Well, it’s past time we talked about Christian mystery books.
Mysteries can be so much fun, and when you find a good cozy mystery series or Christian suspense book, you’re in for a treat.
Because you get to unravel a puzzle and build your faith at the same time. And what could be better than that?
So let’s jump right into the best that these Christian authors have to share!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.
Best Christian Mystery Books
Here are the best books I’ve read, that fall somewhere between cozy mysteries and suspense books. That middle ground, with mild suspense, but not too much.
Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries
Rockland, somewhere in the midwest, in the early 1900s. Meet the Mayor’s daughter. She’s very observant, more so than most. There are those who say she’s meddlesome, or nosy. But the ones who matter, see her mettle, and her heart.
Whether she’s saving her best friend from marrying a scoundrel or unravelling some other mystery, she’s always puzzling through character and faith issues, trying to become a better person. She’s reminded me of the importance of keeping your promises, even in the face of a loved one’s misunderstanding.
In the beginning, she’s not convinced that there should be anything more to her spiritual life than church on Sundays, but Russell’s patience and strategic questions have her seeking out what the Bible says for herself.
Madeline’s constant interest in things not ‘suitable’ for a young woman in her position add the right notes of humor and challenge to this story. From bicycles to cameras to caring what happens to the people who live in the ‘wrong part of town’ I think she’s a great role model, and fun person to be around.
This story is so encouraging. If you’re someone who hates confrontation but have had to (or want to) deal with being confrontational sometimes, to stand up for what’s right, or for someone else who can’t, then you’ll love meeting Joy. Her friend and neighbor is missing, but there’s a convenient ‘reason’ that no one is willing to investigate. Or even believe that Joy knows something is wrong.
Joy has to ‘redefine’ herself, if she’s going to protect the ones she cares about. The threat is real, and it’s a little more than a cozy mystery she has to deal with, but not full-on suspense. The spiritual growth and character development make this one a must-read, in my book!
Tree of Life Series
This series of books have varying degrees of mysterious happenings, all tied together by a genealogist whose research into the past helps people today to understand how the decisions of their 1-2 great-grandparents play into what’s happening today. And the value of not losing the stories from the past. Gathering the gems for future generations. This dual-timeline series is fun, with a side of seriousness, and the mystery will keep you guessing all the way through.
Many of these great books are also available on Kindle Unlimited, an ebook library program through Amazon.
Christian Suspense Books
If you’re up for books that are more intense, edge-of-your-seat kind of stories, then these Christian suspense books should be just about perfect.
Fragments of Fear
Fragments of Fear is one that pulls you in. You are not likely to be a passive bystander with this book!
Tavish the grieving artist will take you with her to places you would not expect, and with a determination that surprises even herself.
This was impossible to put down. Possibly a part of that was the familiar setting, having spent a number of years in Albuquerque. But mostly because it was that good.
Themes of isolation and not knowing who to trust made the story rich and the drama intense.
I could relate to Tavish’s insecurity after several tragedies. The emotional baggage from those losses was heavy.
Her self-doubt is completely understandable in the story, and also relatable. I’d be doubting myself too if half of what happened to her, happened to me.
*Note, the insecurities and self-doubt DO NOT make this book depressing. They add a layer to the drama that is invaluable.
There was also genuine frustration with several relationships. When your relationship with your mother leaves anyone with the impression she might be crooked enough to have you murdered, well, something’s not right!
I was inspired by Tavish as she had to make choices, to be resourceful and resilient in the face of more than anyone would choose to experience.
This was my first book by Carrie Stuart Parks. Overall, I laughed plenty, questioned motives, wanted to shake a character or two, and can’t wait to pick up another by this author.
Dead Sea Chronicles
Dead Sea Rising starts off with a bang! I mean, sitting at your desk and receiving a call that your healthy, active mother is in the hospital is terrifying. But then to spend half the book feeling like you’re a suspect? I had to take this one to the doctor’s office with me. And she was only about 10 minutes late. Normally she’s at least 30 minutes late. Is it terrible that I was disappointed? 🙂
Shifting between the intrigue with just exactly how mom was hurt, and wether or not it’s related to Dr Nicole’s application to set up a dig in Saudi Arabia, specifically looking for something of Abraham’s life, to actually being in Terah’s shoes as he seeks to protect infant Abram from Nimrod is pretty fascinating.
Dead Sea Conspiracy is intense. The whole ‘on-site’ aspect and the rings of conspiracy that just keep you uncertain who, besides Dr Nicole is actually trustworthy are so well written.
Shifting back and forth from a present-day archeological dig to Terah and Abram’s lives was fascinating, especially as this focused way more on Terah than Abram, which is far from a common subject.
