Posted December 22, 2014 by in New Reads

Best Books of 2014: Mystery & Suspense

As 2014 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the glorious new releases of this year. Last week, Rebecca told you about the wonderful non-fiction works (read her article here). Now, we move on to the best books of 2014 in the mystery, thriller, and suspense category. Although those genres like to keep you waiting to add impact to the climax, I won’t do that to you! Let’s begin with our list, which is in no particular order!



Mollie Waters

 Lonely GravesLonely Graves by Britta Bolt

This book, which I reviewed in September (read full review here), was released in paperback in May of this year. I stumbled upon the book while I was traveling in Australia. Britta Bolt is really the writing duo Britta Bohler and Rodney Bolt. They combined their talents to create what I hope will become a long-running series. The book follows Pieter Posthumus, a member of Amsterdam’s Lonely Funerals team, as he tries to unravel the circumstances of the recent death of a young Muslim man. The book has everything: politics, religion, murder, and secrets.


Outcast Dead

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

The Outcast Dead is Elly Griffiths’ sixth book in her Ruth Galloway series (see my full review here). Ruth is a forensic archaeologist who often teams up with DCI Harry Nelson to solve the crimes that come their way. Ruth’s specialty is bones; Nelson’s is catching the bad guy. The two share more than cases, though. Once they shared a bed, and from that one night of passion, a daughter named Kate was born to them. Only problem with that is Nelson is already married! Between the crimes and their attraction, a lot goes on in the Ruth Galloway series.


The SeekerThe Seeker by R. B. Chesterton

The Seeker is the second book by author R. B. Chesterton, the alter ego of author Carolyn Haines. A true work of supsense, The Seeker (see my full review here) follows Aine Cahill as she attempts to write her dissertation about the romantic entanglement her ancestor Bonnie Cahill had with Henry David Thoreau. Aine travels to Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts, to find more evidence that her aunt’s claims are true. What Aine finds instead is a sinister spirit child bent on destroying Aine and those with whom she has started to form attachments. A truly creepy-crawly work; don’t read this one at night when you are all alone!


The Silkworm

The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith 

I love Harry Potter! And for that reason, I’m a huge fan of J.K. Rowling. However, I just didn’t love Casual Vacancy, and I was skeptical when she started releasing her detective works under the name Robert Galbraith. I need not have been. With The Cuckoo’s Calling, Rowling proved that she can write more than just YA fiction. The follow-up to her first Galbraith book is The Silkworm. In it, private detective Coroman Strike investigates the death of writer Owen Quine. Throughout the investigation, readers get to see the seedy side of the publishing world, because that’s who makes up the list of possible suspects: writers, editors, publishers! Rowling’s book received much acclaim in 2014.


bliss house

Bliss House by Laura Benedict

Bliss House is Laura Benedict’s newest novel (see my full review here); it delves into the world of the surreal and scary. Following a tragic accident that left her husband dead and her daughter severely burned, Rainey Bliss Adams returns to her family’s ancestral home, Bliss House. However, Bliss House is not the healing place Rainey and her daughter need it to be. Filled with dark secrets that continue to unravel generation after generation, Bliss House is a truly frightening place to have to call “home.”





The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

To begin with, this is a subtle domestic drama, with psychological tension bubbling beneath the surface of a seemingly placid home life in 1922 London. Yet abruptly, at nearly the mid-point, it becomes a melodramatic courtroom crime story. Still, Waters’s skill at evoking historical time periods is peerless, and once again she delivers romantic relationships with a powerfully erotic charge. The first half may drag somewhat, but you will simply not be able to turn the pages fast enough through the second.



Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

When a fourteen-year-old flute-playing phenom disappears from Room 712 of the Bellweather Hotel, the very room where, 15 years ago, a murder-suicide occurred, shy bassoon player Rabbit Hatmaker and his brash twin sister, Alice, get caught up in a plot that’s one part Clue and one part vintage horror. For those who cut their literary teeth on Harriet the Spy and The Westing Game, this will be a sweet yet joltingly ghoulish piece of escapism.






The Kept by James Scott

The opening pages of James Scott’s debut are, perhaps, the best of any 2014 novel. They are chilling—and I mean the big goosebump kind of chilling. Elspeth Howell goes home to find four of her children and her husband murdered. She doesn’t notice one important thing: her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, is still alive. Soon, Elspeth and Caleb find one another, and, together, they vow to find the men responsible for killing their family. While touching on the timeless themes of guilt and forgiveness, The Kept is about a mother and son’s quest to unravel the how, why, and who of a terrible crime.


bird box

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Let’s get this out of the way: Bird Box is freaking terrifying. Truthfully, it’s more horror than mystery, but the classification is only a minor technicality. Bird Box is A-MAZ-ING! It’s about a world where the inhabitants cannot go outside. If they do, they’ll be blinded and die. Will blindfolds work? What will save these people from being trapped in their homes for the rest of their lives? Malerman touches on isolation, panic, trust, and fear—oh, and the atmosphere he creates is sublime. You’ll stay up all night to solve Bird Box’s spectacular puzzle.




Rachel Storey


Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

This was my first Sandra Brown novel but will definitely not be the last. Dr. Emory Charbonneau’s marriage is on the rocks and she loves to run, so she plans a solo marathon training session in the mountains of North Carolina. Unfortunately for Emory, someone has other plans for her. When she wakes up in the cabin of a stranger, she fears the worst about him and his intentions. I am usually pretty observant and can figure it out, but author Sandra Brown’s whodunnit shocked me.


Mollie Smith Waters

Mollie Smith Waters teaches American literature, theater, and speech at a small community college in rural Alabama. Her hobbies include reading, writing, traveling, and walking.