Top Books of 2016 on AustCrimeFiction

This list is of standout reads from 2016, grouped into categories with no attempt whatsoever at an arbitrary number and in no particular order.

Favourite Australian Books (Crime Fiction)



The Dry by Jane Harper is set in Rural Australia, a pitch-perfect telling of farming life affected by drought and isolation, infected by suspicion and the damage that leaping to convenient conclusions can inflict.


Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta is set in Europe and the UK, using politics and the fear of terrorism to look at similar themes to that of The Dry - suspicion and simplistic conclusions.



Signal Loss by Garry Disher is the latest in the Challis & Destry series (still to be reviewed here) but suffice to say it feels like a series that's getting stronger and stronger.



The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett sits on a "best of list" for a bunch of reasons - not the least of which is the sheer unexpectedness of it - and the way that the author has "inhabited" a number of different real life women.


Man in the Corner by Nathan Besser was one of those completely unexpected surprise packages - hadn't heard anything about it, spied it on NetGalley and thought why not. 


The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong is one of those books that everybody should have a chance to read more than once in their lives. 


Through A Camel's Eye by Dorothy Johnston is a character study, wrapped up in a police procedural, with a very strong sense of place, and, one would hope, a long-term future as a series.


The Serpent's Sting by Robert Gott is the long awaited return to the William Power series. 


Gunshine State by Andrew Nette exposes deepest darkest noir to the glaring Australian sun and nails it.


Fall by Candice Fox is the third book in the Bennett and Archer series which is dark, in your face, and utterly compelling.


Amplify by Mark Hollands is the sort of escapist laugh out loud stuff that you sometimes just need.


Dark Fires Shall Burn by Anna Westbrook is a brilliant historical novel set in post WWII Sydney.


Black Sails, Disco Inferno by Andrez Bergen and Renee Asher Pickup is a retelling of Tristan and Iseult that's clever, compelling and just wonderful.


Ghost Girls by Cath Ferla is one of the debut novels that showed up this year and made you really sit up and pay attention.


Detective Work by John Dale was a long time coming, but delivers considerable promise for an ongoing series.


All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford is another compelling debut from an Australian author - this time in the form of a psychological thriller.


Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty is the latest Sean Duffy. Enough said.

Favourite Australian Books (True Crime)



Certain Admissions by Gideon Haigh is an unusual true crime novel in it's form and styling but it's absolutely fascinating reading.


Roger Rogerson by Duncan McNab is a story for readers who aren't even particularly aware of, or interested in Roger Rogerson himself. The tale of how he remained untouchable for so many years is truly astonishing.

Other Places



Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre is a beautifully balanced, cleverly crafted psychological thriller


Starlight Peninsula by Charlotte Grimshaw was an entry in the 2016 Ngaio Marsh Awards (NZ Crime Fiction) - recommended for fans of psychological thrillers.


Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi is an amazing, mind-bending book.


The Legend of Winstone Blackhat by Tanya Moir is an astounding exploration of the consequences of crime.


Trust No One by Paul Cleave explores the world of a crime author suffering from Alzheimer's disease and the nature of memory and perception.


Clinch by Martin Holmen is dark, ultra-gritty, confrontational, frequently discomforting and utterly compelling.


After the Circus by Patrick Modiano is a compelling, stripped back novella which confuses, confronts and mesmerises.


Six Four by Hideo Tokoyama is a most unusual novel packed with seemingly pointless detail, and obsessed with the annoying daily necessity of dealing with upper echelons and idiotic press packs. Until it quietly transforms into something else.

Series To Follow Closely

Rowland Sinclair series by Sulari Gentill (Aust) (because it's simply delightful)

Dody McLeland series by Felicity Young (Aust) (historical series with a good message wrapped up in good stories)

Kay Hunter series by Rachael Amphlett (Aust) (cheating a little here as book 1 has just been released but it deserves a series!)

Mason & Dixie Thrillers by Ron McMillan (this is a ripper of a series - set in Thailand with some great characters and a strong sense of society and place)

Drainland Series by Iain Ryan (Aust) (much potential for good noir styled series)

Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride (because)

Pufferfish series by David Owen (Aust) (love the character stylings in this series set in Tasmania)

Superintendent Le Fanu series by Brian Stoddart (Aust / NZ) (wonderful sense of place, culture and time in this historical series based in India)

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