I found myself sad several times, and very excited at others. Laughed out loud more than once, too. But what I couldn’t do was put the book down. Even walked some laps while reading, and had my kindle propped up nearby while cooking.
I loved the attention given to respecting and appreciating differences, down to learning to pronounce names that are longer, and more diverse. A relatively small aspect of the story, but well done.
I received a copy of the book from #NetGalley and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
What to do, what to do? You just lip-read a plot to assassinate a high-profile target, who happens to be your mother-in-law. Before you can address that, the sitter calls and you have to race off to the ER for your deaf son’s latest injury. By the time you can breathe again, it’s too late for your MIL. And now you’re squarely in the crosshairs.
Stayed up way too late last night finishing this one! But I couldn’t leave 7-year-old Sawyer in the position he was in overnight! This great suspense story held me glued to my kindle from the opening scene to the last page. It’s really nice to read clean, heart-pounding suspense without worrying about language or other unnecessary filler.
Stories where a child is in danger are the hardest to read as a mother, but this one was so well-written and makes me as the reader feel fully invested which is a real treat. (I could have done without the scene with the rattler in the boy’s room, personally, but otherwise, no complaints)
Single mothers have a hard lot, but there are a couple of incredible single moms in this book (for different reasons, and both beyond their control), and I feel proud to ‘know’ both of them.
*I received a copy of this book from #netgalley, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
The decisions of the past affect the present. We hope for good, but sometimes it’s the less stellar choices that come back to us! Anna Belle had made enough enemies that finding her murderer wasn’t easy. Grayson’s insider knowledge as a former consultant with the police had some unforeseen effects on the case.
There are at least 10 people who could legitimately be suspects. I picked 2 to be my main suspects. It turned out that I was right about one of them, but I was way wrong about the motivation! I read enough books that I can usually predict things well. When I get a surprise like this one, it’s a nice treat!
Watching the detectives battle each other’s prejudgements and struggle with Grayson’s “meddling” (i.e. attempts to clear his name /solve the mystery) was both frustrating and fun.
Stratagem has a very complex plot, packaged with distraction and diversions, and coming together perfectly in the end. If you like stories full of suspense, and getting the scoop from each of the main characters directly, you will enjoy this book!
Convergence is one of those suspense novels that pushes the boundaries of ‘thriller’ pretty hard. A dual timeline, a stalker, a dangerous river, and some heart twisting situations. Here’s what I wrote right after first reading this story 2 years ago, and it is one I still think of often.
Ok, Wow! I’m still in awe. I spent most of this book on the edge of my seat. Through Denilyn’s reactions, I felt everything. It seemed unreal, and totally believable at the same time.
The shifting from past to present brings just the right level of confusion and helpfulness. That takes some definite skill.
Dealing with fear is a big part of the story, and God is with us, so we need not face it alone. I loved the lessons in awareness and coping. Trusting your instincts. Trusting God’s got your back!
*I received an advance copy of the book from @NetGalley and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense
This one’s next on my mystery TBR. I bought the box set a couple of months ago, and it’s been waiting its turn somewhat impatiently. Full of strong personalities, controversial issues, and pre-med college days, I’m really looking forward to it.
J.B. Collins Novels
This series is listed as a political and military action thriller and is very intense, full of action and intrigue. It’s definitely edge-of-your-seat danger and difficulty, and you’re not always sure who to trust. And one of the best parts is the amazing prologue in book three that weaves expert snippets from the first two books, making it possible to only read book three, if you have to. Each one is self-contained, but the over-arching story is extremely powerful.
Don’t forget Audible is always a good option!
Other Christian Suspense Authors I Recommend
If you’re looking for overtly romantic suspense, I have some really great ones over here. While the ones below (except Synapse) have some romance, it’s not the main focus of the story.
And if you want an awesome faith-based FBI show to watch, check out Sue Thomas, FB-Eye!
Kimberly Rose Johnson:
I’ve gotten to read a couple of the Protection Inc. series, and it is very well done. Certain Threat, for instance, has some very definite danger and suspense, but is there a real threat, or is it all a set of coincidences? The agents of Protection Inc aren’t taking any chances this Christmas!
Sherri Wilson Johnson:
Endangered Refuge is one fast-paced suspense involving Tigers! I thoroughly enjoyed this story of undercover agents, double agents, danger and intrigue!
The Agency Files are a unique series, a protection agency that doesn’t always have ‘permission’ to protect the people they do. Sometimes, they discover a plot, or are given information that makes them certain someone (who couldn’t possibly afford their services) is in danger, but the information is thin enough that the police can’t act. In those cases, they’ll go in and ‘kidnap’ the protectees, and keep them safe, somewhat against their will. This particular career choice can make living with Biblical convictions challenging!
