Best Murder Mystery, Psychological Thrillers & Crime Fiction Books 2021/22

Having been a lifelong chick lit and women’s fiction reader, I branched out of my comfort zone in 2021 and started reading thrillers. I can’t even remember how I come across the first book now. It was probably a suggestion on Kindle Unlimited, but I’ve found that I now have an unhealthy appetite for this genre. Here are some of the best murder mystery, psychological thrillers, and crime fiction books that I’ve read in 2021 and 2022. I will keep adding to this post as I find more that I like.
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In this post, you will find reviews of:

The Girl Before – JP Delaney
The Perfect Couple – Jackie Kabler
Queen Bee – Nina Manning
A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton
An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena
Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
One Small Mistake – Dandy Smith
The Marriage Lie – Kimberley Belle

Best Murder Mystery, Psychological Thrillers & Crime Fiction Books of 2021 and 2022

photo of a book shelf with the text best murder myster psychological thrillers and crime fiction books

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

I was drawn to this book from the description of a minimalist house with ground-breaking architecture, but it quickly became so much more. As someone who is slightly anti-tech, this house made me feel very uncomfortable just reading about it as everything is controlled by an app. The “Housekeeper” controls the water temperature, lighting, front door, etc., but ultimately it aims to gain control over your whole way of living. There is a rigourous vetting process for possible tenants through a series of tests followed by an interview with the architect – most are rejected.

The story is told in two timelines, one by Emma, the previous tenant, and the other by Jane the current tenant.  Throughout the story are some of the psychometric questions that the tenants had to answer. It kinda made me feel even more involved with the story working out how I would answer each one.

I couldn’t put this down.  I loved how the story developed. I think this will probably make my Top 10 reads of 2022. Gripping and mentally creepy.

This has since been made into a tv drama on BBC. Read the book first though if you haven’t already.

book cover titled the girl before by jp delaney

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

The Perfect Couple is a gripping crime thriller set in the south of England.

Danny and his wife Gemma move to Bristol from their home in London but shortly after Danny goes missing. The police get involved and it is noted that Danny looks very similar to two other young men that were recently murdered in Bristol – but they are unsure whether Danny’s disappearance is linked as there is no body! On investigation, there are lots of things about the couple that doesn’t add up.

I loved this. There are so many twists and turns in this story, that you don’t know who to suspect or indeed what is really going on. The writing style involves lots of details but is easy to follow. The police dialogue is very similar to crime thrillers I’ve watched on the tv, so it’s easy to picture the scene.

I highly recommend this novel by Jackie Kabler. It has such a clever plot. She is certainly an author I’ll be looking out for. This title is on Kindle Unlimited.

red book cover titled the perfect couple by jackie cabler (crime thriller)

Queen Bee by Nina Manning

Queen Bee is the latest psychological thriller from Nina Manning. Now whilst I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a thriller, more a drama, it’s a fabulous read that kept me guessing all the way through.

Miranda is the newly appointed queen bee in a small village in The Cotswolds. Everything is perfect until Verity arrives and comes between Miranda and her best friend Evie.

I love the way this story unfolds. It is told in the present, with the odd chapter from the past, and several chapters where the villagers are giving statements to the police. We don’t know what has happened, or who it has happened to until the very end.

It’s very cleverly written in a way that keeps you guessing. There’s also a stark lesson to be learned about social media.

This was released by Boldwood books in January 2022. Also on Kindle Unlimited.

psychological thriller book titled queen bee by nina manning

The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce

The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce is the first of 21 books about Jessie Hunt, a young married woman who is studying to be a criminal profiler.

The couple move to Orange County from downtown LA and join the local yacht club to get to know the local community and make new contacts for the husband’s business. Meanwhile, Jessie is also involved in a far darker side of life where she visits a hardcore criminal institution to interview a serial killer as part of her degree.  However, things are not all as they seem at the yacht club and Jessie finds out far more than she bargained for.

This is a brilliant story with so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming. It is interesting to see both the personal and career sides of Jessie’s life, and although this is a standalone read, it sets up the whole series.  The Perfect Wife is currently free on Kindle, as are the first books for several other psychological thriller and murder mystery collections by author Blake Pierce. Highly recommended.

murder mystery book titled the perfect wife by blake pierce

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton is another new author for me in the crime fiction genre. This is the first in the alphabet series about a female PI called Kinsey Millhone. In this one, she works for Nikki, who has just been released from prison for a murder she says she didn’t commit.

A is for Alibi was originally written in 1982 and I love how you could rent a motel in L.A. for $12 a night back then 😂. There are other references that date to that era which made it an even more enjoyable read for me.

