14 Top Contemporary Crime Books

14 Top Contemporary Crime Books

This article contains a list of 14 of the top crime books of modern times. You may have heard of some of these but hopefully there are a few surprises in there as well.


One Little Lie

By Sam Carrington

Preface: Deborah’s son was killed four years ago.

Alice’s son is in prison for killing him.

Deborah would give anything to have her son back, and Alice would do anything to right her son’s wrongs.

Alice has started a support group for parents with troubled children. But as it grows she finds out how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control…

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Book: One Little Lie
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By Steve Cavanagh

Preface: 'Thirteen' isn't about a serial killer on trial....he's on the jury.

Robert Soloman and his beautiful wife were Hollywood superstars but now she is dead and he is on trial for her murder.

Eddie Flynn, former conman turned lawyer is new to the defence team and begins to suspect that his client is innocent and there is more to this case than meets the eye.

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Book: Thirteen
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The Brighton Mermaid

By Dorothy Koomson

Preface: Brighton Beach, 1993

Nell and Jude are just teenagers when they find a body on the beach. When nobody comes forward to claim the young woman's body she becomes known as 'The Brighton Mermaid.' Three weeks later Nell is finding it difficult to move on when Jude goes missing.

Twenty five years later Nell quits her job to looking into the events of that summer - who was The Brighton Mermaid and why did Jude disappear? As Nell edges closer to the truth she begins to suspect someone is watching her and to wonder who in her life she can really trust.

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Book: The Brighton Mermaid
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The Craftsman

By sharon bolton

Preface: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton is set in 1960’s Sabden, Lancashire at a time of great fear for the local community with the memory of the Moors Murders fresh in their mind and three local teenagers missing.

WPC Lovelady is about to get the biggest break of her career when she arrests local casket maker Larry Glassbrook for burying the three teenagers alive.

30 years later she returns to the Lancashire Village for Larry’s funeral and begins to suspect that maybe she got it wrong and someone else was responsible after all, someone powerful and with a knowledge of the occult.

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Book: The Craftsman
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By jo nesbo

Preface: In the wake of the death of the former corrupt police commisioner the new chief of police is determined to replace his old cronies with people he knows to be trustworthy. He needs a new head of organsied crime and he believes Macbeth is the best person for the job.

With the job will come respect and power, something that his 'wife' Lady is excited about but can Macbeth, a former drug addict, handle the pressure of his new position. And will his new position be enough for him or will his desire for power leave him considering murder to attain a better position?

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Book: Macbeth
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The Friend

By Dorothy Koomson

Preface: Cece Solarin has reluctantly moved from London to Brighton with her three children due to her husband’s new job and a desire to rectify problems in her marriage.

Outside of the home Cece’s biggest fear is that she won’t make any friends among the mums at her twin’s school. When Cece learns that the school was the scene of a violent attack just a few weeks earlier she is less than impressed with her husband Sol for not mentioning it to her.

School mum Yvonne Whitmore was found on the school grounds brutally attacked and is now in a coma and so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Cece is pleased when she finally starts to make some friends: Maxie, Hazel and Anaya. Cece finally starts to feel like maybe this could be somewhere she could settle but then she is approached by a policeman wanting her help. He believes one of her new friends was behind the attempted murder and he wants Cece to spy on them to find out which one.

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Book: The Friend
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99 Red Balloons

By Elisabeth Carpenter

Preface: A young girl is talking to a stranger in a Newsagents. The man is telling her that her mum asked him to fetch her and take her to the bus station where she has a surprise for her for being such a good girl at school.

Grace was walking home from school with her friends and disappeared when they went into the local news agents. Nobody has seen her since.

Maggie’s granddaughter, Zoe, was taken in 1986 and was never found. Now Maggie is the only one left to cherish her memory and to know the pain of not having her in her life. Now she finds herself increasingly obsessed with Grace's disappearance and the weird similarities with Zoe's disappearance.

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Book: 99 Red Balloons
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Last Seen Alive

By Claire Douglas

Preface: Jamie and Libby have had a hard time of late so when the opportunity comes to get away they decide to take it.

'The Hideaway' is an idyllic home on the beach front in Cornwall and Libby thinks they may finally have a chance to relax and get rid of all the stress.

All is not as it seems though and before long Libby senses something is not right. She has an uncanny feeling she is being watched. Jamie thinks she is being paranoid but Libby thinks her past is finally catching up with her.

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Book: Last Seen Alive
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Girl In Snow

By Danya Kukafka

Preface: When a young girl is found murdered in a sleepy suburb in Colorado, everyone has their own theory about who killed Lucinda Hayes and why.

Was it her stalker, Cameron, whose creepy behaviour has everyone pointing fingers? Or was it rebel Jade, the only one who wasn’t sad about Lucinda’s death? And can local policeman, Ross, ignore his personal investment in the case and find the killer?

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Book: Girl In Snow
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Black Water Rising

By Attica Locke

Preface: On a dark night, out on the Houston bayou to celebrate his wife's birthday, Jay Porter hears a scream. Saving a distressed woman from drowning, he opens a Pandora's Box.

Not the lawyer he set out to be, Jay long ago made peace with his radical youth, tucked away his darkest sins and resolved to make a fresh start. His impulsive act out on the bayou is heroic, but it puts Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him is practice, his family and even his life. Before he can untangle the mystery that stretches to the highest reaches of corporate power, he must confront the demons of his past.

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Book: Black Water Rising
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Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Preface: Who are you?

What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren't made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife?

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Book: Gone Girl
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Before I Go To Sleep

By S. J. Watson

Preface: Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

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Book: Before I Go To Sleep
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The Girl on the Train

By Paula Hawkins

Preface: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

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Book: The Girl on the Train
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The Girl Before

By JP Delaney

Preface: Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

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Book: The Girl Before
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