Enter the criminal underworld and solve a complex case all from the comfort of your favourite reading nook. Have a look at our Crime/Mystery selection to get your hands on the latest and greatest case and get mystery solving! You might also be interested in our Thriller and Suspense categories.
‘Twilight of Innocence’ is a mystery that follows a resourceful vigilante grandfather a hero-figure pilot and fiery investigative journalist looking to uncover and derail a child sex traffic ring. The mystery around Andreas in the opening made me intrigued. I was eager to learn more about this mysterious man working to capture and interrogate members of the sex trafficking ring using highly specialised methods in order to release and rescue the victims. The subtle hints and brief descriptions were a brilliant introduction to this character, conveying his age and experience briefly, while keeping the quest front and center. As I read I wanted to learn more about this shadow-y figure’s mission as well as more about his past and what he’s had to do in the past in order to acquire his interrogation skills. I was less enamoured with Rebecca and Jon as we are introduced to them, I think the repartee between them, at the end of the contentious flight from Scotland as an example, could have been a bit snappier in my opinion, but I was interested in learning more about both characters and their motives as well as their inevitable connection. Their story and relationship within this dark mystery reminded me a little bit of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, and so I was keen to learn more about how they would merge with the Taken style storyline set up with Andreas. This is an interesting and entertaining read that feels like it will have widespread appeal to fans of mysteries, thrillers and action books. There is a dark subject matter at its core but there’s plenty of twists, turns and details throughout that keep you entertained. Action packed and thrilling this is a book I would definitely recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
"Mum, there's some people here from college, they asked me back to theirs. Just for an hour or so. Is that OK?" Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11pm she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30am Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head-teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE . . .
This thought-provoking and exquisitely written novel has touched my heart. In 1923, Esme Nicholls travels to Cornwall in the hope of learning more about her husband who died in the First World War. This is the first book I’ve read by Caroline Scott, and it won’t be my last. Her debut The Photographer of the Lost set in 1921 was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick, and When I Come Home Again set in 1918, was one of The Times Best books of 2020. The Visitors is so eloquently emotional and earthy it will stay with me for some time. The Cornish setting just sings, the house full of former soldiers where Esme stays made me feel welcome. The garden and natural surroundings soothe and act as a foil for the feelings of the people who reside there. Diary entries and articles add hidden thoughts and an awareness of the war. I adored the ending, the closing information so simply imparted, yet so satisfying and fulfilling, made me smile. The Visitors is beautifully expressive and heartfelt, and I’ve chosen this gorgeous novel as both a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month.
The most wonderfully wild, smart, and hugely entertaining novel awaits your reading pleasure. It’s 1946 and Lillian Pentecost and Willowjean Parker find themselves at the circus when one of Will’s friends from her performing days is murdered. I kept a beady eye out for this, the second in the Pentecost and Parker series, as Stephen Spotswood’s debut Fortune Favours the Dead was an absolute delight. I have to say that the cast list alone had me at hello. The circus comes to roaring vividly vivacious life, with the ups and downs of life on the road making the investigation particularly tricky. Little digs and pokes of humour nestle themselves in alongside the social issues of the day. The concerns faced by the residents of the sideshow in particular ensure that while this heads towards cosy crime, it comes with a sharply provocative edge. The writing is so visual, the descriptions come to colourfully dramatic life and as I read, I could see. The cunning ending ensured a resounding round of applause from me, Stephen Spotswood has done it again! A Liz Pick of the Month, and another LoveReading Star Book, Murder Under Her Skin is a charming, darkly amusing, and fabulously stimulating read.
Mysteries are best served cold. At Justine’s new house in chilly Minnesota, there are no warm comforts, not even a working hob. There’s only relief at having escaped a turbulent life – even if that happened to be in sunny San Diego. In her lakeside retreat, remote and beautiful, Justine begins to unravel a secret that has haunted her family for decades. A diary, written by her grandaunt Lucy before she died, holds the key to what happened that summer in 1935 when Lucy’s six-year-old sister went missing from the house. The narration shifts between past and present, piecing together the mystery with each turn. The novel, which is a debut from Heather Young, takes its time at first, building on character and scene. You can hear the water lapping and feel the chill in the air. If you’re prone to pacey dramas, though, stick with it – you’ll be repaid in full for your patience by the end.
