In this article I will be talking about the Best Mystery Books of 2019.
Each year I go through the books that are classified under that particular genre and read them, then rate them. Simple as that.
Of course there are about eleventy billion books released every year, so I can’t really read them all. However what I do is read a lot of books that year, then I scour the “best of” lists that pop up at the end of the year.
I also look through all of the books that were either nominated for, or won, an award that year. All of these I compile into my own little list, read through them, and then that combined with the books I’ve already read turns into this list!
Let’s get to it:
Best Mystery Books of 2019:
See at Amazon #5: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek, by Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal.
This was a tough one to list. It’s not really just a “mystery” book so it’s hard to categorize it to that genre. However there is a lot to the book and more than anything I wanted to give it a mention for people who haven’t read it yet.
It takes place in 1992 in North Carolina, in a sleepy little town. In this town the teenagers there live in constant fear of being sent to a local reformatory that has had a list of suspicious deaths over the last 10 years. It features Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson who are two high school freshmen. Their best friend is sent to the reformatory and they want to recuse their friend.
Like I said it’s not really just a mystery. Retailers for example has seen it listed in “Amateur Sleuth Mysteries”, “General Humorous Fiction” and “Humorous Science Fiction” which says it all. So while it’s not a TRUE mystery, it does slide into this category and is worth reading.
See at Amazon #4: A Better Man by Louise Penny.
The 15th novel in the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. This is one of my favourite book series and this one didn’t disappoint. Actually I enjoyed it so much it snuck its way onto #5 in my Best Books by Louise Penny article.
If you haven’t read Gamache yet please do me a favour and drop everything and go buy the first novel in the series and get reading. If you don’t like that the series then no problem – however this is a fantastic series and one of my favourites and everyone should give it a try.
In this one Gamache returns to the Sûreté du Québec after being demoted. He’s under fire from social media as well and it’s not a good time for Gamache. He gets assigned to the case of a pregnant woman who has gone missing, and has potentially been murdered.
An excellent outing for Gamache and really freshened the series up.
See at Amazon #3: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell..
Lisa Jewell has been writing novels for 20 years now. The first book she wrote was Ralph’s Party which was published in 1999, and she celebrated her 20 year anniversary with an incredible book in The Family Upstairs.
I’ve found Lisa to be hit and miss over the years but this mystery whodunit was an easy, easy hit. It was a Cover to Cover Book Club Pick by Good Morning America and an NYT Bestseller.
Libby Jones finally finds out who her birth parents are, and that she has inherited an abandoned mansion! Life is great right? Except the mansion has a history. A bad, dark history.
This was an excellent outing by Lisa Jewell and one of the most enjoyable books I read in 2019.
See at Amazon #2: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware..
Ruth Ware is of course most famously known for her book The Woman in Cabin 10. She has written a few novels since then, and I know some of them were hit or miss for the majority of people. Last year I put The Death of Mrs. Westaway in the honorable mentions section. However I feel it is warranted to have this one in the top 5, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This was Ruth at her best. Rowan Caine takes what is essentially a dream job as a nanny with a great salary in a beautiful home. Of course what she is completely unaware of is this dream job is going to turn into a nightmare, as it ends with a child dead and Rowan going to prison.
This is a very clever book and very well written and honestly I think this may be Ruth Wares best book yet. If you’re someone who read The Woman in Cabin 10 but were disappointed in the books following that – give Ruth another try. Very very good book and one I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
See at Amazon #1: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
This was an incredibly popular book. It was an NYT Bestseller, it won the Goodreads award for best mystery & thriller and for good reason. This was an absolutely incredible debut by Alex Michaelides.
Entertainment Weekly described it as a mix of Hitchock, Agatha Christie and Greek tragedy and I totally get that. It’s both a thriller and a mystery and is about Alicia Berenson. She has the perfect life until one evening her husband returns home only to be shot by Alicia. She then goes mute, refusing to talk about the crime at all.
A psychotherapist, Theo Faber, is determined to get to the bottom of it. If you’re a fan of mystery and thrillers, be sure to grab a copy of this great novel.
Someone We Know by Shari Lapena: Honestly it broke my heart not to include this one on the list. I just wanted to give #5 some well needed attention but this was a fantastic mystery book. It takes place in a neighbourhood full of mysteries such as the teen sneaking into houses and onto computers, and murders and affairs. This one had me up late until I finished it.
I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll: Teresa is one of those standalone thriller authors from the UK that popped up a couple of years ago when that was the big “thing” due to books like Girl on the Train. She’s stayed wrong and this was another very good one with a crazy ending that left my heart racing. Every Wednesday, something bad happens to Alice Henderson. First it’s just a phone call, then it’s attacks in the street and she can’t figure out why.
The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke: This author duo have been incredible over the years however this one just fell flat for me. It was okay but nowhere near as good as their previous couple of books.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager: I was very excited for this one and it didn’t really disappoint. It seemed to get a mixed reception and I can see why. I generally enjoyed it but not one that I’d rush out to recommend.
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter: Not the best outing for Will Trent I felt. I’ll keep reading this series of course but it felt a bit phoned in to be honest.
Run Away by Harlan Coben: If I was writing a “Worst Mystery Books of 2019” list this would be right up there at the top. Oh Harlan what happened to you?
I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie: Catherine is one of those authors who I feel always have great ideas….there’s just something in her books that doesn’t quite click. Still enjoyed it though.
The Whisper Man by Alex North: Even the title alone is great and had me curious based on that. A mystery/thriller featuring a small town that has a dark history. That history is The Whisper Man, a serial killer who murdered 5 people in the town 20 years ago. This one was chilling with the right amount of horror. This was one that I didn’t read into the wee hours of the morning as I needed daylight to finish it!
Well that’s my listing of the best mystery books of 2019. I tried to stick with proper “mystery” books as opposed to thrillers. Anything I am missing that you would like to add, or hear my thoughts on? Let me know in the comments below.