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20 must-read books for fans of Line of Duty

Calling all AC-12 addicts! If you, like us, are interested in one thing, and one thing only… and that’s bent coppers, then do we have some recommendations for you.

Inspired by Jed Mercurio’s television phenomenon Line Of Duty, we’ve pulled together suggested reads with police corruption, detective camaraderie or urban crime, as well as relentless action and twists and turns you won’t see coming – because Hastings didn’t float up the Lagan on a bubble only to be confronted with zero twists, fella.

From crooked coppers to police stalkers, conflicted loyalties to double lives, in this compelling selection the thin blue line is often blurred – and behind it hides coercion, bribery and murder. Which, happily, is right up our street. Now we’re sucking diesel!

20 must-read books like Line of Duty:

Police by Jo Nesbo

Police by Jo Nesbo

The police urgently need Harry Hole’s help. A killer is stalking Oslo’s streets and police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated, but failed to solve. The murders are vicious, the media reaction hysterical. But with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry can’t protect anyone – least of all himself.

If it’s corrupt coppers you’re after, look no further than Jo Nesbo and this fiendishly clever cat-and-mouse thriller. With twists, turns and red herrings abound, it’s guaranteed to grip from start to finish.

The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick

The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick

It’s a cold November night, and DS Dennis Milne is waiting to kill three unarmed men. Cynical and jaded, Milne earns money on the side by punishing the bad guys. But he’s been set up. This time, instead of shooting drug dealers, he kills two customs officers and an accountant. With his colleagues and enemies closing in on him, Milne must use all of his skills just to stay alive.

The hunter becomes the hunted in this race-against-time thriller. Thorough in his research, Kernick talks both on and off the record to members of the Counter Terrorism Command and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, hearing first-hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime – resulting in hugely entertaining books that ooze with authenticity and realism.

Streets of Darkness by A A Dhand

Streets of Darkness by A A Dhand

Detective Harry Virdee is suspended from duty when the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. Determined to restore his reputation, he takes to the shadows in search of the prime suspect – but as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…

Fans of gritty, contemporary British crime drama shouldn’t miss Dhand’s Bradford-set thrillers. They’re tense and complex, with a modern edge and real heart that set them apart from the rest.

Ascent by Jed Mercurio

Ascent by Jed Mercurio

If it’s Jed Mercurio’s first class writing you can’t get enough of, you should definitely give one of his books a try. Mercurio isn’t just the award-winning creator of Line of Duty and Bodyguard – he’s also the author of three very different novels with one common theme: corruption in institutions and the arrogance that comes with power.

Bodies focuses on corruption is hospitals, American Adulterer on the sexual corruption and hubris of John F Kennedy, and Ascent – our pick here – on one man’s dangerous, sociopathic obsession with immortality and being the best. Pacy, compelling and brilliantly crafted, all three are truly unputdownable.

Garnethill by Denise Mina

Garnethill by Denise Mina

When psychiatric patient Maureen finally decides she’s going to end her affair with a married man, she wakes up to a big surprise: she finds him in her living room with his throat cut. Viewed as both a suspect and an unstable witness by the Glasgow police, she sets out in pursuit of the truth – and soon picks up a horrifying trail of deception and suppressed scandal.

This award-winning crime debut is a compelling, raw and at times brutal slow-burner full of shocking twists and dark humour – and we promise it’ll stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

LA Confidential by James Ellroy

LA Confidential by James Ellroy

Los Angeles: a city where the police are as crooked as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers…

This classic, iconic novel takes us on a sprawling epic tale of violence and the murderous seedy side of Hollywood. One of the best crime novels ever written, it’s an example of crime writing at its most powerful.

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying – and that Daisy’s time is running out.

While the complex, contemporary plot is easily enough to keep you turning the pages, Fawley and his team of detectives shine in the first book in Hunter’s police procedural series. Their backstories and the relationships between them provide you with characters to really root for, leaving you excited to pick up the next book – and the next, and the next…

Sirens by Joseph Knox

Sirens by Joseph Knox

After a career-ending mistake, Detective Aidan Waits is forced into a nightmare undercover operation that his superiors don’t expect him to survive. Cut loose by the police and stalked by an unseen killer, Waits is a detective walking both sides of the law, never certain where he belongs, trying to save others when he can barely save himself.

There’s no shortage of bent coppers and evidence tampering in Knox’s series that explores the dark, seedy criminal underbelly of Manchester – a city that provides so much more than just a backdrop, becoming a character in itself. This is crime fiction with an edge: a brooding and atmospheric novel that’s as gritty as they come.

Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge

Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge

DI Helen Grace faces her most personal case yet as she investigates the shocking murder of a close friend found cocooned in plastic. With the case threatening to expose dark secrets in her personal life, she must track down a brutal serial killer while concealing her own connection to the victim – only to find herself squarely in the frame.

Fast-paced, clever and impossible to put down, this is a thriller that will take you on a roller coaster ride with twists you won’t see coming.

