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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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