10 Best Authors Like Peter James To Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat

If you love crime thrillers, you’ll want to pick up books from our collection of the best authors like Peter James. 

British writer Peter James is a fan favorite for readers who love the crime thriller genre. With 36 novels, James is a well-known bestseller, often celebrated for his novels featuring detective Roy Grace. The author is also known for his work as a filmmaker, with 26 productions under his belt. He won many awards for his crime writing, including the CWA Diamond Dagger Award in 2016, the Specsavers Honorary Platinum Award for book sales over 5 million in 2018, and a Brighton & Hove Business Award for Outstanding Brightonian of the Year in 2021. Do authors use Grammarly? Read our guide to find out!

Best Authors Like Peter James Ranked

1. Lynda La Plante, 1943 –

Lynda La Plante is a British author known for writing for the TV series Widows, a six-part crime story that ran on Thames Television. La Plante wrote her first novel, The Legacy, which became an immediate bestseller. She quickly followed up with additional works, including The Talisman, Bella Mafia, and Entwined. Following the success of Entwined, La Plante founded La Plante Products, a TV production company. She wrote and produced several shows, including The Governor, Killer Net, and Mind Games. The author has received many awards, including two Emmy Awards and the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Mystery TV Episode. 

The pictures of the young female victim shocked her, particularly the close-up shot of the heroin-needle marks on the girl’s arms. Worse was the close-up of the victim’s face, with the bra wrapped round her neck. Her bulging eyes were dotted with red spots and her swollen tongue protruded from her mouth.”

Lynda La Plante, Tennison: A Jane Tennison Thriller
Above Suspicion: Anna Travis, Book 1
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Lynda La Plante (Author) - Kristin Atherton (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/16/2022 (Publication Date) - Zaffre (Publisher)

2. Stuart MacBride, 1964 –

Stuart MacBride
Stuart McBride smiling

Stuart MacBride is a Scottish bestselling crime author who writes novels set in Aberdeen (known as the “Granite City”). MacBride didn’t get his start as a writer; he spent time in several career fields, including graphic design and computer programming, before deciding to focus on crime writing full-time. His 2005 novel, Cold Granite, introduced readers to detective Logan McRae. The novel won the Barry Award for Best First Novel and set MacBride up to continue moving forward in the world of crime literature. The author went on to write 15 more Logan McRae books, including Shatter the Bones, The Missing and the Dead, and Blood Road.

“Where Insch was bald, Steel looked as if someone had sellotaped a Cairn terrier to her head. Rumour had it she was only forty-two, but she looked a lot older. Years of chain smoking had left her face looking like a holiday home for lines and wrinkles.”

Stuart MacBride, Cold Granite
Cold Granite: Logan McRae, Book 1
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Stuart MacBride (Author) - Steve Worsley (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/08/2017 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins Publishers Limited (Publisher)

3. Mark Billingham, 1961 –

Mark Billingham
Mark Billingham giving a presentation

Best known for his Tom Throne novels, Mark Billingham is a bestselling British crime writer. He speaks about using the same ideas in writing as in stand-up comedy, leading readers down one path and hitting them with a twist they never expected. His 2001 debut crime novel, Sleepyhead, was published by Little, Brown, and Company and introduced readers to Tom Throne. The detective takes center stage in most of Billingham’s works and has stated that many of Thorne’s characteristics are based on his attributes.

It was relaxed. It was coffee and biscuits and comfy-chairs casual. But Thorne could hear the tension and defensiveness in everything Roper said. The same way that a Parisian would always hear Thorne’s London accent, however fluently he might speak French.”

Mark Billingham, Buried
Buried (Tom Thorne Book 6)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Billingham, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 523 Pages - 10/13/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins e-books (Publisher)

4. Ann Cleeves, 1954 –

Ann Cleeves
Ann Cleeves smiling

British crime novelist Ann Cleeves is well-known for her 2006 novel Raven Black, the first in a series of eight novels known as the Shetland mysteries. The series plays heavily on the themes of relationships and isolation and what it can mean for a person’s well-being when confined to a small society. Cleeves received the Duncan Lawrie Award for Raven Black and were later awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sunderland. Cleeves are also known for her commitment to helping others enjoy reading and were appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her service to libraries in the UK. 

Rather than the grey and dreary institutions of public perception, these should be places of innovation and experiment, where readers can take a chance on a book, pick one because they like the look of the cover or the title or because they see it returned by the gorgeous young man who lives in their street. After all, they will have absolutely nothing to lose. The book will be free.

Ann Cleeves, The Library Book
The Library Book
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • The Reading Agency (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 02/02/2012 (Publication Date) - Profile Books (Publisher)

5. Ian Rankin, 1960 – 

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin looking away from the camera

Ian Rankin never imagined that he’d be a crime writer–at the start of his career, he wanted to write mainstream books. Over time, he considered writing thriller novels and introduced readers to Inspector Rebusin Knots and Crosses. The books follow detective John Rebus as he solves crimes in Edinburgh. Rankin’s books regularly sell more than half a million books each. Inspector Rebus has been translated into over 36 languages and is beloved by crime thriller enthusiasts worldwide.

