33 Highly Anticipated Crime Novels: January–March 2019

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Katie McLain

Contributing Editor

Katie's parents never told her "no" when she asked for a book, which was the start of most of her problems. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is working towards a master's degree in library science at U of I. She works full time at a public library reference desk in northern IL, specializing in readers’ advisory and general book enthusiasm, and she has a deep-rooted love of all things disturbing, twisted, and terrifying. (She takes enormous pleasure in creeping out her coworkers.) When she's not spending every waking hour at the library, she's at home watching Cubs baseball with her cats and her cardigan collection, and when she's not at home, she's spending too much money on concert tickets. Her hobbies include debating the finer points of Harry Potter canon, hitting people upside the head who haven’t read The Martian, and convincing her boyfriend that she can, in fact, fit more books onto her shelves. Twitter: @kt_librarylady

Katie McLain

Contributing Editor

Katie's parents never told her "no" when she asked for a book, which was the start of most of her problems. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is working towards a master's degree in library science at U of I. She works full time at a public library reference desk in northern IL, specializing in readers’ advisory and general book enthusiasm, and she has a deep-rooted love of all things disturbing, twisted, and terrifying. (She takes enormous pleasure in creeping out her coworkers.) When she's not spending every waking hour at the library, she's at home watching Cubs baseball with her cats and her cardigan collection, and when she's not at home, she's spending too much money on concert tickets. Her hobbies include debating the finer points of Harry Potter canon, hitting people upside the head who haven’t read The Martian, and convincing her boyfriend that she can, in fact, fit more books onto her shelves. Twitter: @kt_librarylady

It’s 2019, and holy bananapants, do we have some knockout crime novels coming our way this year! So many, in fact, that I had to focus on JUST the crime novels published between January and March to make these all fit into one list. We’ve got historical mysteries, psychological suspense, some really interesting true crime, and translated mysteries from around the world, so believe me when I say there’s something on this list for everyone. Gird your loins, ladies, gentlemen, and friends beyond the binary. Your TBR is about to explode.

33 highly-anticipated crime novels hitting shelves between January and March 2019. crime novels | upcoming crime novels | novels for crime lovers | book lists | books to read

Note: ^ after the title indicates that a book is part of a series.

January 2019

*Books without a publication date are already released as of 1/15/19.

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye book coverThe Paragon Hotel by Lindsay Faye

The year is 1921 and “Nobody” Alice James is on a train from New York to Portland, Oregon, fleeing for her life and carrying a bullet wound from a drug & liquor deal gone horribly wrong. In Portland, Alice finds sanctuary in the city’s only all-black hotel and learns that the KKK is out in full force. And only Alice and her newfound friends seem to care that a child of mixed-race has mysteriously vanished into the woods…

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

In an isolated Australian town, a young preacher opens fire on his congregation, killing five people before being shot himself. A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy, but he soon realizes that the local stories he hears don’t match up with the information his own newspaper reported. But how far will a town go to make sure its dark secrets stay buried?

Burned A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't book coverBurned: A Story Of Murder And The Crime That Wasn’t by Edward Humes

In April 1989, Joann Parks’s children perished in a house fire, although she managed to escape. Investigators came to believe that the fire was the result of arson, and Joann was tried, convicted, and has spent the last 25 years in prison. But now a pair of lawyers from the Innocence Project have come to believe that Joann was wrongfully convicted.

Lives Laid Away by Stephen Mack JOnes ^

The body of a young Hispanic woman dressed as Marie Antoinette is pulled from the Detroit River, and the county coroner has asked former cop August Snow to show the woman’s photo around his native Mexicantown to see if anyone recognizes her. Sure enough, a good friend recognizes her as a local teenager, and one of several people who have vanished during an ICE raid, only to turn up dead several weeks later. Now August has to take up vigilante justice to protect his community from the forces that are supposed to protect them.

