13 authors pick the best crime novels of 2022
2022 has been a thrilling year for crime fiction fans, packed with unmissable reads that just demand to be pressed into the hands of everyone you know.
Who could be more qualified to pick the best crime novels of 2022 than the experts – our favourite crime writers themselves! We asked the likes of Shari Lapena, Gregg Hurwitz, Tom Hindle and more to share their personal favourites, from psychological thrillers to historical mysteries, police procedurals to domestic suspense.
Here are the best crime thriller books of 2022.
The best crime novels of 2022:
Jane Corry, author of We All Have Our Secrets:
I’ve always loved Lisa Jewell’s writing so I devoured The Family Remains – a sequel to The Family Upstairs. Lisa is a master at creating a tapestry of believable characters who mesh together to form a compelling plot. When I finish a book, I often wonder what happens to the people I’ve invested my time and heart in. Lisa’s latest bestseller had several surprises!
Disha Bose, author of Dirty Laundry:
The book I just couldn’t put down this year was The Push by Ashley Audrain. This dark domestic thriller is a fresh examination of the age-old question: nature vs. nurture. It centers around a family thrown into dysfunction when a mother and child fail to bond. The atmosphere is consistently tense as readers turn the pages to try and ascertain if a crime has been committed, what it could mean, and who is responsible. It’s nearly the end of the year and there are days I still find myself thinking about this book.
Nikki Smith, author of The Beach Party:
One of my favourite thrillers of 2022 was The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas. Perhaps it is because my eldest child is currently learning to drive that I found the premise of this book both irresistible and utterly terrifying – twenty years ago, four teenage girls are driving home in terrible weather after a night out, when their car swerves off the road and flips over. The driver, Olivia, survives, but when she regains consciousness, her three friends are missing never to be heard from again. A chilling prologue opens the novel – following which I was completely hooked – and from that point onwards the story twists and turns in ways that I wasn’t expecting at all. Douglas has plotted this book brilliantly and her style of writing is both pacy and incredibly addictive, resulting in an unbearably gripping mystery that you won’t want to put down.
Shari Lapena, author of Not A Happy Family:
One of the best crime books I read this year – and still can’t stop thinking about – is Act of Oblivion, by Robert Harris. It’s an historical crime thriller about a British member of the Privy Council tasked with capturing and bringing to justice two of the last remaining regicides – men who, with Oliver Cromwell, signed the death warrant that led to the beheading of King Charles I. The two fugitives then fled to the new world. Set in the 17th century, it’s an absolutely stunning historical novel and a ripping crime thriller at the same time. I’ve been recommending it far and wide and buying it for people for Christmas!
Tim Weaver, author of The Blackbird:
I’ve always been a big fan of Robert Harris. Novels like Fatherland, Enigma and Archangel were a huge inspiration for me as a hopeful, unpublished writer in the 90s, and later books like The Ghost and Conclave have been just as good, each one so different to the last, and yet all are fantastic, page-turning thrillers with a profound and impressive sense of time and place. Act of Oblivion is no different. Set in 1660, it plays out like a Restoration-era version of The Fugitive, with father and son-in-law, Edward Whalley and William Goffe, accused of the murder of Charles I, and being pursued by the Privy Council’s very own Tommy Lee Jones, Richard Nayler. It’s a lightning-quick thriller, the tension cranked right up throughout, and Harris’ 17th century New England is so real you can almost smell it.
Tom Hindle, author of A Fatal Crossing:
I’ve read some brilliant thrillers this year – some old, some new – but my favourite of the class of ’22 has to be Alias Emma, by Ava Glass. Britain’s answer to Jason Bourne, newly initiated agent Emma Makepeace is charged with escorting a begrudging high-value target across London. Moving on foot and pursued by a ruthless Russian hit-squad, if she can’t get them safely to MI6 before the sun comes up, they’re both dead. I couldn’t get enough of this book. Gritty and relentlessly paced, Emma’s first mission packs a serious punch.
Heather Darwent, author of The Things We Do To Our Friends:
One of my top thrillers of 2022 was Idol by Louise O’Neill. This glossy, biting thriller shines a light on the shady world of celebrity and moves with breakneck speed. The novel focuses on one of my favourite dynamics – the harsh intricacies of female friendship. Right from the outset, things are not as they seem, with the concept of unreliable memories brought into sharp focus. I found it impossible to look away, and I loved this book for the extreme discomfort that O’Neill leans into fearlessly, presenting the topic of consent and weaving it into the plot. An unforgettable read.
