Top 12 Crime Books of 2017


Hello and thanks for joining me for my annual celebration of the very best in crime.

This year, I have cheated a little. I have included one book (correction two books – haha!) that will be published in January 2018. This is because I do not want you all to miss out on something special.

In no particular order! They are all AMAZING…


1.Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller

My love for this series just grows. Fast Falls the Night is the latest instalment in the Bell Elkins legal crime series. I really want to sing its praises. Julia Keller writes beautifully. This is classy literary crime fiction. She raises awareness about poverty, drug addiction, the effects of unemployment and life in small town America. Her books focus on the very dark side of life. As well as this social commentary, we have a wonderful lead in Bell. In the latest story, Bell and her colleagues face a drug epidemic in their locality.


2. Unforgivable – Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas became one of my favourite authors with his very excellent Unforgivable. He is a hidden talent in the world of crime. This book follows on from Thomas’s debut Ash and Bones. Will MacReady is the new boy in the police. The police force we see is brutal and hierarchical. A club where you have to earn your stripes. What makes this series stand out is the excellent attention to detail. Mike Thomas gives us a fabulous, authentic, action packed story. This time, terrorism strikes the heart of Cardiff.


3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is really gorgeous. This is one of those books that I absolutely adored, from the very first word. Eleanor is damaged and has retreated into her own little world. She tells herself she is ‘fine’. She is clearly not. There is a mystery about her. As the book unfolds, you start to know Eleanor and see what has made her that way. You fall in love with her. Unmissable.


4. Little Deaths – Emma Flint

Little Deaths is powerful. It is quality historical crime, rooted in reality. Set in New York 1965, a working class woman is imprisoned for the murder of her two children. Throughout the book, we get to know the accused, Ruth Malone. Flint shows us just how tough life can be living under blatant prejudice and discrimination. This isn’t an easy read. It hits a nerve. It is very much meant to. Clever and outstanding.


5. An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth

Colette McBeth shows she has her finger on the pulse with An Act of Silence. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read this year. It is intelligent and ever so twisted. This is the tale of a mother and son, a disgraced politician mother and her comedian son. It is about the abuse of power and about the complexity of modern family relationships. My tip is read everything Colette McBeth writes.


6. The Killer – Susan Wilkins

If you have missed Susan Wilkins’ genre twisting gritty trilogy, then shame on you! This is one huge reminder to get your hands on them all. We got to know and love Kaz Phelps in The Informant and The Mourner. Now she is back in The Killer. The girl with attitude, from a criminal gangster family. Wilkins puts the grit in gritty, giving us a character who refuses to play the victim. Kaz is a marked woman. Watch her in action. She truly kicks ass!


7. Western Fringes – Amer Anwar

Western Fringes is a fresh original crime novel from the pen of Amer Anwar. Set in the Asian subculture in Southall, it really ticks all the right boxes in bringing a vibrant community to life with a super dark story. It has some unforgettable characters. We get the most delightful pairing in Zaq and Jaqs, the two young men who are on the trail of a missing girl. They made me laugh. Anwar has just the right comic touch. Western Fringes is definitely one of the best, bringing to life diversity within the UK and a cracking story.


8. The Lies Within – Jane Isaac

I’ve long been a fan of Jane Isaac. She is a talented crime writer, who has established herself as someone who can consistently produce high quality reads. Her Will Jackman series is just excellent and has me screaming with anticipation. In my opinion, The Lies Within is the best to date and I urge you all to see for yourselves. Part legal thriller, part police procedural with the addition of gorgeous Will Jackman as investigating officer, we follow the case of Grace Daniels. Grace is accused of murder. Did she do it?


9. Perfect Prey – Helen Fields

This is perfection in a book. Perfection in a series. Perfect Prey follows on from Perfect Remains, which introduces French D. I. Luc Callanach and D. I. Ava Turner. This is crime with a very Scottish flavour. It is dark. It is brutal. It is just wonderful. Perfect Prey sees the city of Edinburgh turned into a blood bath. I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next. Helen Fields is a must read author! Miss this, miss out!


10. Sweetpea – C J Skuse

Sweetpea was a complete joy to read. Black comedy at its best. It was the dark quirky comedy of 2017. We follow Rhiannon, a woman who is a killer on the side. She is not all bad though. An anti-hero for 2017. A British female Dexter. We hear her thoughts through her diary. We get to know and love her. We understand why she bumps off certain people. I urge you all to read this one. It will make you smile!


11. The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

The Chalk Man will finally be published in January 2018. Woohoooo!!! I have been shouting about this one for months. I predict it will be a best seller. It is special and wonderful. It has a touch of retro 1980s magic, some creepy chalk drawings, a bunch of kids and a gorgeous mystery. I read it in the summer and have been a massive fan since of C. J. Tudor. Look out for it. Remember the name. Pre-order it. Buy it! It is not long very until January! You will soon see what I mean …


12. Love Like Blood – Mark Billingham

I love the Tom Thorne series, with a passion. He is one of the best detectives out there. Blunt, non PC and the sort of bloke you could have a drink with. We are now at book fourteen. For those of you who have managed to miss this series, please remedy this straight away. You have missed out on an outstanding series, that just gets better over time. In the latest instalment, we get the combination of Thorne, honour killings and a whole lot of trouble.

Special mentions

No list would be complete, without a few special mentions.

I would like to gush loudly about C. J. Carver‘s action packed thriller Know Me Now. You all want to meet Dan. Trust me on this. And of course Ruth Dugdall‘s My Sister and Other Liars which is a very unique pyschological thriller. It has the rather fascinating and disturbing setting of a psychiatric unit for adolescents with eating disorders.

Thank you! Here’s to more fabulous crime in 2018!


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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4 Responses to Top 12 Crime Books of 2017

  1. Sweetpea was an absolute standout of this year, for me.

  2. I am currently reading Eleanor Oliphant and am totally enjoying it. I need to check out the thrillers as that is my favourite genre.

  3. Pingback: Most Disappointing Reads of 2017 | #northern #crime

  4. Pingback: The #Chalkman Blog Tour – Chalk Man by C J Tudor | #northern #crime

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