Share 15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having NANCY DREW books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love—her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

Every year, the Mystery Writers of America holds the Edgar Allan Poe Awards to honor the very best in mystery and crime fiction and nonfiction. Since we aren’t invited to tonight’s Edgar banquet (the apt dress code: “dress to kill”), we’ll celebrate by reading these captivating books that are all past winners of Edgar Awards.


Gone
by Mo Hayder

Detective Jack Caffery’s newest case seems like a routine carjacking until he realizes the sickening truth: the thief wasn’t after the car, but the 11-year-old girl in the backseat. The carjacker is always a step ahead of the Major Crime Investigation Unit, and as the chances for his victims grow slimmer, Jack races to fit the pieces together in time.

Gone
Mo Hayder

Detective Jack Caffery’s newest case seems like a routine carjacking until he realizes the sickening truth: the thief wasn’t after the car, but the 11-year-old girl in the backseat. The carjacker is always a step ahead of the Major Crime Investigation Unit, and as the chances for his victims grow slimmer, Jack races to fit the pieces together in time.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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Columbine
by Dave Cullen
In this masterwork of reporting, Dave Cullen takes us back to the event that shocked the nation and arguably began the modern age of gun violence: the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, police files, and tapes, Cullen presents a close-up portrait of the killers, but also of the community and country that they forever changed.
Columbine
Dave Cullen

In this masterwork of reporting, Dave Cullen takes us back to the event that shocked the nation and arguably began the modern age of gun violence: the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, police files, and tapes, Cullen presents a close-up portrait of the killers, but also of the community and country that they forever changed. Sadly, this is still so relevant today.

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Bent Road
by Lori Roy

During the 1967 Detroit riots, Celia Scott and her husband, Arthur, are forced to pack up their family and return to the small town where Arthur’s sister Eve mysteriously died 20 years ago. When a local girl disappears, the family is catapulted back into the secrets of the past that Arthur has hid from for so many years.

Bent Road
Lori Roy

During the 1967 Detroit riots, Celia Scott and her husband, Arthur, are forced to pack up their family and return to the small town where Arthur’s sister Eve mysteriously died 20 years ago. When a local girl disappears, the family is catapulted back into the secrets of the past that Arthur has hid from for so many years.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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Live by Night
by Dennis Lehane

During the roaring twenties in Boston, Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent police captain, has long since turned his back on his proper upbringing. As he embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime, this spellbinding tour de force introduces Joe to a life of betrayal and redemption, music and murder.

Live by Night
Dennis Lehane

During the roaring twenties in Boston, Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent police captain, has long since turned his back on his proper upbringing. As he embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime, this spellbinding tour de force introduces Joe to a life of betrayal and redemption, music and murder.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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Midnight in Peking
by Paul French
When the mutilated body of Pamela Werner, the daughter of a former British consul to China, is discovered in 1937 Peking, her murder transfixes the city, even as Japanese troops are encircling the ancient city walls. Based on seven years of research, historian Paul French uncovers the truth behind this notorious murder and offers a rare glimpse of the last days of colonial China.
Midnight in Peking
Paul French

In 1937, Peking was thick with tension. A heady mix of privilege and opulence—Japanese troops had occupied nearby Manchuria and were encircling the ancient city walls, One night, the mutilated body of Pamela Werner, the daughter of a former British consul to China, is discovered, and even as the Japanese tighten their noose around the city, her murder transfixes Peking. Based on seven years of research, historian and China expert Paul French at last uncovers the truth behind this notorious murder and offers a rare glimpse of the last days of colonial China.

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Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger
When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, 13-year-old Frank Drum finds himself thrust into a world of secrets, adultery, and betrayal. Set in 1961, ORDINARY GRACE is the story of what a shocking murder does to a boy standing at the door of adulthood and the fabric of a small Minnesota town.
Ordinary Grace
William Kent Krueger

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, thirteen-year-old Frank Drum finds himself thrust into a world of secrets, adultery, and betrayal. Set in 1961, Ordinary Grace is the story of what a shocking murder does to a boy standing at the door of adulthood and the fabric of a small Minnesota town.

