A. J. Cross’ Summer Crime Recommendations

Art of Deception author A. J. Cross gives her recommendations for the summer’s best crime thrillers.


Around this time of year I’m usually feeling in need of a holiday, although what’s at the top of my holiday reading list might not sound like much of a break for a crime author.

I usually pack a classic, so Patricia Cornwell’s Postmortem will be holidaying with me. It was her first Scarpetta and, in my view, is right up there with her later books for atmosphere and tension. Why take a book I’ve already read when I know the outcome? Well, as a serial rereader (surely not the only one?), I invariably find within the pages of well-written crime novels some tiny twist or cue I previously missed, which still gives me one of those ‘Aha!’ moments.

One of my favourite authors is Ian Rankin.  Having loved Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and only now getting my eager hands on Saints of the Shadow Bible because of a hectic year, I’m already drawn into the plot and the tension between Rebus and Malcolm Fox. There’s a definite risk I’ll have finished it before the holiday even starts!


I particularly enjoy crime fiction that has a strong female protagonist at its centre, and on that basis I’m also taking Harlan Coben’s Missing You.

To balance any tendency to ‘stick with what I know’ in terms of authors, I’m also taking Broken Dolls by James Carol, which I’ve chosen because it has a fantastically clever protagonist. No doubt a legacy of my childhood fascination with Sherlock Holmes!

My final pick is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes because of its race-against-the-clock tension, and also because, in addition to my being an America-phile, the idea of a protagonist being guided by a definitive book on forensic criminal investigation is beguiling. Such a book would be on my own wish-list.

So there they are, ready to go – thank goodness for eReaders!

Art of Deception is published by Orion and is available in paperback and ebook.