Best crime thriller reads of 2022

There have been some incredible crime thriller books published over the course of 2022, which made it very difficult to narrow down my favourites. From established crime thriller series to debut authors, every one of these had me turning the pages, unwilling to put down the book until I’d found out what happened next.

Read on to discover my list of best crime thriller reads of 2022…

6. Lee Child and Andrew Child, No Plan B

(pub date: October 2022)

From the publisher:

Gerrardsville, Colorado. One tragic event. Two witnesses. Two conflicting accounts. One witness sees a woman throw herself in front of a bus - clearly suicide. The other witness is Jack Reacher. And he sees what really happened - a man in grey hoodie and jeans, swift and silent as a shadow, pushing the victim to her death, before grabbing her bag and sauntering away.

Reacher follows the killer, not knowing that this was no random act of violence. It is part of something much bigger...a sinister, secret conspiracy, with powerful people on the take, enmeshed in an elaborate plot that leaves no room for error. If any step is compromised, the threat will have to be quickly and permanently removed.

Because when the threat is Reacher, there is No Plan B...

My thoughts:

I always pick up a new Jack Reacher crime thriller with a smile on my face because you know you’re going to be in for a hell of a read.

No Plan B didn’t disappoint – what I have noticed since brother Andrew joined the writing force behind this series is that the violence is sometimes more graphic (if you’ve ever read any of Andrew Grant’s books, you’ll know what I mean), but it doesn’t detract from a killer plotline. Nor does it detract from some laugh out loud moments when you find out what Jack Reacher does with some of the bad guys – honestly, they had it coming.

Given that this is the last one with Lee/Jim Grant at the helm, the ending is bittersweet, but I can’t wait to see where Andrew takes the series next. No Plan B is a solid addition to the Jack Reacher canon, and fans won’t be disappointed.

Want to know where to start with the Jack Reacher series? Read my thoughts about book 1, Killing Floor here.

5. Dervla McTiernan, The Murder Rule

(pub date: May 2022)

From the publisher:

First Rule: Make them like you.
Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.

They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.

They think I’m working hard to impress them.

They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.

They're wrong. I’m going to bury him.

My thoughts:

This was my first read from this established Australian-based author, and after this I’m going back and reading her other books.

Deftly splitting the narrative between a daughter’s present day and her mother’s diary, The Murder Rule is so much more than a legal thriller.

With the flashback sequences providing a neat hat tip towards The Talented Mr Ripley, the present day scenes had me holding my breath on more than one occasion, wondering what was going to happen next.

This is a true page-turner, and one I devoured within 48 hours. It’s thought provoking, and I have to admit I didn’t see the twist coming at the end.

Add this to your TBR pile today.

4. Patricia Wolf, Outback

(pub date: November 2022)

From the publisher:

DS Lucas Walker is on leave in his hometown, Caloodie, taking care of his dying grandmother. When two young German backpackers, Berndt and Rita, vanish from the area, he finds himself unofficially on the case.

But why all the interest from the Federal Police when they have probably just ditched the heat and dust of the outback for the coast? Working in the organised crime unit has opened Walker's eyes to the growing drug trade in Australia's remote interior - and he becomes convinced there is more at play.

As the number of days since the couple's disappearance climbs, Walker is joined by Rita's older sister. A detective herself with Berlin CID, she has flown to Australia - desperate to find her sister.

Their search becomes ever more urgent as temperatures soar. Even if Walker does find the young couple, will it be too late?


My thoughts:

A debut book from an Australian author, a Queensland outback setting, and a missing woman who may or may not have been kidnapped by a serial killer?

I couldn’t resist downloading this to my Kindle when I saw the cover and read the description for Outback, and happily I wasn’t disappointed.

Although the book is branded as a DS Lucas Walker series starter, the character of Brenda Guerra, a Berlin detective completely out of her depth amongst the Queensland landscape while searching for her missing sister, is just as compelling.

Her POV scenes add an extra element of desperation to the race-against-time plot, her mistrust of the people she meets and the environment she finds herself in key to the investigation.

Meanwhile, Walker finds himself back in a small outback town he outgrew, his return met with suspicion and – in some cases – outright hostility.

