that he was once a highly skilled operative.

    The 1553rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Zebra Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald

    In this gripping detective novel, the protagonist, a seasoned private investigator, is hired by a concerned father to delve into the background of his daughter's enigmatic fiancé, fearing the man's intentions are less than honorable. The investigation swiftly spirals from a simple background check into a complex web of deceit, murder, and long-buried family secrets. Set against the vivid backdrop of Southern California in the 1960s, the detective's journey leads him through a labyrinth of intriguing characters and twisted motives, where the truth is as elusive and shifting as the patterns on a zebra-striped hearse. This classic tale of suspense and intrigue masterfully combines psychological depth with a meticulously plotted mystery, keeping readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

    In this thrilling crime novel, an elderly farmer and his wife are brutally murdered and the only clue is the wife's dying word: "foreign." This sets off a series of events that involves a dedicated detective who must solve the crime while dealing with his own personal problems. The investigation becomes even more complex when the press catches wind of the dying word, sparking a wave of xenophobia in the community. The detective must navigate through the fear and prejudice to find the truth and bring the killers to justice.

    The 1295th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Weight Of Blood by Laura McHugh

    This gripping novel delves into the dark underbelly of a small town, where family secrets and the weight of heritage play a pivotal role. The story centers around a young woman whose investigation into her friend's disappearance unravels a tangled web of lies, revealing unsettling truths about her own family's past. As she digs deeper, the boundaries between loyalty and justice, kinship and crime blur, leading her to confront the harrowing implications of the blood ties that bind her. Set against a backdrop of haunting Ozark landscapes, this narrative masterfully explores the complexities of identity, the deep scars of trauma, and the powerful human yearning for belonging and redemption.

    The 9791st Greatest Book of All Time
  • 13 Hours by Deon Meyer

    This book is a gripping thriller set in South Africa, revolving around a harrowing day in the life of a private security consultant, Benny Griessel. Tasked with solving the murder of an American backpacker while another foreign girl is on the run for her life, Griessel's investigation unfolds over thirteen intense hours. As the clock ticks, the narrative weaves through the complexities of post-apartheid South Africa, touching on issues of race, politics, and the personal demons that the protagonist battles. The story is a fast-paced, action-packed journey through the streets of Cape Town, filled with suspense, twists, and a deep dive into the heart of its characters.

    The 9359th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Beast In View by Margaret Millar

    "Beast In View" by Margaret Millar is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the story of Helen Clarvoe, a troubled woman who becomes entangled in a web of deception and manipulation. When Helen receives a series of disturbing phone calls from an unknown caller, she becomes convinced that someone is out to destroy her life. As she desperately tries to uncover the identity of her tormentor, Helen finds herself questioning her own sanity and unraveling dark secrets from her past. With its intricate plot and complex characters, this suspenseful novel explores themes of obsession, betrayal, and the fragile nature of the human mind.

    The 1081st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Sanctum by Denise Mina

    This gripping novel delves into the dark and complex world of a young psychiatrist who becomes entangled in a web of mystery and danger when one of his patients, an artist with a troubled past, is suspected of murder. As he navigates the murky waters of mental illness, crime, and personal demons, the psychiatrist is forced to confront his own ethical boundaries and the shadowy figures that inhabit the sanctum of the human mind. Set against a backdrop of suspense and psychological intrigue, the story explores the thin lines between sanity and madness, guilt and innocence, drawing readers into a compelling narrative that challenges perceptions and keeps them guessing until the very end.

    The 8708th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier

    In this gripping psychological thriller, a high-stakes investigation unfolds in the French Pyrenees when the decapitated body of a horse is discovered hanging at the top of a cable car station. Commandant Martin Servaz, a seasoned but weary detective, is called in to tackle the case, which soon escalates as a serial killer with a disturbingly clinical approach to murder emerges. The trail leads Servaz to a nearby high-security psychiatric asylum, housing some of the country's most dangerous criminals, and forces him to confront his own demons. As the body count rises, the detective must unravel a complex web of clues that challenges his notions of justice and sanity in a race against time to stop the killer.

    The 9601st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

    Set in 1940s Los Angeles, the novel follows an African American war veteran who, after losing his job, becomes a private investigator to pay his mortgage. He is hired to find a white woman known to frequent African American jazz clubs, and in the process, he gets entangled in a web of political scandal and corruption. The story explores themes of race, class, and the complex social dynamics of the time.

