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15 Books for Armchair Detectives & Suspense Seekers

Looking for an exciting read for yourself or a possible gift for the armchair detectives or suspense seekers in your life? This list of mysteries and thrillers may be a good place to start to find that next thrilling read. Gleaned from various "Best of..." online lists, all of the books listed below were published in 2013 with most being either standalone novels, the first book in a series or debut novels. Happy Reading!


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Amazon Says: The Cuckoo's Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran more...
Amazon Says: The Cuckoo's Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this. less...
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Six Years by Harlan Coben
Amazon Says: In Six Years, a masterpiece of modern suspense, Harlan Coben explores the depth and passion of lost love…and the secrets and lies at its heart.   Six y more...
Amazon Says: In Six Years, a masterpiece of modern suspense, Harlan Coben explores the depth and passion of lost love…and the secrets and lies at its heart.   Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.   But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.    As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found, or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.   Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking page-turner that deftly explores the power of past love, and the secrets and lies that such love can hide. And look for MISSING YOU, the new novel coming from Harlan Coben in hardcover and ebook in March. less...
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Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
Amazon Says: She helps people put their demons to rest. But she has a few of her own…In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the too more...
Amazon Says: She helps people put their demons to rest. But she has a few of her own…In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island.  What happened to Nadine?  Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today? And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.  Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape. Told with the  trademark powerful storytelling that has had critics praising her work as “Gripping” (Kirkus), “Jaw-dropping” (Publishers Weekly) and “Crackling with suspense” (People magazine), ALWAYS WATCHING shows why Chevy Stevens is one of the most mesmerizing new talents of our day.    less...
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Suspect by Robert Crais
Amazon Says: The explosive new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author. LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nig more...
Amazon Says: The explosive new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author. LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty—until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie.  What they begin to find is nothing like what Scott has been told, and the journey will take them both through the darkest moments of their own personal hells. Whether they will make it out again, no one can say. less...
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Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Amazon Says: John Grisham takes you back to where it all began . . . John Grisham's A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous cour more...
Amazon Says: John Grisham takes you back to where it all began . . . John Grisham's A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history. Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row? In Sycamore Row, John Grisham returns to the setting and the compelling characters that first established him as America's favorite storyteller. Here, in his most assured and thrilling novel yet, is a powerful testament to the fact that Grisham remains the master of the legal thriller, nearly twenty-five years after the publication of A Time to Kill. less...
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Night Film: A Novel by Marisha Pessl
Amazon Says: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Cosmopolitan • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage A page-turning thriller for read more...
Amazon Says: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Cosmopolitan • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.   On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.   For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.   Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.   The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.   Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page. Praise for Night Film   “Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl’s deft touch with character.”—Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review   “Mysterious and even a little head-spinning, an amazing act of imagination.”—Dean Baquet, The New York Times Book Review   “Maniacally clever . . . Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche. . . . As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself. . . . Dastardly fun . . . The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe. . . . You’ll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on.”—The Washington Post   “Haunting . . . a suspenseful, sprawling page-turner.”—USA Today   “Entrancing and delightful . . . [a] whipsmart humdinger of a thriller . . . It feels, above all things, new.”—The Boston Globe   “Gripping . . . a masterful puzzle . . . Pessl builds up real suspense.”—Entertainment Weekly   “A very deeply imagined book . . . sprints to an ending that’s equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there’s some secret detail that will snap everything into focus.”—New York   “Hypnotic . . . The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film . . . but in Pessl’s own Night Film as well.”—Vanity Fair less...
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Amazon Says: An unforgettable and unpredictable debut novel of guilt, punishment, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive         Noa P. Singleton never spoke a w more...
Amazon Says: An unforgettable and unpredictable debut novel of guilt, punishment, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive         Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa’s sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.       Marlene desperately wants Noa to reveal the events that led to her daughter’s death – events that Noa has never shared with a soul. With death looming, Marlene believes that Noa may finally give her the answers she needs, though Noa is far from convinced that Marlene deserves the salvation she alone can deliver. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human in this haunting tale of love, anguish, and deception. less...
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Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda
Amazon Says: Chosen by Denis Lehane for his eponymous imprint, Ivy Pochoda’s Visitation Street is a riveting literary mystery set against the rough-hewn backdrop of the New York waterfro more...
Amazon Says: Chosen by Denis Lehane for his eponymous imprint, Ivy Pochoda’s Visitation Street is a riveting literary mystery set against the rough-hewn backdrop of the New York waterfront in Red Hook.It’s summertime in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue-collar dockside neighborhood. June and Val, two fifteen-year-olds, take a raft out onto the bay at night to see what they can see.And then they disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore; semi-conscious in the weeds.This shocking event will echo through the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop will be the place to share neighborhood news and troll for information about June’s disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father’s murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect, but an enigmatic and elusive guardian is determined to keep him safe.Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she buries deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Julliard School dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins. less...
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The One I Left Behind: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon
Amazon Says: The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward thirteen-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune more...
Amazon Says: The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward thirteen-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother, Vera, the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.Now, twenty-five years later, Reggie is a successful architect who has left her hometown and the horrific memories of that summer behind. But when she gets a call revealing that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again. less...
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Amazon Says: The Maasai believe in two gods. Enkai Narok, the Black God, is benign. Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God, is the god of anger, vengeance, and death. Nairobi, 2007. In Africa’s sp more...
Amazon Says: The Maasai believe in two gods. Enkai Narok, the Black God, is benign. Enkai Nanyokie, the Red God, is the god of anger, vengeance, and death. Nairobi, 2007. In Africa’s sprawling megacity, a small elite holds power over an impoverished, restless majority. Corruption, exploitation, and ethnic rivalry are part of everyday life. Amid claims of vote rigging and fraud, the presidential elections could be the spark that sets this city ablaze.      With chaos looming, few care about one dead prostitute. But Detective Mollel does. For Mollel is a former Maasai warrior, and the dead girl was a Maasai, too.      As he ventures from slums to skyscrapers, from suburbs to sewers, Mollel begins to realize that there is more at stake than just this murder. But even as he is forced to confront his turbulent past, he begins to doubt his warrior’s instincts.      Can Mollel manage to find the killer and solve the case before the Red God consumes all?      With the sophistication of Ian Rankin and Colin Harrison, and set against the backdrop of Kenya’s turbulent 2007 elections, Richard Crompton’s Hour of the Red God brings Nairobi vividly to life: gritty and modern, with an extraordinary blend of tribal and urban elements. In this dark thriller, tradition and power collide, arriving at a shocking, unforgettable end. And in the Maasai hero Mollel, a new detective icon is born.  One of Publishers Weekly's Best Mystery/Thriller Books of 2013 less...
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The Other Child: A Novel by Charlotte Link
Amazon Says: A suspenseful, atmospheric new psychological crime novel from Germany’s most successful living female author An old farm, a deserted landscape, a dark secret from times past more...
Amazon Says: A suspenseful, atmospheric new psychological crime novel from Germany’s most successful living female author An old farm, a deserted landscape, a dark secret from times past with fatal consequences for the present.In the tranquil northern seaside town of Scarborough, a student is found cruelly murdered. For months, the investigators are in the dark, until they are faced with a copy-cat crime. The investigation continues as they struggle to establish a connection between the two victims. Ambitious detective Valerie Almond clings to the all too obvious: a rift within the family of the second victim. But there is far more to the case than first appears, and Valerie is led toward a dark secret inextricably linked to the evacuation of children to Scarborough during World War II.Horrified at her last-minute discovery, Valerie realizes that she may be too late to save the next victim. less...
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Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
Amazon Says: ALA Reading List Award for Best Mystery GASLIT LONDON IS BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES IN DAVID MORRELL'S BRILLIANT HISTORICAL THRILLER. Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his m more...
Amazon Says: ALA Reading List Award for Best Mystery GASLIT LONDON IS BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES IN DAVID MORRELL'S BRILLIANT HISTORICAL THRILLER. Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier. The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives. In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten. less...
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Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith
Amazon Says: A Kirkus Reviews and Deadly Pleasures Best Book of the Year Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense att more...
Amazon Says: A Kirkus Reviews and Deadly Pleasures Best Book of the Year Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney. As children, their father was jailed for their mother's murder, and Teddy was left to care for Leo, who eventually followed him into the legal profession. The two are at lunch one day when Teddy is shot in the head—in public, in cold blood. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo realizes that the search for his brother’s shooter falls upon him and him alone, as his brother had enemies not only on the street but in the police department as well. As he begins to examine the life of a brother he barely knew, Leo quickly finds that the list of possible suspects is much larger than he could have imagined. The deeper Leo digs into Teddy’s life, the more questions arise: about Teddy and his ex-wife and about the murder that tore their family apart all those years ago. And somewhere, the person who shot his brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo to keep it that way. less...
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Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason
Amazon Says: A Library Journal Best Book of 2013! A Booklist Best Crime Novel of 2013! There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard. But it could always be wors more...
Amazon Says: A Library Journal Best Book of 2013! A Booklist Best Crime Novel of 2013! There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard. But it could always be worse... More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried. Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime, and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece clues together with the help of a volunteer police dog—all in the shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each character discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn't necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error. Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense. less...
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