Eight Thrilling and Addictive Series Readers Love

Posted by Cybil on October 31, 2019


If you’re a fan of mystery, thriller, and suspense series and are searching for reading ideas then look no further.

We’ve sorted through scores of titles to bring you a sampling of the crime world heroes and heroines that readers on Goodreads can’t get enough of, whether it’s a hardened Marine battling to defend America or the forensics experts hoping a murder victim’s gruesome remains will lead them to the killer.

Here are eight series guaranteed to keep you gripped.


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British author Child has so far produced 24 books (plus numerous additional works) in his hit crime series about Reacher, an ex-military cop who drifts around the U.S. encountering complex and perilous injustices that he must crack or work his way out of. In book one, Killing Floor, Reacher is arrested for murder while passing through Georgia. In subsequent installments he is kidnapped, pursued by a psychopath, suspected of sexual assault, and on the trail of smugglers and assassins.


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Ryan is a former stockbroker and U.S. Marine who becomes a CIA analyst and eventually U.S. president. During the series he battles terrorism, espionage, and assassination attempts, including anti-U.S. plots by the likes of the Soviet Union and Colombian drug lords. There are 12 books in this series, plus many others in the larger Jack Ryan universe. Best known include the first book to be published, The Hunt for Red October, which was released in 1984 but is actually number three in the Jack Ryan series, and Patriot Games (1987), number one in the series.


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Forensic science takes center stage in this series about Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Virginia’s chief medical examiner and one of the nation’s leading forensic pathologists. Scarpetta’s job entails high-tech scrutiny of the grisly aftermath of serial killers, violent psychopaths, snipers, and murderers as she searches for evidence and justice. Cornwell, a former crime reporter and analyst at a chief medical examiner’s office, introduced Scarpetta in 1990’s Postmortem, the first mystery in the 24-book series and considered something of a trailblazer in the then emerging genre of medical thrillers.


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Author and former physician Tess Gerritsen draws on her medical expertise for these crime thrillers centered on Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective with the Boston Police Department, and Maura Isles, a medical examiner. The pair investigate all manner of gruesome crimes in the 12-book series, facing all from the horrific surgical-style murders of a serial killer to the grotesquely staged killing of a horror film producer, who is arranged dead on her bed, her eyeballs in her hand.



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This 19-book series kicks off with Relic, the 1995 debut collaboration between Preston and Child. At the New York Museum of Natural History visitors are being savagely killed and a murderous beast is suspected. FBI special agent Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast investigates with his trademark eccentricity and skill. Although not the central character until the third book, Pendergast soon became a fan favorite thanks to his aloof nature and intriguing traits such as a PhD in classics, a 1959 silver Rolls Royce, and his appearance—tall, pale, and always wearing black.


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Set in mid-21st century New York, this futuristic 50-book series (book 50 comes out in February) centers on police lieutenant and homicide detective Eve Dallas, the vast array of grim and imaginative murders she tackles, and her relationship with her husband Roarke. The series is actually written by Nora Roberts, known for her more than 200 romance novels, under a pseudonym. Dallas first encounters Roarke in book one Naked in Death, which was published in 1995, where he is the chief suspect in the killing of a senator’s daughter.



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Along Came A Spider is the title of the first book in this popular 27-book mystery series focused on homicide investigator and forensic psychologist Dr. Alex Cross. The series follows Cross as he investigates murders, kidnappings, and other crimes in Washington D.C. as well as threats against himself and his family—his is a widower and father and one of the recurring themes in the first books is the unsolved murder of his wife, Maria.


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Canadian author and former journalist Penny sets her mystery series in the picturesque Quebec village of Three Pines where, in book one Still Life, the community wakes to find a local woman lying dead in the woods. Veteran investigator Chief Inspector Armand Gamache digs beneath the village’s idyllic surface to find the dark secrets and threats that haunt it throughout this 15-book character-driven series.



What's your favorite serial thriller? Let's talk books in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-50 of 92 (92 new)


message 1: by Nina (new)

Nina I prefer Temperance Brennan over Kay Scarpetta, to be honest. Also, the Lincoln Rhyme series is one of the best!


The Masked Reader There are so many good series here!


message 3: by Jitendriya (new)

Jitendriya Meher I would like to start these series


message 4: by Jitendriya (new)

Jitendriya Meher Javelyn recommends some series


message 5: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta "Relic" sounds absolutely absurd, I shall add it to my TBR immediately.


message 6: by M. (last edited Oct 31, 2019 02:00AM) (new)

M. Dublin Murders series by Tana French.
Smoky Barrett series by Cody McFadyen.


message 7: by Cory (new)

Cory The Joe Gunther series has somewhere around 25 novels...great series by Archer Mayor about a police officer in Brattleboro, Vermont....definitely check it out.


message 8: by Cory (new)

Cory Cendaquenta wrote: ""Relic" sounds absolutely absurd, I shall add it to my TBR immediately."

