CEO Reads: The Best Thriller Books for 2022 - so far

Jane Cowell

13 April, 2022

According to book publishers, Australians have re-discovered a love of reading during the pandemic. But, if you have not found your reading groove yet, then these great thrillers are just the literary escape you might need. Whether you love pulse-pounding murder mysteries, locked-room thrillers, police procedurals or gripping domestic dramas, you’re sure to find something that suits your interest on this list of new thrillers just hitting our shelves.

While it’s still early in 2022, it is never too early to add these page-turners to your bedside tables and 'To Be Read' lists. From award-winning debut Australian authors to some guaranteed bestsellers, it is time to get out your library card and put your reservations on as you do not want to miss out on these top reads this year!

The Best Thriller Books for 2022 - so far

Brunswick Street Blues by Sally Bothroyd, 2022
Winner of the inaugural ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize, the twists keep piling up in this fun and distinctively Australian debut mystery. Perfect for readers of The Thursday Murder Club and Janet Evanovich.

Brick Brown has problems: she hates her day job, and her beloved Uncle Baz has gone missing. Although a bartender by trade, Brick Brown has finagled herself a job on the city council to investigate a complaint that threatens to close her uncle's well-loved blues club in the heart of Melbourne. Brick suspects something strange is going on, but when her amateur sleuthing uncovers the mayor's dead body in a locked room, she's dragged into the dangerous world of dodgy developers with the reluctant help of Mitch Mitchell, a prickly war correspondent turned investigative journalist. Relying on her street smarts and an unlikely band of allies, Brick and Mitchell unearth corruption that runs deeper than just local government, and the stakes are higher than they banked on. And when Brick also discovers some terrifying information about her past, the stakes turn deadly. Available in print and eBook. This is on my TBR list and I hope it goes on yours, too!

Those Who Perish by Emma Viskic, 2022
This is the fourth book in the award-winning Caleb Zelic series, with each successive offering better than the last. And that’s saying something. Already, Viskic has won five Davitt Awards and a Ned Kelly Award for Resurrection Bay, which was also shortlisted for the prestigious UK Gold Dagger Award. While each book can be read as a standalone, her growing readership confirms the fact that one book isn’t enough. Emma Viskic is absolutely one of this country’s best crime writers, and by reading one, it’s guaranteed that you’ll read the whole series.

Deaf PI Caleb Zelic has always been an outsider, estranged from family and friends. But when he receives a message that his brother, Anton, is in danger, Caleb sees it as a chance at redemption. He tracks Anton down to a small, wind-punished island, where secrets run deep and resentments deeper. When a sniper starts terrorising the isolated community, the brothers must rely on each other like never before. But trust comes at a deadly price.

Cannot wait to get my hands on this one.

The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie, 2022
Dinuka McKenzie is an Australian writer and book addict. This is her debut crime fiction novel which won the HarperCollins Australia 2020 Banjo Prize. When not writing, Dinuka works in the environmental sector and volunteers as part of the team behind the Writers Unleashed Festival. She lives in Sydney with her husband, two kids and their pet chicken.

Set in northern New South Wales, we meet heavily pregnant Detective Sergeant Kate Miles, counting down the final days before her maternity leave. A violent hold-up at a local fast-food restaurant is an unsettling case when it links to her past. But then a review of the closed case of a man who drowned in the recent summer floods and closed as an accidental death by the coroner comes across her desk and it quickly becomes complicated. The secrets and the betrayals pile up but Kate does not want to give up until the truth is found.

I've just finished this one and can totally recommend it as one to get you back on the reading wagon.

When we Fall by Aoife Clifford, 2022
According to Fiona Hardy, author of the Crime Column for the Readings bookshop, Aoife Clifford has always been an excellent storyteller. “Her characters, even the villains, are nuanced; her sense of place is so vivid you’ll feel the seawater in your shoes and the unnerving rustle of forest leaves in your indoor plants”. So you know her latest will grab you until the nail-biting end.

Her latest is set in the wild, coastal town of Merritt. Alex Tillerson, going through her own painful divorce and conflicted about being back in her hometown, and her mother make a shocking find on the beach. The police claim it’s an accidental death but there are whispers of murder and that it is not the first. Bella Greggs was found dead at the bottom of a ravine but drowned in salt water. Maxine McFarlane was pulled from the ocean but with no water in her lungs. Black feathers were found with both bodies but what do they mean? Alex is compelled to investigate and find out what truly happened and could the answers be connected to her own family’s past?