No Exit book coverNo Exit by Taylor Adams

College student Darby Thorne is on her way to visit her dying mother when she gets caught in a blizzard in the Colorado mountains, forcing her to wait out the storm at a highway rest stop. Waiting with her are four strangers. As she desperately tries to find a cell signal outside to call home, Darby makes a horrifying discovery: in the back of the van parked next to her car, there is a little girl locked in an animal crate. Who is she, and why has she been taken? There’s no cell reception, and no way to leave the rest stop, but one of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Cheney

This is a book about a marriage gone disturbingly wrong. I have heard from multiple sources that this book works best if you don’t know much about the plot, so I will leave it up to you if you want to find a more detailed synopsis!

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, And The Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin

From the first day of the author’s romance with “The Commander,” her life was caught in a whirlwind, culminating in a proposal after only five months together. There were strange stories and red flags at the time, but it wasn’t until later that she realized the man she (almost) married was a complete fraud. And when she wrote an article for Psychology Today about her experiences, she heard from scores of readers, most of them female, who had dealt with similar circumstances. How could so many intelligent & self-aware people be taken in by these ludicrous scams? This book is part investigation into the world of double lives and part candid memoir about her own relationship.

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley (January 22, 2019, From Delacorte Press) ^

Flavia de Luce and her father’s valet, Dogger, have founded a detective agency, and the two find themselves with their first case during her sister Ophelia’s wedding reception, when the bride discovers a human finger inside the wedding cake.

The Vanishing Stair book coverThe Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (January 22, 2019, From Katherine Tegen Books) ^

Just as Stevie Bell feels she’s on the brink of solving the mysteries at Ellingham Academy, her parents pull her out “for her own safety.” But now that she’s away from the school, she begins to feel disconnected from the world…until despised politician Edward King arrives to offer her a deal. Stevie can return to Ellingham immediately, as long as she interacts nicely with his son David, who she harbors a LOT of complicated feelings for. Stevie’s back at Ellingham, trying to solve the murders, but moving forward may involve hurting someone close to her.

The Current by Tim Johnston (January 22, 2019, From Algonquin Books)

When two women leave their college campus in the dead of winter, they find themselves fighting for their lives in the Black Root River. Only one woman survives, which dredges up the townsfolks’ memories of an earlier case where a woman was murdered in the same river, and the killer was never brought to justice. But the surviving woman starts to believe that she may be connected to the old murder in more ways than one.

Golden State by Ben H. Winters book coverGolden State by Ben Winters (January 22, 2019, From Mulholland Books)

Lazlo Ratesic is a long-time veteran of the Speculative Service in an alternate society that values law and truth above everything else, and where knowingly lying or contradicting the truth (the “Objectively So”) is the greatest possible crime. Laz’s job is to stop these crimes, and in doing so, he is one of the few people permitted to “harbor untruths.” But to monitor & enforce the Objectively So requires an enormous amount of surveillance and record keeping, and those in control of the truth may end up twisting it for nefarious means…

The Burning Island by Hester Young (January 22, 2019, From G.P. Putnam’s Sons) ^

In an attempt to escape a high-powered professional and personal spotlight, Charlie Cates flees to Hawai’i where she can escape among the beautiful scenery. But the island is harboring a dark secret, and the more enchanted Charlie becomes by the island’s mysteries, the bigger threat she poses and the less likely it seems that she will ever leave the island alive.

Spin book coverSpin by Lamar Giles (January 29, 2019, from Scholastic)

Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career—and life—has come to a murderous end. No one is feeling the pain more than her (shunned) pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s groupie, Fuse. But the police don’t seem to be putting much effort into the investigation, so a group of Paris’s fans (ParSec Nation) take matters into their own hands…until they find a deadly secret in Paris’s past.

The Plotters by Un-Su Kim, Translated by Sora Kim-Russell (January 29, 2019, From Doubleday)

It’s not the person who pulls the trigger who’s important—it’s the person behind the trigger puller. The plotters, in other words. Reseng was always destined to be an assassin in Seoul’s corrupt underworld…until he breaks the rules. That’s when he meets three young women with an extraordinary plot of their own.

