What an exciting collection this is! We are celebrating National Crime Fiction Month in June, hosted by the Crime Writers’ Association, by offering you some of our favourite female character led crime fiction novels. Ranging from police procedurals to cosy mysteries, from determined private investigations to fiery thrillers, there is a huge range of crime novels here with one thing uniting them all, women sitting centre stage. Some of these books form part of a series, while others are fabulous standalone stories. We love them all!
Crime fiction is one of the biggest selling genres out there, take a look at the best-selling lists and crime novels are usually strutting their way into the top ten. There are a huge number of sub genres, which means there really is something for everyone. Personally I love a good twist and an ending I didn’t see coming, but I think the characters are always the most important link for me. Whether I want to be their friend or run screaming from them, an interesting character makes or breaks a crime novel.
Debut Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood is a hugely entertaining absolute romp of a murder mystery novel set in 1940’s New York. Famous private detective Lillian Pentecost and her assistant Willowjean Parker are truly fabulous and engaging characters with more than a few tricks hidden up their sleeves. With a locked-room mystery, diverse characters, and a cracking storyline, this is an absolute dream of a start to a new series and a LoveReading Star Book.
One of my favourite crime series is written by Sarah Hilary, features DI Marnie Rome, and begins with Someone Else’s Skin which won the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award. Sarah Hilary has a wonderful touch, and reveals information gradually building the intrigue and allowing you to question and probe the evidence alongside the investigating team. She can knock your thoughts off balance and be particularly sneaky about it too. Marnie is a cracking lead character, and acts as a interesting balance to the other characters.
A cleverly unexpected and shout from the rooftops read is Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly, this standalone breathtaking thriller set in the world of ballet is rather special. Ava is at the peak of her ballet career, about to star in her most challenging role, but someone desperately wants her crown. I couldn’t have imagined what was to come when I first opened the pages, the plot is so cunning and smart and builds with such intensity, yet the characters are absolutely on point too.
Doug Johnstone's The Skelfs Series starts with A Dark Matter, and features three generations of Skelf women in Edinburgh who arrange funerals and handle a little private investigation on the side. The three main characters sit as wonderful foils for each other, and it’s the small but vital details that really matter here, encouraging the most vivid and intense picture to form. Doug Johnstone’s writing feels authentic, it gets under your skin and nudges new thoughts and feelings into being.
There are books here to make you react in a myriad of ways, they might evoke huge emotions or could creep around inside your head for a goodly while afterwards. So, take a look at the fabulous novels on offer in this female led crime fiction collection, and we are quite sure that you will have plenty of suggestions of your own too.