Women have long had a place in fighting and solving crimes in mystery and suspense novels. The women on this list not only show a wide range of abilities, they also highlight how vulnerability and learning more about themselves help them become better at doing their jobs. From sneaking around looking for clues to fighting off would-be attackers to arresting perpetrators in the name of the law, these women can hold their own.
The five heroines on this list are up for mystery and adventure. Are you?
Annalee Spain: All That Is Secret, Double the Lies
By Patricia Raybon
Annalee Spain is a smart and clever Black professor-turned-amateur sleuth. It all starts with a telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the murder of her estranged father. Even with attempts on her own life, Annalee is spurred on by her love of Sherlock Holmes and the need for the truth. As the series progresses, readers will see Annalee is tough and determined, eager to help those in need and right the wrongs she sees.
With quotes from Sherlock Holmes stories at the beginning of every chapter, the Annalee Spain series is perfect for any fans of consulting detectives and historical mysteries.
Leah Riesel: Fatal Strike
By DiAnn Mills
Whether she’s setting the sights of her sniper rifle or talking down a murderer, Leah Riesel is cool under pressure, even in hot and humid Galveston, Texas. As a top-tier FBI sniper, Leah is an expert at neutralizing critical threats and her empathy for those on the other end of her scope and her need to make sure she’s brought in as a last resort help her go from one case to the next. But her next case in Galveston is different: Leah will have to face her fears and confront her past to solve the case.
Kate O’Malley: The Negotiator
By Dee Henderson
The oldest sister in an adoptive bunch of siblings, Kate O’Malley takes the role of protector seriously. Being a hostage negotiator means she feels responsible for more than just her siblings; during a crisis, she feels the burden to make sure all of the innocent captives get home safely. After a lifetime of relying only on herself and the found family she and her siblings had created, it’s easy for Kate to build a wall of protection in the hopes of preventing more harm and abandonment from coming to her. But when a stalker comes out of the shadows and into her safe space she’s created for herself, Kate will have to open herself up to accepting help from someone she didn’t expect.
Leah Radcliff: Breach of Honor
By Janice Cantore
Leah Radcliff is an experienced cop, capable of handling the toughest cases. But at the start of Breach of Honor, Leah is living a life she normally only sees during 911 calls: one of physical and emotional domestic abuse. Unable to reconcile her inability to protect herself at home with the courage she displays on the job, she withdraws within herself. After a desperate act, Leah is sentenced to prison, where she experiences rock bottom and eventually is able to grow in empathy, confidence, and faith. As she fights to clear her name and reveal the truth of her husband’s deception, Leah is one readers will cheer for as she finds her voice despite her experiences.
Written by former police officer Janice Cantore, Leah is an intelligent character whose strength might be able to give readers hope amid trials.
Keren: The Hidden Prince
By Tessa Afshar
While not a crime-fighter in the traditional sense of being a law enforcement agent or spy or amateur sleuth, Keren from The Hidden Prince can nonetheless hold her own on this list. Readers meet Keren at a young age, when she’s starting to work as a scribe in the house of Daniel the prophet. As she grows older, she flees Babylon after a terrible accident and is put in charge of a young boy with a mysterious past. Throughout the action-filled adventure, Keren and her childhood friend Jared protect the boy from those who would wish him harm and fight against the injustices they face. Keren’s story is filled with secret identities, sword fights, and a dash of romance that all combine to create a novel suspense fans won’t want to miss.
Liesl Weiss: Code Name Edelweiss
By Stephanie Landsem
Based on a true story of ordinary people turning into amateur spies to foil Hitler’s plan to take over Hollywood, Liesl’s story is one of the courage of everyday people standing up to fight. Desperate to keep her family afloat during the Great Depression, Liesl pushes aside her concerns of new rhetoric that is taking over Los Angeles. But when she loses her job at a Hollywood studio, Liesl is approached by a mysterious man to spy on a secretive new organization. What she and the network of spies find is chilling—and more dangerous—than any of them suspected.
Code Name Edelweiss will be available in March 2023. Preorder now!