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LGBTQIA+ Crime & Thriller Recommendations

By Emily Myhill, Carly Bennett, Rhys Wright and Becca Binnie


Fancy intricate, engaging works of fiction that keep you on your toes and guessing? Then crime and thriller fiction is for you! We’ve chosen some of our favourites from the genre to inspire a more inclusive crime and thriller bookshelf.


The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe


Nora is the daughter of a con artist, so has plenty of experience being someone else. Five years have passed since the last time she was part of her mother’s schemes, but with two of her friends, she finds herself stuck in a hostage situation at the bank. Suddenly, her skills are put to good use…


Told over a few very tense days with multiple timelines, Sharpe drip feeds information perfectly, giving just enough to leave you craving more. Truly, I dare you to put this down once you’ve begun reading!


This gripping, twisty young adult psychological thriller with a morally grey bisexual protagonist is the perfect next read for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson. An intense, captivating story that deals with a range of topics: childhood abuse, violence, sexuality and reproductive health. Soon to be adapted into a Netflix film starring Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, this is an unmissable thriller for 2023!


Scorched Grace by Margot Douaihy


The first instalment in a new mystery series from Gillian Flynn’s crime/thriller imprint, Scorched Grace introduces readers to Sister Holiday, a “chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, queer nun” who is forced to put her detective skills to the test after Saint Sebastian’s School falls prey to a violent attack.


Sister Holiday’s order, the Sisters of the Sublime Blood, are drawn into the mystery and, unhappy with the lack of action taken by the police, crime fans’ new favourite nun decides to take matters into her own hands.


Crime isn’t a genre brimming over with LGBTQIA+ representation so Scorched Grace and Sister Holiday’s unabashed queerness is a breath of fresh air. For readers who like their thrillers a little left-field and can’t help but root for the underdog, this might just be your new favourite series.


The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith


A crime novel from the perspective of the villain is a difficult feat to pull off, but Patricia Highsmith – author of The Price of Salt, later republished as Carol – mastered it with the first of her Ripley novels. Published in 1955 (and written in under six months), the novel follows Tom Ripley, who in Highsmith’s words is “suave, agreeable and utterly amoral” as he travels to Italy and becomes consumed by an obsession with rich playboy Dickie Greenleaf.


While Highsmith is ambivalent about Tom’s sexual orientation, his dangerous attraction to Dickie extends to his belongings, his lifestyle, his appearance, his voice and just about everything that constitutes Dickie’s identity.


Ripley is a character you can’t help but be enthralled by as you watch him lie compulsively and act heinously in what seems to be nothing but a high-stakes game to him. Tom Ripley wants nothing more than to be someone other than Tom Ripley and will commit any crime at all to become someone else. For anyone looking for a complex and captivating character for whom identity is everything, this cornerstone of the crime genre is for you.


Burn it All Down by Nicolas DiDomizio


Published in 2021 by Little Brown and Company, this debut thriller by Nicolas DiDomizio is a fast-paced work of fiction that deserves a place on the shelf.


When Joey Rossi, eighteen-year-old aspiring comedian, discovers his boyfriend has been cheating on him, he seeks support from his best friend Gia… who also happens to be his mum.


As it happens, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as Joey’s attraction to no-good jerks is something he inherited from his fiery Italian-American mother. Gia’s “non” relationship breaks down the next day and the pair are left in their New Jersey apartment blazing and seeking revenge.


Reckless and inadvertently criminal behaviour forces them to flee and run into perhaps the only decent guy they’ve ever known. Hiding from the law, Joey and Gia must acknowledge bad habits and take accountability for their mistakes.


This fast-paced and funny thriller confronts self-destructive behaviour in a refreshing way and deals with the mother-son relationship in an intricate manner. Joey’s character development sees him start thinking independently and the novel cleverly explores how toxic masculinity impacts gay men and straight women. Overall, this book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions you won’t get tired of!


These are just a few of the amazing LGBTQIA+ inclusive crime and thriller fiction works on offer. Some honourable mentions include Firewatching by Russ Thomas, They Never Learn by Layne Fargo and We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth. We hope you check some out!

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