Genre Highlight: Mysteries and Thrillers

Genre Highlight: Mysteries and Thrillers

Sometimes it’s fun to add a little challenge into your reading world.  There is the year-long reading challenge here if you want to jump in and add variety to your reading across all genres. This month in the book blogging and book-tube community there is a reading challenge taking place, it puts the focus on mysteries.

The mystery genre as whole is quite varied.  There are cozy mysteries, who-done-its, suspense and action driven mysteries that border on being thriller. There are quiet mysteries and fiction that has a mysterious tone or a twisty plot line, charmingly sweet mysteries that add a little levity to your reading escape. Also within the scope, historical mysteries that take you back in time among medical mysteries, court and police procedurals – the list goes on and on. There is a mystery sub-genre for everyone.

Mystery as a plot device can come up across a multitude of genres, the focus of a mystery is the puzzle, who committed the crime, who put the clues together and solved the puzzle, the characters drive the mystery.  Thrillers are a parallel genre that will have a puzzle but the action and suspense drives the plot.  Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between mystery and thriller so I will include both traditional mysteries and those that are page turning and action packed.

Here are some suggestions for you to dabble in this month. From classic to contemporary, familiar to obscure, back-list to new release  – hopefully you’ll find something in this genre highlight that interests you.

Classical Mystery   

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 

A murder happens on a train and deductive reasoning helps Hercule Poirot figure it out.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A whirlwind marriage designed to cover up the past,  the widower’s new wife finds the presence of Rebecca, overbearing even from beyond the grave. What happened to Rebecca?

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Who is the woman in white? Walter, a painter, saw her walking along the London road at night, helped her into a carriage and then moments later overhears the police looking for a woman who has escaped from an asylum.  Walter chooses not to intervene with the police but he is propelled into the mystery of The Woman in White

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

New Mystery and Thriller Releases

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney 

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it

The Flight Attendant by  Chris Bohjalian 

Flight attendant Cassandra Bowden, wakes up, hung-over, finds her one-night-companion from the night before dead in her bed.  This propels her into a series of lies and deception – she doesn’t remember the night before – did she kill a man, if she did why and if she didn’t who did?

Sunburn by Laura Lippman 

This is a story about love and deception.  You don’t really know who is being manipulated and who is doing the manipulating.   A summer affair that starts of by chance meeting in a bar, turns into a something more, but both Polly and Adam are keeping secrets from one another.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Evelyn Hardcastle is about to die, again.  She is doomed to repeat the same day over and over and her only escape can come from Aidan Bishop rescuing her.  Nothing is as it seems in this atmospheric and plotted debut novel.


Below are the first books in series.  Why do you I love series?  I love to watch the development of the characters over several books. I love being caught up with a series and then surprise, a new book is released and I get to jump back into that world with familiar characters.

Contemporary Cozy Series : Strong female lead, interesting occupation or hobby that leads to sleuthing & romance

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum’s adventures in bounty hunting, sleuthing and romance in a eccentric New Jersey burg.

A is for Alibi by Sue Crafton

Kinsey Millhone, a former California cop, now private investigator with a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swenson,  as a baker she runs into her fair share of eccentric Minnesota personalities but when her cookies are discovered at the crime scene, she has to solve the crime to protect the reputation of her sweet treats.

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

Aurora Teagarden, small town Georgia librarian and member of the true crime club The Real Murders Society.  Instead of discussing a historical crime the members are now part of an on-going investigation when a body is found right before the Real Murders Society is about to have a meeting, and the victim is killed in the same style as the historical crime they were about to discuss.

Hooked on Murder by Betty Hechtman

A weekly crochet group that meets at a local bookstore finds themselves in the midst of a crime scene, untangling yarn as well as solving crime.

Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy Bear is a Colorado caterer who is being accused of poisoning her ex-father-in-law, she works clear her name, save her business and find the killer who has involved her in the recipe for murder.


Contemporary yet Serious Series: darker themes and tone 

 Still Life by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Gamache is investigating the death of a beloved neighbor of the small Canadian town Three Pines.  Is it a tragic hunting accident or is someone from the close knit community a murderer?

In the Woods by Tana French

In 1984, in a small Dublin town, 3 children don’t return home from the woods.  A search and rescue results in finding 1 of the children, Rob Ryan grows up to become a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad.  Twenty years later a girl is found murdered in the same woods.  The similarities are enough to tie the current murder to the unsolved missing persons case from Rob’s childhood.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

Temperance Brennan has devoted her life to justice.  Normally this involves solving crimes through science – but this time it hits close to home involving her best friend and daughter.

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

Alex Cross is a homicide detective up against a psychopath committing thrill-killings across Washington, D.C.  The FBI, secret service and the police haven’t been able to catch the suspect, does Alex Cross have what it takes to solve the case and save the victim before time runs out?

Killing Floor by Lee Child

An ex-military police officer, Jack Reacher is just passing through Margrave, Georgia and in less than an hour he is arrested for murder.  The town is set on closing the case quickly.  The only thing Jack knows is that he didn’t do it – now he is faced with proving his innocence.


Mysteries with Girl in the Title 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A journalist and tech guru work together unearth layers and layers of secrets and scandals that permeate the highest levels of society, from politics to finance to the legal system itself–at the bottom of which lies unimaginable cruelty perpetrated on the weak.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Amy and Nick are about to celebrate 5 years of marriage.  What secrets have they been hiding from each other?

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  • Rachel rides the commuter train and builds a narrative about the lives she sees from the train.  Then she notices something unusual, but did it happen, is Rachel believable, is this a way for her to inject herself into the lives that she has idolized?

Third Girl by Agatha Christie 

  • Poirot is approached by a girl who shared a flat with two other girls in London. She is convinced she is a murderer. With rumours of weapons and blood stains and no hard evidence can Poirot determine whether she’s guilty, innocent or mad?

The French Girl by Lexie Elliot 

A college getaway at a idylic french farmhouse with friends ends in mystery with a missing person.  A decade later the body is found in the well behind the farmhouse.  This is a game of suspicion and deception.

Daddy’s Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark 

The man Ellie believes to be her sister’s killer is out on parole now she must prove his guilt – but in doing so uncovers new clues into her sister’s death. A family shattered by crime and the uncanny  insight into a twisted mind of killer.

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