Top 10 Reads

Top 10 Mystery Books

Here is a pick of the top 10 mystery page turners, that you will get totally lost in.

Dare Me

Author – Megan Abbott

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

Readers thoughts on this…

“Yowza! This is Mean Girls at its Very Best and when its Wicked, it’s Totally Wicked. And when it’s Trashy, it’s Totally Trashy. And in those MOMENTS? It is HIGHLY ENTERTAINING.”

“Raw, gritty and completely unforgiving. Abbott exposes the teenage girl populace in a harsh and exposing light in this unputdownable dark contemporary!”


The Neon Rain

Author – James Lee Burke

Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife’s love, Robicheaux’s haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans’ French Quarter — the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive.

Readers thoughts on this…

“This is an amazingly good book.”

“This is some good detective fiction, but damn is it gritty.”


One Kick

Author – Chelsea Cain

Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick’s experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past…

Readers thoughts on this…

“What makes this book so strong, aside from Kick, is the entourage of secondary characters – from James to Bishop to Mel and to even Frank – they are so well-developed. None of them are flat. They are all well-rounded characters with complicated pasts of their own (in the case of James and Bishop) that make them who they are today. Even in the case of Mel. You may not like him, I mean, who would? But the author characterizes him so well that even though you may hate him, you see that he is a very complicated character who in spite of his perversions actually cares for Kick.”

“I really loved these characters! I definitely was emotionally attached, even in the prologue. This book was extremely fast paced with several plot twists and some unresolved issues in the conclusion. Of course that makes me look forward to a sequel.”


The Moonstone”

Author – Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone is a page-turner,” writes Carolyn Heilbrun. “It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular.” Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglersThe Moonstone is known as the first detective novel*, and it’s a cracking one. You can see things invented here that were directly borrowed by future writers: Holmes’ overconfidence (and his use of London urchins as agents); Agatha Christie’s exploration of narrative reliability.

This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the definitive 1871 edition.

Readers thoughts on this…

“I am now pressing my pen against this paper to congratulate you on the success of your excellent new novel, The Moonstone. I have just completed reading it and I would like to present you with my opinion that this was, as they say, a true “page turner” in every sense of the word. I am also taking the liberty to take this compliment a step further by stating that this is one of the finest mystery novels of all time.”

“What a fine fine book this is. I am so surprised that it has taken me so long to get to it given how much I love Victorian Era British Novels. I think perhaps that is because of how slow a book I found the Woman in White to be. I finally picked up the Moonstone three days ago, and have read through it virtually nonstop.”


Rebecca

Author – Daphme Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

Readers thoughts on this…

“This is it. THE delicious, curl up next to the fire under a blanket with tea book. THE windowsill on a rainy day with your pet book. THE stay up all night book. A chill goes down your spine (but in a good way!) while reading it. It is a masterpiece of gothic literature, the inheritor of the tradition of novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I’d call it the 20th Century Jane Eyre, actually, with a modernist twist. It is written so that the characters and events come to seem quite believable in the context even while they slowly make the hairs on the back of your necks stand on end. Whether you’re generally a fan of mystery, romance or thrillers, this book is quite simply a delicious read.”

“This has to be one of the best and most complete books I have ever read. Each element – plot, characters, twists, suspense, climax – all of it, perfect! If I had one criticism, it might be a slightly slow start, but with the awesome payoff, that is hardly worth mentioning.”


 

Sharp Objects

Author – Gillian Flynn

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.

Readers thoughts on this…

“The best written thriller I’ve read so far this year.”

“This is one of the darkest, most disturbing books I’ve ever read. And I love it.”


Land Of Shadows

Author – Rachel Howzell

Along the ever-changing border of gentrifying Los Angeles, a seventeen-year-old girl is found dead at a construction site, hanging in the closet of an unfinished condominium.

Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton’s new partner Colin Taggert, fresh from the Colorado Springs police department, assumes it’s a teenage suicide. Lou isn’t buying the easy explanation. For one thing, the condo site is owned by Napoleon Crase, a self-made millionaire… and the man who may have murdered Lou’s missing sister thirty years ago.

As Lou investigates the death of Monique Darson, she uncovers undeniable links between the two cases. She is convinced that when she solves Monique’s case she will finally bring her lost sister home. But as she gets closer to the truth, she also gets closer to a violent killer. After all this time, can he be brought to justice… before Lou becomes his next victim?

Readers thoughts on this…

“I feel like this book was written especially for me. Like, I sat with the author and gave her a checklist of stuff I was thirsty for in a good police procedural.”