It's great, as is most of the Pendergast novels... highly recommended.


message 9: by Carnelian (new)

Carnelian How is Karin Slaughter not on this list


message 10: by Paula (new)

Paula M. Don't forget CJ Box and his Joe Pickett series


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Nolan I love the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons.. Like Carmelian I'm surprised that Karin Slaughter's Will Trent series is not on this list as it's a great series.


message 12: by Anita (new)

Anita What, no Repairman Jack here? Also, The Iron Druid Chronicles are very good.


message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Nina wrote: "I prefer Temperance Brennan over Kay Scarpetta, to be honest. Also, the Lincoln Rhyme series is one of the best!"

Agreed! Where is Temperance Brennan?


message 14: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Mora-Summonte Jennifer wrote: "I love the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons.. Like Carmelian I'm surprised that Karin Slaughter's Will Trent series is not on this list as it's a great series."

I totally agree about the DI Kim Stone series. It's one of my favorites!


message 15: by Louis (new)

Louis imho, the Leaphorn and Chee series from Tony Hillerman is one to add to this list.


message 16: by Christine (new)

Christine Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
Smoky Barrett series by Cody McFadyen
Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons


message 17: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Chris Carters' Robert Hunter series is the top of my favourite pile,followed by Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series,agreed that Angela Marsons Kim Stone is very good despite the constant use of Americanisms.Also Mark Billingham,Peter Robinson,David Mark and Luke Delaney are all worth a mention


message 18: by John (new)

John Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly
Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson


message 19: by Miki (last edited Oct 31, 2019 09:30AM) (new)

Miki Duncan Kinkaid and Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie
Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Inspector Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd
Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharpe


message 20: by WendyB (last edited Oct 31, 2019 09:52AM) (new)

WendyB The Charlie Parker series from John Connolly is the best series ever.
It really should have made this list.


message 21: by Andrew (last edited Oct 31, 2019 12:00PM) (new)

Andrew Tucker I love Jack Reacher (currently reading book 24!) and these are some of my other favorite series that I keep up with:

Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman
JP Beaumont series by JA Jance
John Milton series by Mark Dawson
Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn
Will Robie series by David Baldacci
Jude Fontaine series by Anne Frasier
Cal Rogan series by Robert French


message 22: by Frédéric (last edited Oct 31, 2019 11:41AM) (new)

Frédéric MANSON Brother Cadfael series by Peters Ellis
Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles series by Susanna Gregory

Yes, I love medieval thrillers!!


message 23: by Janice (new)

Janice Harry Bosch series by author Michael Connelly
Dublin Murder series by author Tana French
Maisie Dobbs by author Jacqueline Winspear
Harry Hole series by author Jo Nesbo
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache by author Louise Penny
Faroes Novels by author Chris Ould


message 24: by Jean (new)

Jean Love Louise Penny series. Have read them all and anxiously await the next. Armond is a great character in all the books.


message 25: by Kstansel (new)

Kstansel Luca Davenport series & Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford. Love the mystery with a sense of humor.


message 26: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Frédéric wrote: "Brother Cadfael series by Peters Ellis
Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles series by Susanna Gregory

Yes, I love medieval thrillers!!"


100%!! I LOVE Brother Cadfael!! Also the Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne and Isaac of Girona series by Caroline Roe.


message 27: by Shugga (new)

Shugga M. wrote: "Dublin Murders series by Tana French.
Smoky Barrett series by Cody McFadyen."


I too, enjoy Tana French!


message 28: by Shugga (new)

Shugga The Joe Pickett series, by CJ Box.


message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael Jean wrote: "Love Louise Penny series. Have read them all and anxiously await the next. Armond is a great character in all the books."

Hear, hear!

Any list such as this is subjective but leaving Sandford off of it is criminal!


message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael The Kay Scarpetta series as well as the Alex Cross series both started out great but it seems both authors lost their way. I have stricken them from my 'to read' list. There are far too many other find writers deserving of my time.

Jay Kristoff's Lotus War trilogy is magnificent as is Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. Any list that leaves of King's The Dark Tower series has to be called into question. I also don't see any of Rice's Vampire works.

Still, I have to acknowledge that whomever tries to create such a list is going to be vilified for leaving off some and including others.


message 31: by Kaye (new)

Kaye I agree! I read all of the Scarpetta books up to the last few, and I just lost interest. I loved them at first. Same with Alex Cross. I have hundreds of other books I want to read--and so little time!


message 32: by Joy (new)

Joy Tess Gerritsen is one of my favorite authors! <3 Gravity is one of my favorites (outside the Rizzoli & Isles Series). It's a bit on the icky side, so be forewarned, you of the not-strong-stomached!


message 33: by Alison (new)

Alison Finn John Connolly, absolutely brilliant series about detective Charlie Parker, I advise you to start at the beginning, 'every dead thing'


message 34: by Cássia (new)

Cássia Sousa I don't like Alex Cross's and I think Will Trent's should be in this list.


message 35: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Campbell D.I.Roy Grace set in Brighton very addictive the author Peter James has written 15 in the series they always have dead in the title and he knows what he's writing about


message 36: by Michael (new)

Michael Shirley wrote: "D.I.Roy Grace set in Brighton very addictive the author Peter James has written 15 in the series they always have dead in the title and he knows what he's writing about"

Excellent series.


message 37: by Zena (new)

Zena Bethune Kaye wrote: "I agree! I read all of the Scarpetta books up to the last few, and I just lost interest. I loved them at first. Same with Alex Cross. I have hundreds of other books I want to read--and so little time!"
I took the Alex Cross books off my list about halfway through the third one, got tired of the "women in jeopardy" themes and borderline torture porn. And Scarpetta just gets wackier, I'm still hanging in with them on audio book cuz I don't have to pay too much attention while working in the studio.

there are lots of great series:
- definitely John Connolly and the Charlie Parker series would be at the top of anyone's list
- Archer Mayor and his Joe Gunther series have been mentioned already -- excellent regional series
- Deborah Crombie (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James)
- Karin Slaughter and Tana French for sure
- Mark Greaney and the Gray Man series
- Nicci French (Frieda Klein series)
- Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae)
- Rachel Caine (The Library series)
- Gary Disher, Australian author, recommend both the Hal Challis and Wyatt series)
- Robert Crais (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike)
- Stephen Hunter (Bob Lee Swagger)
- SJ Rozan (Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series)
- Pierce Brown (Red Rising)
- David Housewright (both McKenzie and Holland Taylor series)
- Mick Herron (Slough House series as well as standalones)
- Lindsay Davis (Marcus Didius Falco and Flavia Albia)
- Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne)
- James S.A. Corey and The Expanse
- Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce)
- Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole)
- Jussi Adler-Olsen (Department Q series)
whew!! so many books, so little time


message 38: by James (new)

James Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series are a MasterClass in historical crime fiction.


message 39: by Ami (new)

Ami How about Harry Bosch?!?!


Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You General question for serials: How many books can an author do before a series gets stale? No judgement, just asking.
Honest replies, with explanations, are appreciated.
-Jim


message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series; Jefferson Bass Body Farm books; Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham; Lacey Flint by Sharon Bolton. No mystery list is complete unless you include the Cat Who series by the late Lillian Jackson Braun. PC and Kristen Cast with their House of Night plus other fantasy series. My god! How can we leave out Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple by, of course, Dame Agatha Christie? Derek Haas and his Silver Bear is a sad but excellent series. Alex McKnight by Steve Hamilton is a great every man hero. Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan and her partners are excellent. Grady Service, the woods cop in the UP by Joe Heywood. Carl Hiaasen has loosely connected books but still they count as a series about Florida, the environment and various, often hilarious characters. There are only two of Spencer Kope's Special Tracking Unit books so far but I have hopes there will be several more.

That's more than enough for now. Still, it's hardly comprehensive.


message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael Ami wrote: "How about Harry Bosch?!?!"

Jim, for some that's one book, for others, they can do many in a series with maybe one or two being less than the whole but the series overall may still be excellent including some that are written after the less than average for the series. In short, you can't apply that generally.


message 43: by Denise (new)

Denise I am hooked on Kay Scarpetta, but also Catherine Coulter’s FBI Series


message 44: by J (new)

J Jahir Madeline wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I love the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons.. Like Carmelian I'm surprised that Karin Slaughter's Will Trent series is not on this list as it's a great series."

I totally agr..."


I'm agree. I've read a first book of kim stone series and it was very amazing. I loved it!


message 45: by J (new)

J Jahir One of my favorite series is Franck sharko by frank thilliez. excellent, one of the best! I highly recommend it!


message 46: by Zena (new)

Zena Bethune Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You wrote: "General question for serials: How many books can an author do before a series gets stale? No judgement, just asking.
Honest replies, with explanations, are appreciated.
-Jim"


Jim, it really depends on the author and the series. After 30 years, I still eagerly look forward to a new Lucas Davenport from John Sandford; I think he's been very adept at moving the main character forward in time, giving him new experiences, and yet surrounding him with a familiar cast of characters. And Sandford was smart to introduce a new but related series with "that f***ing Flowers." But in that same 30 years, Patricia Cornwell has kinda run out of gas with Kay Scarpetta; actually those stopped being of much interest about 10 years ago.


message 47: by njeri (new)

njeri Love most of these.
In addition, Amos decker and Sherlock Holmes...


message 48: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Agreed with Amos Decker, Njeri, though I love almost all of the books by David Baldacci.
I went through the Jack Daniels (Lt. Jacqueline Daniels) series by J.A. Konrath in no time...and the titles are all drinks.
I know the Stephanie Plum Series isn't a thriller but it is thrilling!
Also agree with the Temperance Brennan vs. Kay Scarpetta.


message 49: by Alex (new)

Alex  Mathew Harry Bosch - Michael Connelly
John Wells - Alex Berenson
Bob Lee Swagger - Stephen Hunter


message 50: by Steve (new)

Steve Crane Sean Duffy - Adrian McKinty
Bob Lee Swagger - Stephen Hunter
Gaius Petreius Ruso - Ruth Downie
Dublin Murder Squad - Tana French


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