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10 Best Michael Koryta Books (2024)

Best Michael Koryta BooksA Source of Pride

Micheal Koryta is one of the first names to pop up in one’s mind on the subject of contemporary crime and supernatural fiction. His name has been seen on the nomination lists of the greatest awards a writer could get like the Edgar Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Quill Award. He is a talent who is a source of pride for his community as he even received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Indiana University.

The novelist was born on September 1982 in an Indiana town named Bloomington. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence in this city, living with his family. He pursued a Criminal Justice degree at Indiana University and was eventually rewarded with a bachelor’s degree. He discovered his passion for writing at a very early age and as he tells us, he has been wanting to be a crime novelist since the age of sixteen.

Best Michael Koryta Books

Those Who Wish Me Dead


A Tale of Horror and Survival

As we often do so with our articles, we will start off this list with one of the best selling Michael Koryta books which will be Those Who Wish Me Dead in this case. The novel was published on the very first day of 2014 and has been a fan favorite ever since. It is a highly suspenseful mystery thriller that puts a lot of emphasis on themes of survival.

The story kicks off with the fourteen years old Jace Wilson being an accidental witness to a heartless murder. He is pulled into a life of danger in an instant. The police relocate him into a wilderness camp full of troubled children until the two murderers are caught as a safety measure. However, being stranded in the middle of miles of mountains is not really optimal if two maniacs are hunting you down.

A Feverish Nightmare

It is not very hard to see why this piece is regarded as one of the best Michael Koryta books. Once you get fully emerged into the story, the setting is nothing shorter than a feverish nightmare. The book manages to keep you on your toes throughout its length since there is always a great threat present, a threat that is constantly getting closer and closer.

Never Far Away


Battle of Identity and Belonging

The second place on our list will go to one of the best rated books by Michael Koryta, Never Far Away. It is a mystery thriller that talks about a life haunted by the past and is in a constant uphill battle of identity and belonging. It shines a light on why people lie and the potential consequences of lies told. How far can you get with a lie and how much can you lose because of it?

There are two narratives in the story. The first is of Nina Morgan, a midwestern mother who left her identity behind and ran off North with the new name of Leah Trenton. The second one is of her children who set off on a cross-country trip after the sudden death of their father. Leah reaches out to them as “Aunt Leah” but this is not enough for the children and soon after, they will find trouble in their search for closure.

Properly Built Story With a Great Climax

My favorite part of the book was the family face-off that happened along the shores of the Allagash River, the climax of the book. The suspense was built throughout the story as well as the bottled-up emotions of the characters and the finale was just the right conclusion. Never Far Away has a sure place among the best books by Michael Koryta list and it just might be the most emotionally thrilling one.

When a Stranger Comes to Town


The Latest Masterpiece

The latest book by our beloved novelist Michael Koryta will be taking third place in our article which is When a Stranger Comes to Town. The book was published just a little more than one year ago, in April 2021. Since then, it received great appraisal from both literary communities and the author’s fans. It was a finalist for the Anthony Award in the Best Anthology category. It also received wholly positive reviews from the biggest book journals around the world.

As I have already said, this piece is an anthology that is made up of stories from the best mystery writers in the United States. There are nineteen stories in total and the list of authors includes iconic names such as Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, and Amanda Witt. Michael Koryta is of course one of the contributors as well, but he was also the main editor. So, this analogy is his legacy more than it is anyone else’s.


The theme of the new Michael Koryta book is the arrival of a stranger. His story, titled P.F.A. talks about a woman by the name of Janice Jardine. The story seems simple at first glance; Janice buys a plot of land in a distant neighborhood and builds a house for herself and her children. When a new couple moves into the house next door, Janice bakes them a pie and welcomes them with it along with a batch of paperwork.

The Prophet


High Suspense and Emotional Intensity

Next up on our list of the most popular Michael Koryta books, we will take a quick look at the book The Prophet. This piece is regarded as one of the novelist’s best works and is praised for its suspense and emotional intensity. It is another book revolving around severed family bonds but this time around, we have a very dark and heart-breaking tragedy buried in the family’s past.

The book tells us the story of two brothers, Adam and Kent Austin. The duo has not talked to each other for years. They were never able to recover from the horrid abduction and murder of their sister that happened when they were teenagers. Adam is now a lonely man, working as a bail bondsman and with one foot in the town’s criminal world. Kent is the coach of the local high school football team and is a loved figure.

For Some Closure

Right as the playoffs of Kent’s football team begins, every single soul in the town is disturbed by the news of another teenage girl falling victim to a murder. As details of the case closely resemble the Austin murder, the brothers unite again with the hope of some closure. It is a tale of grief, guilt, and rage. The Prophet is a moving and thrilling story that is a big contender for the title of the best Michael Koryta book.

Lincoln Perry Series


Four Books of Action and Crime Fiction

Almost halfway done with our article, we will spice things up and talk about one of the best Michael Koryta series; Lincoln Perry. It is a series talking about a private investigator named -you guessed it- Lincoln Perry. We follow along with Perry for four books worth of thrill-filled action and crime fiction. The series is rather old as the first book was published in 2004 and it was concluded in 2009.

The first of these Michael Koryta books in chronological order is “Tonight I Said Goodbye”. It was the debut piece for the career of Koryta as a novelist and the success that it had launched his career. He was praised for having written such a high-paced and solid adventure with fully drawn-out characters at the age of just twenty-one.

