Gone are the days of having central female characters as damsels in distress in crime fiction. Now, crime fiction is celebrating some of the best female characters, by not only having them as protagonists you root for, but the ladies behind the pages that solve some of the biggest crimes and mysteries. If you’re looking for some crime fiction books to sink your teeth in that are led by brilliant female characters, here are some of the best female sleuths on the shelves today!

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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan is a single mother and novelist who is struggling to keep it all together. After describing the suspenseful plot of her new book to her agent, Finlay is mistaken for a contract killer and unintentiionally accepts an assignment to get rid of a problematic husband. Now, Finlay is tangled up in a murder investigation, leading her to wonder how her life went from manuscript to murder.

The Patient’s Secret by Loreth Anne White

Lily Bradley is a psychotherapist with the perfect life, until free-spirited Arwen Harper moves to Lily’s small town of Story Cove. Arwen’s presence in Story Cove threatens the entire communities’ secrets, including Lily’s. When a dead body is found, Detective Rue Duval steps in to deep dive into the secrets hidden in Story Cove that could’ve resulted in cold blooded murder.

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell

Kay Scarpetta is the medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia who is relying on forensic research to help hunt a serial killer who is leaving a trail of murders throughout the city. As the bodycount increases, Kay begins to believe this madman is not only escalating, but getting closer and closer to his next victim: Kay herself.

These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall

Mickie Lambert creates digital scrapbooks for her clients of their most cherished memories. When Mickie’s latest client, a curio shop owner, dies unexpectedly, Mickie decides to finish the scrapbook anyway. As Mickie begins to get further into the project, she starts to receive threatening messages from a dormant serial killer and feels like she’s being stalked. As Mickie takes it upon herself to investigate her client’s ominous past, her life spirals into a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

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Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert

Former NYPD detective Shana Merchant has moved on from the big city to her fiancé’s small town in the Thousand Islands of upstate New York after barely surviving an abduction by a serial killer. As a nor’easter begins to hit the area, Shana and her partner Tim receive a call about a man missing on a private island, and after they arrive, Shana is convinced he has been murdered. When Shana and Tim become trapped on the island due to the storm, they find all of the members of the Sinclair family and their guests are hiding information that could be paramount in solving this murder.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Flora Dane was kidnapped seven years ago on spring break and spent 472 days with her captor, enduring both psychological and physical torture. Since her return to society, she’s spent five years trying to go back to her normal life. That is, until detective D.D. Warren is called to a crime scene involving a dead man and Flora, the woman who killed him. When Flora is connected to three other victims, D.D. must investigate if Flora is a vigilante or just has a string of bad luck. That is, until Flora disappears and D.D. begins to wonder if the hunter had become the hunted.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

In the 1950s, Idlewild Hall is a home for young troubled girls that sits in Vermont, rumored to be haunted. Four roommates find themselves developing a tight bond over their fears and reasons why they are at Idlewild, until one of them disappears. Now, in 2014 Vermont, journalist Fiona Sheridan discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored, and decides to write a story about it as she has a personal link to the property. Twenty years ago, Fiona’s sister was found murdered on the property, and Fiona has never been able to shake the feeling something about the case isn’t right, including the conviction of her sister’s boyfriend.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

When Chloe was a young girl, six teenage girls went missing in her small town, and by the end of the summer, her father had confessed and was put away for life in prison. Twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist preparing for her wedding when local teenage girls begin to go missing. Battling her paranoia, Chloe begins to wonder if her father really was guilty—or if a second killer is out there waiting to strike again.

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in a decade. Suffolk County has always been full of memories of Nell’s mother, Marisol, who was murdered when Nell was a child. When Nell’s father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns home to close his estate. Upon returning home, Nell is entangled in the investigation of the murders of two young women, and worst of all, it appears Martin should be the prime suspect. As Nell gets further into the investigation, she begins to question if her father was a ruthless killer, and is plagued by her role in exonerating him in her mother’s murder.

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