Following on from yesterday’s post about my Top 5 fave crime fiction picks with male leads, here’s mine with FEMALE leads. Enjoy!
1) The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly. A single mother is offered a way out of debt by a handsome and well off older man in this story, but it’s DS Joanne Aspinall who really grabs my attention in this story and why it’s in my Top 20. Present in all Daly’s novels, Joanne really comes into her own in this story. She’s not your ‘typical’ policewoman, by a long shot. Plus she’s FUNNY, so underrated in crime fiction.
2) A Devil Under The Skin by Anya Lipska. Book 3 in the Kiszka and Kershaw novels. When Janusz Kiszka’s girlfriend Kasia disappears, he must rely on the help of maverick cop Natalie Kershaw to find her. This is in my Top 20 not only because I love Lipska’s writing style, but because it feels especially relevant to me. I live in an area with a lot of Polish people and it was great to see this represented so authentically.
3) Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall. Book 3 in the Cate Austin series, who is a probation officer. Looking at the fallout – before and after – a child kills another on The Humber Bridge, this novel asks if children are capable of premeditated murder. This is in my Top 20 because it’s not only so topical, but it wisely asks questions about society’s culpability in such a dreadful act. Philosophical and clever.
4) Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary. Book 1 in the DI Marnie Rome series. When DI Rome is called in to investigate the killing of a man at a women’s refuge, she and partner DS Noah Jakes are plunged into a nightmarish world of differing versions of what really happened and why. This in my Top 20 because the set up absolutely enthralled me, plus I love the backstory between Marnie and foster brother Stephen. As a script editor I see tragic backstories all the time for female leads but Hilary is totally ON POINT with this one.
5) Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton. This is Book 1 in The Amy Lane Mysteries, a series about an agoraphobic, genius computer hacker and her trusty assistant and ex-con Jason, who’s ‘out in the field’. What I love about this series is how authentic the depictions of mental health issues are – not surprising, considering Rosie herself is a junior psychiatrist. More than this though is the relationship between Amy and Jason – from two different worlds, deep down they share the same desire to be SEEN by others.