Mud in the Water

In the first book, Lincoln is tasked with looking into the death of another investigator by the name of Wayne Weston. His cause of death is ruled as an apparent suicide but the fact that his wife and daughter went missing the same night muds the waters. As Lincoln digs deeper into the event, she will discover the rumored existence of his troubles with a Russian mob. Hope this gives you a taste of the series.

So Cold the River


A Life Spent in Secret

To continue on with our best Michael Koryta books ranked list, I will give you a quick glimpse into the book So Cold the River. It is a mystery book like the previous works that we have gone over but it stands out among them. This piece is an example of the highly praised supernatural works of the author. There is as big of a mystery as the previous pieces but paranormal themes give this book a completely different feeling.

The story starts with the beautiful woman Alyssa Bradford looking to prepare a gift for her husband. She decides to make a documentary in the name of her father-in-law, a billionaire who has managed to live out ninety-five years of his life in almost complete mystery. She approaches Eric Shaw to help her in this project and Eric agrees to help her in her quest despite the fact that there are only two, extremely-vague clues to start with.

Curious Findings

Eric travels to the hometown of the billionaire in his search for the past and finds out about a once-glorious hotel. He learns that the hotel was once a frequent spot for the rich, famous, and powerful. There were hot springs with miraculous healing abilities which were even effective against malaria. Eric finds the hotel to be completely restored for his stay despite being neglected for decades. This one of the best Michael Koryta novels provides us with a thrilling ride.

How It Happened


Crime Before Mystery

We are carrying on with our Michael Koryta book reviews list without losing a second and now we will go over the piece How It Happened. This piece presents us with a mystery that puts a lot of emphasis on its themes of crime fiction. The characters are riddled with the crimes of their pasts and the focus is mostly on the crime and law conflict of the events. In fact, the most important character of the story is an FBI investigator.

The story starts off with Kimberly Crepeaux confessing to a double murder in which one of the victims was his girlfriend. Although Kimberly carries a nasty reputation as she is a teen mother addicted to heroin, the locals heavily doubt the truth of her confession. The FBI investigator Rob Barrett though believes her story completely. He had been closely inspecting Kimberly for a long time and puts his career on the line for supporting the legitimacy of her confession.

A Lost Case From The Start

However, the bodies of the victims are found more than two hundred miles away from the location Kimberly gave which leads to the case being closed and Barrett being relocated against his wish. Not having anything to lose, Barrett decides to double down on the case both for himself and for the victim’s families. How it Happened is a suspense-filled mystery with an unpredictable plot and it is a strong contender for the best Michael Koryta novel title.

Mark Novak Series


Riddled With Loss

Next up on our list, I will talk a little about another one of the best Michael Koryta book series which is the Mark Novak series. Markus Novak works as a private investigator in a law firm from Florida and his specialty is to free death row inmates from their charges. At the start of the series, we are greeted by Novak as she is still mourning the death of his mother.

The first book in the series is about the dead body of a teenage girl that was found on the same day the investigator’s wife passed away. The body was found in an intricate cave system underneath Southern Indiana and the man who claims to have come across the body is the prime suspect. In complete desperation, the man pursues Novac to take up the case and prove his innocence.

Facing His Demons

The second book titled Rise the Dark talks about a much more personal case. The man he believed to have killed his wife is out of prison and draws him into the isolated road on which his wife was shot to death. At the same time, other people nearby are going through their own tragedies which are not completely separate from the loss of Novak.

If She Wakes


Fighting With The Unknown

Nearing the end of our article, I will quickly summarize one of the top rated books by Michael Koryta for you. If She Wakes is a mystery thriller telling the story of two women fighting for their lives against a threat that they do not really know about. The only thing they are certain about is the fact that someone wants them dead. This fight for survival makes up for a story that keeps you on your toes all the way through.

Tara Beckley is one of the main characters of the story. She is a senior at Hammel College in Maine and suffers a gruesome accident when she is driving a visiting professor to a conference. The professor passes away and Tara is left in a comatose state. Unbeknownst to her friends or doctors, she is in a conscious state known as a locked-in syndrome where her senses are alert but she can not move or speak.

Pasts Filled With Tragedies

The other woman is an insurance investigator by the name of Abby Kaplan. She is tasked with the investigation of Tara’s unfortunate accident. However, she is still dealing with the trauma of an accident that left an actor dead which was the reason she left her old job of stunt driving and moved back home. Still, she can tell things do not add up even in this state and this mystery makes a great contender for the best Michael Koryta book title.

The Cypress House


Constant Thrill

To end our Michael Koryta book list, I will introduce you to one of the best novels by Michael Koryta; The Cypress House. It was a nominee for the best horror title of 2011 in the Goodreads Choice Awards. It is also another supernatural story that is filled to the brim with thrill. The suspense of the book is constant from the first page to the last and it has a very interesting story.

The story tells us the story of Arlen Wagner and his trip to Florida which eventually turns out to be a total nightmare. You should know though, that Arlen is no ordinary man. He will see a trace of smoke in front of a man’s eyes from time to time and this smokes seems to signal death every single time. So, you can understand his state of mind when he finds himself on his Florida train with smoke in every passenger’s eyes.

In The Face of Danger

He warns his road mates yet he can only pursue one of them to believe him. Arlen and his newfound friend Paul Brickhill abandon the train. They take off down to the South in the hopes of escaping death and at the end of their journey, they find themselves stranded at the Cypress House and learn of an approaching hurricane. This full-of-suspense story on top of the other thrilling elements of the story make up for a great story.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)