Murder. Mystery. Mayhem. One thing is for sure: 2020 is offering up thrills n’ chills a’plenty for us crime fiction fans.
Every year we welcome a slew of debut thrillers to our reading lists, on the hunt for fresh new voices set to become firm favourites we return to again and again. And over the next twelve months, we’re certainly going to be spoiled for choice!
From tense detective novels to gripping psychological thrillers, there’s something to suit every taste. Here’s a taste of the best new crime books from debut authors heading our way in 2020.
17 of the best new crime books by debut authors:
Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson
Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Helen Fields, Hold Your Tongue is the first book in an exciting, dark and thoroughly gripping new Scottish detective series featuring DI Eve Hunter – a complex and flawed but relatable character you’ll really root for. It’s intense, gritty and chilling, and we promise you’ll race through it. Read an extract here.
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
Your House Will Pay follows two families – one Korean-American, one African-American – as their worlds collide in the worst way possible. Set in LA and inspired by the true story of Latasha Harlins, the book – which already counts Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly and Abir Mukherjee amongst its fans – explores love and loss, injustice and revenge, showing what can happen when racial conflict reaches boiling point.
Happy Ever After by C C Macdonald
With an opening that feels terrifyingly close to home and an ending that will get under your skin, this is a real page turner that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. Fans of Louise Doughty, Harriet Tyce and Louise Candlish will love this brilliantly written debut that’s as suspenseful as they come. Read an extract here.
The Better Liar by Tanen Jones
When a woman conceals her sister’s death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller that’s impossible to put down. Full of tension and intrigue, with twists and turns at every corner, this absorbing, perfectly crafted debut makes you question who to trust throughout. Read an extract here.
The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley
Get ready for a roller coaster of a ride in this thriller that explores how shock-waves following a tragic accident change the lives of the people involved. With flawed but believable characters, a pace that builds throughout and a plot that makes it truly difficult to put down, The Wreckage should be high on your reading list.
The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd
It’s remarkably easy to lose yourself in the pages of The Memory Wood – an absorbing new book that will hook you in right from the beginning and refuse to let go. This cat-and-mouse story about a young girl who must use her intellect to outwit and outmaneuver her captor is chilling, eerie and atmospheric, and both thrilling and moving in equal measure. Read an extract here.
The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue
Rachel Donohue’s first book tells the story of a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher who disappeared without a trace twenty-five years ago. It’s an evocative and haunting novel exploring infatuation, unrequited desire and the long-buried secrets held by a cast of shallow, spiteful and unlikable characters.
Keeper by Jessica Moor
When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police think she must have taken her own life. But the residents at the women’s refuge where Katie worked disagree – they know this was murder. Told in alternating chapters by the case detective, the women piecing together the mystery and Katie herself, this is an addictive, powerful read and a hugely original novel from a fresh new voice in crime fiction.
The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years. Turns out her mother was just a really good liar. If you loved Lullaby, Good Me Bad Me and Sharp Objects, this chilling debut novel about a toxic mother-daughter relationship is for you. It’s a creepy, unsettling and twisted tale of reconciliation and revenge and is guaranteed to keep you turning the pages long into the night.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
My Dark Vanessa is a disturbing, uncomfortable and seriously gripping story about manipulation, grooming and victimhood. Exploring the damage and trauma that haunts Vanessa following a toxic relationship in her youth, this is certainly not a book for the faint-hearted – but it’s one that you’ll want to discuss with everyone you know once you’ve finished it.
All In Her Head by Nikki Smith
Alison feels like she’s losing her mind. She thinks she’s being followed and knows she has a good reason to be afraid, but she just can’t remember why. All In Her Head is a psychological thriller with a difference. It’s a surprising, clever tale of misdirection that will take you on a moving and emotional journey you won’t see coming.
Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay
Unpicking the lies and secrets festering below the surface of a seemingly perfect relationship between two inseparable best friends, Seven Lies is a sinister, complex and well-plotted novel with brilliant characterisation and unrelenting tension from an author who’s guaranteed to be one to watch. Prepare to be intrigued!
The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin
The Wrong Move is a twisty domestic thriller following Jessie, who thinks she’s found the perfect place to live when she moves into a new flatshare – but when she learns that the previous flatmate disappeared in suspicious circumstances, she starts to doubt if she can trust these strangers after all. If you love mysteries that hit close to home like I Invited Her In and Our House then this will prove a gripping must-read.
Dear Child by Romy Hausmann
Gone Girl meets Room in this page-turning German thriller which sees a woman manage to flee her captor of fourteen years, only to find that her escape raises more questions than it answered. Dear Child is a thought-provoking, edge-of-your-seat novel with well-crafted characters and lots of twists that will keep you guessing to the very end.
One White Lie by Leah Konen
If one white lie to help a friend made all your problems disappear, you’d do it, wouldn’t you? That’s the question Leah Konen’s debut psychological thriller asks. With outstanding pace, dark themes and a stunning setting on the edge of the American wilderness, this twisty novel perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door is bound to have people talking when it hits shelves in July.
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
Former bookseller Alex Pavesi’s ingenious debut is a gripping, refreshing and completely original novel that fans of the crime fiction genre will adore. Eight Detectives picks apart the traditional murder mystery through a dazzlingly clever battle of wits between an ageing detective novelist and his young editor, resulting in a hugely entertaining, irresistible, unmissable read that we can’t recommend highly enough.
Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
In a peaceful retirement village off the A21 in Kent, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings. But when a local property developer shows up dead, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron find themselves in the middle of their first live case. This is a quintessentially British murder mystery in the tradition of Christie, and a joyful, laugh-out-loud first book in what promises to be a truly delightful series.
Have we missed any of the best new crime books from debut writers coming in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!