“The author has a way with words. Colorfully painting a picture with words. I loved Lulu and am glad she got her closure.”


The Maltese Falcon

Author – Dashiell Hammett

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, and when Spade’s partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby’s trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?

Readers thought on this…

“The story was full of suspense and unfolded with many surprises after that. The plot was very captivating, and seemed very realistic.”

“I enjoyed Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. I’d seen the movie; however, this was my first read of Hammett’s iconic detective story. There’s a lot of story to unravel (the history of the Maltese Falcon statue being the most prominent here) and lots of characters with their own motivations and shifting allegiances. Hammett’s novel also introduces the no nonsense detective, Sam Spade.”


 

The Boy in The Suitcase

Author – Lene Kaaberbol And Agnete Friis

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can’t say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.

Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

Readers thoughts on this…

“First I have to say—what a tremendous book! I don’t usually read thrillers—I usually find them too stressful to read on top of everything else I have to deal with in life—and also the title threw me off initially because reading about atrocities done to children is not something I want to read about (if the last bit throws you off too, take it from me as someone who can’t read that sort of stuff, you will be surprised when you open this book what it actually turns out to be.”

“I really enjoyed this one. It’s been at the top of my tbr for what feels like forever, and I can finally replace it with another older book that I haven’t gotten to yet.”


A Drink Before The War

Author – Dennis Lehane

Master of new noir Dennis Lehane magnificently evokes the dignity and savagery of working-class Boston in Darkness, Take My Hand, a terrifying tale of redemption.

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist, running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate.

But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike, as secrets that have long lain dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything – including the truth.

With razor-sharp dialogue and penetrating prose, Darkness, Take My Hand is another superior crime novel from the author of Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone; and Shutter Island.

Readers thoughts on this…

“Powerful novels.”

“Whoever made the decision to publish these two novels in one volume–congratulations to you. These two novels make an excellent “double feature”, the first two stories in Lehane’s five-novel-long private detective series.”

24 Comments

  • Alenka

    Thank you for this list of great mystery books! 

    I’ve read some on the list, and my favorite is Moonstone. I read it and also listened to in on audio-book. Very satisfying experience to read it and be immersed into another world and time. In fact, I might go and re-read it now. Thanks for this reminder!

    I will also check some others on the list too. I have a longhaul flight coming up soon so this is a fab resource in finding a good read for the flight.

    Thanks!

  • Joo

    Thank you for this comprehensive review! I’m looking for a good read, having a bit of spare time on my hands right now. I think I’ll go with ‘Sharp Objects’ and ‘Land of Shadows’. Their story lines sound compelling enough, they’re my type of mystery stories that I love to immerse in. 

  • Chris

    Great suggestions for those interested in a mystery thriller plot, and out of the ten you have suggested here, I would probably say that the book by James Lee Burke looks the most appealing to me. 

    The Neon Rain seems to have that darkness about it that attracts me to stories – I’m exactly the same with my choice of movies. Would you say that this book is probably the most darkest style on offer in this article?

  • glenda

    Hi,,

    Absolutely loved this list of mystery books. Coming up with these list of mystery books will be of great help for me because I will not have a hard time searching for other great mystery books. I am thankful for putting up effort in providing us with these lists of books. I have not read this sharp objects mystery book and I will be checking this out.

  • Barakat Olatunji

     I can’t wait to get these mystery books, they are very interesting to read and also lean a lot things from it.Dare me written by Megan Abbott, its speaks about two friends  Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy’s who has always being a best friend and trusted lieutenant. Also,The Neon Rain written by James Lee Burke speaking about a detective Dave Robicheaux, who has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle.More also,One Kick written by Chelsea Cain, speaking about Kick Lannigan, 21, a survivor. Who abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred and lots more. Very satisfying experience to read it and be immersed into another world and time. Thanks for sharing this list of mystery books.

  • Stefania

    I love mystery books, I find them so intriguing! In a world where everything is monotonous, a little escape for the mind is definitely welcome. I think I will go with Rebecca, seems really interesting. A Drink Before The War might as well be good, even though it seems more violent than Rebecca.

    You website is amazing. Thank you for the reviews 🙂

  • JULIUS

    Hi there, Jayde!

    I actually used to read mystery and suspense books when I was still in college but this has been lessened when technology started to dominate everything in this world. However, my interest seemingly triggered back upon reading your reviews on these 10 awesome mystery books.

    Neon Rain by James Lee Burke got mainly my attention as I’m fond of reading and watching stories with lots of challenges and struggles by the main character especially inside his comfort zone but eventually overcomes these in the end despite of all odds.