The Line Between book coverThe Line Between by Tosca Lee (January 29, 2019, From Howard Books)

An extinct disease reemerges from the rapidly melting Alaskan permafrost, causing an epidemic of madness, and for Wynter Roth, who has recently escaped an apocalyptic cult, it’s the end of the world she’s always feared. But as she tries to start over in a world that’s about to collapse, Wynter’s sister arrives on her doorstep with a set of medical samples that must be taken to a lab in Colorado if they have any chance of fighting the disease.

Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig (January 29, 2019, From Feiwel & Friends)

Teenage socialite Margo Manning dodges the paparazzi by day and dodges security cameras and armed guards by night, pulling off a series of cat burglaries with a team of kickboxing drag queens. But Margo’s personal life takes a dark turn and a high-risk job lands her team in extreme peril. With their backs against the wall, can the thieves use their special skills to survive? (Honestly, all you really need to know about this book is “kickboxing drag queens.”)


House of Beauty by Melba Escobar (February 5, 2019, From Fourth Estate)

Karen is one of the top beauticians at the House of Beauty, a high-end salon in Bogotá. She knows all about her clients’ personal problems, and even has a few personal problems of her own, but that’s nothing compared to the problem that awaits her when she learns that a teenage girl has been murdered and Karen was one of the last people to see her alive…

The Lost Man book coverThe Lost Man by Jane Harper (February 5, 2019, From Flatiron Books)

Two brothers, Nathan & Bub, meet at the fence line separating each of their cattle ranches. They are each other’s nearest neighbors and are still three hours away from each other. Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet. Nathan and Bub return to Cameron’s ranch and his family, but while they grieve Cameron’s loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past. Because if Cameron was killed, their isolation means that there are very few possible suspects…

Evil Things by Katja Ivar (February 5, 2019, From Bitter Lemon Press)

1952. Hella Mauzer, the first female detective on the Helsinki murder squad, is asked to investigate the disappearance of an old man near the Finnish-Russian border. But what Hella doesn’t know is that the nearby village of Käärmela is harboring a crime so evil, it is beyond anything she can possibly imagine.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (February 5, 2019, From Celadon Books)

Alicia Berenson’s life appears to be perfect, until her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks again. Alicia’s refusal to talk casts the tragedy into something far larger than the crime itself, and Alicia is hidden away at a secure forensic unit. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to get Alicia to talk, but his relentless pursuit of the truth may end up consuming him.

The Hiding Place by CJ Tudor (February 5, 2019, from Crown Publishing)

Joe never wanted to come back to his old school, after all the betrayal and death and the disappearance of his sister, and he definitely didn’t want to lie his way into a teaching job there. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault. But the hardest part of all will be returning to the abandoned mine where it all went wrong and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about his sister, because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back.

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill (February 12, 2019, From Poisoned Pen Press)^

Roland Sinclair’s father died 13 years ago and the family has tried to keep the matter under wraps (as well as Roland & his brother’s possible involvement), but now the gun has shown up at the family’s homestead. And when Roland offends the New Guard leader, Eric Campbell, Campbell gets the police to renew their inquiries into Henry Sinclair’s death…

A Deadly Divide book coverA Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan (February 12, 2019, From Minotaur Books) ^

A mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec put Amadou Duchon, a young Muslim man helping the wounded, in police custody, even though Etienne Roy, the local priest, was found with a weapon in his hands. Initially, the shooting looks like a hate crime, but detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty believe that there’s more going on.

Any Means Necessary by Jenny Rogneby; translated by Agnes Broomé (February 12, 2019, From Other Press) ^

Leona Lindberg is put on the case when a man blows himself up outside the Parliament House in Stockholm but manages to survive the explosion. Was he acting alone, or will there be other incidents to follow? And after the difficulties of her last case, can Leona pull herself together enough to solve the case?

The Reckoning book coverThe Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (February 12, 2019, From Minotaur Books) ^

Vaka waits outside her new school, waiting for her father to remember to pick her up. A girl approaches, who Vaka recognizes from class (and by the fact that the girl is missing two fingers), and offers to let Vaka call her father from her house. That afternoon is the last time anyone sees Vaka. Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are called in, and soon find themselves in the middle of another disturbing case.

