Do you fancy that feeling too? The feeling where you just can’t resist reading. A murder mystery, suspenseful plot, detective fiction, legal drama and investigation fiction always succeed. If you’re one of the readers who love the rush and excitement, you’re in luck! Because I have compiled a guide of the best crime thriller authors. You may not be the biggest fan of this genre. However, your 2022 reading goal should be to try new authors and books. These crime thriller authors and their phenomenal pieces will definitely blow your mind. 

Therefore, I have put together 23 crime thriller authors you must read in 2022. 

1. Stephen King 

Crime thriller author- Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King, described as the ‘King of Horror’ is by far one of the most popular authors of crime and suspense novels. King wrote his first book when he was 20 and has published over 50 books ever since. King is a master at creating literature that contains all three- conflict, foreshadowing and suspense. Furthermore, he is a legendary storyteller and often uses the concept of flashbacks. His writing style and character arcs are very unique. The tremendous insight into human nature makes his novels easy to understand. 

Suggested books

The Stand, Carrie and The Shining 

2. Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves is a well-known British crime thriller author and a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. The most famous writings of her include Shetland and Vena series. Above that, she was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing in 2017. 

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Best books of this crime thriller author

Raven Black, The Rising Tide, The Crow Trap, The Darkest Evening

3. James Patterson 

James Brenden Patterson master in thrillers, non-fiction and even romance books. He not only sold 400 million books but also was the first writer to sell 1 million e-books. He often uses a “hook and hangs” technique where he leaves the readers in awe. Patterson’s crime thriller writing starts with action and ends with a cliffhanger. To emphasise, his unique style of writing novels like a movie script will make it easier for you to understand. In fact, the best part about Patterson’s thriller stories is that they don’t exaggerate the unnecessary. Patterson would never write huge paragraphs to describe a character’s village.  

Bestsellers of this exemplary crime thriller author are

The President is Missing, The Ninth Month, Along Came a Spider

4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Doyle

The creator of ‘Sherlock Holmes’, Sir Arthur Canon Doyle is a famed detective fiction writer. His work has inspired many movies and tv shows you’ve binge-watched. Apart from this, he has also written science fiction, fantasies and comical stories. His way of using imagery, metaphor and analogy, along with a thrilling narrative will provoke you every time. He uses alterations at the end of sentences with a satisfying arrangement of syllables. Hence, Arthur’s work appears to be flowery or ‘too literal’ most of the time. His writing style remains the same in each book however, the plot is always unexpected.      

Famous crime thriller books by Doyle

The Hound of Baskerville, A Study in Scarlet, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four

5. David Baldacci 

David has been a writer since childhood and published his first novel in 1996. This exemplary crime thriller author has published numerous bestsellers. From the gripping Amos Decker series to the unforgettable characters of The Camel Club series, David has been loved since his first novel. One of his best-selling books is ‘Memory Man’ featuring the famous character Amos Decker. Another famous writing by him is ‘The Camel Club’. The Camel Club is a series of 5 novels which improve consistently with each book. These stories are fast-paced and hence, more simple and exciting to read. 

Other crime thriller books by David 

Mercy, Dream Town, The 6:20 man, Long Shadows

6. Louise Penny

Louise Penny is a Canadian mystery writer and one of the most creative crime thriller authors. She has a pretty unique writing style. You’ll notice short paragraphs, frequent fragments and repetitiveness, almost like she is writing her heart out. She not only describes a character but also presents her reactions and perspective. Moreover, Louise writes in a passionate way. She generally shares the character’s point of view in every scene. Therefore, her creative narration attracts more readers and leaves them astonished. Her first two mysteries, Still Life and Dead Cold, are consistent sellers. If you’re looking for suspenseful books, these are the best fits. 

Famous crime thriller books by Louise Penny

The Long Way Home, A Fatal Grace

7. Agatha Cristie 

Agatha Cristie is the most renowned crime thriller author of all time. She is said to be a clever writer who focused on dialogues and varied the pacing to heighten suspense. Her sharp and small dialogues allow easy reading. At the same time, she would play manipulate the reader’s thoughts. Thus, making it more difficult for them to solve the same mystery. Her books are a combination of both good plots and excellent dialogues. Besides, Agatha was great at creating memorable characters. Some of them are Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. She has written 66 detective novels and the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap.