    Great one and thank you for the nice review.

    Be safe!

    -julius

  • Ngonidzashe Manzwangani

    Amazing list of mystery books, I am stuck as to which book among them, I will start with. I am intrigued by One Kick By Chelsea Cain. The book has seems to contain one of the best mystery story any reader will love to read. Firstly, I love the age of Kathleen Lannigan at which all the events are happening and how at the tender age of 13 she had learned martial arts, knife throwing, boxing, archery and marksmanship. I was left in suspense when she went to try rescue children in Portland area, what really happened to Kick. I just wish there was a movie for this story.

    Thank you so much, I will have to buy One Kick  in the future

  • Henry

    Hi! Thank you very much for this list. Your site is a “must” for selecting a good book to take on a trip or for a gift.

    I have read Rebecca by Daphme Du Maurier. It’s a best-seller.

    And its opening line, which you have mentioned in this review, is well-known:

    “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

    This is an iambic hexameter (which means it has a metric structure).

    An interesting fact about the narrator and main character of the book is that her name is never mentioned. She is always addressed as “my wife”, Mrs de Winter, “my dear” or other similar terms. At the beginning of the novel she is given a letter and remarks that her name was properly spelled. From this we can derive that she has an unusual name.

    The plot takes an unexpected twist and disembarks at a surprising ending. The book keeps you thinking after a while you have finished it.

    I haven’t read the other books you have listed here, but I sure will pick a couple for my next trip. Thanks for the work you have put into building the list.

  • Dianne

    wow this is just what i was looking for, i love reading but find it hard to pick a good book without knowing what its about, thank you for the short but sweet descriptions, i find it hard to not pick a book based on its cover. I am about to buy Dare Me now for my self for Christmas as it sounds so exciting.

    • Jayde Butcher

      Dare me is such a good choice, ah its lovely that you are treating yourself to a good book this Christmas, theres nothing nicer than sitting by the fire with a cuppa and a good book, with your loved ones around you, enjoy 🙂

  • julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us this list of top 10 mystery books.I like reading books about mystery and I like the feeling they bring into my mind.

    I want to read Dare me as it seems to very interesting .

    You always recommend us great books with interesting stories inside.

    Keep it up.

    Best regards

  • Martin

    Hi, Thank you for this comprehensive review!  I love mystery books, I find them so interesting! In a world where everything is repetitive, a little escape for the mind is needed. I think I will go with The Maltese Falcon Author – Dashiell Hammetta, seems really interesting. I’m looking for a good read, having a bit of spare time on my hands right now that we are breaking for Christmas holiday. You website looks so amazing. Thank you for taking time to do  the reviews and share with us.

  • Lok Which

    Fantastic suggestions of books. I have read about 2 on this list (one kick and land of shadows). I will get the moonstone and the graphical representation of the cover of dare me is really captivating, I’ll take that on too. I really trust your selection because I have experience with some of the books and I know I’ll have same experience with the one’s I’ve chosen now. 

    Thanks

  • Stratos K

    Oh nice. Who doesn’t like a good mystery book. I definitely do and I am always looking for the next one I would read when I find some time. I read through your article and I Find Land of Shadows an intriguing one. I may give it a go. Thank you for your suggestions. I always have a hard time looking at books to choose and you have made it a bit easier for me. Thanks for the share.

  • Richard

    Adding a little mystery to life that often seems mundane and monotonous is always a good way to start the year. There is a really good selection to choose from.

    Is there a specific title that you would suggest is a great one to start with to work our way through the list or just from top to bottom?

    Rich

  • mzakapon

    Wow!

    This is excellent listing of top 10 Mystery books. I have read only Moonstone from this list. I always feel thrill while reading something from another world. Recently I will travel long distance while I have to sit on long time in this journey. I am planning to buy two books so that I can read those while I am traveling. My next choice is “Dare Me” and “Land of Shadows”. Thanks for sharing those list of books.

  • Fiona

    I’m not much of a mystery reader, so your top 10 list is very great to help me decide which books to read. I think the Maltese Falcon would be the first one I’d read – it’s a classic that is always referred to in other books, so I would love to actually understand those references!

  • Salim

    I will love to read the one titled “Rebecca “by Daphme Du Maurier I believe he will be a great  author indeed.  This reviews and prelude was thrilling and I can wait to read it. Meanwhile, I owe myself reading about 50 books this year and I know well that I will meet my promise. Thanks for this great reviews on mysterious books.

    have a nice day

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