The pairing of the two detectives to find the missing backpackers works a treat, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this new series, which happily is due to be published here in the UK in 2023.

3. Steve Cavanagh, The Accomplice

(pub date: July 2022)

From the publisher:

The Sandman killings have been solved. Daniel Miller murdered fourteen people before he vanished. His wife, Carrie, now faces trial as his accomplice. The FBI, the District Attorney, the media and everyone in America believe she knew and helped cover up her husband's crimes.

Eddie Flynn won't take a case unless his client is innocent. Now, he has to prove to a jury, and the entire world, that Carrie Miller was just another victim of the Sandman. She didn't know her husband's dark side and she had no part in the murders. But so far, Eddie and his team are the only ones who believe her.

Gabriel Lake used to be a federal agent, before someone tried to kill him. Now, he's an investigator with a vendetta against the Sandman. He's the only one who can catch him, because he believes that everything the FBI knows about serial killers is wrong.

With his wife on trial, the Sandman is forced to come out of hiding to save her from a life sentence. He will kill to protect her and everyone involved in the case is a target.

Even Eddie Flynn...

My Thoughts:

Whilst The Accomplice wasn’t as heart-stopping as last year’s The Devil’s Advocate (read my review here), it remains the fact that Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series goes from strength to strength.

Hearing Cavanagh talk about the inspiration behind The Accomplice on the accompanying book tour over the summer, I found it enlightening to know that the FBI’s famous serial killer profiling system isn’t as accurate as they’d like us to believe, and – scarily – there are a lot more serial killers running loose around the United States than they can keep up with.

Everybody knows that Daniel Miller is a serial killer.

But is his wife?

Set some time aside, folks because once you start this you really won’t be able to put it down because as the body count increases, so does the tension…

If you’re a fan of Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller series that starts with The Lincoln Lawyer, you need to start reading Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series. Now.

2. Michael Connelly, Desert Star

(pub date: November 2022)

From the publisher:

Detective Renée Ballard is given the chance of a lifetime: revive the LAPD's cold case unit and find justice for the families of the forgotten. The only catch is they must first crack the unsolved murder of the sister of the city councilman who is sponsoring the department - or lose everything...

Harry Bosch is top of the list of investigators Ballard wants to recruit. The former homicide detective is a living legend - but for how long? Because Bosch has his own agenda: a crime that has haunted him for years - the murder of a whole family, buried out in the desert - which he vowed to close.

With the killer still out there and evidence elusive - Bosch is on a collision course with a choice he hoped never to make...

My thoughts:

Michael Connelly is at his best in this latest edition to the Renée Ballard/Harry Bosch team effort, in a crime thriller that ticks all the boxes for me.

Two cold cases, a serial killer who’s gone undetected for decades, and Bosch’s timeless mantra that “everybody counts or nobody counts” drives the narrative, resulting in a story that I absolutely could not tear my eyes away from.

Desert Star is a welcome return to form for this master of the crime thriller genre, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Harry Bosch.

1. Robert Crais, Racing the Light

(pub date: November 2022)

From the publisher:

Adele Schumacher isn’t a typical worried mum. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, paranoid tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of mysterious bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn’t alone in the hunt – a team of deadly strangers are determined to find Josh first.

With dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis needs his friend Joe Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the murderous business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles. And when his estranged ex-girlfriend Lucy Chenier and her son return to the city, Elvis realizes just how much he has to lose . . . if he survives.

My thoughts:

There was no doubt in my mind once I’d read the last page of Racing the Light that this was going straight to the top of my “Best of…” list this year.

There’s an endearing quality to the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series of books – where else will you find an anti-hero who speaks monosyllabically, and a cat that hates everyone? Throw in a mercenary without a conscience and the stoical dogged detecting that Cole brings to his cases, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.

In Racing the Light, Crais turns his attention to the world of true crime podcasts, the investigations carried out by the people presenting them, and the dangers they often face.

It’s a heart-stopper of a thriller, broken only by the irreverent humour sprinkled throughout.

Existing fans of the series won’t be disappointed, I promise. And if you haven’t yet discovered this series, start with The Monkey’s Raincoat (book 1), work your way through the other books, and see why I’m choosing this latest addition to the series as my number 1 book for 2022.

I can’t wait for the next Elvis Cole investigation.