12 Forensic Crime Thrillers to Satisfy your Morbid Curiosity

12 Forensic Crime Thrillers to Satisfy your Morbid Curiosity

Chaos – Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell is back with Chaos, the twenty-fourth book in her incredibly popular series of thrillers about forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta. When one summer evening in New England, two young girls stumble upon a body, Dr Kay Scarpetta arrives at the scene to find a woman has been attacked with almost superhuman force. Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. A second death shocks Scarpetta to her core as the analysis of the body shows a material that doesn’t exist on earth and it’s clear that someone, or something, is coming for her, and is hell-bent on creating chaos.

Set within a 24 hour period, Patricia Cornwell’s Chaos is intriguing, unsettling and guaranteed to keep your reading late into the night.

The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway returns for another intriguing police procedural in The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths. When Galloway discovers that the boiled human bones found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels are recent, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. With the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast network of old chalk-mining tunnels under King’s Lynn, home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.

A tense, thrilling read with a strong female protagonist, you’ll be left asking questions and itching for the next book to be released.

Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

American crime writer Kathy Reichs draws on her experience as a forensic anthropologist in her new standalone thriller, Two Nights. Sunday Night is a woman with physical and psychological scars and a killer instinct. She has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. It s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Two Nights is a fantastic fast-paced thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

The Chemistry of Death – Simon Beckett

The first of five books in Simon Beckett’s series, The Chemistry of Death introduces us to Dr. David Hunter who three years ago moved to rural Norfolk to escape his life in London, his gritty work in forensics, and a tragedy that nearly destroyed him. Working as a simple country doctor, seeing his lost wife and daughter only in his dreams, David struggles to remain uninvolved when the corpse of a woman is found in the woods, a macabre sign from her killer decorating her body. In one horrifying instant, the quiet summer countryside that had been David’s refuge has turned malevolent and suddenly there is no place to hide.

Told in first person narrative, The Chemistry of Death is filled with twists, turns and red herrings to keep you on your toes.

The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen

International bestselling crime author and physician Tess Gerritsen brings her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms to her novels. The Surgeon is the first of twelve books in Tess Gerritsen’s series about Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, which inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles. In The Surgeon a killer is targeting lone women. As Jane Rizzoli begins her investigation, she makes a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell who two years ago was subjected to a horrifying rape and shot her attacker dead. Now the man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her.

Gory and gripping, The Surgeon is a cleverly written forensic thriller with an explosive ending you won’t see coming.

White Bones – Graham Masterton

The first of nine books in Graham Masterton’s series about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire, White Bones is brimming with spine-tingling suspense. Set in Ireland, dismembered bones of eleven women are found in a common grave on a farm. Buried eight decades ago, their skeletons bear the marks of a meticulous butcher. The bodies date back to 1915. All were likely skinned alive. But then a young woman goes missing, and her remains, the bones carefully stripped and arranged in an arcane pattern, are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, D.S. Katie Maguire must solve a decades-old murder steeped in ancient legend before this terrifying killer strikes again.

Heart-pounding and haunting, White Bones is a sinister thriller and a true-page turner that will stay with you for long after you read the last sentence.

Carved in Bone – Jefferson Bass

Jefferson Bass’ ten book series about Dr. Bill Brockton, a forensic anthropologist in Tennessee, are inspired by a real-life scientist who founded the ‘Body Farm’, a facility dedicated to the science of death, where human remains lie exposed to be studied for their secrets. In the first book, Carved in Bone, Dr. Bill Brockton is called upon to help solve a baffling puzzle in a remote mountain community. The mummified corpse of a young woman has been discovered in a cave. But Brockton’s investigation is threatening to open old wounds among an insular people who won’t forget or forgive. And a long-buried secret prematurely exposed could inflame Brockton’s own guilt and the dangerous hostility of bitter enemies determined to see him fail.

A fantastic forensic mystery filled with accurate scientific detail and plenty of dark humour, you’ll soon be addicted to the Body Farm series after reading Carved in Bone.

I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim is a fast-paced spy thriller with a forensic twist. Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found face down in a bath of acid. What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion.

Chilling, intriguing and action-packed, Terry Hayes’ outstanding debut will keep you up late and get you up early.

The Bone Collector – Jeffery Deaver

The first book in Jeffrey Deaver’s addictive crime series about former NYPD Homicide Detective turned Forensic Consultant Lincoln Rhyme kicks off with The Bone Collector. Lincoln Rhyme was once a brilliant criminologist until an accident left him physically and emotionally shattered. Now a diabolical killer is challenging him to a terrifying and ingenious duel of wits. With police detective Amelia Sachs by his side, Rhyme must follow a labyrinth of clues that reaches back to a dark chapter in New York City’s past and reach further into the darkness of the mind of a madman who won’t stop until he has stripped life down to the bone.

A fast-paced thriller centered around a flawed and complex protagonist, The Bone Collector will leave you wanting more, and luckily there are fourteen books and a film adaptation featuring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie to enjoy!

The Firemaker – Peter May

The Firemaker is the first book in Peter May’s dynamic series about Li Yan, a Chinese detective, and Margaret Campbell, an American pathologist set in Beijing. We first meet Margaret Campbell when she’s been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. Thrown together to track down a killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

Well researched, filled with tension and set against a fascinating cultural backdrop, fans of forensic crime will thoroughly enjoy Peter May’s series.

Blindsighted – Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter’s six book series of thrillers starts with a bang when the sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic after Sara Linton, paediatrician and medical examiner, finds Sibyl Adams dead in the local diner. But it’s only once Sara starts to perform the post-mortem that the full extent of the killer’s brutality becomes clear. Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, Sara’s ex-husband, is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found crucified, only a few days later, both Jeffrey and Sara have to face the fact that Sibyl’s murder wasn’t a one-off attack. What they’re dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator and a violent serial killer.

A gritty, engrossing and suspenseful mystery, Blindsighted will have you hooked with its perfect pacing, well-timed twists and in-depth characterisations.

The Coroner’s Lunch – Colin Cotterill

Set in the mid 70’s Colin Cotterill’s series of twelve books follows the cases of Dr. Siri Paiboun a 72-year-old medical doctor and in the first book, The Coroner’s Lunch, he has been unwillingly appointed the national coroner of newly-socialist Laos. When the body of the wife of a prominent politician comes through his morgue, Siri has reason to suspect the woman has been murdered. To get to the truth, Siri and his team face government secrets, spying neighbors, victim hauntings, Hmong shamans, botched romances, and other deadly dangers. Somehow, Siri must figure out a way to balance the will of the party and the will of the dead.

A character-driven mystery set against a fascinating cultural and historical backdrop, you’ll soon fall in love with Dr. Siri Paiboun amusing witticisms and cynical outlook.