Our picks for best crime, mystery and thriller books of June 2020 include exciting thrillers such as Final Flight by Eric Anderson, as well as refreshing reads like Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond.
These mystery and thriller books will surely bring joy to avid crime fiction and mystery readers. (Note: For our coverage of best crime, mystery, and thriller books of May 2020, please visit here.)
When We Vanished (Call of the Crow Quartet: Book 1) by Alanna Peterson. When Andi Lin overhears details about a harmful research study at the food corporation Nutrexo, she’s instantly worried that her dad is involved. He left home to participate in one of the company’s clinical trials, and was in frequent contact at first–but her recent attempts to reach him have been met with silence.
Fearing he may be in danger, Andi sets out to investigate. She finds an unlikely ally in her neighbor Cyrus, whose mother once worked for Nutrexo and is hiding secrets of her own.
Their search for answers leads them to the head scientist at Nutrexo’s confidential research facility, where they learn that the truth is more complicated–and more devastating–than they ever could have imagined.
This captivating debut is at once a page-turning thriller, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a thought-provoking look at the consequences of our desires for power, success, and control.
Gone to Darkness (Sydney Rose Parnell, Book 4) by Barbara Nickless. From a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Newly minted homicide detective Sydney Parnell faces a savage killer whose endgame is to capture her. And keep her.
Iraqi war vet and former railway cop Sydney Parnell is now the youngest homicide detective in Denver’s Major Crimes Unit. In the past, gut instinct has served her and her K9 partner well. But it’s not a trait Len Bandoni, her old nemesis turned reluctant mentor, admires. Not until Sydney’s instincts lead to their first case: a man tortured and beaten to death, then left in a refrigerated train car with cryptic messages carved into his body.
The victim is a well-liked member of an elite club called the Superior Gentlemen. At first glance, the club appears harmless. But beneath its refined surface swim darker currents.
As Sydney; her K9 partner, Clyde; and Bandoni investigate the grisly murder, the three develop a bond that carries them through a shocking series of crimes and a horrifying conspiracy that threatens the detectives’ lives and promises to bring their beloved city to its knees.
Little Creeping Things by Chelsea Ichaso. A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just can’t trust, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston.
As a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it. She’s a victim too. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
When Cassidy overhears what sounded like an abduction and Melody goes missing, Cassidy knows she should go to the cops, but… She recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody.
She even planned out the perfect way to do it. It’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened, because if she comes forward without a suspect, she knows people will point fingers at her. Again. And she can’t let that happen. But the truth behind Melody’s disappearance will set the whole town ablaze.
A Price to Pay by Paul Gitsham. It should be an easy solve: a murder in broad daylight with two eyewitnesses. But the victim is the son of a notorious local crime family who has a habit of hitting on other men’s wives; the witnesses are Serbian nationals who speak limited English.
For DCI Warren Jones, this is his most challenging case yet. As the suspects pile up, the victim’s family work to protect their son’s memory by destroying any evidence that could betray his criminal past – or might have led to his killer.
Somehow Warren must uncover the truth about the murder – but there are secrets at the heart of the case more dangerous than anyone could have imagined, and the fallout could tear Warren’s team apart.
Final Flight by Eric Anderson. It’s 2023. Former Air Force maintenance officer Jason Montgomery and his erstwhile wrench-twister, Rob “Ski” Kalawski, have just landed the gig of their lives. China Air’s aging fleet of Boeing 777s now desperately needs navigation hardware and software upgrades. It’s a multimillion-dollar contract, and they’re just the guys to do it. Too easy, right?
Wrong. The Japanese firm supplying the gear knows the Chinese will reverse-engineer and steal it, so they’ve planted a deadly navigation bug to trigger at the first sign of theft. Jason’s just the middleman, but he finds himself trapped between yakuza gangsters, a tattooed dragon-lady sales exec, and murderous Russian mobsters looking to make a profit on the missing airplanes and passengers.
If these crazies don’t start behaving like moral adults, people are going to die by the hundreds…and they do.
