11 Authors like Mary Higgins Clark for Your Daring Mystery Needs

Rediscover your sense of mystery with these authors like Mary Higgins Clark.

Have your latest suspenseful reads left you wanting more? Few authors write suspenseful mysteries as well as the famous Mary Higgins Clark – and at this time, she has more than three dozen of them, plus several short stories and other works. But the most persistent fans will eventually work their way through all of them and start wondering what’s next to scratch the same itch.

This author list is the solution to your book woes, with authors offering the same sense of exciting discovery, exploring new locales, and ultimately solving dangerous mysteries like Clark. Find your favorites and start exploring new titles; you might also love our round-up of the best Mickey Spillane books!

Here Are The Top Authors like Mary Higgins Clark

1. Carol Higgins Clark

Carol Higgins Clark
Carol Higgins Clark smiling

If you’re looking for an experience similar to Mary Higgins Clark, it doesn’t take a detective to consider starting with her daughter. Carol Higgins Clark was born in New York City and originally studied acting, even appearing in several films; she eventually turned to mystery writing with her unique spin.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the Regan Reilly mysteries, beginning with Decked and progressing through similar titles like Laced, Iced, etc. They are generally well-reviewed and mysterious novels that follow a private investigator who keeps running across deadly mysteries in her own life, starting with the death of a former roommate at an English class reunion.

“The streets are still impassable, so the funeral has been postponed indefinitely.”

Carol Higgins Clark, Decked
Laced (Regan Reilly Mysteries, No. 10)
  • Clark, Carol Higgins (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 02/19/2008 (Publication Date) - Pocket Star (Publisher)

2. David Baldacci

David Baldacci
David Baldacci smiling in a photograph

Baldacci is a long-famed American novelist who originally studied law in Virginia, after which he practiced as a lawyer for nine years in Washington, D.C., before eventually becoming a novelist full time. With that background, it’s no surprise he started with political thrillers but eventually spread into various genres for many different kinds of readers.

Baldacci is just as prolific as Mary Higgins Clark and has multiple series, which can be difficult when choosing a place to start. You may want to begin with the King and Maxwell series, which follows a team of two former Secret Service agents working to solve mysteries. However, Baldacci has pinned several other mystery-oriented series, so there’s much to explore here if you want to dig deeper. Check out our round-up of authors like David Baldacci for more!

“The human spirit was the strongest medicine on earth. And sometimes all it needed was a little encouragement to pull off a miracle.”

David Baldacci, The Forgotten

3. Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell
Photo of Patricia Cornwell in a car

Patricia Cornwell’s early life was rocky, but her start in writing was aided by Ruth Bell Graham, who helped and inspired Cornwell as she studied English in college and eventually became a reporter in Virginia. Her first book was a biography of Ruth Bell Graham herself (which eventually led to the fallout between the two), but Cornwell soon followed this with an original crime novel. She then spent several years working for a medical examiner in Richmond and shopping around volumes before her big breakthrough, eventually leading to several awards.

Cornwell’s most famous work is the Scarpetta series, which follows a medical examiner who works to unravel gruesome crimes around the Richmond area. Cornwell’s real-life experience in the area allowed her to dive into forensic details, and she’s partially credited with making forensics a popular aspect of today’s modern mysteries.

“The dead have never bothered me. It’s the living that I fear.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem
  • Cornwell, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 592 Pages - 08/25/2009 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

4. Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown
Photo of Sandra Brown at a festival

After working as a weathercaster and reporter, Brown famously started writing a novel as a dare from her husband in the early 1980s. She found it both enjoyable and successful – although Clark fans may be surprised by her early work. Brown found much initial success as a prolific romance novelist, but not the suspenseful fare that Brown fans may like. But she eventually experimented with other genres, including thrillers with a twist. Readers should consider titles like Thick as Thieves, Tailspin, Envy, and Seeing Red, especially if you like a little romance to spice up your crime dramas.

“The things a man hoarded revealed a lot about the man and what he valued.”

Sandra Brown, Tailspin
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brown, Sandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 08/14/2018 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

5. Tom Savage

Not to be confused with the Western novelist or NFL player of the same name, this Tom Savage is a famous thriller writer. Born in New York, Savage studied drama and scriptwriting before working at a mystery bookstore. He went on to serve as the director of the Mystery Writers of America and was a founding member of the MWS Mentor Program to help new mystery authors. Savage has around 12 different thrillers available, but one of the best to start with is Valentine, which was made into a movie (Savage says the movie bears very little relation to the book) or perhaps the island-based thriller Precipice.

