The best crime books of 2019
Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 crime books of the year, voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.
(You can find all our best picks for books, music & DVDs of 2019 here.)
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
After two young girls vanish from a Kmart parking lot, bounty hunter Alice Vega is hired to find them. With the help of frustrated ex-cop Max Caplan, the two tear the town apart looking for the girls. This is gritty and tight, with characters you wish could hunt you down.
The Wife and the Widow by Christian White
On a tourist island off the Victorian coast, two women come to slow realisations about the men they love. Kate’s husband has vanished, a body is found on the island, and Abby suspects her husband might be involved – while the truth is a blistering twist that will knock you right out.
The Nancys by R.W.R. McDonald
In a poky New Zealand town, eleven-year-old Tippy Chan starts a detective club with her uncle and his boyfriend. The Nancys need to solve a real-life brutal murder and an attempt on Tippy’s best friend’s life, while dragging an uptight small town out of the closet and avoiding Tippy’s mother. A delight.
The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan
Ned Kelly Award winner Dervla McTiernan returns with a sequel to her bestselling The Ruín, which finds Detective Cormac Reilly investigating the hit-and-run death of a university student with connections to a pharmaceutical company – and to Reilly’s own partner. McTiernan is a brilliant all-rounder who has written another excellent procedural crime thriller.
Peace by Garry Disher
In Garry Disher’s follow-up to the incredible Bitter Wash Road, Constable Paul Hirschhausen is still navigating his way through the huge farming country and accompanying small town he’s been posted to, but Christmas is looking jolly enough – until two gruesome discoveries change everything. Disher is a master, and this rural thriller burns slow and bright.
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Texas Ranger Darren Matthews has barely pieced his life back together when a new case threatens everything, taking him from the wife he’s recently reconnected with and the blackmail he’s paying, right to a town where a white supremacist’s young son has vanished. Will they let an African American Ranger find the boy – and can Darren keep himself alive?
This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas (translated by Siân Reynolds)
When three elderly men die from recluse spider bites, it seems too much of a coincidence to Commissaire Adamsberg’s team, who split ranks to investigate what may or may not be a crime. When it appears the men were all from the same orphanage, a vast and terrible background unfolds. A fabulous, quirky procedural.
Metropolis by Philip Kerr
Philip Kerr’s final book sees the endlessly readable Bernie Gunther back in Berlin in 1928, heading up an investigation into a series of killings. The Nazi uprising is well underway, and it seems somebody is determined to get rid of anyone deemed an imperfect addition to Berlin’s streets. A brilliant farewell to a beloved character.
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Jack the Ripper is notorious, but what of the women he killed? Hallie Rubenhold investigates the lives of the five women that died in 1888 in this sobering look into the underclasses of the nineteenth century and the lies told about Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, real women who deserve to be heard.
She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
When reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey started their Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into Harvey Weinstein, they did not know that tearing Hollywood’s secrets wide open would lead to so much more. From #MeToo to Supreme Court nominees accused of assault, and all the women who helped bring light to this darkness, this is huge, important, and deserving.