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16 August Mystery, Thriller, True Crime Books To Read

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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.

Whether you are braving the heat and mosquitoes outside (flip-flops make excellent fly swatters, just saying) or staying inside and observing nature from the windows, you’re going to need a book in your hand. And I’ve got a great roundup of August releases for mystery, thriller, and true crime readers as we all (in the U.S.) begin to say goodbye to summer. We may not be in the publishing flood of January or fall, but summer is still heating up by churning out plenty of crime books to read.

I aimed to hit as many reading tastes as possible so there is something here for everyone — and if you read them all you’re going to want to reinforce your TBR shelf. There’s nonviolent true crime for readers of corruption with a boss still loved by employees, a remote mystery where family members are dying one by one à la Agatha Christie, revenge and hunt for hidden money, translated Japanese crime, a thriller filled with horror tropes set in the woods, an Australian missing persons mystery, a start to a new cozy mystery series, two historical mysteries, the sequel in a procedural series, a #metoo thriller, an unsolved campus murder, and more.

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What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla

Minerva Gutiérrez would very much like to quit her job at an ice cream store but her mom has a chronic illness, she’s been kicked out of school for fighting, and she needs money. When the store is robbed, with her and other employees there, she isn’t looking to be a hero. But afterwards there’s talk of hidden money where her job is located and, well, she needs money and she’s certain her boss is awful, so she teams up with a neighbor to find that money. What could go wrong?

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You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa

Imagine your former best friend inviting you to their wedding. Then learning she’s marrying your ex-boyfriend. Could it get worse? You go to the wedding with the intention of stopping it and instead your friend disappears, presumed dead, and all eyes are on you as the culprit. They say weddings are stressful, this one may be killer! (Sorry not sorry.)

The Lies We Tell cover

The Lies We Tell by Katie Zhao

Starting college and moving into the dorms can be a lot. Anna Xu has added even more stress to that with a murder investigation: she’s determined to find out who murdered her childhood babysitter. Like doing well in school and solving a campus murder aren’t enough, life tosses her more obstacles: her childhood rival, whose family also owns her family’s rival business…

Editor’s Note: this title’s release date has been bumped to November 15, 2022.

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder book cover

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (Baker Street Mystery #1) by Valerie Burns

For cozy mystery fans! Maddy Montgomery was left at the alter so she definitely took the inheritance offer to get out of town and go run her late great aunt’s bakery and live in her Michigan home — with a 200lb dog! What could go wrong? It’s a cozy mystery so the mayor is murdered and Maddy’s prints are on the knife…

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Kismet by Amina Akhtar

The author of #FashionVictim is back with a new novel billed as viciously funny, which is a big SOLD for me. Taken in by a wellness guru, Ronnie Khan moves from Queens to Arizona and goes full in for the new wellness lifestyle — juice cleanses, hiking, yoga. That is until gurus start being murdered… For audiobook fans, you get a multicast narration: Dilshad Vadsaria, Kimberly Woods, and Rhett Samuel Price.

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Murder in Westminster (Lady Worthington Mysteries #1) by Vanessa Riley

For Regency-era historical mystery fans! Lady Abigail Worthing finds her neighbor Juliet Henderson dead on her property. She’s sure to be accused and while she has a strong alibi, she can’t offer up that she was at a a secret pro-abolition meeting. Surprisingly, Juliet’s husband wants to help Worthing and not only offers her an alibi, but would like to find out what really happened to his wife…

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Shutter by Ramona Emerson

Next up is a genre blend for fans of crime thriller, forensic leads, and supernatural horror. Rita Todacheene works for the Albuquerque police as a forensic photographer and is keeping a secret: the crime victims’ ghosts help her uncover the clues needed to catching the perpetrators. But this isn’t a fun gift for Todacheene, especially when a recent victim places her on a path of revenge…

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Three Assassins by Kōtarō Isaka, Sam Malissa (Translator)

Translated crime novels in series many times don’t get translated in the order they published originally. And that’s the case here: this is the book that originally published prior to Bullet Train in Japan. It’s Suzuki’s story as a math teacher who leaves his life to join the gang that murdered his wife. But this is an unusual gang of assassins and it won’t be easy to take each one out.

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Complicit by Winnie M Li

For fans of revenge, thrillers, and past and present stories! Sarah Lai no longer works in Hollywood and instead is a college lecturer. She’s happy to keep the past where it is until a journalist shows up, wanting to know Lai’s experience working with film producer Hugo North. Is it time for her story to come out?

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Lady Joker, Volume Two by Kaoru Takamura, Allison Markin Powell (Translator), Marie Iida (Translator) – October 18*

The conclusion to the crime saga Lady Joker! This is Kaoru Takamura’s reimagining of a real case that terrorized Japan for two years. Readers follow five men in 1995 Tokyo who are upset with the state of their lives and come together to kidnap Japan’s largest beer conglomerate’s CEO for money.

*Editor’s Note: this title’s release date has been bumped to October 18, 2022.

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Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

If you’re a fan of the Agatha Christie plot of “a group of people stuck together unable to leave as they are murdered one by one,” this is your book. What starts off as a family reunion — a family with a complicated past — turns to murder real quick when the host (the grandmother!) is found dead. They may start off arguing as to whether it could possibly have been murder, but a second body quickly answers that — especially with clues left behind of children’s rhymes and tapes for everyone to watch with incidents from the past. Who is killing off this family and will anyone be left to tell the tale?

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Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard

For fans of twisty thrillers, story inside a story, and horror tropes. Adele Rafferty is living in L.A. after a bad experience on a film set in Ireland. She still hasn’t made it as an actress, so when she gets a call from back home about a film that wants her right now because the lead actress dropped out, she ignores all those “something is wrong” red flags and gets on a plane. But once she’s on the remote set out in the woods, filming a horror movie, weird things start to happen and maybe she’s the one in a horror…

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Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor

For fans of missing persons cases and Australian crime novels. Set in a rural Australian town, a 12-year-old girl, Esther, has gone missing walking home from school. We watch the investigation, and get to know Esther, as we follow her best friend, mother, school companion, family friends, and Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels who is brought in to investigate. It’s a great read for fans of small communities and secrets and who enjoy a mix of child and adult points of view.

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Long Gone (Detective Annalisa Vega #2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

If you like page-turning procedurals, you can never go wrong with one of Schaffhausen’s series. This book spoils the plot of the first so if you want to start at the beginning, go pick up Gone For Good and don’t read below. If you’ve already ready it and are excited for the sequel, Annalisa Vega is back! Ostracized by her family and colleagues, she figures why not be the person to investigate a detective’s death?

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Retail Gangster: The Insane, Real-Life Story of Crazy Eddie by Gary Weiss

For nonviolent true crime fans looking for a scam now taught in business schools. Eddie Antar, “Crazy Eddie,” was a bigger-than-life owner of a chain of electronic stores in the ’70s who had an iconic ad campaign — you can see it in the film Splash and SNL parodies. Here, journalist Gary Weiss tells Eddie Antar’s story from the workers who forever love him to the massive corruption of his businesses.

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Death at the Manor (Lily Adler Mystery #3) by Katharine Schellman

For fans of cozy historical mysteries and locked room mysteries. Lily Adler may want a break from London and a vacation in Hampshire, but with stories about a ghost and a woman smothered to death in her sleep — in a locked room — she’s going to be doing many things other than relaxing. Sleuthing, she’ll be sleuthing of course! If you’d like to start at the beginning of the series, pick up The Body In the Garden.

Not enough crime books? You need even more? Same! Check out all our crime posts.