True Detective premiered on HBO in 2014 and was a huge television hit. The gritty anthology series is returning for its fourth season on January 14th starring the one and only Jodie Foster. This new season follows Foster in Alaska investigating the disappearance of eight men from a research station. While the trailer premiered in April 2023, True Detective fans have been dying for this new season since the finale in season three almost five years ago.
If you’ll be glued to your seat for the premiere like me and need to kill the time while you wait for a new episode each week, here are some thrilling (and chilling) books to keep you in your armchair detective era.
UNSUB by Meg Gardiner
Detective Caitlin Hendrix is living a nightmare when a killer named the Prophet has reemerged after being dormant since the 90s. In the 90s, the Prophet haunted the Bay Area and almost destroyed Caitlin’s father who was the lead detective on that case at the time. When two bodies are found with the same signature as the Prophet, Caitlin not only has to hunt down this madman but find out if it’s the same killer who haunted her childhood or if a copycat is in the works. This is loosely based off the case of the Zodiac killer and if you love this one, there’s more in the series, each being loosely based off a serial killer.
Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert
Former NYPD detective Shana Merchant has relocated to the Thousand Islands in upstate New York after surviving a brutal abduction by a serial killer. As a huge nor’easter begins, Shana and her partner, Tim, are called to a private island where a man has been reported missing. Shana is convinced the man has been murdered, but the storm traps Shana on the island with the Sinclair family and their guests, who are all hiding information dire to solving the case.
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
If you’re looking to get into Karin Slaughter but you’re intimidated by her backlist, try the standalone Pretty Girls. Claire and Lydia haven’t spoken to each other in twenty years, since their older sister Julia disappeared. When Claire’s husband is brutally murdered, the two sisters reunite to look into Julia’s case again. When they uncover new information, Claire and Lydia find there may be a connection in Claire’s husband’s murder and Julia’s disappearance.
The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard
It’s been one year since Lucy’s sister, Nicki, went missing. Nicki was the third woman to vanish and since then, Lucy hasn’t stopped looking for her. Angela works a thankless job in the Missing Persons Unit but is desperate to be part of the Irish police force. When the investigation into the missing women is put on hold, Angela takes the investigation into her own hands. As the pair searches for the missing women, a man drives through the streets with a woman in his backseat and he’s preparing to tell her everything.
Find Her by Lisa Gardner
Flora Dane has been struggling for five years trying to get her life back to normal after being kidnapped as a college student by a deranged trucker. Flora was held captive and tortured for 472 days. When Detective DD Warren is called to the homicide of a young man, she meets Flora Dane and begins to believe Flora may be acting as a vigilante. While this is number eight in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
FBI Agent Titus Crown returned to his hometown of Charon County a year ago to run for sheriff in hopes he could make a difference in the bigoted police force. Now, Titus is the first Black sheriff in the county. When a young Black man is fatally shot by Titus’s deputies at the same time that Titus unearths a serial killer hiding in the small town, he must hunt for a killer while dealing with racism and small-town drama.
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Virgil Wounded Horse is an officer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota who has had enough of being let down by the American legal system and the tribal council. When heroin finds its way into the community and the latest victim of the drug is Virgil’s nephew, Virgil takes matters into his own hands with the help of his ex-girlfriend to make sure he stops the drugs from coming into the reservation and will stop at nothing to make sure they stay out of his community for good.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Inspector Harry Hole’s latest case is that of a missing woman who vanishes during the first snowfall of the year, leaving behind a frightened son. Most chilling of all is the mysterious snowman that has appeared in her yard that is wearing her scarf. As Harry begins his investigation, he finds a link to multiple other women who have vanished during the first snowfall for the past decade. Meanwhile, the killer is fully aware of just how close Harry is getting to them. While this is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
Caged by Ellison Cooper
FBI Agent Sayer Altair is working on her biggest case yet. The “Cage Killer” case is the one that could make or break her career and if she solves it, she could finally get the promotion she’s been dying for. After a young woman is found starved to death in a cage in the basement of an abandoned house, she’s identified as the daughter of a politician. Sayer then receives a photo of another victim and clues that these crimes could directly relate to her past.