This has made the top 10 selling book list for Readings so is one that is a guaranteed good read and will no doubt keep you up until the end, and my TBR list just got even longer!

The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly, 2022
A new voice in Australian crime writing, Cuskelly sets her thriller against the backdrop of Quala, a North Queensland sugar town, set in the 1970s. Again, another Top 10 selling book for Readings Bookstore so guaranteed to unsettle and keep you reading.

Barbara McClymont walks the cane fields searching for Janet, her sixteen-year-old daughter, who has been missing for weeks. The police have no leads. The people of Quala are divided by dread and distrust. But the sugar crush is underway and the cane must be burned. Racism, sexism and fear simmers through Quala as we see the township struggling with finding the truth. What is hiding in the sugar cane? What is simmering in the town? And what has happened to Janet?

Another thriller to keep your lamp burning until you reach the very end. Available in print, eBook and audiobook.

The Mother by Jane Caro, 2022
This is a vivid and gripping tale of a young family in danger and the mother who will do anything to save them. Recently widowed, Miriam Duffy is a respectable North Shore real estate agent and devoted mother and grandmother. She was thrilled when her younger daughter Ally married her true love, but as time goes by Miriam wonders whether all is well with Ally, as she moves to the country and gradually withdraws, finding excuses every time Miriam offers to visit.
When the truth of her daughter's situation is revealed, Miriam watches in disbelief as Ally and her children find themselves increasingly vulnerable and cut off from the world. A timely discussion of domestic terror and unthinkable decisions. What would you do to protect your daughter and grandchildren? Available in print and eBook.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley, 2022
Welcome to No.12 Rue des Amants: a quirky and increasingly sinister old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine. Jess, a Londoner escaping her less-than-ideal job, arrives in Paris to stay with her brother, Ben, only to find him missing.

This is a thriller with short chapters narrated by characters full of secrets that draws the reader in. From the very start, every character has something to hide. Foley spends much of the first half of her novel unwinding the threads connecting each character to Ben and their potential motives for his disappearance. Delving into subplots of roommate drama, affairs, and extortion, Foley takes occasional detours from Ben’s disappearance. The reader needs this context for the second half of the novel that builds the tension that makes the ending oh-so-satisfying according to one reviewer! For those who want full character development with your mystery, this is for you.

Give Unto Others by Donna Leon, 2022
Donna Leon’s mysteries are always a sure thing. Commissario Guido Brunetti is again willing to bend police rules for an acquaintance, even though Elisabetta Foscarini, the woman who asks the favour, is not really a friend. But her mother was good to Brunetti’s, so he feels he has no choice but to repay the debt and agrees to look into the matter ‘privately’, rather than as a police official. Her son-in-law has alarmed his wife by telling her they might be in danger because of something he’s involved with. Because Enrico Fenzo is an accountant, Brunetti suspects that the likely reason must be the finances of one of his clients. Brunetti takes a look and finds little: one client is an optician, another Fenzo`s father-in-law, whom he helped establish a charity, and another the owner of a restaurant. He is about to tell his friend that he can find no reason for preoccupation when her daughter’s place of work is vandalised, forcing Brunetti to turn his attention - still ‘private’ - to Elisabetta’s own family. What he discovers shows the Janus-faced nature of yet another Italian institution as well as the wobbly line that attempts to differentiate between the criminal and the non-criminal.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James, 2022
Readers will want to turn the lights up as they enjoy this chilling cold case with ghosts and family secrets. A young crime blogger investigates a serial killer in The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James. Guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck this is the one for you if you enjoy being scared with a little paranormal in your mysteries.

Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true-crime website, the Book of Cold Cases: a passion fuelled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. Beth Greer was acquitted of serial murder in 1977 when she was 23, and agrees to be interviewed by Shea for her website. They meet regularly at Beth's mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she's not looking, and she could swear she's seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn't right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house? Do you dare to open this one?

Even the Darkest Night: A Terra Alta Investigation by Javier Cercas (Translated by Anne McLean), 2022
I have added the Winner of Spain’s biggest literary prize – the Premio Planeta as diversity is essential in all our reading lives. Melchor is a young cop from the big city, hero of a foiled terrorist attack and he has been sent to Terra Alter till things quieten down. He is observant and streetwise but also an outsider. His investigation into the horrific double murder of a rich printer and his wife where nothing quite adds up. This is a contemporary police procedural with a literary edge and a flawed but compassionate lead character in Melchor Marin, a man whose path to becoming a policeman included working for the Columbian drug cartel.

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