Five years of Kindle, five great Kindle crime books

gonegirlThere were two little birthdays this week. One was for Crime Fiction Lover. Yes, happy birthday to us, we are four years old. More widely reported, however, has been the fifth birthday of Amazon’s UK Kindle Store. It started off with around 400,000 titles and now offers nearly ten times that many.

Figures have been released this week too, telling us that crime fiction isn’t the top-selling UK genre. That accolade goes to romance, mainly thanks to EL James, though we’re not entirely sure her books fall into the romance category either! Nonetheless, there’s plenty to get excited about for crime fiction lovers.

For a start, Kindle and the ability to self-publish for the device have given talented but unknown writers a launchpad. Rachel Abbott‘s books Only the Innocent and Sleep Tight have been the two best-selling indie books for Kindle in the UK. Let’s not forget the likes of Kerry Wilkinson, Mark Edwards and Neil White when it comes to the power of Kindle.

Norway’s Jo Nesbo

Crime is also high on the list when it comes to overall sales. Lee Child, Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn, James Patterson, Peter James, Jo Nesbo and Rachel Abbott are all in the top 20 best-selling authors and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is the third best selling Kindle book in the UK over the last five years. Stieg Larsson had already passed away when the UK Kindle store began, but we suspect it gave his books a new lease of life as people used the device to discover Scandinavian crime fiction.

The Guardian has full details on Kindle’s bestsellers over the last five years here, but we thought we’d look at Crime Fiction Lover’s own statistics to see which Kindle books you love most. The profile amongst hardcore crime fans is quite different to the official numbers, however all of these are great recommendations if you’ve never read them. We’ve linked most of the author names and titles mentioned above to further articles on our site, if you’d like to explore them as well.

Anyhow, here are our top five crime books for Kindle as the device and platform blow out five candles…

cuckooscalling1005 – The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Surely everybody knows that Robert Galbraith is a pen name of JK Rowling. Her first foray into crime fiction is a wonderful success and earned five stars in our review. She introduces us to Cormoran Strike and although his name sounds like it might be a rare species of bird, he’s a London detective investigating the apparent suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. His foil is the delightful Robin, who could also be a bird, and of course we have a cuckoo in the title as well. Trust us, though, this one’s no turkey.
Buy now for Kindle

whiteheat1004 – White Heat by MJ McGrath
This is one hot novel set in one very cold place – Arctic Canada to be precise. We discovered White Heat after being pointed towards it by Val McDermid’s new talent compass and this gripping mystery sees half-Inuit Arctic guide Edie Kiglatuk investigating the deaths of two hunters. She’s aided by Derek Palliser, the only real cop within 500 miles and one of her only true friends. The novel reaches melt-down intensity when Edie uncovers a trail of corporate corruption and plans for wonton exploitation of her frozen homeland by mineral giants. Reading this will change the way you think about crime fiction and all its tropes. For more, see our review.
Buy now for Kindle

killingpool1003 – The Killing Pool by Kevin Sampson
You know where a novel’s heading when it starts off with police detectives attending a murder scene where the victim is a headless corpse. And this is certainly a dark and gritty look at the criminal underbelly of Liverpool. Kevin Sampson weaves together timelines spanning the 80s, 90s and the present day as DCI Billy McCartney deals with drug lords, violence and his own personal demons. You’ll also get to meet the petty criminal Shakespeare, who adds a little light relief to what is an otherwise heavy slice of scouse crime fiction. You’ll find our review here.
Buy now for Kindle

Strange Shores2 – Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason
Arguably one of the finest examples of Scandinavian crime fiction, Strange Shores is – like its Icelandic setting – dreamlike and poetic in some places, while in others it’s harsh, brutal and elementally uncompromising. Indridason’s long-serving Detective Erlendur is about ready for retirement. He’s taking some personal time in the east of the island, where he revisits his past. His entire career, he’s been searching for the missing and the dead. When he was a boy, his younger brother disappeared in a snowstorm and was never found. While he meditates on this, he also investigates an old, old case of a woman who also disappeared during a blizzard. Indridason leaves the ending ambiguous. You can read a guide to the entire series here.
Buy now for Kindle

policeukcover2001 – Police by Jo Nesbo
Yes, Jo Nesbo’s books prove incredibly popular with our readers. Police was a stand-out, perhaps because it answered the questions posed by the massive cliffhanger Nesbo left at the end of the previous Harry Hole novel, Phantom. Did he die? In Police we have a killer who’s mimicking old unsolved crimes, except this time around each victim is a member of the force. In Harry Hole’s absence, Gunnar Hagen pulls together a team that includes many of the old faces from the series – but one familiar face is missing. Nesbo drops a massive red herring into the water, and while the mystery of this particular killer plays out, the police corruption story arc that’s carried on in the background for several books comes to a conclusion… of sorts. Read our guide to Harry Hole here.
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What’s your favourite Kindle crime novel? Post a comment below and let us know.

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