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

When a hostage situation at her mother’s house turns deadly, Special Agent Faith Mitchell finds she isn’t just a cop anymore – she’s a witness, and a suspect. To find her mother and prove her innocence, Faith will have to go up against the people she respects the most.

In this story of police corruption, bribery and murder, the personal and the criminal collide, with conflicted loyalties threatening to destroy reputations and ruin lives.

Dark Waters by G R Halliday

Dark Waters by G R Halliday

DI Monica Kennedy has been called to her first Serious Crimes case in six months; a dismembered body has been discovered, abandoned in a dam. Days later, when another victim surfaces, Monica knows she is on the hunt for a ruthless killer. But as she begins to close in on the murderer, her own dark past isn’t far behind…

This dark, no holds barred police procedural is perfect for those who enjoy the edgy, hard-hitting storylines in Line of Duty. It’s atmospheric, brilliantly written and gripping to the very end.

If I Should Die by Matthew Frank

If I Should Die by Matthew Frank

When a homeless man walks into Greenwich police station and confesses to a killing, it should be the admission that cracks open a murder enquiry. Instead, he stumbles out on to the street and collapses, bleeding from a stab wound he’s attempted to repair himself…

Steve and Kate’s relationship in Line of Duty undoubtedly draws us back to the show time and time again – and it’s the same irresistible camaraderie we see between Detectives Joe Stark and Fran Millhaven in Frank’s debut. This wonderful odd couple have it all – great banter, plenty of tension and professional rivalry along the way. Expect edge-of-your seat action and a mystery that twists and turns!

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow

Art Keller is a US government operative, so determined to obtain revenge for a murdered colleague that his pursuit of a notorious Mexican drug cartel veers dangerously towards an obsession outside the law.

A brutal, page-turning masterpiece following an explosive collision of crime, politics, love and hate in a world riddled with corruption, betrayal and bloody revenge.

After the Silence by Jake Woodhouse

After the Silence by Jake Woodhouse

Inspector Jaap Rykel is hunting a clever and brutal murderer who is terrorising the streets of Amsterdam – but everybody in the city is harbouring secrets, and hearing those secrets comes at a terrible price…

Dark and twisty, this hard-hitting tale of murder, abuse and corruption at the highest level is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson and Stuart MacBride.

The Black Book by James Patterson

The Black Book by James Patterson

How can you prove your innocence when you can’t remember the crime? Charged with double murder and desperate to clear his name, cop Billy Harney is on the hunt for a little black book containing the truth that will either set him free – or confirm his worst fears.

No one’s motives can be trusted in this page-turning thriller about power, corruption, and how secrets can scandalise a city. Weaving together past and present, it’ll keep you guessing with its relentless twists and turns.

If I Fall by Merilyn Davies

If I Fall by Merilyn Davies

Crime Analyst Carla Brown and Detective Sergeant Nell Jackson are on the case when a woman plunges to her death from a university reunion at a rooftop bar.

Blending psychological suspense with police procedural, this gritty crime novel boasts a cast of well-crafted, believable characters and an investigative team you’ll find yourself drawn to and desperate to revisit again and again.

Secret Service by Tom Bradby

Secret Service by Tom Bradby

Senior MI6 office Kate Henderson is nursing the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Up against the clock, she must risk everything to get to the truth – but with her reputation to uphold, her family hanging by a thread and an election looming, she is quickly running out of options, and out of time.

Secret Service by ITV news anchor Tom Bradby is an action-packed, explosive, fresh-from-the-headlines thriller that viewers of Homeland, Bodyguard and Line of Duty will love.

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg

Sophie Brinkmann is captivated by the handsome and sophisticated Hector Guzman – unaware that beneath Hector’s charm, he’s the head of an international crime syndicate and before long she’ll find herself caught in the middle of a deadly turf war between an itinerant arms dealer, a deeply disturbed detective, a vicious hit man and a wily police chief.

This unforgettable debut from Swedish scriptwriter Alexander Soderberg introduces us to an intricate, exhilarating web of moral ambiguity, deadly obsession and ruthless killers, asking the question: who can you trust when those who have sworn to uphold the law are as dangerous as those dedicated to breaking it?

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Audra is fleeing her old life with her children when they’re pulled over by the local sheriff. She’s taken into custody – but when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And the police claim they never saw any with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

A suspenseful, high-stakes thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities, with tension that builds and builds with every chapter.

11th Hour by James Patterson

11th Hour by James Patterson

When an undercover officer is shot with a weapon taken from her own department’s evidence locker, Detective Lindsay Boxer must investigate her closest colleagues – and ask herself which of her friends she can trust.

The formidable Women’s Murder Club – a detective, a lawyer, a medical examiner and a journalist – put their heads together to solve an intriguing mystery in this action-packed, thrilling must-read.

Have we missed any must-read books like Line of Duty? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow our Line of Duty series 6 reviews here and check out our top Netflix picks for Line of Duty fans here.

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