    The 1216th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Smoke And Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

    In "Smoke And Ashes," readers are transported to 1920s Calcutta, where Captain Sam Wyndham, a British police detective, finds himself embroiled in a complex investigation amidst the political turmoil of India's struggle for independence. Battling his personal demons and opium addiction, Wyndham discovers a body with a gruesome wound, leading him into the dark underbelly of the city and a conspiracy that threatens not just his life but the very fabric of British rule in India. As he navigates through a maze of lies, betrayals, and dangerous ideologies, Wyndham must rely on his sharp instincts and the help of his loyal friends to solve the case and prevent chaos from engulfing the city. This gripping narrative masterfully combines historical detail with a compelling mystery, exploring themes of colonialism, justice, and redemption.

    The 10207th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

    This gripping thriller follows a determined detective as he investigates a series of chilling disappearances that occur on the first snowfall of each year. The only clue linking the cases is a snowman left at each scene, serving as a sinister signature from the perpetrator. As the detective delves deeper into the mystery, he uncovers a pattern of crime that leads him into a dark and complex web of secrets. The narrative builds with suspense, leading to a confrontation with a cunning and ruthless killer. Set against a bleak, wintry landscape, the story explores themes of obsession, loss, and the nature of evil, keeping readers on the edge of their seats until its shocking conclusion.

    The 9273rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Hardball by Sara Paretsky

    In this gripping detective novel, a tenacious female private investigator delves into the murky depths of Chicago's political landscape to solve the murder of a reporter. As she navigates the treacherous waters of corruption, organized crime, and the city's power elite, she uncovers a complex web of deceit that threatens to engulf her. With her sharp wit and unwavering determination, she confronts the dangerous forces at play, risking her own life to bring justice to the forefront in a world where playing hardball can have deadly consequences.

    The 6403rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Metzger's Dog by Thomas Perry

    The novel revolves around a cunning criminal named Chinese Gordon, who, along with his eclectic team, inadvertently stumbles upon a classified CIA document while planning a heist. The document contains information that could compromise national security, and as a result, they find themselves pursued by the government. The group, along with an intelligent stray dog they've adopted, uses their wits and unconventional tactics to outmaneuver the agents on their tail. The story combines elements of crime, espionage, and humor, as the band of thieves navigates the dangerous game of cat and mouse with the CIA, raising questions about the competence and moral integrity of government agencies.

    The 3229th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo

    The book revolves around the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone. When the don's youngest son, Michael, reluctantly joins the mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay, he is drawn deeper into the family business. The narrative follows the Corleone family's struggle to hold onto power in a rapidly changing world, as well as Michael's transformation from reluctant family outsider to ruthless mafia boss.

    The 271st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Hide And Seek by Ian Rankin

    In "Hide And Seek," readers are plunged into the dark, gritty streets of Edinburgh, where Detective John Rebus finds himself embroiled in a perplexing case. The discovery of a drug addict's corpse in a squat, posed in a hideously symbolic manner, draws Rebus into the murky depths of the city's drug trade and the high society that profits from it. As he delves deeper, navigating through a labyrinth of corruption, betrayal, and criminal intrigue, Rebus is forced to confront not only the demons lurking within the city’s underbelly but also those within himself. This gripping narrative masterfully combines a complex mystery with a profound exploration of the human condition, showcasing the detective's relentless pursuit of justice amidst the chaos.

    The 7828th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo

    This gripping novel unfolds in the misty and myth-shrouded Baztan Valley of Navarre, Spain, where a detective returns to her hometown to investigate a series of eerie murders. The victims, teenage girls, are found in a state that suggests ritualistic killings, drawing the detective into a complex web that ties the present crimes to her own troubled past. As she delves deeper, local superstitions and family secrets emerge, challenging her rational beliefs and forcing her to confront the possibility that the answers she seeks might be as intangible as the mythical Basajaun, the invisible guardian of the forest. The story masterfully blends elements of crime, folklore, and psychological thriller, creating a suspenseful narrative that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

    The 9724th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Keys To The Street by Ruth Rendell

    This novel weaves a suspenseful tale set against the backdrop of London's Regent's Park, where the lives of the affluent and the homeless intersect with deadly consequences. The story follows Mary Jago, who donates bone marrow to save the life of a stranger, thereby escaping her abusive relationship. However, her act of kindness inadvertently draws her into a web of murder, deceit, and danger. As a series of brutal murders terrorize the park's inhabitants, Mary finds herself deeply entangled in a mystery that forces her to confront her own fears and secrets. The narrative masterfully explores themes of social inequality, redemption, and the complex nature of human relationships, all while keeping the reader on the edge of their seat with its gripping suspense and unexpected twists.

    The 8283rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Heartstone by CJ Sansom

    Set in the tumultuous period of Tudor England, the narrative follows hunchbacked lawyer-detective Matthew Shardlake as he embarks on a new case that leads him into the heart of a conspiracy and danger. Tasked with investigating a series of legal disputes for the Queen's cousin, Shardlake's journey takes him to Portsmouth, where the English fleet is preparing for a momentous battle against the French. Amidst the backdrop of impending war, Shardlake uncovers a series of mysteries and dark secrets that threaten not only his life but also the stability of the realm. Combining rich historical detail with suspenseful mystery, the story weaves together political intrigue, betrayal, and courage, showcasing the complexities of justice and loyalty in a time of national crisis.

