BookPage Best Books of 2018:
Mystery & Suspense
Lock your doors and close the blinds—it’s our list of the year’s 15 best works of crime fiction.
#15 The Cabin at the End of the World
By Paul Tremblay
What begins as a fun, relaxing getaway at a New Hampshire lake for 7-year-old Wen and her dads, Andrew and Eric, turns into a terrifying ordeal of survival in the latest thriller from the Bram Stoker-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts.
#14 Red, White, Blue
By Lea Carpenter
The new novel from screenwriter Carpenter is an intriguing, albeit challenging, read. But for lovers of spy novels, it’s more than worth the read.
By Christopher Moore
Set in 1947 San Francisco, Moore’s latest switches back and forth between on-the-lam bartender Sammy “Two-Toes” Tiffin and an unnamed second party (“Don’t worry about who I am, I know things.”). Larceny abounds, committed or attempted by pretty much everyone in the book, and there is a laugh-out-loud moment every couple of pages.
#12 The Fighter
By Michael Farris Smith
The setting for Smith’s fourth work of fiction is the vividly described poor, rural towns and back roads scattered throughout the Mississippi Delta, where Jack Boucher is driving alone in the dark, planning to repay his large debt to an unforgiving fight and vice promoter named Big Momma Sweet.
#11 The Woman in the Window
By A.J. Finn
In suspense fiction, as in life, things aren’t always as they appear. We view events through similar, although by no means identical, lenses. And therein lies the fun, both between the covers of one of the year’s most audacious psychological suspense debuts.
#10 The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
By Stuart Turton
Conventional wisdom cautions, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but thankfully, author Turton must not have gotten the memo. His debut novel is a daring and wildly imaginative spin on the tried, tested and true English manor house murder mystery trope.
By Laura Lippman
At one time or another, all of us have considered the appeal of walking out of our current life, leaving everything and everyone behind, and starting afresh somewhere new. Few people have stronger reasons to do this than Polly Costello—female lead in Lippman’s new James M. Cain-inspired thriller.
#8 Dark Sacred Night
By Michael Connelly
Connelly pairs series stalwart Harry Bosch with Renée Ballard in their first (but hopefully not their last) adventure together. They both share a bit of an outsider’s perspective—respected for their work but not always liked by their peers—and this is what makes them such a formidable team.
#7 Baby Teeth
By Zoje Stage
In Stage’s debut novel, you can’t blame put-upon Suzette Jensen for wanting to be free from her monstrous daughter, Hanna. Indeed, by page five you’re praying for the little horror to eat it in the worst way possible.
#6 The Infinite Blacktop
By Sara Gran
Imagine, for a moment, a Nancy Drew mystery told partially in flashback by Nancy herself, a girl grown up into the Best Detective in the World—her own rather immodest appellation—and now facing Her Most Perplexing Case. Then you will begin to have an idea of Sara Gran’s strange yet wildly entertaining new novel.
#5 A Necessary Evil
By Abir Mukherjee
Picture Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe’s wisecracking and nose-thumbing sidekick, plucked from his New York brownstone and transplanted to 1920s Calcutta, and you’ll have a pretty good image of Captain Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard officer whose first-person perspective offers a noir voiceover to Mukherjee’s brilliant new novel.
#4 Lethal White
By Robert Galbraith
Strike, a London private investigator with a reputation for unraveling high-profile cases, and his able, lovely assistant, Robin, are in the thick of it, investigating political blackmail and the murder of a Tory minister.
#3 Kingdom of the Blind
By Louise Penny
Penny’s novels are unique for how seamlessly they straddle the line between charming small-town mysteries and big-city police procedurals. This time out, protagonist Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Québec, receives a strange invitation to an abandoned farmhouse, and an even stranger request to act as executor of a will crafted by someone he never met.
#2 The Word Is Murder
By Anthony Horowitz
It’s tempting to wade into these first few pages of Horowitz’s latest with the assumption that you’re about to enjoy a loving homage to the classic British mysteries of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Then comes Horowitz’s inventive twist: The inscrutable investigator enlists an author whose name happens to be Anthony Horowitz to join him as he probes the case.
#1 The Witch Elm
By Tana French
In French’s brilliantly tense first standalone novel, an oblivious male protagonist investigates two crimes—and confronts whether he is, in fact, the hero of his own story.