The chillier post-holiday months, after all of the craziness has settled down, can sometimes feel like the longest months. These are prime binge-reading months and nothing is more enjoyable than sinking your teeth into a new crime fiction series. If you’re an introvert who loves cancelled plans or a burnt-out extrovert, now is the time to put those gift cards to good use! Here are some of the best crime fiction series that are binge-worthy for this winter.
The Frost Easton Series by Brian Freeman
If you enjoyed Will Trent and love a series that combines psychological suspense with a police procedural aspect, the Frost Easton series is one you won’t want to miss out on. Homicide detective Frost Easton is such a great protagonist to follow along with and as any detective in crime fiction, his backstory is heartbreaking and truly terrifying.
The Finlay Donovan Series by Elle Cosimano
If you like a little comedy with your crime fiction in something that isn’t overly violent or graphic, Finlay Donovan has you covered. Finlay Donovan is a single mother and an author who finds herself in a predicament that turns her into one of the most sought after contract killers all while juggling her children and trying to meet deadlines for her latest book. This is one series that will have you laughing non-stop and begging for more.
The Tracy Crosswhite Series by Robert Dugoni
I loved the Tracy Crosswhite series which has an amazing female protagonist who became a homicide detective due to her sister’s disappearance that scarred her for life. The first book in this series, My Sister’s Grave, explores Crosswhite’s past and the trial and investigation into what happened to her sister, Sarah, while the rest of the books showcase how this character has changed and grown and why she works so hard at her job. The rest of the cases in this series are so intriguing and complex that it is impossible to want to move on to anything else.
The Maggie D’arcy Series by Sarah Stewart Taylor
What an adventurous and chilling crime series! From Dublin to Long Island, this series features Maggie D’arcy and the plot kicks off when her cousin’s scarf is found over twenty years after she disappeared in Ireland. From there, the series really explores Maggie’s backstory along with her personal life and some cases that will have you double-checking your locks before you go to bed.
The Annalisa Vega Series by Joanna Schaffhausen
One thing I love about crime fiction is exploring a cold case and Schaffhausen does this in such an amazing way by introducing her readers to Detective Annalisa Vega and the chilling Lovelorn Killer. This serial killer was responsible for the death of several women twenty years ago and Annalisa has a personal connection to this killer who has gone dormant. And this is only the beginning as this case will haunt her for the rest of her life along with future books in the series as Annalisa battles demons in her professional and personal lives.
The Kay Scarpetta Series by Patricia Cornwell
In crime fiction, we have a lot of psychological thrillers and police procedurals, but there are so many hands in the pot when it comes to solving crimes. One avenue not often explored is the medical examiner role. Cornwell executes this brilliantly by introducing Kay Scarpetta and uses forensic science and showing how important a medical examiner’s role is in solving some terrifying crimes. If you want a series that is not only bingeable, but will keep you busy for years, this series is on its twenty-sixth book!
The Grant County Series by Karin Slaughter
In the fictional Grant County, Slaughter takes her readers on some dark and complex cases told through the perspective of Sara Linton, the town’s pediatrician; Jeffrey Tolliver, the chief of police; and Jeffrey’s subordinate, Lena Adams. If you’re looking to start a new series and enjoy police procedurals with familiar faces throughout, then this is definitely one you should pick up. The best part? If you love it, this series leads into Slaughter’s second and current series, Will Trent.
The YOU Series by Caroline Kepnes
Looking for something a bit more out of the box? The YOU series by Caroline Kepnes could be your dream trilogy, with book four releasing sometime soon. Told from the perspective of a stalker and serial killer named Joe Goldberg, Kepnes takes her readers on a wild ride of love and obsession as Joe tries hard to find someone to love and to love him in return. It is a wild and unique series that I will never forget.
The UNSUB Series by Meg Gardiner
Fans of Criminal Minds and Murderinos unite! Do you love true crime and police procedurals? Then step on in to the UNSUB world by Meg Gardiner. Gardiner sets up the series perfectly with introducing her readers to Caitlin Hendrix who not only has an interesting backstory but is a sensationally written protagonist that effortlessly carries the three books in the series so far. With each book being loosely based on true crimes including The Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, and The Golden State Killer, true crime junkies will have an easy time getting into this series and appreciate the parallels between these cases and Gardiner’s fictional killers who terrorize the country.
The Shana Merchant Series by Tessa Wegert
Shana Merchant is a fantastic protagonist with a haunting backstory and is tough as nails. A former NYPD detective, Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer and now works as a detective in the much quieter Thousand Islands of Upstate New York. Although Merchant has left NYC behind, one thing that is true is Wegert has a knack for combining timelines and treats her readers like Merchant’s friends. You get to know Shana over time and as the pages turn, she opens up. No matter what crime occurs in her new hometown, Merchant’s past will always come to haunt her.
The Ellery Hathaway Series by Joanna Schaffhausen
In quite possibly one of the most emotionally disturbing series I’ve read yet, this series follows Ellery Hathaway, a police officer in Massachusetts who has a secret past; she was the only survivor of a serial killer named Francis Coben. The series follows Ellery and her relationship with Agent Reed Markham, the FBI agent who saved her life as well as a handful of cases that all either connect to Ellery, Reed, or Francis himself. If you’re looking for a series that will dive into the personal lives of its main cast of characters and provide you with harrowing and traumatic crime fiction stories, you’ll absolutely love this series.
The Natalie Lockhart Series by Alice Blanchard
Burning Lake, New York is an idyllic town haunted by a dark past. At the center of this series is Natalie Lockhart, a new detective whose sister’s unsolved murder is part of Burning Lake’s past that still haunts her to this day. This series follows Natalie as she weaves between dark and intense cases that occur in Burning Lake and her own personal life that has been full of devastating losses. If you are looking for an intriguing series set in a small town that could be similar to yours, this is the perfect series to keep you up well into the night.
The Joona Linna Series by Lars Kepler
My very first and favorite crime fiction series was the Joona Linna series by Lars Kepler. Think of this series as the Marvel Cinematic Universe of crime fiction and Joona Linna is Captain America himself, only this is in Sweden and Joona is a detective with a harrowing past involving sacrifices he made in his personal life to imprison a serial killer. I recommend starting with the fourth book in this series, The Sandman and working your way on from there. Not that the first three books aren’t enjoyable, but they can be read as standalone stories. The Sandman is where things really kick off for Joona and the cases and plots weave in and continue throughout the series from there. This is easily the most terrifying and darkest series I have yet to read. Once you start, you won’t want to let them go.