30 Books for Unusual Deaths! (Part One)

Trends in crime fiction come and go, the most recent being the behemoth that is the psychological thriller. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

But what if you’re after something a little different to the usual bludgeon, stab or strangle?

After asking around, I’ve compiled a list of over 30 stories that involve unusual methods of killing off characters. These are a mixture of recommendations from friends, my own reading experiences, and the Facebook group Crime Book Club!


Chris Carter – The Crucifix Killer & One By One

Chris is well known in the crime fiction world as being a master of creating strange and unusual deaths for his characters, and I have been recommended any in his series! Best to start off with his first book The Crucifix Killer, though lots of people specifically mentioned the fifth book in series One by One.

Just a quick *warning* – these books can get a little gory.

The Crucifix Killer

When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in Los Angeles, Robert Hunter is thrown into a nightmare case. The victim suffered a terrible death, and on the nape of her neck has been carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.

But that’s impossible. Because two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed. Could this, therefore, be a copycat killer? Or could the unthinkable be true? Is the real killer still out there, ready to embark once again on a vicious and violent killing spree, selecting his victims seemingly at random, taunting Robert Hunter with his inability to catch him?

Buy it on Kindle here.


One By One

Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD’s Homicide Special Section receives an anonymous call asking him to go to a specific web address – a private broadcast. Hunter logs on and a horrific show devised for his eyes only immediately begins.

The LAPD, together with the FBI, use everything at their disposal to electronically trace the transmission down, but this killer is no amateur, and he has covered his tracks from start to finish. And before Hunter and his partner Garcia are even able to get their investigation going, Hunter receives a new phone call. A new website address. A new victim. But this time the killer has upgraded his game so that anyone can take part…

Buy it on Kindle here.


Malcolm Hollingdrake – Only the Dead

As with Chris Carter, I am reliably informed that any one of Malcolm’s great stories promises to include an unusual element to the death. Having recently read his first-in-series Only the Dead, I can personally recommend the adventures of DCI Cyril Bennett.

Meet DCI Cyril Bennett, a man with a passion for manners and efficiency, as well as an eye for the ladies. His partner, DS David Owen, is naïve and untidy but keen. Together they make a formidable pair.

When the discovery of two infants’ bodies is made at a Teacher Training College, Bennett and Owen are given the case. Soon a number of suspects are identified. At the same time, a killer is on the loose staging attacks using sulphur mustard. Is there a link between the infants’ bodies and the sulphur mustard attacks? Do the answers lie in the past or the present? Bennett and Owen must work together to bring to justice a killer with revenge on his mind.

Buy it on Kindle here.


P J Tracy – Want to Play? (aka Monkeewrench Book 1)

I’m including mother-daughter duo P J Tracy here as one of my very favourite authors. The whole Monkeewrench series is great because it follows a colourful band of software developers, who use their skills to help the Minneapolis police solve crimes. All of P J Tracy’s stories are a little different from the norm and well worth trying out.

People are dying for the new computer game by the software company Monkeewrench. Literally. With ‘Serial Killer Detective’ out in limited release, the real-life murders of a jogger and a young woman have already mimicked the first two scenarios in the game. But Grace McBride and her eccentric Monkeewrench partners are caught in a vice. If they tell the Minneapolis police of the link between their game and the murders, they’ll shine a spotlight on the past they thought they had erased-and the horror they thought they’d left behind. If they don’t, eighteen more people will die…

Buy it on Kindle here.


Richard Parker – Follow You

I hadn’t heard of this author before, but immediately upon reading the below blurb and some of the Amazon reviews, I downloaded it to my Kindle. The premise of this is right up my street!

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman, is the next victim and Hazel knows she has to find out what happened to her. Is it one killer or more? Random acts of violence, or part of a bigger, twisted plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove – and she also has a film crew. She’ll make a documentary, catch the killer, and give Meredith justice. Her stage is the abandoned amusement park where Meredith was found. Her cast are the family and friends the killer left behind. And her crew? They keep disappearing, one by one…

Buy it on Kindle here.