A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill. When Rowland Sinclair offers to fly internationally renowned Czech novelist and peace advocate Egon Kisch to Melbourne to kick off a speaking tour, he has no clue that the government has charged the Attorney General with preventing Kisch from stepping foot on Australian soil.
Then Jim Kelly, a known Communist, is ruthlessly murdered on the Parliament House steps. It’s soon evident that an extreme fascist group is also intent on keeping Kisch’s words from ever reaching their countrymen’s ears—even if they have to kill him, or anyone helping him gain entry.
Rowland, meanwhile, reconnects with his first love, who has returned after years abroad and seeks him out. When the two are photographed in flagrante delicto by reporters, Rowland fears he has ruined her reputation, and proposes marriage—despite the fact that his heart belongs to someone else.
Riviera Gold (A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) by Laurie R. King. It’s summertime on the Riviera, and the Jazz Age has come to France’s once-sleepy beaches. From their music-filled terraces, American expatriates gaze along the coastline at the lights of Monte Carlo, where fortunes are won, lost, stolen, and sometimes hidden away. When Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes arrive, they find their partnership pulled between youthful pleasures and old sins, hot sun and cool jazz, new affections and enduring loyalties.
Russell falls into easy friendship with an enthralling American couple, Sara and Gerald Murphy, whose golden life on the Riviera has begun to attract famous writers and artists—and some of the scoundrels linked with Monte Carlo’s underworld.
The Murphy set will go on to inspire everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Pablo Picasso, but in this summer of 1925, their importance for Russell lies in one of their circle’s recent additions: the Holmeses’ former housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, who hasn’t been seen since she fled England under a cloud of false murder accusations.
When a beautiful young man is found dead in Mrs. Hudson’s front room, she becomes the prime suspect in yet another murder. Russell is certain of Mrs. Hudson’s innocence; Holmes is not. But the old woman’s colorful past has been a source of tension between them before, and now the dangerous players who control Monte Carlo’s gilded casinos may stop at nothing to keep the pair away from what Mrs. Hudson’s youthful history could bring to light.
The Riviera is a place where treasure can be false, where love can destroy, and where life, as Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes will discover, can be cheap—even when it is made of solid gold.
Act of Deception (A Doc Brady Mystery Book 2) by John Bishop (June 10). Is it medical malpractice, or is the attorney just another ambulance chaser?
It’s 1995, and Houston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Bob Brady has been sued for medical malpractice; a mysterious infection caused a knee replacement to end up as an amputation. Donovan Shaw, a ruthless plaintiff’s attorney, has taken the case and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he and Brady share a number of friends.
“It’s not personal!” Shaw says. But it feels personal—especially when Shaw threatens, “I will do anything, and I mean anything, to win the case, even if I have to destroy you and that pretty wife of yours. I will stop at nothing. You remember that!”
And Brady isn’t the only one in his practice being sued. How is Shaw getting his inside information? Can the patients afford to say no to filing lawsuits, even if the claims aren’t valid? Through a series of twists and turns, and with the support of his wife Mary Louise and their professional investigator son J. J, Brady once again doggedly goes into “sleuth mode” to get to the truth of the matter—even after his life is put in jeopardy.
Will he survive, only to find himself at the mercy of the wild and wooly Houston court system? Is this whole mess his fault? Or is there an act of deception involved?
The Half Sister by Sandie Jones. From Sandie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes The Half Sister; a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door. Meet the half sister, and unravel the ties that blind us.
THE TRUTH. Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.
THE LIE. But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.
THE UNTHINKABLE. As the fallout starts, it’s clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn’t as perfect as it appears.
Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond (June 15). Molly McGill is fighting it. Her teenage son has come downstairs in a T-shirt from these “hacktivists” dominating the news. Her daughter’s bus is canceled — too many stoplights out — and school is in the opposite direction of the temp job she’s supposed to be starting this morning. She is twice-divorced; her P.I. business, McGill Investigators, is on the rocks; what kind of life is this for a woman a mere twelve credit-hours shy of her PhD?
Then the doorbell rings. It’s Quaid Rafferty, the charming — but disgraced — former governor of Massachusetts, and his plainspoken partner, Durwood Oak Jones. The guys have an assignment for Molly. It sounds risky, but the pay sure beats switchboard work.
