Suspenseful Books to Die For

Reading Corner

​From amateur sleuths to hard-boiled detectives, we have the mystery, suspense, and crime fiction books to keep you glued to the page this winter. Whether you’re looking to jump in with a new series and a sleuth you can relate to or you’re looking for that adrenaline rush that comes with high action, one of these is bound to keep you guessing until the very last page.

The Swap (Nicole Graves Mysteries)

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

Each book in the Nicole Graves Mysteries is written as a stand-alone. Readers do not need to read every book in the series to follow along.

Other Books in the Nicole Graves Mysteries:

  1. The Swap
  2. The Bequest
  3. Liar, Liar
  4. The Ransom
  5. The Entitled
  6. The Moscow Affair

Crossing Savage (Peter Savage Series)

As one by one the world’s leading alternative energy researchers are assassinated, Peter Savage and his friend Jim Nicolaou race against the clock to preserve the secret that promises to change the landscape of the world… or start a global war. In the timely, heart-thumping thriller Crossing Savage, author Dave Edlund presents the theory of abiogenic oil production and the terrifying array of unintended consequences that accompany the belief that energy independence can be realized.

 Each Peter Savage novel can be read as a stand-alone.

Order of Books in the Peter Savage Series:

  1. Crossing Savage
  2. Relentless Savage
  3. Deadly Savage
  4. Hunting Savage
  5. Guarding Savage
  6. Lethal Savage
  7. Valiant Savage
  8. Unforgiving Savage


Saving Tuna Street (Blanche Murninghan Mysteries)

Blanche “Bang” Murninghan is a part-time journalist with writer’s block and a penchant for walking the beach on her beloved Santa Maria Island. Gran left her a cabin on Tuna Street, and she’s got her friends and family—her itinerant cousin, Jack, and Cap, a lovable old fisherman who coddles her like a grandfather, and her friend, Liza, a realtor who looks like she emerged from central casting. All is well. Until the land-grabbing goons arrive from Chicago. Blanche finds herself in a tailspin, flabbergasted that so many things can go so wrong, so fast. Her friend, Bob Blankenship, Liza’s partner, is found murdered in the parking lot of the marina, and she suspects the slick, handsome land developer Sergi Langstrom and his company of chaos are behind it all. Blanche keeps digging. All the way to hell. The goons, it seems, are a front for a drug cartel.

The harder Blanche pushes against the source of trouble, the more she is sucked into the vortex of greed, murder, drug runners, and kidnapping (hers). The appearance of the mysterious Haasi, a tiny Native American with glossy braids and dark eyes, complicates things, and it’s a good thing. She appears and disappears but always ends up at Blanche’s side.

They all keep getting closer to the sources of the spurious land development and the murder and the drug running. Who can look away? It’s like watching a hurricane, which, literally, comes straight for Tuna Street.

Each Blanche Murninghan mystery can be read as a standalone.

Other Books in the Blanche Murninghan Mysteries:

  1. Saving Tuna Street
  2. Trouble Down Mexico Way
  3. Mission Improbable: Vietnam
  4. A Deathly Irish Secret


Dead Last (Maddie Arnette Mysteries)

When Suzanne Parker falls to the pavement in front of Maddie during the Oak City Marathon in her small North Carolina city, Maddie assumes it’s an accident. But then Suzanne whispers words that make Maddie’s skin go cold and sends her crime-fighting antenna into high gear—my husband is trying to kill me.

Maddie’s personal experience with domestic violence in her family growing up in New Jersey connects her to Suzanne in a way that she can’t control. Soon, Maddie’s allegiance to protecting her new friend and discovering the truth about Suzanne’s husband becomes an obsession, one that leads her down a dangerous path where her past and deception intertwine. When someone turns up dead, Maddie finally realizes she is all in again when it comes to crime reporting, but this time she may be in over her head.

Each Maddie Arnette mystery can be read as a standalone.

Other Books in the Maddie Arnette Mysteries:

  1. Dead Last
  2. Lies That Bind
  3. No Wake Zone


Murder on Hollywood Beach (Messy Girl Murders)

Amanda Beckwith is a classic underachiever who finally hits the jackpot when she marries Santa Barbara wellness guru Geoff Martin. She is fast becoming the envy of her hip, 30-something girlfriends when Geoff dumps her for Bree, his massage therapist. With nothing to show for her short marriage but a couple of minor brushes with the law and a tiny drinking problem, Amanda escapes to Hollywood Beach, 20 miles south of Santa Barbara, to focus on her career as professional organizer and “Messy Girl” blogger for a small local newspaper.

