30 Books for Unusual Deaths! (Part Two)

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!

 

Eileen Wharton – Blanket of Blood

This story sounds wonderfully gruesome, and with a murderer nicknamed The Crochet Hook Killer you just know you’re in for a great read! Very highly rated on Amazon too.

The body of a baby is found in the woods. But all is not as it seems…

A twisted serial killer is targeting young, pregnant girls.

Senior Investigating Officer, D.I. Gary Blood, must use all his powers of deduction to bring to justice the most sadistic murderer his force has ever seen. A killer unlike any he has hunted before. But Blood has problems of his own. Can he stop his private life interfering with the case?

To find the killer Blood needs to understand the motive. But this is a place full of secrets, where dark pasts lie buried.

Will Blood catch The Crochet Hook killer before it’s too late?

The truth is closer than you think.

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

Mo Hayder – Birdman

I think Mo’s story synopses are just fantastic! The summary below has me desperate to learn exactly what the serial killer’s signature is! I have been highly recommended the first three Jack Caffery stories, and as the first in series, Birdman is perfect to add to your to-be-read pile.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery – young, driven, unshockable – is called to one of the most gruesome crime scenes he has ever seen. Five young women have been ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. Subsequent post-mortems reveal a singular, horrific signature linking the victims.

Soon Caffery realises that he is on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a serial killer. Beset by animosity within the police force, haunted by the memory of a very personal death long ago, Caffery employs every weapon forensic science can offer to hunt him down.

Because he knows that it is only a matter of time before this sadistic killer strikes again …

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

Arne Dahl – Watching You

Time for a hit of scandi-noir with Dahl’s twisty Watching You. The killer’s MO sounds unusual enough but reviews of readers having been blindsided by the twist has me very intrigued!

SOMEONE IS WATCHING…

At each abandoned crime scene there’s a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, someone who knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail.

SOMEONE KNOWS…

When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial killer. As the police continue the hunt to find the latest victim, Sam is forced to unearth long-buried personal demons. He has no choice if he is to understand the killer’s darkly personal message before time runs out.

SOMEONE IS KILLING JUST FOR HIM…

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

Iain Banks – The Wasp Factory

Probably the oldest book in the list but I am assured it’s a goodie. Reviews tell me this can get quite disturbing at points so you have been warned!

‘Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.’

Enter – if you can bear it – the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

James Hazel –  The MayFly

It’s hard to tell from the synopsis and reader reviews whether it is the deaths themselves that are unusual in this story, or the plot and character. Either way it seems an intriguing read, and I’m drawn in by the Dan Brown-esque secret society focus.

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for.

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

Lucy Atkins – The Night Visitor

This story has brought to mind for some reviewers Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal, and many have commented on the creepiness and gothic nature of the book. May contain beetles. I’m already itching.

You have the perfect life . . . How far would you go to protect it?

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

Richard Davis – False Prophet

This story sounds more action-focused than the stories I usually read, but I saw one review which described it as a book version of the hit US tv show Criminal Minds (one of my faves) so now I’m very intrigued!

When a rogue cult turns deadly, the authorities call on former conman, Agent Saul Marshall. Drawn into a cat and mouse chase with the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler, news arrives that he has taken Marshall’s son hostage. Removed from the line of duty, Marshall must work alone, off-grid.

As the attacks intensify, Saul will stop at nothing to defeat Drexler. But people are questioning Saul’s own part in the carnage. He must work fast to save both his country and his son.

As wave after wave of attacks break, the clock is ticking…

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

C. P. Wilson – Ice Cold Alice

I love the sound of this story: a female killer, a unique weapon and a social media focus. It also follows a structure of alternating POV chapters, so all around a little different from the usual crime fiction fare.

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

N. M. Brown – The Girl on the Bus

I know what you’re thinking, yet another book with ‘the girl’ in the title… yawn. Don’t be put off by this one. Reviews described a fast-paced story with a creepy ending.

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.

Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her old friend, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up.

Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter.

Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.

The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods they track down the answers across the dusty freeways of North America.  Soon Vicki and Leighton will find themselves in grave danger.

Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?

And can they both escape with their lives?

Buy it on Kindle here.

 

 

… Look out for part three coming soon!

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