James Carol/J.S. Carol – The Killing Game

An intriguing story written in the style of shows like 24, where events unfold in real time. James has written this stand alone away from his usual Jefferson Winter stories, and the Amazon reviews tell me this won’t disappoint!

You have four hours to save your life. What would you do?

It was supposed to be just a routine lunch meeting for JJ Johnson. Meeting clients and swapping gossip. Until an armed gunman walks in, forcing her into a fight for her life. But this is no random attack – the twisted individual knows everything about each of the wealthy diners. And soon, it becomes clear that he wants something more than money. The terrifying stranger wants to play a game – but can JJ find a way to save the lives of those left around her? If she can’t, how far will she go to save herself?

Buy it on Kindle here.


Christopher Brookmyre – A Snowball in Hell & Be My Enemy

Though these two books, in particular, were recommended, a quick nose through the blurb for any of his books tells you that Christopher has a wonderfully dark and creative mind. Just bear in mind that these two come mid-way through their series: A Snowball in Hell is the third in the Angelique de Xavier series and Be My Enemy is number four in the Jack Parlabane books.

A Snowball in Hell

If society has the B-list celebrities it deserves, it now has a killer to match. Except that Simon Darcourt is a great deal more successful in his career choice than the average talent show contestant. He’s also got the media taped – by the simple expedient of by-passing them completely and posting real-time coverage of his killings on the internet. He’s got viewing figures to make the world’s TV executives gasp in envy, and he’s pulling the voyeuristic strings of every viewer by getting them to ‘vote’ to keep his captives alive.

Angelique De Xavier, his previous nemesis, is drafted onto the police team trying to bring this one-man celebrity hate-fest to an end. But she can’t do it alone, she needs the magical skills of her lover, only she doesn’t know where Zal is and meanwhile a whole load of celebs are, literally, dying to be famous.

Buy it on Kindle here.


Be My Enemy

It was a junket, a freebie. A ‘team-building’ weekend in the highlands for lawyers, advertising execs, businessmen, even the head of a charity. Oh, and a journalist, specially solicited for his renowned and voluble scepticism – Jack Parlabane. Amid the flying paintballs and flowing Shiraz even the most cynical admit the organisers have pulled some surprises – stalkers in the forest, power cuts in the night, mass mobile phone thefts, disappearing staff, disappearing guests: there’s nothing can bring out people’s hidden strengths or break down inter-personal barriers quite like not having a clue what’s going on and being scared out of your wits. However, when the only vehicular access for thirty miles is cut off it seems that events are being orchestrated not just for pleasure … And that’s before they find the first body. Thereafter, ‘finding out who your colleagues really are’ is not so much an end product as the key to reaching Monday morning alive.

Buy it on Kindle here.


Daniel Cole – Ragdoll

A great premise for a story, finding a body made up of lots of different victims… gruesome! Daniel’s debut gets great reviews and has been recommended time and again.

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Buy it on Kindle here.


Karen Rose – Die for Me

Karen has written a TON of crime novels, all of which have fantastic ratings on Amazon. This book, in particular, was recommended, and as a first-in-series, would be a great way to try out a new author if you haven’t read Karen’s books before.

A multimedia designer is hard at work. His latest computer game, Inquisitor, heralds a new era in state-of-the-art graphics. But there’s only one way to ensure that the death scenes are realistic enough…

In an isolated field in Philapelphia, Detective Ciccotelli’s day begins with one grave, one body and no murder weapon. It ends with sixteen graves, but only nine bodies and the realisation that the killer is going to strike again.

When it’s discovered that the murder weapons are similar to those used in medieval torture, Ciccotelli, knowing he’s going up against the most dangerous opponent of his career, enlists the help of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to find the killer.

Let the games begin…

Buy it on Kindle here.


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