Top Agatha Cristie mysteries

Peril at End House, Curtain, Five Little Pigs, Murder on the Orient Express 

8. Lee Child 

Lee Child is the pen name of Jim Dover Grand. Famous for his Jack Reacher novel series, he is a British crime thriller author. Jim is an unusual writer. While authors create a draft first, Jim never prepares a plot and writes cluelessly till the end. He claims that his only purpose in writing a book is to entertain his readers. Jim’s stories focus on revenge, mystery and suspense. 

Famous books by Lee Child

Killing floor, Better Off Dead, Die Trying, The Sentinel, One Shot

9. Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn is an American writer who has published 3 novels. These include Sharp Objects, Dark Places and Gone Girl. To emphasise, all three have been adapted by television. Gone Girl is the perfect example of murder, mystery and suspense. This book became number 1 in New York when published and is loved till now. Besides that, Dark Places is another mystery book by Flynn. It is an investigation discovery book which will leave you amazed and curious at every step. 

10. Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell, also known as Barbara Vine, is the creator of a very famous character, Chief Inspector Wexford. She was an English crime thriller author who mastered psychological murder mysteries. The rare thing about her writings is that she focuses more on characters than the old-fashioned police investigation story. Ruth prioritised writing about human relationships too, something no one used to do at that time. She published 24 Wexford series and changed her writing style in the 1980s. Later she published A dark-Adapted Eye, which also gained a lot of popularity.

Some best sellers by Ruth Rendell 

A Judgement in Stone, From Doon with Death, Master of Moor, Simisola 

11. Paula Hawkins 

The Girl on the Train, a book you’ve definitely heard of, is written by Paula Hawkins. She is a British author known for her psychological thrillers. Hawkins began her career as a romantic comedy writer and later realised her interest in thrillers. As soon as she became a crime thriller author, she made a footprint in the history of writers. 

Other books by this crime thriller author 

Into the Water, A Slow Fire Burning, Blind Spot

12. John Grisham

John Ray Grisham is an American novelist known for legal thrillers. He has written 28 best sellers consecutively and has sold 300 million copies worldwide. Furthermore, his first bestseller was ‘The Firm’ which solely sold 7 million copies. Grisham’s books are famous for being suspenseful. If you like going on a binge once you start reading, Grisham’s books are the one for you. One can see a frequent theme of racism in his stories. He uses irony, imagery and foreshadowing, hence making his stories more interesting. The perfect combination of tragic and sad tone is used in Grisham’s writings. 

Some famous books by John Grisham

A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief, The Judge’s List, The Innocent Man, Sparring Partners, A Time for Mercy

13. Harlen Coben 

Harlen Coben is an American crime thriller author who has sold over 75 million copies. 6 of his novels have been developed into Netflix original series. Harlen’s stories are very distinct. It’s because he always tries to show the characters’ opinions and perceptions. This lets the reader feel more connected to the story and the protagonist. His stories are known to have a unique tone, flair and wit. His intelligence in the plot and dialogues usually attracts more readers. 

Award-winning books by this crime thriller author

Win, The Boy from The Woods, Run Away, Fool Me Once, Tell No One, Hold Tight, The Stranger

14. Dan Brown

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Dan Brown masters the genre of thriller. With more than 200 sold copies and many books adapted by Netflix and Hollywood, Dan has proved to be one of the best crime thriller authors. He is famous for the book ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Brown’s every chapter will end with a cliffhanger, compelling you to keep reading. Furthermore, the most interesting thing about his stories is that the plot is designed for a 24-hour duration. He focuses on detailed descriptions and fewer characters. 

Other worthwhile writings by Dan 

The Lost Symbol, Angels and Demons, Origin, Deception Point, Justifiable Homicide 

15. Dennis Lehane 

Dennis Lehane has proved himself numerous times and is known to be the best at crime fiction. Moreover, he has always been consistent with his serious characters, storyline and tone. His most famous writing to date is ‘Shutter Island’ which deals with thrillers and haunting tragedies. Many of his writings have been adapted by the Hollywood industry. The twists and surprising character beats have made their films a blockbuster too. 

Some outstanding crime thriller novels by Dennis

Mystic River, Moonlight Mile, A Drink Before the War, Prayers for Rain 

16. Karin Slaughter 

Yes, Slaughter is her real name. And as weird as it may sound, her books are filled with bodies and forensics. Karin is an expert when it comes to crime fiction. Her novels contain dark stories about colourful characters turning into their flawed sides. Besides, she has a way of making her characters feel surreal to the readers. Slaughter is the only crime thriller author with such a kind writing style and intelligence. Her wittiness can be observed in her investigation stories and shocking conclusions. 

