Until I started to branch out regarding what crime fiction stories I read, I never realized all of the different ways authors could create heist novels. If you’re thinking about stories like The Italian Job and Ocean’s Eleven, you’re on the right page—but some can be so much more than a story about a masterplan of theft or robbing a bank. Check out the list below on some heist thrillers that not only step outside the box, but will keep you glued to the pages the entire time.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Ray Carney is a furniture salesman who is expecting his second child along with his wife Elizabeth. Although he is making a decent living for his family, he comes from a long line of crooks. With cash being tight, Ray never questions the occasional piece of jewelry his cousin Freddie drops off to sell. Then, Freddie gets involved with some people who want to rob the Hotel Theresa and volunteers Ray to join in. When the heist doesn’t go as planned, Ray now has a new clientele made up of shady cops and gangsters. Can Ray get out of this unplanned lifestyle before it’s too late?
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
Claire has been planning to disappear from her seemingly perfect life for months. While most would think she couldn’t be happier with her beautiful townhouse and elegant lifestyle, her successful husband has a temper and is controlling. After a chance meeting with another woman in an airport who is going through a similar situation brings the two together, they switch tickets to start new lives. When the flight Claire was supposed to be on crashes, Claire takes on the other woman’s life in a desperate attempt to truly start new, but along with her identity, Claire has to take on the woman’s secrets as well.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jacob Finch Bonner had a successful debut novel released years ago. Now, he is teaching an MFA program and hasn’t written nor published anything in years. When an arrogant student named Evan Parker tells Jake he doesn’t need his help or the program because he knows his novel will be a success, Jake fears he could be right. After Evan dies, Jake decides to take matters into his own hands and tell the story Evan knew would be a success, and Evan wasn’t wrong. Years later, Jake is back to being successful and wealthy, until he receives an email that simply states, “You’re a thief.” As Jake tries to figure out who could know the truth, he begins to wonder who really stole the plot and if this story was really Evan’s idea.
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
Beauregard “Bug” Montage makes an honest living as a mechanic who left his old life behind as the best getaway driver of the East Coast. Although he has left a life of crime behind, his new life begins to hit a few bumps in the road that cause him to miss the money he used to make back in the day. When a former associate contacts Bug with a promising jewelry heist, Bug fears it’s the only thing that will get him back on his feet. As Bug prepares for one last job, he begins to wonder if he will ever really leave his ghosts in the past.
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Nina thought her fancy degree from a liberal arts school would make her successful, but she found out the hard way that she was wrong. Nina’s mother was a con artist who taught Nina everything she knows, so now Nina and her boyfriend Lachlan have begun to steal from the rich in L.A. When Nina’s mother becomes sick, Nina is desperate to do anything she can to help her. When Nina’s path crosses with Vanessa, a young heiress and Instagram influencer, she sees her only opportunity to help her mother. But there’s only one hitch, Nina and Vanessa have quite a convoluted past as the two already know one another.
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
In the summer of 1986, six movie-theater employees were murdered in an armed robbery with only one survivor and a teenage girl disappeared from the state fair. Neither case was ever solved. Twenty-five years later, a private investigators newest case forces him to revisit the past he’s been desperately trying to escape. He then meets Julianna, the sister of the girl who disappeared from the state fair, still desperate to find out what happened to her sister. As the two search for answers together, they are forced to confront their pasts and seek answers into both crimes from the long and faraway gone summer.