With our 2023 Crash Course in Crime, Mysteries, & Thrillers, we invited attendees to learn more about these popular genres' key subgenres, themes, authors to watch, ways to help readers, and tips for using NoveList to feel like skilled genre detective.  

Top reasons why readers love crime fiction, mysteries, and thrillers 

Whether gathering clues or insight into the criminal mind, readers enjoy how these genres let them understand and solve the case.   

Crime fiction lets readers live vicariously through stories about crime and criminals without dangerous consequences. They allow the reader to experience the same situations they have read about in mysteries but from the perpetrator's point of view. As they follow the characters, readers journey through the criminal underworld, one that would be too risky to explore in real life. Readers also get a chance to understand the complexity of people that society may label as evil.  

Through mysteries, readers get to test their detective skills, taking part in gathering clues and solving the case. Readers get the thrill of the chase as they work with detectives to find the culprit before their next crime. Since series are popular, readers may learn more about detectives as the series progresses, forming an attachment to their favorite sleuths. Few things please a mystery fan more than an unexpected ending. No matter the story's conclusion, mysteries often see justice prevail.  

Thrillers are all about the excitement and adrenaline that comes with not knowing what might come next. Thrillers may also involve mystery elements but tend to be more action-packed with intricate plots and moments of danger. It all comes together to create a tense, fun rollercoaster for the reader. Since there are so many unexpected moments, readers also enjoy the mental challenge of figuring out what's coming next. Like mysteries, series are prevalent, allowing readers to enjoy plenty of adventures with their favorite protagonist. 

Crime fiction, mysteries, and thrillers in NoveList 

NoveList offers plenty of tools to keep you up to date with all three genres and help fans find their next great read. Here are some ways to quickly provide great customer service to readers: 

Narrow down the suspects with advanced searching 

You can start your search broad by, for example, entering "mysteries" into the search bar and hitting "search." But you'll end up with thousands of results. How do you narrow down all the options to the handful you're looking for? By using NoveList's advanced search page.  

Look for the "Advanced Search" link directly under the main search bar. Once you're on that page, you can search for books within a genre, with parameters to make it as specific as you'd like. In the first search field, enter the genre you want — crime fiction, mystery, or thrillers and suspense — and select "GN Genre" from the drop-down menu.  

Then, you can scroll down and narrow your search by a variety of limiters, including audience or grade level, publication date, author's cultural identity, award-winners, and more. Once you've got everything you want selected, click "search" and see all your book matches. 

See the latest and greatest 

Use NoveList’s genre browse carousels to explore new and popular books by age range and subgenre. You can hover over any of the book jackets to see its description, so you’ll know if it’s right for your reader immediately. 

Here’s how to find genre browse carousels: 

  • Go to "Browse By" on the top navigation bar and select "Genre" from the drop-down menu.  

  • Scroll down on the homepage to "Browse Genres" and select any of the square images. 

Find award winners 

Want to find awards specifically for crime, mystery, and thriller books? On the NoveList Awards Page, go to "Awards by Type" and select "Mystery and Thriller." From there, you can check out notable awards like:

Curate quality collections  

Ensure that you’re picking the best options for your collection by using our Core Collections products. They provide impartial, authoritative guides that help librarians build and maintain well-rounded collections. You can learn more about Core Collections here

Want to market and highlight your library's crime fiction, mystery, and thriller titles? 

Use LibraryAware to create templates and tools to create newsletters, bookmarks, shelf talkers, flyers, social and digital displays and more for promoting books and resources throughout the library and beyond. Search for "crime," "mysteries," or "thrillers" in LibraryAware to find book flyers, widgets, and other resources you can use. Not a subscriber? Learn more here.

Other media and resources 

There's a variety of media and resources to use along with NoveList to stay familiar with crime fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. During the webinar, our presenter mentioned these excellent options:  



  • Knives Out 

  • Total Killer 

  • Emily the Criminal 


  • Only Murders in the Building 

  • Yellowjackets 

  • You 

  • Happy Valley 

  • Luther 


  • Get Cozy Podcast 

  • Read or Dead

Did you miss the live Crash Course, or want to rewatch?

You can find a recording of the webinar, along with bonus content like printable PDFs of our genre guides and a full list of the books mentioned during the webinar, at www.learnwithnovelist.com


Don’t miss the next Crash Course 

Join us in 2024 for our Crash Course in Romance, where we’ll revisit the genre that makes readers swoon. Stay tuned for more information!  

Yaika Sabat is the Manager of Reader Services at NoveList. She's currently reading Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica.