Looking for a New Thriller? Best Crime Books of All Time

carry a book

Crime has an element that intrigues us to the point of fascination. While romance, adventure, and fantasy are go-to book genres, many of us are drawn to the thrill of crime, obscurity, and the justice system. 

Across the web, movies, and other publications we hear about true crime and thrillers that keep us on our toes and drift our minds to another thought-provoking world. For many of us book-loves, these are the type of stories we want to drive into.

If you’re looking for a new read this season, we have a few big thriller and crime page-turning mystery reads Carryabook App recommends: 

1 – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 

When the quiet town of Holcomb, Kansas became the scene of a shockingly gruesome crime in 1959, it sent shockwaves through the nation. So much so that the case garnered the unwavering attention of New York native Truman Capote, who traveled to Kansas in pursuit of the truth. 

Over the next four years, the case drove Capote to near obsession as he worked tirelessly to reconstruct the events of that fatal night. Hailed to this day as one of the most pivotal true crime novels of all time, In Cold Blood transcends time and continues to inform profound insights into the culture of American violence. 

2 – And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The year is 1939. Ten strangers are summoned to an eerie island off the coast of England where they are the guests of curiously absent millionaire. After one of the guests suddenly meets their demise, tension mounts amongst the remaining as they begin to wonder which of them is responsible. 

What was anticipated to be a relaxing weekend by the coast quickly transforms into a nightmarish amalgamation of murders hastily occurring one after the other. Agatha Christie’s twist on an innocent nursery rhyme has earned this novel the title of the world’s best-selling murder mysteries of all time. 

3 – To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s critically acclaimed novel is likely one of the most well-known and well-read works of modern American literature. Set within the racially charged atmosphere of the deep South during the Great Depression, the novel follows a highly controversial court case concerning the alleged rape of a local white woman by a black male. 

Lee writes from the perspective of a young girl whose father chooses to represent the accused. A gut-wrenching tale of class, injustice, and innocence, To Kill A Mockingbird has been ranked ahead of the bible as a novel every adult should read before they die.  

4 – The Shining by Stephen King

Though the Shining is not a true crime novel, it earns itself a place on this list through its immaculately crafted air of suspense. This thrilling tale is no doubt one to keep readers hooked as Stephen King takes them on a journey to the Overlook Hotel, an atmospheric old establishment of which only the novel’s youngest protagonist starts to suspect of something sinister laying beneath its surface. A masterful assembly of mystery, this novel is what established King as an outstanding author of the psychological horror genre.  

5 – Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

Set on the streets of Tokyo, Jake Adelstein recounts his magnificently intriguing first-hand experiences working as the only foreigner on the police beat of a local Japanese newspaper, let alone the only journalist to acquire such exclusive coverage of Japanese organized crime. Brushes with extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption quickly reveal to the author and his readers the genuine danger posed by the underworld. As Adelstein embarks on his pursuit for justice against the precarious backdrop of the Yakuza, it becomes clear why this novel is praised as a hallmark of the power of investigative journalism. 

6 – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s heart-breaking account of a school shooting is a crime fiction must-read inspired by real events. Following the lives of multiple individuals involved in the incident, Picoult seamlessly weaves together some of the most painstaking moments of mass school shootings in what evolves into a socio-cultural commentary on the realities of American life. As her first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Picoult artfully illustrates to what extent lives can be changed forever, and all it takes is just nineteen minutes. 

7 – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

In 1Q84, Murakami embarks on a supernatural tale of love, murder, mystery and self-discovery that echoes the dystopian world first put forth by George Orwell in his critically acclaimed work, 1984. This novel follows the lives of two protagonists who begin to notice strange things occurring, soon coming to conclusion that they have entered a parallel universe, 1Q84, where “Q stands for question mark: a world that bears a question.” In what has been hailed as his most ambitious undertaking yet, Murakami conjures up a thrillingly unpredictable fiction that has earned it a place on Amazon’s top books of the year list. 

8 – Party Monster by James St. James

Originally published in 1999 under the title Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous True Tale of Murder, James St. James artfully recounts his experiences as a New York socialite which became embroiled with sex, drugs, and murder. St. James takes readers into the wickedly hedonistic world of New York City’s club life through the lens of an insider, bringing to light the flawed façade of the upper-class metropolitan lifestyle through an expose of the crime that often accompanies it. 

9 – Justice: Crime, Trials and Punishments by Dominick Dunne 

Dominick Dunne’s passionate pursuit of justice gave birth to Justice: Crime, Trials and Punishments, wherein he outlines both the agony and the ecstasy of the American criminal justice system. Rising to prominence within the literature community through his work with Vanity Fair for over two decades, this novel is inspired by the loss of Dunne’s daughter. Her murderer, who received a jail time of only three years, propelled Dunne’s revelatory chronicling of some of the most high-profile cases in history and rightly earned itself a place in the crime genre literary cannon. 

10 – Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Written by the lead prosecutor of the 1970 trial of Charles Manson, Bugliosi’s first-hand account of the cases involved has earned it the title of the best-selling true crime book in history. The Manson murders, which achieved a harrowing level of notoriety for their obscure set of circumstances, are brilliantly laid out by Bugliosi through attention to the motives, circumstances, and methods of deceit employed by Manson in his hold over his followers.