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6 German Mystery and Thriller Novels to Broaden Your Horizons

The only thing better than German chocolate is German intrigue.

german mystery thriller novels
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  • Photo Credit: "Splinter" by Sebastian Fitzek

Do you pore through mystery and thriller books faster than the publishing industry can keep up? Try getting your next intrigue fix from imported treasures. English writers may be the obvious next stop on your international TBR list—we got Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot from across the pond, after all—but there are wonderful mysteries and thrillers from any number of countries.

Germany has a cultural history as dark as it is rich, and its authors have no limit to their talent. Whether you like sharply modern thrillers that examine racial tensions or historical mysteries that bring to life a post-war grit, this list has everything you need. Here are six mysteries and thrillers from Germany!

the trap

The Trap

By Melanie Raabe

Linda Conrads is well-known for her bestselling books—but she's just a notorious for the more than 11 years she's lived as a recluse. Cruel and bizarre rumors buzz around the shut-in, but nothing can compare to the truth. 12 years ago, Linda found her younger sister dead in a pool of blood, and while murder remains unsolved, the face of the killer still haunts her to this day.

Locking herself away in her own home is the only way Linda can manage her panic attacks. But her last safe haven is shattered when she sees the face of the man who killed her sister on TV. With no other way to reach out to the outside world, Linda uses the only tool she can: her writing. She weaves a brilliant new novel that doubles as an irresistible trap for this brutal killer. But as memories come rushing back, Linda begins to doubt her own sanity.

Did this man really take her sisters life, or is she hunting an unsuspecting victim?

blue night

Blue Night

By Simone Buchholz

Chastity Riley is a state prosecutor who's been pushed to the sidelines to keep her out of trouble. Dumped into the boring new department of witness protection, her job proves to be more exciting than expected when she's assigned to the case of an anonymous man in the hospital. After gaining her charge's confidence, she finds herself wrapped up in taking down an Albanian mafia kingpin.

A great read for lovers of hard-boiled crime and a gritty, noir tone!

babylon berlin

Babylon Berlin

By Volker Kutscher

The first book in this historical mystery series finds Detective Gereon Rath tangled in a complicated web of drugs, sex, murder, and political intrigue as the rising tide of Nazism threatens Berlin. In 1929, life after World War I finds many unsatisfied workers on the brink of revolt. But the bars and brothels are full.

New to Berlin and the police department, Rath sees the new case of an unidentified victim of murder and torture to be his ticket into the homicide division. He uncovers a link to exiled Russians trying to use smuggled gold to purchase arms, but this group isn't the only one after gold and guns.

the wall

The Wall

By Max Annas

This masterful German author tackles racial politics in South Africa.

All Moses wants is to find his way home, back to his girlfriend, and a nice, cold beer. But when his car breaks down on an abandoned street, there's no one around to ask for help. He slips into the nearby gated community—The Pines—to try and find help from a classmate. It seems safe enough—but the rules are different for a Black man in a white world. And one terrible mistake sets forth a terrible sequence of mistaken identities, racial profiling, and class politics.



By Sebastian Fitzek

Marc Lucas spirals into grief after an accident takes the life of his wife and unborn child. He wishes for nothing more than to wipe his memory. But one day he returns home to find that his key doesn't work in the lock. What's more unsettling is that his wife is alive, healthy, and pregnant—and she doesn't seem to recognize him. Is he slipping into madness, or is a cruel conspiracy unfolding around him?

until the debt is paid

Until the Debt is Paid

By Alexander Hartung

Jan Tommen is a Berlin detective who wakes up one morning to a shocking murder charge. Hard evidence places him at the scene of a judge's murder, and gaps in his memory prevents him from providing an alibi. It seems like an open and shut case, but Jan escapes polices custody to hide out in the criminal underworld and seek out the truth.