Crime Fiction Books – Free & Bargain Priced!

There’s something for everyone in the Crime Fiction genre. Whether you enjoy the cozy escapism of an English country village, puzzling over a locked room mystery, or the dirt and grime of a hard-boiled detective going about their work. And there’s plenty in between. It’s impossible for us to have a category for every sub-genre, so here at Bookzio we decided on 3 — our Cozy Mysteries category is home to everything ‘cozy’, it’s a safe space for those who like their mysteries clean and polite. Then there’s our Mysteries category, where you’ll find some ‘real life’ and the edge of your seat. Then there’s our Crime Fiction section: this is where you’ll find hard-boiled dirt and grime, police procedurals, and borderline of the all out thriller. Enjoy…

What will I find in a ‘Crime Fiction’ Book?

Whilst the term ‘Crime Fiction’ is often used to describe the entire mystery and detective genre, it’s more descriptive of the later, gritty, ‘hard-boiled’ creations in the US, rather than the more cerebral ponderings of the UK creations.

There’s a distinction between a traditional UK mystery novel and a US crime fiction book: in a mystery, the story begins with a baffling murder, or crime of some kind, and the story tracks the evidence towards a solution, and a culprit. Mystery novels are often criticized for having little or no character development — or simply 2 dimensional characters. By contrast, crime fiction is less focused on the puzzle, and more on the characters involved. It’s not out of place, in a crime fiction novel, to know who the criminals are from the outset. The purpose of the story is less about puzzling and more about society, morality and the psychology of criminals and crime fighters. Mystery stories are escapist, in that they avoid much of the ‘blood and guts’ of true crime, and focus simply upon the puzzling aspect — crime fiction is deep in the gutter of real life.

Leaving the cozies and the Miss Marples to the Cozy and Mystery sections, our Crime Fiction category has a very American leaning. U.S. writers redefined the British mystery genre, in the days of ‘pulp fiction’ and brought much needed realism to the topic at hand.

Popular U.S. crime magazines, such as ‘Black Mask Magazine’ were filled by professional writers who relied upon their pay cheques and would use all means necessary to hook a reader in and keep them coming back for more — tactics included the addition of forbidden sex with gangsters’ molls and femmes fatales, along with brave and often violent sleuths dealing their trade in the shady mean streets.

Authors such as Norbert Davis, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Raoul Whitfield and Erle Stanley Gardner all graduated through this ‘blood and guts’ school of writing; which changed forever the mystery novel, when this ‘hard-boiled’ style eventually cross-pollinated with its cozy British cousin.

Both forms matured as a result of the new ‘soup’ they’d become. In the US, Chandler and Hammett took off, alongside authors such as Ross MacDonald, Cornell Woolrich, and James Cain. In Britain, there were Nicholas Blake, Michael Innes, Julian Symons and Edmund Crispin.

With the 1950’s came the police procedural genre in the US, with Ed McBain followed by Joseph Wambaugh. And the psychological mystery began developing, with writers such as Patricia Highsmith, whose characters were deep and mysterious, themselves. But still the two streams, whilst learning from each other, continued to mine their own veins: in the UK writers such as PD James, HRF Keating, Peter Lovesey and Ruth Rendell continued the traditional route, while realists in the US such as Jim Thompson, John D. McDonald, David Goodis and James M. Cain added psychological depth to the hard-boiled genre.

And it continues to develop, as its popularity continues to increase — crime and mystery fiction is as popular than ever. it was.

Science Fiction Books - Dune by Frank Herbert

Classic Crime Fiction Novel Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Science Fiction Books - Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Another classic Crime Fiction Book American Tabloid by James Ellory

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Crime Fiction Seminar at the British Library

This may appear a little ‘dusty’ as it’s over 5 years old and a ‘British Library’ production but it’s a great discussion about Crime Fiction and its history — for those interested.

Hosted by Mark Lawson (a regular arts and culture journalist for the BBC), he discusses the Crime Fiction novel genre with crime fiction writers PD James, Henry Sutton and Jason Webster including the history of the genre, their favourite classics and their own work. Well worth a watch or a listen if you have the time and the inclination!

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Want to browse all 32 categories? Visit our Daily Deals and Book Bargain page for the full list!

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Blood Oath

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Death in Holy Orders

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Fire Beach

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Compelled

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Slow Burn

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The Stone of Sadness

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Right Behind You

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The Serial Killer’s Wife

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Croaker: Chalk Whispers

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The Trial

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The Beholder

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The Day Before Yesterday’s Thief

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Innocence Assaulted

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You Loved Me at My Darkest

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Blood and Justice

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In the Fog

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