If you love a page-turning police-procedural with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, then stop right now. Cleave has become one of my go-to authors for a chilling slice of cleverly crafted crime. You feel the heat intensifying chapter by chapter as you burn through the book, unable to put it down. Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are a successful crime writing duo living in Christchurch, New Zealand. The book opens with Cameron and their 7 year old Zach at a funfair where there’s an altercation when Cameron loses sight of his son for a second and it escalates. Zach is a challenging child, prone to frequent outbursts and after threatening to run away that night, he disappears and the guilt, recriminations and remonstrations set in and start eating away at their seemingly perfect marriage. They know better than anyone, that the parents are always the first to be suspected. The pace rockets as the community turns against the Murdochs and jokes on the promotional circuit are remembered and paraded for all to judge. Comments like: “I have no doubt that we could plot the perfect crime if we had to” comes to haunt them. Did they, or didn’t they? You decide for yourself in this cracking adrenalin rush of a crime thriller. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, I promise.
With sharp stinging humour and a bleakly dark plot this is a book to propel thoughts into a confrontational abyss. When Maeve considers changing her relationship with alcohol along with her need to murder men, and can't find the help she requires, she begins a support group for psychopaths. Every time you think Will Carver has pushed reading boundaries as far as he can go, along comes the next book. I’ve read a lot of thrillers and crime books over the years and I don’t think anything has made me flinch as much as this one. Here he took me to the edge of reasonable and with a great big shove sent me sprawling out into the unknown. It’s so deliberate, so combative, and yet it also feels desperately sad too. There were parts of this read that I absolutely flew through, others packed such a punch that I had to take a break before carrying on. The plot not only feels antagonistic, the characters also reach though your thoughts to what lies behind and beneath. Psychopaths Anonymous is so in-your-face it’s almost claustrophobic, it’s also a compulsive and unforgettable reading experience.
Ok, so, whaddya know about Eastern Kentucky? Perhaps you spent some of lockdowns 1, 2 and 3 bingeing on the “Justified” box sets? Maybe you have the footstamping brilliance of the Ruby Friedman Orchestra as she sings “ In the deep, dark, hills of Eastern Kentucky, that’s the place where I trace my bloodline…” ringing in your ears? Or maybe you know of Chris Offutt and his superb storytelling? Either way, whether through the close communities of Harlan County and their interactions with the US Marshal Service on screen or through Chris’s acclaimed short stories and novels, you will know that it is a place of hills and ‘hollers’, music and moonshine, families, feuds and fistfights and is therefore a rich setting for tales of some of America’s poorer folk. Offutt, a son of Lexington, Kentucky, whose writing career has won him fans and accolades aplenty, not to mention Guggenheim and Lannan foundation fellowships, opens his series in fictional Eldridge County with AWOL Army CID agent, Mick Hardin, his Rockash town Sheriff sister, Linda and a dead body. But such bald facts belie Offutt’s gift for straight-talking, tobacco-chewing narrative that takes you off the tarmac blacktop and along the dusty roads and fire tracks of Kentucky’s lumber and coal scented, wooded wilderness. In this world of old cabins and ancient pickup trucks, of mules and mayhem, your standing in the community is as much about who your grandparents were as the badge you wear. With wonderful descriptives of the wildlife and the people. this is fantastically stripped back, pared down storytelling with such superbly written depth and sense of place, I’m going to call it; this is Kentucky Noir, it gleams dark, is as hard as anthracite and Offutt is its undisputed Pappy.