When Bree is found murdered on the beach behind Amanda’s house, her life spirals into chaos. Detectives single her out as a person of interest. With few people listening to her side of the story, Amanda resorts to her own devices to clear her name. 

As Amanda edges closer to the truth, her status shifts from person of interest to next victim. 

Murder on Hollywood Beach is the Messy Girl Mystery series debut.


 Heirloom (Kate Tyler Series)

Kate Tyler is already in a life crisis when she inherits Howard’s Walk in Eden Springs, North Carolina, after the sudden death of her twin sister, Rebecca. The last thing she wants is to be tied down to an abandoned estate and its neglected once-famous gardens. She vows to sell it as quickly as possible.

But on her first visit to Howard’s Walk, Kate finds a family heirloom, an embroidered tablecloth, that Rebecca has left behind. That connection, and the deepening sense of loss she is feeling, convince her to stay—at least for a little while. As Kate struggles alone in her grief, healing appears in the form of new friends and neighbors.

When secrets begin to surface within the old house, she questions the connection she feels with a mentally challenged young man from the farm next door. When she meets the owner of a local garden center, she begins to open her heart again to the possibility of love. When she learns that a powerful and vengeful man who was denied ownership of Howard’s Walk in the past is determined to finally own it at any cost, Kate must decide what Howard’s Walk means to her and whether she has the strength to battle for its survival as well as her own. 

Order of books in the Kate Tyler series:

  1. Heirloom
  2. The Legend
  3. Secrets at Deep Lake


Trust Misplaced (Paul Dodge Series)

Paul Dodge is no stranger to the dark side of crime. As a parole agent and a member of the local Sex Crimes Task Force, he knows what depravity lies in the shadows. But when an investigation into a local sexual predator leads him to a photo of a judge’s daughter and another young girl ends up dead, Dodge quickly realizes he doesn’t know who to trust.

In the most dangerous case of his career, Dodge races to detangle a growing web of lies and corruption. His life and career are both on the line in this high-stakes case, and a single misstep could end them both.

Each book in the Paul Dodge series can be read as a standalone.

  1. Trust Misplaced
  2. Last Rays of Daylight
  3. The Savior


Judgment at Alcatraz (Danya Biton Series)

Capitalizing on a peaceful protest for Native American rights, a small, extremist militia swiftly seizes Alcatraz Island and holds more than 200 people hostage. Their demand: return all lands taken from Indigenous Peoples through broken treaties, or an armada of drones will render the San Francisco Bay Area a glowing ruin, uninhabitable for decades.

Former Mossad assassin Danya Biton and her friend Toby Riddle are thrown headlong into the conflict. As the authorities debate the cost of acquiescing to the demands versus the loss of civilian lives, Danya—on the run from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic—offers the only hope for rescuing the hostages and preventing an unprecedented disaster … but she may have to sacrifice herself to save the others.

Judgment at Alcatraz is the first in the Danya Bitton Series.


Ground Truth (A Pittsburgh Murder Mystery)

Kate Chambers knows that cold cases are almost always a lost cause.

So when two skeletons are discovered in Pittsburgh and Kate believes that she has insider information about the crime, she joins Chief Detective Stefan Jablonsky in his investigation. She’s determined to find justice for the family.

It doesn’t take long to identify the victims: two siblings who had gone missing twenty years ago. As Kate digs into the neighborhood and Jablonsky starts chasing down leads, the list of suspects grows.

With the cold case reopened and witnesses dying soon after coming forward, it’s clear that someone has a lot to lose. Kate and Jablonsky must work together to unravel the mysteries and make sure that whoever killed the siblings doesn’t get away with murder a second time.

Perfect for fans of Louise Penny, Ann Cleeves, and Kerry Greenwood, this mystery will keep you guessing all the way to the end.

Order of Books in the Pittsburgh Murder Mysteries:

  1. Ground Truth
  2. Broken Glass
  3. The Locked Box (Coming in 2024)

Someone Had to Die

There’s always the one case that got away, the one with loose ends and a lack of closure that plagues those who investigate it.

For James Butler, a partner in a prestigious boutique law firm in Orange County, that case is the 1985 murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Though the murder occurred more than 35 years ago, James can’t shake the nagging feeling that maybe the investigators missed something. The more James digs into this cold case, the more unwanted attention he gathers from powerful forces on both sides of the border who would prefer to keep the case closed.

Someone Had to Die follows a fictional lawyer as he digs into the true story of Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena’s abduction and murder in 1985, drawing from and exposing interviews and facts never before published.

Have you read any of these series? Make sure to drop a review on Goodreads and BookBub! Or grab a copy from to support a local bookstore near you from the comfort of your couch.

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