The best crime books of 2015

Here are our top ten crime books of the year, voted for by Readings staff. Displayed in no particular order.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Word of mouth is faster than any train, and this – the story of a woman who catches the same train every morning, pretending to go to the job she lost, then sees something untoward happen out of the window – is a psychological thriller adored by our customers and a worthy successor to that other book with a Girl going somewhere in the title.

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

With a diverse and unflinchingly strong set of characters, plus a Melbourne setting equally thrilling and alarming, the story of Caleb Zelic’s search for the killer of his best friend is a powerhouse debut by local author Emma Viskic. Zelic, profoundly deaf and savagely angry, will go anywhere – even home to the raw anger in Resurrection Bay – to find out what happened.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Doing for crime what she did for wizardry with Harry Potter – taking over a genre at speed – JK Rowling’s alter ego Robert Galbraith returns with another gruesomely addictive story from the perennially eating man-giant PI Cormoran Strike and his capable colleague Robin Ellacott, who is expecting a package at work – but does not expect it to contain a human leg. A satisfying, grimly joyous sequel.

Good Money by J.M. Green

Social worker Stella Hardy is called to a client to offer comfort as they mourn a lost brother and son. While there, she discovers that the worst moment in her past is no longer a secret. Then a neighbour vanishes, her wayward brother returns, and Stella – herself as glorious and underhanded as the Melbourne setting – fights for her life, and her future.

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback

No year can go by without a Scandinavian writer in the top 10! Here, Cecilia Ekback delivers a ruthless nightmare of a story on a bitterly snowbound and haunted Swedish mountain in 1717. A ravaged body is found, and the determined Maija fights the suspicions of her neighbours, so distant along the mountainside yet close enough to wreak a bloody, bitter havoc on her life.

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

Bestselling author Henry Hayden is here to tell you a story. It involves his wife, his books, another woman, and a solution to a problem that seems very simple. But nothing is ever simple. With Sascha Arango’s deft, spare hand Henry is fascinating and seductive as both man and character, and he’s never telling anyone – including the reader – the entire story.

Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty

The fourth in a trilogy (yes, but be glad of it) following Detective Sean Duffy sees him traversing the dangerous landscape of Northern Ireland in the 1980s, looking into a double murder tied up a little too neatly for his liking. Ned Kelly Award winner Adrian McKinty again crafts an atmosphere, language and rhythm of the past as clear as the day outside.

Kingdom of the Strong by Tony Cavanaugh

So often in crime fiction a murder victim is faceless, simply used as a plot device; here, a woman dead some twenty-five years is still vivid enough to compel a newly minted Victorian police commissioner to open up an old case, bringing ex-cop Darian Richards out of semi-retirement two states away to investigate it. Thrilling, dense with Melbourne noir, and genuinely heartbreaking.

Wild Man by Alecia Simmonds

Journalist Alecia Simmonds follows the coronial inquest into the death of Evan Johnson and its aftermath. Johnson was shot dead by police in the dark and isolated depths of the New South Wales bush. Simmonds’ investigation throws his fraught life path and, chiefly, the failings of Australia’s mental health system into grim, sharp relief.

The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds

For that heavy-drinking, hard-smoking, True Detective-style deep-South literary experience, look no further than the The Dark Inside. Set in the 1940s on the border of Texas and Arkansas, journalist Charlie Yates is sent to cover a murder as punishment for his previous misdeeds. Once there, he is the only one to look past the oppressive atmosphere created by those in power and to solve what becomes a series of grim deaths.

Cover image for The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins

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