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Red Sparrow
by Jason Matthews
In today’s Russia, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is drafted to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service. She is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction.
Red Sparrow
Jason Matthews

Read with a Classic Martini

In this incredible first novel in the RED SPARROW trilogy set against the backdrop of modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova is drafted to become a “Sparrow” for the Russian state intelligence. Her complex journey has all the makings of the perfect espionage tale: Moles, double lives, betrayals, and yes... even love. The only pairing that makes any sense with this book should be shaken—not stirred.

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Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King

Retired cop Bill Hodges feels depressed and purposeless, still haunted by the one that got away—a sadistic killer who drove a Mercedes into the crowd at a job fair. But when he receives a taunting letter from someone claiming to be the Mercedes killer, Hodges will have to come out of retirement to prevent another massacre.

Mr. Mercedes
Stephen King

Retired cop Bill Hodges feels depressed and purposeless, still haunted by the one that got away—a sadistic killer who drove a Mercedes into the crowd at a job fair. But when he receives a taunting letter from someone claiming to be the Mercedes killer, Hodges will have to come out of retirement to prevent another massacre.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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Dry Bones in the Valley
by Tom Bouman

When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell is drawn into a murder investigation that might tear his sleepy community apart. This chilling and evocative mystery uncovers a haunting section of rural Pennsylvania, where gas drilling is bringing new wealth and eroding neighborly trust.

Dry Bones in the Valley
Tom Bouman

When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell is drawn into a murder investigation that might tear his sleepy community apart. This chilling and evocative mystery uncovers a haunting section of rural Pennsylvania, where gas drilling is bringing new wealth and eroding neighborly trust.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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Tinseltown
by William J. Mann

In the roaring twenties, the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, became a legendary unsolved crime. Mann unpacks the story of Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs—any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet.

Tinseltown
William J. Mann

In the roaring twenties, the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, became a legendary unsolved crime. Mann unpacks the story of Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs—any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

Close

The Last Child
by John Hart

A year after 14-year-old Johnny’s twin sister vanished, no one believes his insistence that she is still alive. Johnny vows that he will risk everything to explore the dark side of his hometown and find her. Aided by his last friend, Johnny plunges into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than 100 years.

The Last Child
John Hart

A year after 14-year-old Johnny’s twin sister vanished, no one believes his insistence that she is still alive. Johnny vows that he will risk everything to explore the dark side of his hometown and find her. Aided by his last friend, Johnny plunges into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than 100 years.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

Close

A Dark-Adapted Eye
by Ruth Rendell
When Faith Severn’s aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For 30 years, the family hid the truth—until a journalist prompts Faith to look back to the day when her aunt entered a child’s nursery with a knife.
A Dark-Adapted Eye
Ruth Rendell

The first novel written under Rendell’s nom de plume, Barbara Vine. When Faith Severn’s aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For thirty years, the family hid the truth—until a journalist prompts Faith to look back to the day when her aunt entered a child’s nursery with a knife.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith
Suave young striver Tom Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith

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Rosemary's Baby
by Ira Levin
When Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband move into a New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation, their neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet take a special interest in Rosemary, especially once they find out she’s pregnant. But soon, Rosemary begins to suspect that the Castavets’ circle of friends is not what it seems.
Rosemary's Baby
Ira Levin

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a special shine to them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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The Long Goodbye
by Raymond Chandler

Philip Marlowe befriends down-on-his-luck war veteran Terry Lennox and discovers that Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, whom he divorced and remarried and who ends up dead. And now Terry Lennox is on the lam and the cops and a crazy gangster are after Philip Marlowe.

The Long Goodbye
Raymond Chandler

Philip Marlowe befriends down-on-his-luck war veteran Terry Lennox and discovers that Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, whom he divorced and remarried and who ends up dead. And now Terry Lennox is on the lam and the cops and a crazy gangster are after Philip Marlowe.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

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