Best Crime, Mystery, And Thriller Books Of August 2019
The list of best crime, mystery, and thriller books of August 2019 includes noteworthy thrillers from authors such as Rob Hart and Alex North to historical mysteries like Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (see Best Crime, Mystery, And Thriller Books Of April and May 2019 here and here. The July 2019 list can be viewed here).
What follows is our compiled list of latest and greatest of August 2019:
Forgotten Bones (Dead Remaining, Book 1) by Vivian Barz. An Amazon Charts bestseller. When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.
Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.
Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?
Never Tell by Lisa Gardner. #1 New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with an unpredictable thriller that puts fan favorites D.D. Warren and Flora Dane on a shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there.
A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.
D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.
Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.
But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen. Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya’s Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.
I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris.
It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley—the center of upper-class English life—we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.
Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off.
When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya.
Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer.
The Washington Decree by Jussi Adler-Olsen. The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of the Department Q series is back, with a terrifyingly relevant stand-alone novel about an America in chaos. This is one of our August 2019 favorite titles.
“The president has gone way too far. . . . These are practically dictatorial methods we’re talking about.”
Sixteen years before Democratic Senator Bruce Jansen was elected president of the United States, a PR stunt brought together five very different people: fourteen-year-old Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, small-town sheriff T. Perkins, single mother Rosalie Lee, well-known journalist John Bugatti, and the teenage son of one of Jansen’s employees, Wesley Barefoot. In spite of their differences, the five remain bonded by their shared experience and devotion to their candidate.
For Doggie, who worked the campaign trail with Wesley, Jansen’s election is a personal victory: a job in the White House, proof to her Republican father that she was right to support Jansen, and the rise of an intelligent, clear-headed leader with her same ideals. But the triumph is short-lived: Jansen’s pregnant wife is assassinated on election night, and the alleged mastermind behind the shooting is none other than Doggie’s own father.
When Jansen ascends to the White House, he is a changed man, determined to end gun violence by any means necessary. Rights are taken away as quickly as weapons. International travel becomes impossible. Checkpoints and roadblocks destroy infrastructure. The media is censored. Militias declare civil war on the government.
The country is in chaos, and Jansen’s former friends each find themselves fighting a very different battle, for themselves, their rights, their country . . . and, in Doggie’s case, the life of her father, who just may be innocent.
Singapore Sapphire by A. M. Stuart. Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the way.
Singapore, 1910–Desperate for a fresh start, Harriet Gordon finds herself living with her brother, a reverend and headmaster of a school for boys, in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold–explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club–dead with a knife in his throat.
When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet’s keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.
When another body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a murderous web of treachery and deceit and find themselves face-to-face with a ruthless cabal that has no qualms about killing again to protect its secrets.
Play with Fire by William Shaw. In hedonistic 1960s London, a police detective investigates the unexpected connections between two suspicious deaths: a call girl and a rock star.
In the summer of ’69, the hard-living rockers of the British Invasion still rule London when former Rolling Stone Brian Jones is found floating in the pool of his palatial home. On a quiet residential block that should be far removed from the swinging party scene, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen investigates the murder of a young woman.
But the victim, known professionally as Julie Teenager, was a call girl for the rich and famous. Her client list is long, and thick with suspects-all rich, powerful, and protected. As DS Breen hones in on his prime target, he receives a pointed warning: Watch your back.
Fortunately, Breen doesn’t have to work alone. His keenly intuitive, deeply moral partner Helen Tozer, despite the pregnancy that’s interrupted her policing career, can’t help being drawn into the case of a girl used and cast aside.
Twisted at the Root (A Jane Lawless Mystery) by Ellen Hart. Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart’s intimate storytelling returns in Twisted at the Root, where Hart’s latest mystery shows the importance of finding the truth.
Everyone thought Rashad May and Gideon Wise were happily married. That is, until Rashad was convicted of his husband’s murder.
Four years later, Rashad’s brother contacts Ray Lawless – Minnesota private investigator Jane Lawless’s father and the original defense attorney on the case – with potential evidence of a wrongful conviction. When the case is reopened, Jane and her father must work together to attain justice for a grieving widower.
Who actually killed Gideon and why? There are suspects and motives galore, and Jane must discover the truth. She must also track down her missing brother, Peter, who was involved in the original trial, and who might be hiding secrets of his own.
The Bitterroots by C.J. Box. A riveting new novel from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author C. J. Box coming out in August 2019.
The ties that bind can burn you. Former sheriff’s investigator Cassie Dewell is trying to start her life over as in private practice. She’s her own boss and answers to no one, and that’s just the way she likes it after the past few tumultuous years. All that certainty changes when an old friend calls in a favor: she wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young woman from an influential family.
Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out by the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. The Kleinsassers have ruled this part of Montana for decades, and the Iron Cross Ranch is their stronghold.
They want to see Blake Kleinsasser, the black sheep of the family, put away forever for the assault. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against a family whose roots are tangled and deadly—as well as the ghosts of her own past that threaten to bring her down.
Former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo was living in solitude deep in the woods, pathologically committed to owning no more than one hundred possessions, until his PI ex-girlfriend Lorena dragged him back to civilization to solve a high-profile Hollywood murder. Now Waldo and Lorena have their hands full with a new client, a wild and privileged L.A. teenager named Stevie Rose who tells lies as easily as she breathes.
When the teacher Stevie claims seduced her turns up dead, the LAPD pegs her as the prime suspect. Then Stevie disappears, and her self-involved Hollywood parents turn to Waldo to find her—a task that draws him down into Orange County’s dangerous and complex worlds, both opulent and seedy, where nothing is as it seems.
With treachery and deception at every turn, and with Waldo’s eco-obsessed rules for living complicating his already complicated relationship with Lorena, Waldo fends off enemies old and new as he races to find Stevie and solve the murder.
The Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lövestam. The Truth Behind The Lie is Sara Lövestam’s award-winning and gripping novel about blurred lines, second chances, and the lengths one will go to for the truth.
When a six-year-old girl disappears and calling the police isn’t an option, her desperate mother Pernilla turns to an unlikely source for help. She finds a cryptic ad online for a private investigator:
“Need help, but can’t contact the police?”
That’s where Kouplan comes in. He’s an Iranian refugee living in hiding. He was forced to leave Iran after news of his and his brother’s involvement with a radical newspaper hated by the regime was discovered. Kouplan’s brother disappeared, and he hasn’t seen him in four years. He makes a living as a P.I. working under the radar, waiting for the day he can legally apply for asylum.
Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer…and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.
Miami Midnight by Alex Segura. A year has passed since Pete Fernandez’s latest, closest brush with death. After months of recovery, the newly sober Pete has managed to rebuild his life, contentedly running a small Miami bookstore and steering clear of the dangers of private eye work.
So when an aging Cuban mobster asks Pete to find out who killed his drug-addicted, jazz pianist son and to locate his missing daughter-in-law, Pete balks. Until another victim suggests that the murder of the gangster’s son may be connected to the people that nearly ended Pete’s life, while revealing an unexpected, dangerous truth about the death of the Miami PI’s own mother.
Pulled back into the darkness and chaos he’d desperately tried to avoid, Pete finds his life derailed once more as he’s forced to investigate a murder that should have never gone cold while dodging assassins’ bullets and his own demons.
Can Pete make peace with his complicated, haunted past to save himself and those he loves? Or will his luck finally run out? From one of the very best crime writers working today, Alex Segura crafts an epic novel of mystery, humanity, and suspense while bringing to a stunning conclusion the acclaimed series that reinvented the private eye novel for a new generation.
The Warehouse by Rob Hart. One of the most anticipated titles of August 2019. Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.
But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.
Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.
As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.
Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.
Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.
A Keeper by Graham Norton. From Graham Norton—the BAFTA-award-winning Irish television host and author of the “charming debut novel” (New York Journal of Books) Holding, a masterly and haunting tale of secrets and ill-fated love follows a young woman who returns to Ireland after her mother’s death and unravels the identity of her father.
When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.
Forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.
A Keeper confirms Graham Norton’s status as a fresh and evocative literary voice, and illustrates his clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.
The Whisper Man by Alex North. In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window.
The Cold Way Home by Julia Keller. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Julia Keller welcomes readers back to West Virginia, where her lyrical and moving stories of the people of her native state have unfolded since A Killing in the Hills, the acclaimed first novel in the series.
Deep in the woods just outside Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, rises a ragged chunk of what was once a high stone wall. This is all that remains of Wellwood, a psychiatric hospital for the poor that burned to the ground decades ago. And it is here that Bell Elkins – prosecutor turned private investigator – makes a grim discovery while searching for a missing teenager: A dead body, marred by a ghastly wound that can only mean murder.
To solve the mystery of what happened in these woods where she played as a child, Bell and her partners – former sheriff Nick Fogelsong and former deputy Jake Oakes – must confront the tangled history of Wellwood and its dark legacy, while each grapples with a private torment. Based on a true chapter in the troubled history of early treatment for psychiatric illness, The Cold Way Home is a story of death and life, of despair and hope, of crime and – sometimes, but not always – punishment.