Good Kids, Bad City: A Story Of Race And Wrongful Conviction In America by Kyle Swenson (February 12, 2019, From Picador USA)

In the early 1970s, three African-American men—Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Rickey Jackson—were accused and convicted of robbery and the murder of a man outside of a convenience store in Cleveland, Ohio. The prosecution’s case hinged on unreliable testimony from preteen Ed Vernon, and the actual murderer was never found. Almost 40 years later, Vernon recanted and the men were released, but the corruption of the city remains. In this account that combines details of the case with Cleveland’s history, Swenson investigates how this wrongful imprisonment occurred, and why.

Spectacle book coverSpectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok (February 12, 2019, From Tor Teen)

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin is in charge of the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal, which involves summarizing each day’s “new arrivals.” But one day, she has a startling vision of the newest body (a young woman) being murdered, and the vision is from the killer’s perspective. This marks the beginning of a string of serial killings, and Nathalie’s strange new ability may mean she’s the only person who can unmask the killer terrorizing the streets of Paris.

The Birds That Stay by Ann Lambert (February 19, 2019, From Second Story Press)

In a small mountain village in Quebec, an old woman is found frozen and strangled outside her house. The police suspect a local biker gang and a fatal robbery, but there are also clues that suggest a possible hate crime. But then one of the woman’s neighbors learns that the murder may actually be tied to another horrific crime that took place in Hungary at the end of World War II.


All That Remains book coverAll that Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes by Sue Black (March 5, 2019, From Arcade)

Dame Sue Black is a renowned forensic anthropologist & human anatomist, and in this book, she writes vividly about her job identifying human remains, the events in her life that led her to this career, and the reality of death in all of our lives.

Fallen Mountains by Kimi Cunningham Grant (March 5, 2019, from Amberjack Publishing)

Shortly after returning to his hometown of Fallen Mountains, Pennsylvania, Transom Shultz goes missing and the secrets of several citizens threaten to emerge. Red, the sheriff, believes that Transom may have disappeared due to his involvement with a crime almost two decades ago—a crime that Red secretly helped to cover up. Possum, the victim of the crime, wants revenge. Laney will do anything to keep Transom quiet if it will save her budding relationship. Chase, a once-close friend, is reeling from Transom’s betrayal of buying his family’s farm. As the search heats up and more secrets emerge, each person must decide how they want to grapple with the past.”

Smoke and Ashes book coverSmoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee (March 5, 2019, from Pegasus Books) ^

When Sam is summoned to the site of a grisly murder, he realizes that he’s seen this before—specifically, the night before when he stumbled across another body with the same ritualistic injuries. It appears as though there’s a serial killer on the loose, but the problem is, the first corpse was in an opium den and admitting that he was there would cost Sam his career. Sam must now try to solve both murders, all while keeping his personal struggles a secret, before another body turns up.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden book coverThe Trial of Lizzie Borden bY Cara Robertson (March 12, 2019, from Simon & Schuster)

We’re all familiar with the supposed crimes of Lizzie Borden, but what we may not be as familiar with is her trial and the accompanying media circus. Every person in the country, it seemed, had an opinion on Lizzie and what she may or may not have done. In this work of nonfiction, Cara Robertson looks at the Borden trial in its historical and social context to understand how these elements influenced the debate inside and outside the courthouse. Based on legal transcripts, newspaper accounts, and recently discovered letters from Lizzie Borden herself.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage (March 12, 2019, from Grand Central Publishing)

When Sarah’s mother dies, her husband Patrick decides to move his family to the beach house he grew up in, in the hope of giving them all a fresh start. But this new and happy home is only happy for Patrick—to everyone else in the area, it’s known as the Murder House, because another family was killed there years ago. Patrick doesn’t pay much attention to local gossip, even though their children are having frequent nightmares and everyone has the sense that they’re being watched. But Sarah’s not so sure, because the longer they live in Patrick’s childhood home, the more different her husband becomes.


Want more upcoming 2019 goodness? Check out Book Rioters’ most anticipated books of 2019, or this list of 20 amazing book covers we can plan to see this year.