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Our recommended summer 2024 crime fiction Explore now

11 must-read books for True Detective: Night Country fans

True Detective: Night Country is the latest crime TV show on everyone’s lips. Thanks to its stellar cast – including Jodie Foster, Kali Reis, Christopher Eccleston and more – and its brilliant plot, the fourth season of True Detective has earned numerous five-star reviews and is already one of the best TV shows of 2024.

So, to fill the Night Country-shaped hole in our lives, we’ve rounded up the crime books and thrillers with similar themes. These are tales with desolate settings, missing persons cases, hardened detectives, and, in a few instances, a hint of the supernatural. They might not feature the brilliant Jodie Foster, but they’re the next best thing.

Books like True Detective: Night Country

The Killing Place by Tess Gerritsen

The Killing Place by Tess Gerritsen

In a snowbound village in Wyoming, 12 identical houses lie abandoned, their owners having vanished into thin air. Maura Isles is driving through with her friends when they are trapped in a snowstorm. Little do they know, their nightmare has just begun. Days later, Detective Jane Rizzoli searches for Maura and finds a car with four burned corpses inside – could one of them be her friend?

With its sinister tone, desolate location and hardened female detective, this Rizzoli and Isles mystery is perfect for fans of True Detective: Night Country.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

A group of pioneers heading West find themselves stranded, battling the elements with limited food and resources. Driven to the brink of madness by the searing heat, bitter cold, and starvation, the group’s minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. And then children start disappearing. As the survivors turn against each other, they learn the real danger is not external: it comes from within.

The Hunger is a gripping mystery about human nature pushed to breaking point in an inhospitable environment. Stephen King describes it as “deeply, deeply disturbing” – which, given his own work, is saying something.

Pine by Francine Toon

Pine by Francine Toon

Lauren and her father live in a small Highlands community, surrounded by a forest of pine trees. One night, a woman stumbles out onto the road, and they take her back to their home. The next morning, she is gone. This is one of many mysteries in the small town: locked doors, stone circles, the disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago. But when local teen Ann-Marie disappears, Lauren’s insular, secluded town grows increasingly sinister.

Like True Detective: Night Country, Pine expertly combines worldly threats with the supernatural. This is a chilling, unsettling tale that examines the claustrophobia of a small town with dark secrets.

I'm Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

When a young girl’s dead body is found in a woodland, the only clue is a tag around her neck: I’m travelling alone. Veteran investigator Holger Munch reaches out to his former partner, the brilliant yet troubled investigator Mia Krüger, to work the case with him.

Together, they find potential connections to a baby’s abduction six years ago, and a Christian sect that lives in the woods. But when Holger’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, they realise this case is personal. If you appreciated the detective duo in Night Country, you’ll be sure to love the pairing of Holger and Mia.

One By One by Ruth Ware

One by One by Ruth Ware

A group of shareholders meet at an exclusive ski resort to decide the future of their company. But the corporate retreat takes a dark turn when an avalanche hits, cutting them off from the outside world. Tensions are already running high, and then a board member goes missing. Is someone willing to kill to get what they want?

This tense thriller has a bleak, snowy setting and the same creeping sense of dread as True Detective: Night Country.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

A large part of what makes True Detective: Night Country so unnerving is the setting: a town in Alaska where there is no sunlight for months. The perpetual darkness makes you feel uneasy, creating the same claustrophobic tension as a horror film.

The same can be said for the setting of Dark Matter – a desolate bay in the Arctic winter, which is in permanent darkness. The book follows Jack, who is on an expedition in the Arctic Circle. As a series of mysterious accidents befalls his companions, Jack finds himself alone with an ominous supernatural being. Michelle Paver gradually ratchets up the tension in this creepy ghost story.

The Body Keeper by Anne Frasier

The Body Keeper by Anne Frasier

A boy’s body is found frozen in a lake in Minneapolis. Detective Jude Fontaine and her partner Uriah Ashby are on the case, but their investigation uncovers more bodies in the ice: all 12-year-old boys who have been missing for 20 years.

Then, during a blizzard, a four-year-old boy is abandoned on Jude’s doorstep. The boy can’t communicate, but he might be their strongest lead to solving the cold case. This puzzling mystery, with its sinister overtones, is perfect for fans of True Detective.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

On an icy January morning, Inspector Wallander is called to an isolated farmhouse in Sweden. Inside, he finds a horrific scene: an old man has been beaten to death and his wife has been left barely conscious. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this detail is leaked to the press, it unleashes an ugly wave of racism in the town.

Now, the workaholic Wallander is in a race against time to solve the senseless crime – before local actions spiral further out of control. This is the first book in the popular Wallander series.

The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride

The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride

Detective Constable Edward Reekie has a simple task: deliver a dying man from prison to a sleepy village, so he can live out his last few months in peace. From the outside, Glenfarach looks like an idyllic community, but there are security cameras everywhere and a strict 9 o’clock curfew. Unknown to the public, it is the final resting place of criminals who have served their time but are judged a threat to society.

A blizzard is heading towards the town but, as Edward prepares to leave, a former police officer is murdered on-site. The weather is closing in and time is running out, but how can Edward catch the killer in a town where everyone is guilty?

Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge

Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge

If you thought True Detective: Night Country’s Detective Danvers was a tough investigator, wait until you meet DI Helen Grace. Introduced in Eeny Meeny, DI Grace is a no-nonsense detective with little patience, a disturbing past, and a single-minded dedication to her job.

In this novel, pairs of people across the country are being abducted, imprisoned and then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed. As DI Grace tracks down the mystery perpetrator, she realises it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

As in True Detective: Night Country, Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s novel revolves around a mysterious disappearance with a sinister supernatural undertone.

In The Silence of The Sea, a luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik Harbour with nobody on board. A young family and crew had set sail from Lisbon, but now they have vanished without a trace. Thora Gudmundsdottir has been hired to investigate but, amidst claims that the yacht is cursed, and a potential sighting of a missing twin on board, is there something darker at play? This is an atmospheric, slow-burn story that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

What did you think of True Detective: Night Country? Let us know in the comments below…


    I enjoyed this season only second to the original. It had the best underlying existential horror feel outside of season 1. Love isolated horror lit too.

    terrible series, acting was poor, the worst of all the True detective series.

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