“Rebus reminded himself to stop praying. Perhaps if he stopped praying, God would take the hint and stop being such a bastard to one of his few believers on this near-godforsaken planet.”

Ian Rankin, Knots and Crosses
Knots And Crosses
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Rankin, Ian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 08/07/2008 (Publication Date) - Orion (Publisher)

6. Simon Kernick, 1967 –

Simon Kernick began writing crime thrillers in college, where he majored in the humanities. Upon completing his degree, he began to work for a computing company while continuing to write crime thrillers in his free time. After four years of corporate life, Kernick left his company to try to get one of his books picked up by a publisher. He struggled to find someone willing to publish his work, so he re-joined corporate life, only to get a book deal for The Business of Dying over a decade later, in 2001. He gained worldwide critical acclaim for his novel Relentless, for which he won the Barry Award for Best Thriller.

I came very close to saying no, and I often wonder how things would have turned out if I had. I’m being honest when I say I truly never wanted to become a murderer.”

Simon Kernick, The Payback
The Payback: (Dennis Milne 3): (Dennis Milne: book 3): a punchy, race-against-time thriller from bestselling author Simon Kernick
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kernick, Simon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 468 Pages - 02/17/2011 (Publication Date) - Transworld Digital (Publisher)

7. Peter May, 1951 –

Peter May
Peter May speaking into a microphone

Peter May is a Scottish screenwriter and crime novelist. Many readers know May for his series, the China Thrillers. May took annual trips to China to inform his novels and worked to develop contacts with pathologists and detectives to ensure accuracy in his writing. In 2007, May was awarded the Prix Intramuros award, a prestigious French honor. May’s work, The Lewis Trilogy, has been heralded as one of the best books of its time. The trilogy includes The Blackhouse (2009), The Lewis Man (2012), and The Chessmen (2013). Over a million copies of The Lewis Trilogy have been sold in the UK.

A light wind blew high clouds across an inky sky, stars like jewels set in ebony. An almost full moon came and went in washes of colourless silver light. The air was filled with the sound of the ocean, the slow steady breath of eternity.”

Peter May, Entry Island
Peter May Collection, China Thrillers 6 Books Box Set
  • Peter May (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2017 (Publication Date) - riverrun (Publisher)

8. Tania Carver, 1988 –

Tania Carver is a pen name for a husband and wife team of writers–Martyn and Linda Waites. The pair works together to develop stories that detail hair-raising crimes and take readers through the step-by-step process of finding the culprit. Tanis Carver is best known for The Surrogate, Cage of Bones, The Doll’s House, and The Lost Girl. Recurring characters, including detective inspector Phil Brennan and psychologist Marina Esposito – help each Carver novel feel like home for thriller fans.

But for Phil, the brightest light cast the darkest shadows. He saw the scene with cop’s eyes because he saw the world with cop’s eyes. He couldn’t help it; it was the job. Instead of the living he saw the dead. And the ghosts of the dead spoke to him all the time, asked him for justice, for peace.”

Tania Carver, The Creeper

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9. Tim Weaver, 1977 –

Tim Weaver
Tim Weaver wearing headphones and looking forward

Tim Weaver is a British journalist and writer. He’s well-known for his stories featuring the character David Raker, a missing persons investigator. Raker was introduced to readers in 2010’s Chasing the Dead, following Weaver’s decade-long search to find a publisher. In addition to his Raker series, Weaver is known for the Missing podcast. Recorded in 2015, Missing delves into how and why people disappear.

Derryn took me to a plot she’d chosen for herself in a cemetery in north London. She looked at her grave, up at me, and then smiled. I remember that clearly. A smile shot through with so much pain and fear I wanted to break something. I wanted to hit out until all I felt was numb.”

Tim Weaver, Chasing the Dead
Chasing the Dead: David Raker Mystery, Book 1
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Tim Weaver (Author) - Michael Healy (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/19/2016 (Publication Date) - Tantor Audio (Publisher)

10. Graham Hurley, 1946 –

Graham Hurley is a British crime fiction writer who started writing television scripts. He’s known for several crime thrillers, including Turnstone, Angels Passing, Cut to Black, The Price of Darkness, and Last Flight to Stalingrad. While Hurley now writes novels full-time, he’s also well-known for his film work. He filmed the process of discovering the Titanic and Bismarck shipwrecks and produced an account of Richard Branson’s crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best Indian authors!

Exchanges like these with Cathy always exhausted him, partly because she was so tenacious, but mainly because she was right. It was a fact of life that those with the fattest wallets and the loudest voices always got more than they deserved.

Graham Hurley, Turnstone
Last Flight to Stalingrad: Wars Within, Book 5
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Graham Hurley (Author) - Andrew Cullum (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/07/2021 (Publication Date) - W. F. Howes Ltd (Publisher)


  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.