“She’d never dealt with the out-and-out supernatural, and she’d probably end up attaching some prosaic, earthbound solution to it. Dull, dull, dull.”

Tom Savage, Valentine
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Savage, Tom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 03/31/1999 (Publication Date) - Thomas t Beeler (Publisher)

6. Joy Fielding

Joy Fielding
Photo of Joy Fielding signing a book

Canadian novelist Joy Fielding studied English at the University of Toronto. After a brief bout of acting, she quickly devoted herself to writing, specializing in thrillers with twists and turns for those who can’t get enough surprise. She placed many books in U.S. cities like Boston or Chicago, where she felt the urban landscape was an ideal backdrop for plots about people in distress. Readers have many options, including All the Wrong Places, Bad Daughter, Someone Is Watching, and Good Intentions. Those familiar with the genre will find Fielding an expert at classical elements like amnesia, stalkers, and mysterious murders.

“She had been driving all afternoon, her head an echo chamber in which both spoken words and unspoken thoughts steadily collide…”

Joy Fielding, The Deep End
The Bad Daughter: A gripping psychological thriller with a devastating twist
  • Fielding, Joy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • ZAFFRE (Publisher)

7. Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber
Photo of Debbie Macomber

You may have heard of Macomber before thanks to works like her annual Christmas books and similar works, which have frequently helped her to the bestseller charts repeatedly. That may seem like this cheery grandmother doesn’t belong on this list, but amid the romances and angel-themed books, she also dabbles in popular romantic thrillers, such as her Deliverance Company books. Macomber is better for those who prefer the cozier aspects of mysteries and can’t get enough romance.

Someday Soon (Deliverance Company #1)
  • Macomber, Debbie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 06/24/2008 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

8. Tami Hoag

While Hoag found work throughout her life as a horse trainer, photography assistant, and seller of knickknacks in 1988, she turned her attention to writing. At first, she found success penning romance novels, but after establishing a name for herself, she switched to suspense novels and found great success while exploring the genre. Fortunately for readers, Hoag has several series, including the Kovac & Liska series, where a duo of detectives pursues serial killers books like Ashes to Ashes, or the Oak Knoll series that follows an FBI profiler on the track of similar killers.

“I have no desire to spend my life dancing backward.”

Tami Hoag, Night Sins
Ashes to Ashes: A Novel (Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska)
  • Hoag, Tami (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 02/23/2021 (Publication Date) - Bantam (Publisher)

9. Lisa Gardner

Gardner partially credits her bestselling work with suspense novels to her early job as a research analyst in Boston, where she learned the skills necessary to dig into the details and work out cohesive narratives. Her novels walk a line between more flashy, exciting writing (which has been turned into TV works multiple times) and serious thrills. The Quiny & Rainie series follows FBI agents with works like The Perfect Husband, while the Detective D.D. Warren series features tense and torrid books like Alone.

“It wasn’t that strangers couldn’t hurt you. It was simply that the people you loved could do it so much better.”

Lisa Gardner, Touch & Go
The Perfect Husband: A Novel (FBI Profiler)
  • Gardner, Lisa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 06/23/2020 (Publication Date) - Bantam (Publisher)

10. Kate Anslinger

Do you like a little supernatural sprinkled on your suspenseful mysteries? Anslinger carved out a name for herself by mixing the formula up a little. Her experience in the United States Air Force inspired her to write about topics like PTSD, eventually leading to thriller fiction like the Grace McKenna series. McKenna is a detective with a secret: When she interviews a criminal, she can glimpse visions of the past that will help her unravel the whole truth – although getting there tends to take serious work. The series begins with a novel fittingly called The Gift.

“Grace had been hunched over for two hours, enthralled in organizing past cases.”

Kate Anslinger, Buried Secrets
The Gift (McKenna Mystery Series)
  • Anslinger, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 12/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

11. Karen Katchur

Katchur is another author who puts her professional expertise to good use in crafting detailed suspense novels. In this case, she earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, which helps with the flavor of novels like her most recent standalone work, The Greedy Three. But those who prefer to start a full series should begin with River Bodies, the first of the Northampton County books, where a local detective must piece together murders past and present in a tight-lipped town full of secrets.

“The water. The lake. It flows through our veins, and there’s nothing we can do about it… It’s like venom.”

Karen Katchur, The Secrets of Lake Road
River Bodies (Northampton County, 1)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Katchur, Karen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 302 Pages - 11/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Thomas & Mercer (Publisher)

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  • Tyler has been published on Huffington Post and Motely Fool. His article and blogs experience includes working for The Content Standard, Mad Mobile, Digital Landing, and Apass Education, among many others.