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13 Spine-Chilling Crime Novels For Anyone Who Needs A Little Suspense In Their Life

Have you ever spent an entire Sunday binge-watching Law & Order and imagining yourself as Olivia Benson’s right-hand detective? “Yes, Lieutenant, I’ve discovered the perp left his fingerprints on the inside of the car…and he’s from New Jersey…” or something along those lines. This is a weekly occurrence for me and probably for anyone else who finds themselves just as utterly obsessed with crime-fighting dramas. However, this excitement for detective work doesn’t just come from television. There are also a wide variety of crime novels out there that make us feel like our very own version of Sherlock Holmes. Here are just a few of the most suspenseful tales Amazon has to offer. Elementary, my dear Watson.

*FYI: If you happen to purchase any of the products on this list, we may receive a portion of the sales. Thanks for reading!

13. Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie (Now a major motion picture)


Promising Review: “Agatha Christie at her best! I am an avid Marple & Poirot fan, but I had never gotten around to reading this particular Christie novel. There’s a lot of hype around this novel and some say it’s the best, and I can’t find a reason to argue that. Reads very nicely and the ending had me pop up out of bed. I think I paced around my bedroom reading the last few pages. If you like Christie or are a fan of mystery, you must get this book. I especially like this particular publisher because of the good quality, attention to detail in editing, and that they organize the stories by Poirot, Marple, etc. in the top left corner.” – AK818

Get it on Amazon for $7.19 (Paperback)

12. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Promising Review: “If you are looking for a good thriller that is not overly graphic than I recommend this book. It’s about a journalist who has a scary break in right before heading on an exclusive cruise that she is covering for her magazine. While on the cruise she believes she is witness to a murder or did that murder really happen? Was it true or a huge cover up or all in her head? The book has twists and turns and gets you thinking about some of the passengers and what their motives are and if there indeed was a murder. I also found myself questioning the sanity of Lo Blacklock. The last 60 or so pages will get your heart rate up and you will turn into a speed reader trying to get to what happens next….. and just when you think it’s over….. well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.” – Denise

Get it on Amazon for $9.62 (Paperback)

11. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)


Promising Review: “Enjoyed Cuckoo’s Calling and would highly recommend it. I especially enjoyed Mr. G/Ms R’s detective Strike. What an interesting, multi-dimensional fellow! Love his relationship with his young, impressionable assistant. This murder mystery, with its supermodel and celebrity angles, hooked me in at once. Not a fast read, it’s lengthy, but that’s to be expected from Ms. Rowling, who, like a fine wine, needs to take its time in enjoying and be allowed to breathe. Breaks from the usual, fast action plot-ridden mysteries. Can’t wait to read the next two books in the series!” – Msanza

Get it on Amazon for $14.40 (Paperback)

10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (now an HBO limited series)


Promising Review: “Just when you think you have it all figured out, wham! You don’t. I didn’t see it coming. Amazing writing keeps you hooked from page 1. Gillian Flynn knows her stuff, I am a big fan and this will not disappoint. I loved Gone Girl and was so happy when they made it a movie. I am very excited to see the adaptation of Sharp Objects on HBO. I could not put this book down. It’s one of those books where you have to force yourself to stop reading so you don’t read it in 24 hours. I tried to take my time but only lasted 4 days. If you are a fan of thrillers with great plot twists, you will not be disappointed.” – Maria Palladino

Get it on Amazon for $8.99 (Paperback)

9. Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder by Jerry Bledsoe


Promising Review: “For anyone who is a fan of crime novels, this true story is hard to believe to be true. The twists and turns that Bledsoe takes you through are incredible and would seem unbelievable, were it not for having read all of the reports and watching the local news coverage as these tragic events unfolded, so many years ago. Growing up in an area in the shadow of both Greensboro, NC, and Winston Salem, NC, I remember like yesterday when these murders were reported and then the final “showdown” took place. This book is so well researched, documented and written, that I find that it calls to me every so often. Reading either selected parts or the whole work, I find myself revisiting this tragic tale on a regular basis, and as I stated in the headline, this will be my third copy as the previous two copies are heavily worn from re-reading over and over. There is no other book that I could recommend for someone to read more strongly than I suggest this one.” – UVa Dad

Get it on Amazon for $8.99 (Paperback)

8. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

Promising Review: “Such chilling words which began, and subsequently made known, the brutal and unspeakable crimes of the Manson Murders. Vincent Bugliosi’s account of the murders and “The Family” was well written and very detailed. His book presented a wealth of interesting information that you never hear about in any television documentary. By reading Mr. Bugliosi’s captivating book, the reader, not only gets a better understanding of murders and the crazy, insane motive behind them but a better understanding of all the people, good and bad, that were involved. It’s fascinating to read about all the hard work Mr. Bugliosi put into the Tate – LaBianca investigation which allowed him to successfully obtain death penalty convictions of Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houton, and a few years later, Charles “Tex” Watson. The Manson Murders were terrible, tragic event and it ultimately became Mr. Bugliosi’s story, which was again, wonderfully told by him. I can see why it is considered the best crime book ever written. I highly recommend this book.” – Tom W. Chilek

Get it on Amazon for $11.52 (Paperback)

7. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris


Promising Review: “If you’re looking for a page-turner, this is it. Few books manage to keep me up past my bedtime, but this did. I don’t want to give anything away, but you will experience literal gasps as you read this novel. I plan on immediately buying her 2nd book.” – Karen S. Parks

Get it on Amazon for $9.73 (Paperback)

6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Promising Review: “A mystery novel, a love story, and adventure through time. Brilliant walk through of many beautiful characters that are so human and so revealed in their deepest feelings of emotion that their emotions are felt by the reader. A true example of writing craftsmanship.” – Amazon Customer

Get it on Amazon for $15.17 (Paperback) 

5. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson


Promising Review: “I got interested in Jim Thompson as an author after reading in the New York Times Book Review that he was a favorite of Bruce Springsteen. This book was totally engrossing, written simply but with plenty of underlying complexity and suspense-building incompleteness that compelled me to read on. Written from the point of view of a highly intelligent psychopath passing as a normal but dull deputy sheriff, it presents in story-form a brilliant first-person portrait of this kind of psychological chameleon who is compelled by his nature into serial, intensely violent murders. Hints of his traumatic past round out the story, and the main character’s backstory and desires for normality that will appeal to fans of the “Dexter” TV series. I gave it only four stars because Thompson’s sophisticated holding back of information and subtlety of clues slowed me down at times as I had to go back and reread for plot points. However, now that I know this is his style and device, letting the truth dawn on the reader rather than spelling it out, I will enjoy his next books more, and I’ve already started the next one! Thanks, Bruce!” –  Beach reader

Get it on Amazon for $6.38 (Paperback)