The author pays great attention to the details of people and places and I could picture the whole story playing out in front of me, reminiscent of watching an old episode of Colombo with my parents.

Despite being set in a fictional California town of Santa Teresa, I pictured it as Santa Barbara, and this story takes us to LA, Las Vegas, and the Salton Sea, all areas I’ve visited before.

I loved the main character and many of the supporting roles too. They all came to life with no effort.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more from this series. I guess that’s another 24 books added to my TBR pile 😉. Sadly Sue Grafton died before the Z episode was finished.

murder mystery book titled a is for alibi by sue grafton

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

A fabulously far-fetched murder mystery set in a remote hotel during an ice storm. I really enjoyed this. It was well written and kept me wanting to read on until I finished it. I had no idea “whodunit”!

book cover for thriller shari lapena titled an unwanted guest

Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was a book I saw over and over again on Bookstagram last year. It finally made it to the top of my TBR pile and I wondered if it was going to live up to all the hype. I can assure you it did … and more!

The Thursday Murder Club is set in a fictional retirement village in the south of England and just like real life, it is filled with wonderful characters. I think all too often we, as a nation, write old people off and forget they were once at the top of their game. They were parents who held important jobs – nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, carers, and more.

This story proves that just because the body and mind slow, there is still plenty of life in our old folk.

I can’t rate this book highly enough. It is warm, funny, emotional, and a really good whodunit that everyone should read. I later went on to read the sequel The Man Who Died Twice which was just as good and I am eagerly awaiting part 3 – The Bullet That Missed due in September 2022.

the thursday murder club book cover by richard osman

One Small Mistake by Dandy Smith

One Small Mistake is the thrilling debut novel from Dandy Smith.

Elodie Fray has always wanted to be an author and has quit her marketing job to pursue her dream. She craves her parents’ approval as they always seem to dote on Ava, her elder sister.

News of a book deal, followed by an abduction, set the scene for this exciting story told by both sisters with twists along the way that you might not see happening.

A perfect example of how everything and everyone are not always as they seem.

I’d love to read more from this author.

I read this free with Amazon Prime but it’s also on Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and audiobook.

book cover for the abduction thriller one small mistake by dandy smith

The Marriage Lie by Kimberley Belle

This was another new author found on Prime Reading.

Iris and Will appear to have the perfect marriage, perfect jobs and are trying for their first baby. Iris’s life is shattered when Will dies in a plane crash, on a plane that he wasn’t supposed to be on!  This is a roller coaster ride as Iris and her twin brother try to uncover what really happened to Will.

This was a fab quick read where I wasn’t sure who was telling the truth and started to suspect more than one character in the plot. A great ending too!

book cover for the marriage lie by kimberley belle

Other Murder Mystery, Psychological Thrillers & Crime Fiction Books that I’ve enjoyed

TM Logan – The Catch, Lies, 29 Seconds,
Lucinda Berry – The Secrets of Us, When She Returned,
Minka Kent – The Thinnest Air, When I Was You, The Perfect Room Mate, The Memory Watcher, The Watcher Girl
MJ Hardy – The Woman Who Destroyed Christmas, The Husband Thief, The Resort
Mark Edwards – In Her Shadow, Because She Loves Me, Here To Stay, The House Guest, Here to Stay
Keri Beevis – Dying To Tell
Tina Seskis – Home Truths
BA Paris – Behind Closed Doors
Clare McGowan – What You Did, The Other Wife

Let me know what your favourite murder mystery, psychological thrillers and crime fiction books are or who your favourite author is in this genre.

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6 thoughts on “Best Murder Mystery, Psychological Thrillers & Crime Fiction Books 2021/22

  1. I love a good thriller, but I tend to alternate as too many thrillers in a row can get you questioning life as you know it, lol. I loved The Girl Before and The Thursday Murder Club although I have to admit that I enjoyed Richard Osmond’s second book in the series, The Man Who Died Twice much faster paced and a real page turner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the Sue Grafton series a few years ago! Not sure if I have any of them, so many of my books were at my mum’s and then went to charity shops when she moved. I’m going to take The Girl Before on holiday so looking forward to that. ☺️ Am delighted you’ve embraced this genre! I love the Roy Grace series by Peter James as they’re set in and around Brighton so it’s great when he talks about various local landmarks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m binge reading Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child at the moment. I also like Scott Mariani action thrillers. I am not a huge fan of the English police crime stories, but I quite like a mystery like the ones that Jane Harper writes, I think the settings have a lot to do with my enjoyment of a mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

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