20 Best Crime Novels That Leave You Racking Your Brains

crime novels
Collection of best Detective and Crime Novels That Leave You Racking Your Brains for Answers

Some of the crime fiction novels are so interesting that when you read them, you are afraid of missing a single text and these become like an obsession that you get extremely attentive to find the clues to what’s going on before the next page is turned. These authors are so much captivating in their stories and lines that you won’t take an eye off.

Who has not known the most popular detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes? Obsessive, meticulous, and an expert at the art of deduction, Sherlock is the model for any good detective. And if you’re just as obsessed with Sherlock as we are, you’re surely at the right place right now.

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This collection of some of the most fascinating and best crime novels will leave you racking your brains for answers. If you like unexpected plot twists and movies filled with mysteries, this list is just for you.

1. One Lonely Night

Mickey Spillane


This is the fourth detective novel in the Mickey Spillane private detective Mike Hammer crime fiction series. The story starts when Mike Hammer goes for a walk to contemplate his past on this rainy night where he met a terrified woman and a man following this woman on the bridge. Mike shot the man and women jump from the bridge and……

2. The Hound of Baskerville

Arthur Conan Doyle

There are very few books that can be read years after you first read them, the hound of Baskerville is the third crime novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes and anytime you pick this book you will be filled with the same amazement. The story of the young heir safeguard his family estate Baskerville house. Everything gets haunted in this big house. A mystery surrounds this old dark cursed Baskerville and when everything gets blind Sherlock Holmes enters…

3. Interface

Joe Gores

One of the great detective novels of the time about as hard as they come, superbly paced and brimming with danger. A wealthy man Maxwell hired a private investigator Neil Fargo to find his missing daughter. His search takes him to the world of dark truths of the underworld and gets caught up in drug cases and…

4. The Darkest Evening

Ann Cleeves

Form Annie Cleeves- New York Times bestselling and award-winning author’s ninth crime novel features the same detective we all love, Vera. On the first snowy night of winter, Vera comes across a car slewed off the narrow road in front of her. Coming closer there is no driver to be seen but a toddler crying in the back seat. She took the child with her to her own house. Now everything seemed to get mysterious and Vera digs deep to uncover the reality.

5. Date with Danger

Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman’s fifth Dales Detective Agency novel, Date with danger starts with a simple investigation and takes a sinister turn into a murder mystery.  Dales Detective Agency is about to face its biggest challenge a danger that could leave them fighting for their lives.

6. The Secret Life of Mr. Roos

Håkan Nesser

An amazing crime novel in the Håkan Nesser crime fiction series with this favorite detective Babarotti.  A fifty-nine years old, Valdemar Roos tired of his life wins a lottery and quits his present job, leaves his so-called family, and buys a hut in the remote Swedish countryside. Life couldn’t be better until a young woman arrives in paradise….

7. Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment features an immensely engaging blend of intrigue; philosophy creates a masterpiece of literature that captures the deep, raw core of the human condition when it is at its most gruesome and vulnerable. The story of Raskolnikov, a student wandering the slums commits murder for no regret and reason.

8. The Silence of the Lambs

Thomas Harris

The five-million-copy bestseller that scared the world silent, the silence of the lambs is the story of a young FBI agent trying to hide her own secrets and the one who could have helped is locked up in an asylum. Hannibal Lector is serving nine consecutive life sentences in a mental institution for a series of cannibalistic murders.

9. Time for the Dead

Lin Anderson

In this latest novel by Lin Anderson, Time for the Dead, we head to the Isle of Skye, Scotland where forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod has fled for some much-needed rest and recuperation after a traumatizing previous case only to find herself, suddenly immersed into the evidence collection and investigation of a bloody crime scene she inadvertently stumbles across in the woods.

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10. The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett wrote this story originally as a serial in the magazine Black Mask that eventually published in a novel in 1930. A classic hard-boiled detective novel that stands the test of time with excellent writing, strong characters.

11. Whip Hand

Dick Francis

This is the second crime novel by Dick Francis, the popular British crime writer that received the Gold Dagger Award for the best novel. Detectives are not always well dressed, with a gun in one but they are the ones with sharp minds like this detective Sid Halley who was once a jockey but now a private investigator with one good hand. His new life begins when the wife of the trainer approaches him to ensure the safety of her husband’s expensive horses….

12. The Quiller Memorandum

Adam Hall

Again we have our hero with no gun, no cover, no security, no contacts, 15 years after WW II, Quiller is a British agent that takes neo-Nazi organization and its leader. One of the best mystery books of the year being awarded by Edgar Award, the plot is well set to brainstorm your mind.

13. Retribution: A Psychic Detective Kate Pierce Crime Thriller

C.M. Sutter

C.M Sutter is back with the crime series this time a girl detective who works for a small town department. And now she is called by the big department in Chicago. A car involving the death of two attorneys and a missing cop.

14. The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

”In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on my shoulder from behind me. I turned on the instant, with my fingers tightening round the handle of my stick. There, in the middle of the broad, bright high-road – there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven – stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments, her face bent in grave inquiry on mine, her hand pointing to the dark cloud over London, as I faced her. ”

The story starts with these lines, a perfect of Gothic horror and psychology realism. This crime fiction novel will blow up your minds in twists and turns. This is considered one of the first and the most influential detective novels of the Victorian genre.

15. Time for the Dead

Lin Anderson

In this latest novel by Lin Anderson, Time for the Dead, we head to the Isle of Skye, Scotland where forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod has fled for some much-needed rest and recuperation after a traumatizing previous case only to find herself, suddenly immersed into the evidence collection and investigation of a bloody crime scene she inadvertently stumbles across in the woods.

16. The Secret History of Las Vegas

Chris Abani

The winner of the Edger award for the best paperback original, The Secret History of Las Vegas is a gritty murder mystery crime fiction novel. Las Vegas detective Salazar is set to solve a spate of murders before he could retire encounter suspects to his case. But the matter gets more mysterious and dark as they crack into deep. Suspenseful through the last page.

17. The Unquiet Dead

Ausma Zehanat Khan

A harrowing and compelling crime novel, The Unquiet Dead will leave a mark on you. Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a complex story of Detective Rachel Getty. Having differences with her boss, she still trusted him. The mystery involves the death of Christopher Drayton. Was it accidental, murder or even suicide that led Drayto over the Canadian bluffs?

18. Detective

Arthur Hailey

The last book of the author Arthur Hailey and he has done well and signed off with a flourish. It is a compelling, raw thriller with lots of blood and gore. Multiple murders are described in chilling detail along with the work of homicide detectives. Hailey always researched his books meticulously and has clearly done so this time as well.

19. Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie

A train, a murder, and multiple suspects. All in one a perfect mystery on the train stuck in the heavy snowfall. The plot is too delicious for the old-time with no electronics and mobile phones. The detective has no option to research other than from questions. What a pure storytelling approach. Agatha Christie never fails to impress with her ingenuity.

20. The Daughter of Time

Josephine Tey

The time to dwell into history, this crime novel The Daughter of time is the best mystery ever written. Police Inspector Grant, flat on his back in hospital, solves the historical mystery of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower.

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