    The 9529th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Last Seen In Massilia by Steven Saylor

    In this gripping installment of a historical mystery series set in Ancient Rome, the protagonist, a Roman detective, finds himself in the besieged city of Massilia (modern-day Marseille) during the height of Caesar's Civil War. Tasked with solving the mysterious disappearance of a woman amid the chaos of the siege, he navigates through a city teetering on the brink of destruction, uncovering secrets and confronting betrayals. The detective's journey is not just a quest for truth but also a deep dive into the complexities of loyalty, power, and the human spirit in times of crisis. Through vivid historical detail and intricate plotting, the narrative weaves a compelling tale of intrigue, resilience, and survival.

    The 8536th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Harry’s Game by Gerald Seymour

    This gripping thriller is set against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where a British Cabinet minister is assassinated by the IRA. In response, the British government dispatches an undercover agent, Harry, to infiltrate the IRA and identify the assassin. As Harry delves deeper into the dangerous world of political violence and espionage, he finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, where trust is scarce and his true identity is constantly at risk of being uncovered. The novel explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the moral complexities of warfare, delivering a tense and compelling narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

    The 6427th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Book Of Scars by William Shaw

    This gripping novel is set in the late 1960s, weaving together a tale of murder, family secrets, and the tumultuous social changes of the era. The story follows a determined detective who delves into a cold case from five years prior, involving the brutal murder of a young woman on a farm. As the investigation unfolds, it reveals connections to London's criminal underworld and the Nigerian Civil War, exposing a complex web of racial tensions, revenge, and the long shadows cast by past atrocities. The narrative masterfully combines historical detail with suspenseful storytelling, exploring themes of justice, memory, and the indelible marks of violence.

    The 9941st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Silence Of The Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

    This gripping novel delves into the mysterious disappearance of a luxury yacht that arrives in Reykjavik harbor with no one on board. The story intertwines the investigation led by lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir with the harrowing journey of the missing family at sea, revealing a chilling tale of secrets, survival, and sinister forces at play. As Thóra digs deeper into the yacht's voyage and the family's past, she uncovers a web of deceit that challenges her understanding of justice and morality, leading to a suspenseful and haunting conclusion.

    The 9670th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Maigret And The Headless Corpse by Georges Simenon

    In this gripping detective novel, the discovery of a headless corpse in a Parisian canal sets Inspector Maigret on a complex investigation. Without a head to identify the victim, Maigret must rely on his intuition and methodical approach to uncover the identity of the deceased and the motive behind the murder. His investigation leads him through the bistros and back alleys of Paris, drawing him into the lives of the colorful characters who inhabit them. As Maigret delves deeper, he unravels a web of deceit and secrets, challenging his perceptions of guilt and innocence. The story is a masterful blend of suspense and psychological insight, showcasing the detective's relentless pursuit of truth.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Point Blank by Richard Stark

    This novel follows the relentless quest of a professional criminal who, after being double-crossed and left for dead by his partner following a heist, embarks on a path of revenge. Determined to reclaim his share of the stolen money, he navigates through a complex criminal underworld, facing off against both the syndicate that now possesses his money and the betrayal that set him on this path. His journey is marked by meticulous planning, unwavering determination, and a cold, calculated approach to achieving his goal, showcasing the protagonist's unique blend of moral ambiguity and relentless pursuit of justice on his own terms.

    The 6304th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    A group of six classics students at a small, elite Vermont college, led by a charismatic professor, become entranced by the study of Greek culture and decide to recreate a Dionysian ritual, which ends in a tragic accident. The group, bound by their shared secret, begins to unravel as paranoia and guilt take hold. The novel explores themes of beauty and terror, the allure of the esoteric, and the destructive consequences of obsession.

    The 190th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

    This novel is a gripping historical thriller set in 1930s London, revolving around the mysterious happenings in Bleeding Heart Square. The story follows Lydia Langstone as she flees an abusive marriage and seeks refuge in the square, only to find herself entangled in a dark mystery involving the disappearance of Miss Penhow, the previous occupant of her new home. As Lydia delves deeper, she allies with Rory Wentwood, who is searching for the truth about Miss Penhow for his own reasons. Together, they navigate a web of deception, danger, and betrayal, uncovering secrets that some would kill to keep hidden. The narrative masterfully combines elements of suspense, historical fiction, and romance, creating a rich and atmospheric tale of intrigue and resilience.

