Best Books of 2021: Police Procedural

I read a lot of Police Procedural books this year and some of them made it to my Best Books of 2021 list.

List of Best Police Procedural in the order of publication are:

Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw

An anonymous 911 caller reports a body at one of the lava tubes in Pohakuloa, the army’s live-fire training area. Koa reaches the scene of crime and discovers the body’s been mutilated – something to resemble a ritualistic killing. An ancient relic is found near the body – the murder weapon.

No mispers report is filed and the body’s decomposed beyond recognition; Koa wonders if the victim wasn’t an islander. Days later, someone from Alice Observatory reports one of their colleagues missing – the victim. Koa stumbles upon a gang of high-tech archeological thieves – they are trying to sell the ancient relics of the islanders to the highest bidder. Torn between the sovereignty advocates, lies and grave diggers, will Koa be able to solve this mystery before the killer strikes again?

Read my review of Death of a Messenger by Robert McCaw

The Faceless Man by Helen H Durrant

A teenage boy is murdered and his body is set alight to destroy all the evidence. Detectives Harry Lennox and Jess Wilde are assigned to the case. They learn the identity of the boy and find a murder board in his bedroom. He has listed the victims of unsolved murders. There are three photos of people who are still alive – most probably the killer’s next victims – one of them is a blank cut-out with no features. A Faceless Man.

Read my review of The Faceless Man by Helen H Durrant

Time is Running Out by Michael Wood

When DCI Matilda Darke receives a mysterious telephone call, she immediately dismisses the threat. After all, the Homicide and Major Enquiries team are a regular target for prank calls.
But ignoring this warning might soon be the biggest regret of Matilda Darke’s life.

A lone gunman is on a deadly rampage around Sheffield, leaving a bloody trail in his wake. Taking his shots with a sickening precision, he’s about to leave his mark on the world and change Matilda and her team’s lives forever.

Read my review of Time is Running Out by Michael Wood

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Search for Her by Rick Mofina

At a truck stop near Las Vegas, fourteen-year-old Riley Jarrett vanishes from her family’s RV, turning their cross-country dream of starting over into a nightmare. Investigators have their work cut out for them. The massive, bustling truck plaza in the desert is the perfect place for someone to disappear – or be taken.

Detectives pursue every chilling lead as all eyes fall to the newly blended family with a tragic past. With the clock ticking down on the likelihood that Riley’s alive, suspicions run deep. Everyone -from Riley’s mom to her stepdad to her stepbrother and her ex-boyfriend – has something to hide. And their secrets could prove deadly.

Read my review of Search for Her by Rick Mofina

Stolen Daughters by Carolyn Arnold

When firefighters discover the body of a teenage girl at an abandoned house, Detective Amanda Steele hurries to the scene. Dumfries, Virginia is a small town, yet no one seems to have any idea who the dead girl is until Amanda finds a dragonfly pin with the name Crystal engraved on it.

Soon, Amanda learns a fire has consumed another vacant house, and the remains of two more girls have been found. Who are these girls, and why are they being picked off? Amanda must stop this killer before the pattern continues, and the death toll climbs.

Read my review of Stolen Daughters by Carolyn Arnold

Dead Sorry by Helen H Durrant

Twenty-five years ago, a school girl was attacked by three bullies (her classmates) in her home where she lived with her grandmother. Now, the mother of one of the bullies is found brutally murdered in Hobsfield. The body is badly decomposed – the killer turned the heating to max to confuse the M.E. Written on the wall nearby in the victim’s blood is a word ‘Sorry’.

Meanwhile, Tom Calladine is threatened by a notorious Bulgarian drug dealer Lazarov. He threatens to harm all those who are close to Calladine, especially Zoe and her newly-born daughter Maisie. Torn between solving the murder case and trying to keep his loved ones safe, Calladine is cracking under pressure.