Books published by this crime thriller author 

Criminal, Pieces of Her, The Silent Wife, False Witness, Pretty Girls, Fractured, Broken 

17. Jon Krakauer 

Jon is a crime thriller author and writer of various bestselling books. He simply masters the suspenseful and adventure genres in both books and real life. He is also a mountaineer and was a part of the disastrous 1996 Mt. Everest expedition. Later, he wrote about his experience in ‘Into Thin Air’. Besides, the most famous book he has written is ‘Into the Wild’. 

Other books

Where Men Win Glory, Under the Banner of Heaven, Eiger Dreams

18. James Lee Burke 

James is another talented crime thriller author. He is a versatile writer mastering all genres like suspense, crime, thriller, detective, political and literary fiction. James Lee Burke is best known for his Dave Robicheaux series. He has been presented with numerous awards and recognition in the New York Times. 

Miscellaneous crime fiction books by James Lee Burke

Two for Texas, The Jealous Kind, The New Iberia Blues, Purple Cane Road 

19. Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin is a Scottish crime thriller writer famous for his Inspector Rebus novels. His pen name is Jack Harvey. Ian’s best Rebus book is considered to be Knots and Crosses. Later, this series improves and gets more interesting as you read further. Ian wrote novels such as Dark Entries and Door Opens at the beginning of his career which helped him reach heights.      

Other interesting books by Ian Rebus

The Complaints, Watchman, Beggars Banquet, Blood Hunt 

20. Ann Rule

Ann Rule is incredible when it comes to crime fiction. This crime thriller author from America is famous for the book Stranger Beside Me. Most of her books are based on murders and investigations. One of her last books is Practise to Deceive which is about a murder in 2003. She has a different approach to choosing and designing her characters, especially the antagonist. Ann Rule claims that she doesn’t believe in creating an obvious monster image of the murderer. She loves presenting the most unexpected and hence, creates one of the best fiction. 

Worthwhile writings of Ann 

Small Sacrifices, Everything She Ever Wanted, Bitter Harvest, Dead By Sunset 

21. James Ellroy

James Ellroy is a recognised crime fiction writer from America. He has a unique style of writing prose. He writes small and direct sentences, cutting out all the unnecessary words. In addition, James Ellroy’s stories usually have a dense plotting and pessimistic tone. 

Crime thriller novels by James Ellroy

The Black Dahlia, Perfidia, The Cold Six Thousand, White Jazz, Blood’s a Rover

22. Martin Cruz Smith

Martin Cruz Smith is one of the most creative crime thriller authors in America. He is famous for his book Gorky Park. Besides, he hit the bestseller list when he started his Arkady Renko novels. He also earned the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers.

Thrilling stories by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star, Red Square, Three Stations 

23. Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky was a well-known crime thriller writer. She published the Warshawski detective novels in the 1980s and was the first writer to introduce a female detective in her stories. 

Other books by Sara Paretsky

Love and Other Crimes, Killing Orders, Deadlock, Blood Shot 

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Conclusion

Reading crime stories is exciting, however finding the best fit for your choice can be troublesome. The mentioned crime thriller authors have the best fiction novels in the history of literature. With each of them having their unique way of writing, they have marked their place in the world and won love and respect. I hope this blog will help you find your favourite crime thriller book and develop an interest in this genre. 

If you wish to write such exemplary stories too, a creative writing course is all you need. My personal favourite is the Henry Harvin Institute. This leading company will offer you both theoretical knowledge and experiential learning. 

Reference reads

FAQs 

What makes a good crime thriller?

A mystery and unexpected twists make a good thriller. A writer should always keep his/her readers curious and never let them foresee the next move. 

Which is the greatest mystery novel of all time?

The very famous Sir Arthur Canon Doyle wrote the complete Sherlock Holmes series which has gained popularity like no other novel. 

Whom should I read if I like Agatha Christie?

Dorothy L. Sayers, Christianna Brand, Patricia Wentworth and Mary Roberts are similar crime thriller authors. Their stories are suspenseful as well as exciting. 

Which famous crime thriller books were turned into movies?

 Exemplary books like Gone Girl, Shutter Island, The Girl on the Train and The Godfather were adapted by television or Netflix.

What are the different types of crime fiction?

Crime thriller authors usually write genres like a police procedural, detective fiction, caper story, cosy mystery and locked room mystery.

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