Readers’ choice: Your favourite crime novels of 2014

We apologise if you’re a bit ‘listed out’ after all our contributors revealed their top five crime novels of 2014 throughout December. However, we have one more compilation that we’d like to share with you. This one is based on how many times people visited reviews of books released during 2014 on our site. Using our web traffic as an indicator, we’re able to determine which crime, mystery and thriller novels our readers were most interested in during the past year. Did you buy any of these? Did you enjoy them? Do let us know in the comments below.

Natchez Burning10 – Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
This is a massive book, both physically and in terms of emotional impact. Natchez lawyer and politician Penn Cage investigates the death of an old black woman – possibly by foul play. As he does so, he peels back layer after layer of intrigue which go back through almost half a century of mysterious deaths, racism and corruption, not only involving some important Natchez people, but his own beloved father. This book will grip you by the throat from page one to the very last paragraph, and you can read the full appreciation of it here.
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Strange Death9 – The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham
Fiona Griffiths is a young Welsh policewoman with a mental condition – Cotard’s Syndrome – which is both a blessing and a curse. It gives her frequent flashes of valuable insight and intuition, but she’s also afflicted with symptoms of severe autism. Her ‘death’ is brought about by her going undercover, with a brand new identity, in order to infiltrate a criminal gang intent fraud on a global scale. With his punchy, high-speed narrative, Bingham serves up a great thriller, with perhaps the most memorable female character in current crime fiction. Our full review is here.
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Entry Island8 – Entry Island by Peter May
Master wordsmith May’s Lewis Trilogy was a huge success worldwide, but he widens his horizons here with a book set on a tiny island in the Gulf of St Lawrence in Eastern Canada, where a murder has been committed for the first time in living memory. The central character is troubled insomniac Detective Sergeant Sime Mackenzie, who is called to the scene because he is the only available Montreal investigator fluent in English. The chief suspect is the victim’s wife, but Sime has the strange feeling they have met before. Cue an interwoven tale set in Scotland in the time of the Highland Clearances, and a double helping of the sumptuously envisioned scenery which makes May’s books so compelling. Read the review here.
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The Wolf in Winter, John Connolly7 – The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly
Maine investigator Charlie Parker returns. He is, as always, troubled by the present and haunted by the past. Parker is accompanied once again by Louis and Angel, and the trio are faced with some particularly malignant opposition – men who are flesh and blood at first glance, but have distinctive skills which are not of this earth. Parker is trying to solve the death of a tramp, and he also investigates a mysterious old church in a village called Prosperous – a misnomer if ever there was one. This book is full of menace and compassion; it is also seriously scary. Click here for the review.
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stonebruises2006 – Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett
Stone Bruises is a psychological standalone novel, marking a diversion from Beckett’s established series featuring forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter. The book opens with Sean, a young Englishman on the run from who knows what to who knows where, finding himself marooned in the backwoods of rural France. Taken under the wing of a family, we discover the reasons behind his flight from England. However, as Beckett gradually ramps up the tension, the French families trail of dark secrets is revealed as well – secrets that place Sean in more danger than he could possibly imagine. A gripping and disturbing read, so read the full review here.
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Sorrow Bound5 – Sorrow Bound by David Mark
Book three in a series that just seems to get better and better, as Aector McAvoy and Trish Pharaoh seek out a double murderer in Hull and beyond. However, new acquaintances will not feel left out as the taciturn Scot and his biker booted boss set off in pursuit of a gang-related killer, only for their investigation to take an unexpected turn. Mark has a neat way with narrative and as the action takes place in a heatwave you may even find yourself gasping for air as the relentless action reaches an edge-of-the-seat finale. Read the review here.
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longwayhome2004 – Long Way Home by Eva Dolan
We’re not sure how many more plaudits this book can handle, but they’ve all been well deserved for the Essex-based author. Her debut is set in Peterborough, a town torn apart by anti-immigration strife. Amid all that xenophobic tooth gnashing, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira (both from immigrant families themselves) lead the police department’s Hate Crimes Unit. This story begins with the burning to death of an Estonian man in a shed fire. Was it a local English fascist? Was it the owner of the shed? And as Dolan’s intrepid pair dig a bit deeper, why is the dead man’s brother also missing? Brilliantly written, it’s no surprise it was one of your favourites. Reviewed here.
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thisdarkroadtomercyUS2003 – This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
After the heartbreak of being at her drug-addicted mother’s deathbed, with her father long disappeared, teenager Easter Quilby seems doomed to spend the rest of her childhood in an institution, along with little sister, Ruby. Then, completely out of the blue, their father turns up and springs them free. The trio are pursued by various agencies, both good and bad. This is a brilliant synthesis of three genres – coming-of-age saga, road story, and straight thriller. No modern writer can portray the world through a child’s eyes better than Wiley Cash. You can read the full review here.
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Elizabeth Is Missing2 – Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
A much-vaunted debut novel which lives up to the hype. Maud is in her 80s and suffering from dementia. She has a penchant for buying tins of peaches, often fails to recognise her own daughter, and has a stubborn streak which leads her into all sorts of scrapes as she tries desperately to solve the mystery that haunts her waking hours. Where is her friend, Elizabeth? The modern day quest is intertwined with another story from Maud’s past, when her elder sister Sukie disappeared, never to be seen again. A rare and unusual novel that engages from start to finish. Read the review here.
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Harbour Street1 – Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves
Best-selling author Cleeves has her Vera Stanhope hat on in this finely plotted, sinuous police procedural that will keep you on point right to the very end. An elderly woman is mysteriously murdered on the Metro train in Newcastle and the investigation leads Vera and her team to the little seaside town of Mardle, where the victim lived and worked. But who committed the deadly deed, and why? The answers are even more pressing when another woman is killed in Mardle. Expect dead ends and false leads aplenty before the surprising finale makes you sigh in awe and astonishment. Read the review here.
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So, here you have our readers’ top 10 books of 2014. If you want to see which books each of our contributors rated click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Barry Gutman Reply

    Surprised non of the Top 5 lists included “The Mask of the Verdoy” by Phil Lecomber. The original review on your site was 5 stars. I discovered it thanks to you guys and I LUVED it! Can’t wait for the followup, “The Grimaldi Vaults,” which is coming soon. Also surprised neither of William Shaw’s Breen & Tozer novels — “She’s Leaving Home” (as it’s known in the U.S., released here in 2014)/”Song for Dead Lips” (its UK title, released there in 2013) or follow-up “A House of Knives” (as published in the UK in 2014)/”The Kings of London” (as its being published in the U.S.) on 27 January) — made your list. I look forward to the third, ” Book of Scars” (UK title, due 5 June). Anyway, thanks for your wonderful blog and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  2. Nikki-ann Reply

    I’ve read Stone Bruises and This Dark Road to Mercy, as well as having a couple of the others waiting in my TBR list which I really need to get around to reading!

  3. Peter Burns Reply

    A bunch of new ones for me here. Looking forward to checking them out. Thank You!
    I would add Broken Trust by Thomas Maurin.
    The story follows three, reunited college friends on a hunt for a corrupt banker with stolen gold from WWII. This book is an absolute must-read and the first in a new series. http://www.brokentrustnovel.com

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