They need her to infiltrate the Blind Mice.
Dear Durwood by Jeff Bond. Durwood Oak Jones is a man of few indulgences. One he does allow is a standing ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine soliciting “injustices in need of attention.”
This month’s bundle of letters includes one from Carol Bridges, mayor of the dusty, blue-collar town of Chickasaw, Texas. For nearly a century, Chickasaw has relied on the jobs and goodwill of Hogan Consolidated, a family-run manufacturer of industrial parts.
Now East Coast lawyers and investment bankers have taken aim at the company. The citizens of Chickasaw fear it may be acquired or bankrupted, leading to massive layoffs — effectively destroying the town.
Durwood and his trusty bluetick coonhound, Sue-Ann, fly to Texas to see what can be done. They find a young CEO born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Factory workers with hammers. A good woman, Carol Bridges, who knows her town is being cheated but can’t get to the bottom of how. And lawyers. Dirty, good-for-nothing lawyers.
Murder at the Playhouse (A Miss Underhay Mystery) by Helena Dixon. The scene is set for murder… and Kitty Underhay’s partner has been cast as the killer.
Late summer, 1933. After a quarrel with too-plucky-for-her-own-good amateur sleuth Kitty Underhay, dashing ex-army captain Matthew Bryant is nursing his wounds, and a tumbler of brandy, when there’s a heavy knock at the door and he finds himself arrested for murder. The body of aspiring actress Pearl Bright has been found, strangled with one of Matt’s own bootlaces, and the evidence seems to be stacked against him.
The local constabulary might have locked Matt up, but before they can throw away the key, Kitty hears the news and hies to his aid, determined to prove his innocence.
And when her investigations lead her to the home of retired theatre impresario Stanley Davenport, and the local amateur dramatics society, Kitty uncovers a web of deceit that stretches far beyond the stage make-up. But Kitty’s digging is bringing her to the attention of the killer. Without her partner in crime-fighting, can Kitty expose them and clear Matt’s name? Or will it be curtains for them both?
The Traitor’s Child by Mark Townsend (June 26). After a fateful confrontation with the brother he once betrayed, Eric van Kroot finds himself roaming Amsterdam’s seediest streets in a desperate search for the child he never knew he had.
His quest uncovers far more than he’d bargained for, however, as he stumbles across the biggest cover up in history. But there are those who will do anything to stop him, for, while many have much to gain, others have everything to lose.
The Circle-A Killings by Sean Heary. Returning from Moscow, Lorenzo Rossi finds himself forced to quit his job as head of the Vatican police. And to make matters worse, his fiancée, CIA Agent Cathy Doherty, calls off their wedding. Just as Rossi is settling into his new life as a visiting academic at Cambridge University, the CIA persuades him to rejoin Cathy in catching the killer of three American billionaires. Barely on speaking terms, the two devise a plan to befriend the CIA’s main suspect.
As they get closer to the suspect and his coterie of friends, Rossi and Cathy realise that they’re being played for fools.
But why? Everything points to an international conspiracy. As friends and foes drop dead around them, they arrive at the truth. But to prove it they need to set a trap. A trap that turns them from hunter to prey. Will they survive to tell their tale?
Lies To Tell (A DI Clare Mackay crime thriller) by Marion Todd. Early one morning DI Clare Mackay receives a message from her boss DCI Alastair Gibson telling her to meet him in secret. She does as he asks and is taken to a secure location in the remote Scottish hills. There, she is introduced to ethical hacker Gayle Crichton and told about a critical security breach coming from inside Police Scotland. Clare is sworn to secrecy and must conceal Gayle’s identity from colleagues until the source is found.
Clare already has her hands full keeping a key witness under protection and investigating the murder of a university student. When a friend of the victim is found preparing to jump off the Tay Road Bridge it is clear he is terrified of someone. But who? Clare realises too late that she has trusted the wrong person.
As her misplaced faith proves a danger to herself and others, Clare must fight tooth and nail to protect those she cares about and see justice done.