If you’re a fan of mystery novels but having a difficult time finding some options with LGBT characters, then let us help you out. We’ve checked out the LGBT mystery books on the market and have come up with a list of some of the top rated titles that you should check out. Take a look below and see if you can find something to add to your TBR list.
1. Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon
Description: Twenty years ago, little Brian Arlington was kidnapped from his family’s Long Island estate and was never seen again. The trail went cold, but investigative journalist Griff Hadley has always thought there was more to the story—much more. When the Arlingtons’ patriarch invites him to stay at their estate to research his true crime book, Griff can’t say no. It’s the story of a lifetime.
But not everyone is happy about Griff’s presence. Relatives and staff alike regard him coldly, including Pierce Mather, the Arlingtons’ attractive lawyer, who is more than a little wary of Griff’s motives.
When a stranger shows up claiming to be the long-lost Brian, Griff and Pierce are united in their suspicions. Startled to have found an ally in the buttoned-up lawyer, Griff soon realizes it’s hard to keep a professional distance. Even in the midst of a groundbreaking investigation, even in the face of a shocking family secret…
2. Facing Evil by CL Hart
This is another LGBT mystery book that is an older release, with this one going back a few years. But don’t let that discourage you from picking it up cause it’s still on the charts and has a 4.6/5 rating fromour editors.
Description: Detective Abby Stanfield has worked tirelessly to bring serial killer Billy Ward to justice, but when his case is thrown out of court, Abby loses control and threatens publicly to kill him. Forced to take a leave of absence from her job, Abby heads to a mountain resort where she meets Sarah Murphy. The two women discover love for the first time in their lives, but are soon torn apart. Through twist and turns of the novel, Abby and Sarah experience for themselves the brutality of a serial killer before he ends up dead, and Abby is his accused killer…
3. Dressed for Death: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries)
This book is set in Venice and delves into the gay underworld of the city while the main character investigates a murder. It’s a bit different than the other books on this list since the focus isn’t in a gay character per se, but the book is still entertaining for the genre.
Description: Commissario Guido Brunetti’s hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera—a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information. And before the night is out, Brunetti is confronting yet another appalling, and apparently senseless, death…
4. Steele Resolve by Kimberly Amato
This one is a bit more of a LGBT suspense or thriller book as it is very intense and fast paced. It is no wonder thatour editors give is 4.9/5 rating. Try reading the sample on Amazon and see if you can stop.
Description: Jasmine Steele’s life was exactly where she had wanted it to be. She had the love of her life, a job as a detective and never gave up on her dream of writing the next great novel. It’s true what they say about life, it changes without warning, and Jasmine’s dreams slammed to a halt the minute her brother was killed. Between guilt, becoming the guardian of her nephew, hiding her grief – she lost her soulmate, her dreams and ultimately herself.
Now Steele is now faced with a series of murders that pulls her back into her brother’s case and puts everyone around her in grave danger. Forced to face her demons, Steele must find out who the killer is before she loses someone else she loves. The killer doesn’t care who dies, especially if it keeps Steele quiet – permanently.
Sometimes your worst enemy is yourself…
Where to buy: Amazon
5. Sunfish & Starfish: Tropical Drag Queen Detectives
Description: Two unlikely heroes. Two confounding mysteries. How did a $1,000 jewel encrusted Prada shoe end up under a dumpster in a back alley in a deserted part of town? And will we ever find out whether the man hiding in the shadows of a South Florida gay bar is really a conservative South Carolina reverend—who’s running for Congress? Two fun-loving drag performers are lured out of the spotlight and into some very dark places: the shady, drug-fueled world of Miami’s high-society debutantes, and the cutthroat world of national politics.
Larry Nussbaum and Oscar Arias (a.k.a Sunfish & Starfish) find their campy little seaside life nearly torn apart by intrigue and deception—as well as their own character flaws and hapless investigations. The police refuse to help. Mobs of protestors threaten them and their families. Even their friendship takes a hit. But when they finally try to walk away, they are drawn right back in by events beyond their control and an unquenchable need to find the truth.
Where to buy: Amazon
6. Conflict of Interest by Jae
Description: Workaholic Detective Aiden Carlisle isn’t looking for love—and certainly not at the law enforcement seminar she reluctantly agreed to attend. But the first lecturer is not at all what she expected.
Psychologist Dawn Kinsley has just found her place in life. After a failed relationship with a police officer, she has sworn never to get involved with another cop again, but she feels a connection to Aiden from the very first moment.
Can Aiden keep from crossing the line when a brutal crime threatens to keep them apart before they’ve even gotten together?
7. Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery by Katie Gilmartin
Description: Josie O’Conner travels to San Francisco in 1951 to locate her gay brother, a private dick investigating a blackmail ring targeting lesbians and gay men. Jimmy’s friends claim that just before he disappeared he became a rat, informing the cops on the bar community. Josie adopts Jimmy’s trousers and wingtips, battling to clear his name, halt the blackmailers, and exact justice for the many queer corpses. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a sultry chanteuse running a dyke tavern called Pandora’s Box, gets intimate with a red-headed madam operating a brothel from the Police Personnel Department, and conspires with the star of Finocchio’s, a dive so disreputable it’s off limits to servicemen — so every man in uniform pays a visit.
Blackmail, My Love is an illustrated murder mystery deeply steeped in San Francisco’s queer history. Established academic and first-time novelist Katie Gilmartin’s diverse set of characters negotiate the risks of same-sex desire in a tough time for queers. Humor leavens the grave subject matter. Set in such legendary locations as the Black Cat Cafe, the Fillmore, the Beat movement’s North Beach, and the sexually complex Tenderloin, Blackmail, My Love is a singular, visually stunning neo-noir experience.
8. Criminal Gold by Ann Aptaker
Description: Midnight, New York Harbor, 1949. Cantor Gold, dapper dyke-about-town, smuggler of fine art, waits in her boat under the Brooklyn Bridge for racketeer Gregory Ortine. In the shadow of the bridge, he’ll toss Cantor a satchel of cash, and she’ll toss him a pouch containing a priceless jewel. But the plan, and the jewel, sink when a woman in a red sequined dress drops from the bridge and slams onto Cantor’s boat. She is Opal Shaw, Society Page darling and fiancée of murder-for-hire kingpin Sig Loreale. Through a night of danger, desire, and double-cross, Cantor must satisfy Loreale’s vengeance, stay ahead of an angry Ortine, and untangle the knots of murder tightening around Opal’s best friend and keeper of her dirty secrets, Celeste Copley, a seductress who excites Cantor’s passion but snares her in a labyrinth of lies. The lies explode in a collision of love, loyalty, lust…and death.
9. Death by Pride: A Kyle Callahan Mystery by Mark McNease
Description: First came ‘Murder at Pride Lodge’, where murder met mayhem in the Pennsylvania countryside. Next was ‘Pride and Perilous’, the collision of high art and low death at Manhattan’s Katherine Pride Gallery. And now, the Pride Trilogy concludes with ‘Death by Pride.’ It’s Gay Pride weekend, the most festive weekend of the year in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrive to show the world how to have a good time.
Stalking the party is the most successful serial killer the city has ever seen. He claims his victims in threes and has just begun his newest spree. Detective Linda Sikorsky comes to town to visit Kyle Callahan and his husband Danny Durban. It’s her first Pride Parade and may well be her last. Harmless fun turns to terror in a frantic effort to stop the killer once the first body floats to the river’s edge. This time it’s personal, and this time one of them might not make it out alive.
Where to buy: Amazon
10. Love and Punishment by Susan Mac Nicol
Description: On the search for a serial killer, Detective Anthony Parglietto and Flynn Parker learn that every man must make a choice: to kill, to live, to love.
Someone is leaving a trail of bodies throughout London, and Detective Anthony Parglietto is determined to end the violence. Then he’ll return to the man he loves.
Tough, street-savvy, and used to dealing with lowlifes, Flynn Parker is the last person Anthony thinks he has to protect. Then the Bow-Tie Killer strikes close to home and the world turns upside down. Right is wrong, black is white, and a policeman might become a monster. But in the name of love, justice must be served. In the name of love, pain can be endured. In the name of love, a man can taste the very essence that defines him.
11. The Island and the Kite by Aurora Zahni
Description: Two girls. Two stories. One day. A murder spree and magic tea help two star crossed lovers see the light.
Mary Susan and Stefi Angel are two constant exes who can never get it right, always as eager to give up as they are to start up again. But one day in New York City helps change that forever.
The city is in a panic as the T and S Killers rising body count has everyone on edge. Free spirit Mary Susan just wants to see a movie and ends up trapped in Hell’s Kitchen being chased by vigilantes and murderers alike. She spends the night trying to escape the city that never sleeps and deciding if she should give Stefi another chance.
Star basketball player Stefi Angel can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to love…until she drinks magical tea and suddenly has all the questions and the answers. She just hopes she can get Mary Susan to believe they have the kind of love worth fighting for and that it’s not too late….
Where to buy: Amazon
12. Fatal Shadows (The Adrien English Mysteries Book 1) by Josh Lanyon
Description: One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.
Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.
Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.