When I was a little girl, my favorite board game was Clue. I loved trying to figure out whodunnit — was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick? Or was it Miss Scarlet in the kitchen with the rope? With all the possibilities of characters, settings, and weapons, my curiosity never ran dry.
Maybe that’s where my love of the mystery genre first began … I took that Clue mindset and carried it over to my book-reading! And can you blame me? Who doesn’t love a good mystery novel?
I’ve logged a lot of books in my reading journal, by some of the best mystery novelists around: Agatha Christie, Gillian Flynn, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, and Mary Higgins Clark to name a few, and no matter how many times I think I have the mystery solved, I get to the end and am completely surprised at the actual culprit!
But isn’t that what we love about mysteries? The way they keep us on our toes, always trying to solve the crime or murder ourselves?
In honor of National Mystery Month, I’ve selected a few mystery, thriller, and suspense books for you to enjoy. If you’re participating in the reading challenge and need an animal included in your story, I have one for you that counts, so don’t dismiss this list! Like last month’s blog post on quirky characters, it was easy for me to select a few great reads and I hope you’ll find that to be true as well.
Check out this list of magnificent mystery books that will not only have you speed reading through the pages but will keep you up at night guessing whodunnit!!
**NOTE: While I try to read and recommend as much clean fiction as possible, know that I haven’t read all of these titles and can’t guarantee there isn’t explicit language, violence, or sex scenes in the titles listed below:
Pancakes, Bacon and a Side of Murder by Keri Lynn
Owning a bakery has always been Aubrey Turner’s dream. Finding her rival’s dead body was not part of it. When new sheriff Blaze Martin puts her at the top of his suspect list, she’s left with no choice but to try to solve the mystery herself with the help of two friends. With the Fourth of July bash only days away, the town is overtaken by tourists and YouTube celebrities, and it becomes difficult to discern between friend and foe. But when the killer returns and makes an attempt on Aubrey’s life, she realizes that time is running out and she must discover who is behind the attacks before she joins her dead competition.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Cruise to Death by Sara L. Jameson
When opera singer Riley Williams agrees to sub as a musical-theater performer on a luxury Rhine/Moselle River boat cruise, she gets more than she bargained for. Not only does she have to come up with 250 Broadway songs, she must dance with the male passengers. Dance—the subject she nearly failed in her conservatory courses, and the cause of her recent flop in an opera house. To make matters worse, she overhears two terrorists at a café in Antwerp, Belgium, discussing the transfer of deadly Agent X to the highest bioterrorist bidders.
Interpol Agent Jacob Coulter, an anti-terrorism desk analyst in Brussels, Belgium, insists on serving as an undercover agent after his best friend Noel is murdered by terrorists from the cell he infiltrated in Brussels. Shortly before Noel dies, he manages to tell Jacob snippets of the terrorists’ plans. Plans that seem to involve the same river boat cruise Riley is on. When Interpol learns of Riley’s encounter with terrorists at the café, Jacob’s supervisor insists he work with her to identify the terrorists and retrieve Agent X. But their relationship is fraught with distrust because of Riley’s suspicious past and a romantic attraction neither of them wants.
Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill
Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.
With time running out, Amara must convince others–and herself–that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.
A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.
At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear–and loses the camera.
Former Green Beret Heath McKade is a reserve deputy in an understaffed county who has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff’s department can’t find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed–or how deeply they will fall for each other.
In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.
One fateful evening, the Whitaker family walked into their house to discover a gunman waiting for them. He opened fire on the family, killing the wife and one son. Mr. Whitaker and his other son were airlifted to a local hospital and survived the deadly attack. While lying in the emergency room, Mr. Whitaker learned of his wife and son’s deaths and had to decide whether to forever hate their killer or forgive him. Mr. Whitaker chose the path of forgiveness. .
In the weeks following the murder, the police learned that the attack had been orchestrated by the son who survived—Mr. Whitaker had unknowingly forgiven his own son for destroying their family. That son was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime, and now he sits on death row. Murder by Family is the story of Kent Whitaker’s forgiveness in the face of the ultimate betrayal. .
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.