Emily Koch, author of What July Knew:
Kate Riordan is the queen of intense and sultry psychological suspense set in dreamy exotic locations – I loved her previous novel, The Heatwave, and wasn’t disappointed by her latest, Summer Fever. This one is set in the scorching heat of an Italian summer, and follows two couples who meet at a remote holiday villa – Laura and Nick own the place and Madison and Bastian are their first guests. Riordan built the tension and sense of unease until it was totally unbearable and then blew me away with the final chapters – they were absolutely terrifying.
Claire Douglas, author of The Girls who Disappeared:
I’ve read so many brilliant thrillers this year but my favourite has to be Breathless by Amy McCulloch. It is such an original and chilling read with great characters and a terrifying plot, made even more authentic by Amy’s knowledge and experience of mountain climbing. It’s about a journalist, Cecily Wong, who has been invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains. As Cecily’s team begin to ascend towards the Death Zone things don’t go to plan, but when she finds the first body it becomes apparent there is a murderer on the mountain. I felt like I was right there with Cecily, not trusting those around her after realising that there is a killer in their midst, whilst grappling with her own inner demons. A brilliant, heart-thumping and unforgettable read.
Sara Ochs, author of The Dive:
Given the many amazing thrillers that were published this year, it’s difficult to pick just one! But One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke was certainly a stand-out favorite. As I read, I was transported to a glittering Greek island for a hen party that ends in disaster. Tension simmered with every page, and I raced through it, eager to discover the secrets that each woman carried. Told through six different narrators, One of the Girls weaved intricate relationships among the group, with each woman having a distinct voice and an intriguing past. Equally enthralling was Amy McCulloch’s Breathless (I told you I couldn’t pick just one!). Breathless follows journalist Cecily Wong as she attempts to summit the Nepalese mountain of Manaslu, one of the highest and most dangerous peaks in the world. As bodies start to pile up around her, Cecily realizes she may be facing bigger risks than those posed by the treacherous mountain. Combining endless twists with armchair tourism – my favorite – I simply couldn’t put it down!
Gytha Lodge, author of Little Sister:
I absolutely hate having to choose a single favourite book. I think it’s like having to choose a single best friend or a guest list for a small wedding or who to save at the behest of an evil genius out of your dog or your husband or something. But I also love shouting about my favourite titles so I’m being brave and going for it. I’ve loved SO many books this year but one of the stand-outs for me was L V Matthews’ absolutely engrossing The Twins. I loved everything about it, from the brilliantly written and defined personalities of Cora and Margo, to the way the mystery (and everything the two of them had worked to put behind them) slowly unfolded. I was so invested, and found it impossible to stop reading. A real psychological thriller with heart. Fabulous!
Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Last Orphan:
Poster Girl cements Veronica Roth’s status as a superstar. It’s not just her prose, lyrical and precise. Not just her characters, complex and enchanting. It’s that she manages to keep her feet planted in the thunderous present while setting her narrative gaze on a looming Orwellian future. Not a word of this fine novel is dogmatic or reductive as Sonja Kantor, onetime true believer, peels back the pristine façade of her life’s ideology to reveal the churning human chaos beneath. Her story is timeless in all the best ways, as contoured and mysterious as the poster.
James Buckler, author of The Simple Truth:
The stand-out read of 2022 for me was Heat 2, co-authored by Meg Gardiner and Michael Mann. It combines my twin obsessions of gritty, urban Hollywood cinema and well-crafted, pacy crime novels. The 1995 movie with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino was probably the initial catalyst that began my love of the crime genre and its endless possibilities for action and drama in the first place. In this sequel/prequel, Gardiner and Mann show that style and atmosphere are just as important as plot. This book is neon-lit and dripping with menace, all executed with such a sharp, economic writing style that the action glides along unstoppably. The story revisits the original cast of bank robbers and the flawed detectives who hunt them and introduces some unforgettable new characters. The set pieces are breath-taking – high-tech armed heists, brutal home invasions, Mexican cartel shoot outs. This is a wild, high-octane, operatic blockbuster. It’s fast-paced, darkly cinematic and slicker than a rain-soaked freeway. Apparently, two more books are in the pipeline. My mouth is dry with anticipation just thinking about it.
There you have it – the best crime novels of 2022, as chosen by crime authors! What books would make your list? Let us know in the comments below…