Read my review of Dead Sorry by Helen H. Durrant

The West London Murders by Biba Pearce

A man is found dead in his posh West London home. Stabbed to death. By somebody who couldn’t stop. There are seven or eight puncture wounds.

A second man is found brutally murdered in the same frenzied manner. Do the police have a serial killer on their hands?

The investigation leads DI Rob Miller and his ex-lover Detective Jo Maguire to London’s undercover escort industry. Can Rob and Jo work together to stop the murderer before someone else pays the ultimate price?

Read my review of The West London Murders by Biba Pearce

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The Evidence by Jodie Lawrance

Detective Helen Carter is called to a crime scene: Tina French, a barmaid and mother, has been strangled to death in a dilapidated building. Meanwhile, Moira has returned from her lover’s home to find her husband washing blood off his hands. Moira’s husband is abusive and she knows better than to ask ‘whose blood is it?’ Later, she finds old newspaper clippings of old murder cases along with some ‘mementos’. The next day, Moira is reported missing by her husband – he came home from the pub and found blood in the house.

Read my review of The Evidence by Jodie Lawrance

A Viking’s Shadow by H.L. Marsay

Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow is doing his best to ignore the madness of York’s annual Viking Festival when duty calls. The body of a wealthy businessman, who was playing the role of the Viking king, is found slain by his own ancient sword. The murder scene looks staged, but before Shadow can compile a list of people to question a second body is found. Shadow doesn’t have to look far for suspects—the victims were by no means model citizens.

Shadow and his sidekick Jimmy Chang must navigate a web of corruption and family drama to solve the murders before the killer can strike again.

Read my review of A Viking’s Shadow by H.L. Marsay

The Abberley Beach Murders by D.E. White

Detective Dove Milson is called to a gruesome crime-scene: four bodies floating in a flooded escape room. The owners claim they locked up the previous night and there are no signs of break-in. The escape room in which the bodies were found was under the pier and would be flooded knee-deep at high-tide but the owners had taken measures to pump the water out. So what really went wrong on that fateful night?

As Dove and her partner Steve start to investigate, they first learn the victims were members of a kinky dating app. Then, Dove discovers one of the victims was a person-of-interest in a cold case involving a teenage gymnast. Is there a connection between these two cases? Only time will tell…

A Ghostly Shadow by H.L. Marsay

The notorious rivalry between York’s iconic ghost walk tour guides spirals out of control when the body of one guide dressed as the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin is found hanging from a tree. A few days later, his partner, who plays Guy Fawkes, is killed by an explosion of gunpowder at their office.

Despite a sprained ankle, a stray cat and an impromptu trip to Oxford, Shadow partners with his sidekick Jimmy to investigate the shocking murders that have York on edge. Are the murders the work of a madman or a business feud?

Read my review of A Ghostly Shadow by H.L. Marsay

Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood

Nine months ago DCI Matilda Darke survived a bullet to the head. Now, she’s ready to get back on the job. But a new terror awaits. A woman is found murdered and her wounds look eerily similar to several cold cases. Desperate to find a lead, DCI Darke and her team must face a terrifying truth: a serial killer is on the loose in Sheffield.

Matilda has led countless murder investigations before but the lingering emotional scars from her ordeal and the uneasiness within her once-tight team have left tensions high. As the body count rises, Matilda realizes that this might just be where it all ends.

Read my review of Survivor’s Guilt by Michael Wood

The Night Thief by Joy Ellis

When everyone is sleeping, he comes to their house.

He takes one thing. A photo of their child.

Detectives Jackman and Evans hunt for the unusual burglar who enters his victims’ house in the middle of the night to steal a photograph. Their usual ‘house-breaker’ Ratty is not the culprit. But why is someone copying Ratty? Do they have a sinister motive behind stealing photographs?

But then, things change. In the house that the unusual burglar broke into, the owner is found dead. Did he murder her? She was an old woman though. What could be the connection?

Read my review of The Night Thief by Joy Ellis

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