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Mystery/Thriller

Here’s The Scoop: 8 News Reporters and Journalists Solving Crime

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Amazon Publishing

In a city steeped in Old West debauchery, a reporter is following every lead to a very dangerous place — one that could bring him glory and fame or end his life. New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni is back with a gripping new thriller of corruption, vice, and murder set in Depression-era Seattle. It’s about a reporter covering a hot murder trial who soon learns nothing is what it seems. The story could make his career... if he lives to write about it. 

There are so many great tropes in mystery and thrillers books that you can spend your life reading the genre and never get bored: one last heist, closed circle mystery, amateur sleuth, PI, procedural, legal, archeologist sleuth — and the reason you’re here: a journalist or reporter sleuth! You may immediately think of the blockbuster adaptation and series The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which stars Lisbeth Salander and Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist. It’s a thriller with a pairing of opposite strangers at the beginning and just one example of the many ways the trope can unfold.

Keeping with the vastness that is the mystery and thriller genre, I wanted to find books that first had the trope of a reporter or journalist investigating and then hit multiple subgenres and mixes with other tropes — something for as many reading tastes as possible. You’ll find leads from a local news reporter to a desperate-for-a-big-break journalist — plus a true crime reporter. And there are historical mysteries with the fun inheritance trope, a remote mystery set on a mountain (the eighth-highest peak in the world!), a thriller with a journalist at a struggling newspaper stumbling into a crime, a family mystery, and a historical mystery with a divorced-her-husband-to-be-a-reporter lead that is currently being adapted (starring Natalie Portman).

Time's Undoing cover

Time’s Undoing by Cheryl A. Head

For fans of past and present storylines with alternating points of view, a newspaper reporter lead, and a family mystery!

In the late 1920s, Robert Lee Harrington is a carpenter starting a new life in Birmingham, Alabama with his young daughter and his pregnant wife.

In the present, Meghan McKenzie is a Detroit Free Press reporter who pitches her own family mystery — her great-grandfather’s murder — as an article she wants to write. The only information she has is that he died a woodworker at the age of 28, so Meghan travels to Birmingham to find the answers she’s looking for. Both Robert and Meghan’s stories slowly unfold, increasing in danger, as what happened to Meghan’s great-grandfather is uncovered.

cover image for The Banker's Wife

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

For fans of dual POVs and a journalist who won’t let the story go!

Marina Tourneau is a journalist who is recently engaged to a man in a political family who wants her to quit her job — good luck with that! Annabel is an ex-NY socialite who is now living in Switzerland when her husband dies in a plane crash, leading her to question if his work at Swiss United may not have been what she thought…

cover image for Unnatural Ends

Unnatural Ends by Christopher Huang

For fans of sibling POVs (one a journalist!), historical fiction, and solving the murder to get the inheritance!

In the early 1900s, Sir Lawrence Linwood’s three adopted children return home from their lives around the world: Alan (archeologist), Roger (engineer), and Caroline (journalist). Their mother greets them by informing them their father was murdered and a detective will speak with them in the morning. Welcome home! What they learn is that their father’s will states that if he’s murdered, the children must find the killer — and whoever does gets the estate and can null the previous will!

cover image for Breathless

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

For fans of remote mysteries and a writer taking what they think is their last shot to have a career!

Cecily Wong needs a high-profile interview to get a chance at the journalist career she wants. A world-famous mountaineer will let Cecily interview him, but only if she summits Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world with him. So Cecily sets out with the group to get her interview, except she’s not an expert climber, and people start dying along the way…

cover image for Some Die Nameless

Some Die Nameless by Wallace Stroby

For fans of thrillers, multiple POVs, assassin stories, action, and an investigative reporter who stumbles into a crime!

Ray Devlin is living the retired life, but his past as a mercenary comes to get him, literally: he’s almost murdered and needs to find out why a fellow mercenary is after him. Reporter Tracy Quinn is trying to keep her job by uncovering a big story for a newspaper that is struggling between the print and digital age when her path crosses with Devlin’s…

cover image for The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

For fans of stories about cults, past mysteries, true crime reporters, and novels written in messages, interviews, recordings, screenplays, and diary entries!

Years ago, three members of a cult died by suicide, and the baby they believed to be the Antichrist disappeared with its mother. Now the baby will be turning 18, and a literary agent thinks their story will be a great sell, so she assigns the case to a true crime reporter for a book deal. The problem is that no one knows who the baby is, so Amanda Bailey has a massive investigation ahead of her. Plus, Amanda will soon find out that she’s not the only person on this assignment — the guy she blames for ruining her career is also writing a book on this case!

cover of As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall; image of a dark alley at night

As the Wicked Watch (Jordan Manning #1) by Tamron Hall

For fans of news reporters working as an amateur sleuth in a case that doesn’t feel right!

Jordan Manning is a Chicago reporter who starts off by looking into a missing girl case, which ends up turning into a murder case, with suspects immediately named. But Manning doesn’t agree with the police’s story and goes into overdrive to find the truth herself. You get a behind-the-scenes of a reporter’s daily life, along with community activism and politics, and you see a case play out from beginning to end.

Book cover of Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

For fans of historical mysteries, murder mysteries, and undertones of noir.

In 1960s Baltimore, Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband to become a journalist. She’s not getting much respect as a newspaper journalist, has to keep secret that she’s sleeping with a Black police officer, and is obsessed with a dead woman case that police and journalists are ignoring.

Bonus: this is currently being adapted by Apple TV+ with Natalie Portman as the lead.

Love work by journalists? Check out 6 Books to Remind Us Why Journalism is Important, Why I’ve Started Reading Books of Investigative Journalism, and True Story: The Best Journalistic Nonfiction!