Synapse is a remarkable Christian thriller of the sci-fi futuristic variety. An AI robot looking for the meaning of life, and a battle between the techies and the purists. It’ll stretch you in ways you can’t even imagine. You can read my full review here.
The Shepherd Suspense Novels, well, let’s just mash up a James Bond mission gone wrong with a small town church. The lead character is both a spy and a Baptist preacher. It’s the perfect blend of fast-paced action sequences with small-town life, leading to the most hilarious moments imaginable! (The video trailers for the books are stellar!) Definitely one of the best suspense books I’ve read, ever!
Alana has Alaskan Refuge which is one series that will leave you on edge. It has too when kids are in danger!
End times books definitely qualify too. The suspense is real, and there’s always some mystery and prophecy to unravel. There are some really fun ones out there, too!
Christian Cozy Mysteries: A Lighter Option
If a suspense novel sounds a little too intense for you, you’ll probably prefer to read cozy mysteries.
And I have found some pretty amazing options for the Cozy fans!
What Are Cozy Mysteries?
But maybe you are wondering, what are cozy mysteries anyway? What’s the difference?
A cozy mystery is one where the crime is almost completely off-screen, or may even be imagined.
The amateur detective might be a nosy-I mean observant- member of the community, or possibly someone who does not think justice is being served. They see something the detectives missed.
Best Cozy Mystery Series for Christian Readers
Squeaky Clean Mysteries
You would think that books about a crime scene cleaner would be messy. And they are. But more so because relationships are messy, and finding clues the detectives missed can be messy. And finding yourself in danger because of that, well you get the idea. These cozy mysteries are fun, with just enough suspense to keep you glued to the page (or screen, as the case may be).
This cozy series is so fun! Katrina can drive me nuts from time to time, as she focuses on her desires and preferences just a ‘bit’ more than she should, but to watch her character grow is worth it. As a non-tenured college professor and booklover, she finds herself as a key witness or advisor to several crimes, keeping her in close proximity to the police detective on the cases. And things do heat up nicely, and not too fast to be believed.
The foster care thread really fleshes out the story nicely, as does the concept that just because something’s hard doesn’t mean God doesn’t want you doing it. If he called you to it, he’ll sustain you through it. Please check out my video review here.
Barks and Beans Cafe Mystery Series
This set of Christian fiction books are so much fun! A coffee shop with a dog petting area that partners with the local pound, to encourage adoptions. A mismatched, eclectic staff that actually work out very well, And Macy Hatfield keeps stumbling over a murder. Finding herself with just the right bits of information and the amount of curiosity to put together and solve the crimes.
And Coal. Well, Great Dane. Enough said. He’s the reason I bought book one, and although Macy and the others are wonderful, I’ll keep buying this cozy series as long as Coal is right there, center stage. When he was dognapped, I about lost it! Great Danes have such personality and grace, and instincts!
Hearse and Buggy, an Amish Mystery
Hearse and Buggy will be my next read of the cozy variety. It sounds like quite a challenging series of situations. First you have your Englischer who moves to town, and seems mostly welcome, from what I can tell. And then, the shunned Amishman who has gone and become a detective. Just how is he going to investigate anything when the People won’t even speak to him? An unlikely partnership for sure, but I think it’ll work well,
The Whistle Blower: A Wing and A Prayer Mystery
This cozy series has piqued my interest. A soccer mom and an angel, solving murder mysteries? Sounds a bit out there, but with Robin Merrill as the author, I’m confident it’ll work out well. I’m intrigued enough to jump on board this train, and see where it takes me, How about you? Besides, book one is free on kindle, and it doesn’t look like it’s a sale… (But please double check the price before you buy!)
And I just saw this new cozy over on Among the Reads, and it sounds tasty! I mean, Pint of No Return?
The Cat Who…
Okay, The Cat Who… cozy mystery series isn’t Christian, though several characters go to church regularly. I know I got hooked on them as a teen, and was (still am) extremely sensitive to language and other inappropriate content, so I don’t think anyone would have a problem with them. I’m not a fan of cats, but this series is awesome! The mystery is well done, the people are fun, and the audiobook narrator, well, his voice is AMAZING!!!
Jim Qwilleran the journalist ends up solving a ton of mysteries, and all because his cat, Koko will become fixated on a certain color, or detail of their home, which makes Jim think of a related detail he’s noticed in connection to whatever crime he’s dealing with this time. And after they move north, Polly, his lady librarian, is a nice addition to the story :).
Favorite Christian Suspense Books and Cozy Mystery Series
So, with all that, the real mystery, is just how many mysteries can you read this month, and where will you start?
And, tell me, please. Did I miss your favorite? I’m open to suggestions!