    The 9359th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

    The book revolves around a solicitor named Robert Blair who is called upon to defend two women, Marion Sharpe and her mother, accused of kidnapping a teenage girl named Betty Kane. Betty claims she was held captive and forced to work as a servant at the Sharpes' home, The Franchise. However, as Blair delves deeper into the case, he uncovers inconsistencies in Betty's story and begins to suspect that there is more to the accusation than meets the eye. Set in postwar England, the narrative weaves through twists and turns as Blair seeks to prove the innocence of the Sharpes in a society eager to find scandal and guilt.

    The 1536th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

    "The Killer Inside Me" is a chilling psychological thriller that delves into the mind of a sociopathic sheriff in a small Texas town. The seemingly respectable lawman hides a dark secret, as he is also a cold-blooded killer. The narrative unfolds from his perspective, revealing his disturbing thought processes and his ability to manipulate those around him, all while maintaining his façade of respectability. The book explores themes of duality, deception, and the depths of human depravity.

    The 1748th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

    A gripping legal thriller, this novel follows the story of a chief deputy prosecutor who finds himself accused of the brutal murder of his colleague, with whom he had a passionate extramarital affair. As the evidence against him mounts, he struggles to prove his innocence while uncovering corruption and deceit within the very system he once served. The story is a riveting exploration of the complexities of the legal system, human nature, and the concept of presumed innocence.

    The 996th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Ghost Riders Of Ordebec by Fred Vargas

    In this intriguing mystery novel, a detective is drawn into a small French town's ancient legend when a woman seeks his help to clear her son's name from a murder accusation. The town of Ordebec is haunted by the story of the Ghost Riders, spectral figures who are said to appear and take away the wicked. As the detective delves deeper into the investigation, he finds himself entangled in a web of local superstitions, family secrets, and a series of puzzling events that challenge his rational beliefs. The narrative masterfully blends elements of folklore and crime investigation, leading to a suspenseful journey that questions the boundaries between myth and reality.

    The 9601st Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine

    In this psychological thriller, a group of young people's idyllic summer spent at a secluded English country house takes a dark turn when they discover a baby's body buried in the garden. Years later, the consequences of that summer resurface as the makeshift family's secrets begin to unravel, threatening to expose the truth behind the infant's death. The narrative weaves between past and present, exploring themes of guilt, memory, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their seemingly perfect lives from the stains of past sins.

    The 1302nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Collini Case by Ferdinand Von Schirach

    This gripping legal thriller delves into the complexities of the German legal system through the lens of a seemingly inexplicable murder case. When an elderly industrialist is found brutally murdered, the suspect, an Italian man with no apparent motive, confesses to the crime, sparking a sensational trial. The young defense attorney assigned to the case finds himself embroiled in a deep-seated legal conundrum that challenges his beliefs about justice and morality. As he delves deeper, he uncovers a dark chapter of German history that reveals the true motive behind the murder, forcing him to confront uncomfortable truths about the past and its impact on the present. This novel is a compelling exploration of guilt, redemption, and the quest for justice in the shadow of historical atrocities.

    The 9601st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Border by Don Winslow

    This gripping novel concludes a powerful trilogy that delves into the complex and brutal world of drug cartels and the war on drugs. It follows the story of Art Keller, a determined DEA agent who has spent decades in the relentless battle against the Mexican drug cartels. As Keller ascends to the top of the DEA, he faces not only the ruthless kingpins of the drug trade but also corruption within his own ranks and the moral ambiguities of his war. Set against the backdrop of contemporary political and social issues, the narrative weaves together a tapestry of characters and stories, from the cartel bosses to the addicts, the politicians to the hitmen, exploring the far-reaching impact of the drug war on both sides of the border.

    The 10290th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

    In this gripping crime thriller, a former detective turned press officer is haunted by a cold case from 14 years ago, the unsolved abduction of a young girl. As he navigates the complex world of police bureaucracy and media pressure, he becomes entangled in a web of secrets and corruption that threatens to unravel his career and personal life. With meticulous attention to detail and a deep exploration of the human psyche, this novel delves into the complexities of crime, guilt, and the lengths one will go to protect their reputation.

    The 6063rd Greatest Book of All Time
About this list

The Times, 100 Books

The Times team pick their favourite crime and spy novels, from Agatha Christie and Georges Simenon to today’s edgy Scandi and Japanese masters.

Contributors: Francesca Angelini, John Carey, Max Freeman-Mills, Josh Glancy, Andrew Holgate, Alan Hunter, Peter Kemp, Claire Lowdon, David Mills, John Dugdale, Patricia Nicol, Nick Rennison, Karen Robinson, Mika Ross-Southall, Joan Smith, Johanna Thomas-Corr

Added about 2 months ago.

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