Whoopee, isn’t this just the bee’s knees of a murder mystery! I’ll stop with the 1920’s slang now, but seriously, this really does rather beautifully conjure up the years after World War One. Sleuth and reporter Poppy investigates the death of a female scientist in Oxford. I have just adored every one of the Poppy Denby Investigates series which began with the Crime Writers’ Association Endeavour Historical Dagger Award shortlisted The Jazz Files, a wonderful historical mystery that I described as: “supplying oodles of 1920’s fizz and fun alongside a firm foundation from the suffragette movement and scars of the First World War”. These books could be classed as cosy as well as historical crime, but I’d say the cosy comes with a good twist of provocative nudges and digs. The Crystal Crypt is the sixth to feature Poppy, is it the last? Potentially, as a few of the loose ends from the series are rather nicely tied up. Poppy really does know her onions (sorry, sorry, definitely no more 1920’s sayings from me), she’s likeable, bright, and forward-thinking. The surrounding characters are fabulous too, though a favourite of mine has to be the wonderfully witty Rollo Rolandson. Fiona Veitch Smith encourages the plot to sing, while allowing the reader to investigate not only the crime, but also the social and political issues of the time. The Crystal Crypt is a wonderfully entertaining, vivid, yet thoughtful historical murder mystery that I can most definitely recommend.
Set in a future where Kilgarney in Ireland is a Mediterranean style holiday destination for those fleeing the brutal, global warming induced summer heat across Europe, ‘Sixty Positions with Pleasure’ by Sahlan Diver spans genres, offering mystery, relationships and political drama. The story flowed well, with humour and comic characters throughout to give this book a light-hearted feel despite a murder mystery being at its heart. IT worker Charlie Gibbs finds himself co-opted into a police investigation when his boss is killed under mysterious circumstances. Charlie’s experience working in The Netherlands and fluent Dutch seems to make him indispensable to a lot of key characters, and he may be able to uncover what’s going on. Running alongside this mystery narrative is one that is slightly more risqué. Replacing Charlie’s now deceased boss is a woman who has an interesting hobby, looking to rewrite the Karma Sutra for mature women and needs Charlie for the practical research for her book. Although these scenes are detailed throughout the book, the couple's escapades aren’t too graphic and sometimes lead to the odd humorous close call. I found that the writing flowed well and I found all of the characters interesting and entertaining. This book is set in the future and references the increasing impacts on climate change and the more commonplace introduction of robots, but other than that seems to remain fairly recognisable. I’m not sure I understood the connection between the mystery and the almost farcical political sub plot of the Gallagher cousins, although it provided an interesting change of pace on occasion. ‘Sixty Positions with Pleasure’ is an entertaining, satirical story, with mystery, intrigue and plenty of steam. Not a story for anyone looking for a darker, more serious crime fiction, nor those who dislike bedroom scenes, but an entertaining story for anyone looking for something a bit quirky and different. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Fusing the ghost story with sharp, psychological insight, this is a brilliant and timely novel about loneliness, buried secrets and the havoc they play on the mind from Booker-shortlisted author Carol Birch. Did you hear? Big landslip over by Ercol. Last night. The road into Gully's closed off. They found a body. Got police tape. All that stuff. They only do that for murder, don't they? Murder! A body has been uncovered in a mudslide just outside the village of Andwiston. In the pub they talk of murder, but Dan - sometime mechanic, constant drunk - is finding it hard to sift through his jumbled memories. Watching him from the dark is Lorna, a lost soul living in the woods, haunted by ghosts and a vision from her childhood: a cold boy standing alone in Gallinger's field.
Eleven guests. Three nights. One murderer... This is the haunting and atmospheric new thriller from rising star of crime fiction, Rachael Blok. In a gorgeous mansion in the Hertfordshire countryside, sisters Lois and Ebba prepare to launch their new venture. Archipelago is an exploitation-free tech company whose virtual reality game promises to unite the worlds of technology, politics and the environment. Invited to the launch party are their investors: current and ex-politicians, international business moguls and activists, one of whom - Marieke - has been receiving online abuse and death threats for her views on eco-politics. DCI Maarten Jansen has been summoned to join the house party. He is sure the threats are from online trolls with nothing better to do - he's only offering police protection because his boss wants to put the VIP guests at ease. But when eight of the guests are involved in a suspicious helicopter crash, Maarten starts to uncover long-buried secrets - and a murderer in their midst...