People who have a taste for crime thrillers and murder mysteries will find the name Peter May familiar.
May is a prominent Scottish novelist and crime writer who has made a successful career by creating some of the most thrilling stories, focusing primarily on crime investigations.
Peter May has created three different series and, along with other standalone novels, has written over 25 novels.
The dedication May has for writing and creating compelling stories can be seen in the fact that he made annual trips to China, researched criminal investigation processes, etc.
He is also the only Westerner to have been an honorary member of the Chinese Crime Writers Association’s Beijing Chapter. With numerous other awards and honors, May has some way of captivating readers and scratching their itch for an intriguing murder mystery.
With three different series and almost 30 books, getting the right book and order to start May’s books can take time and effort.
So, to help you with it, here’s the complete list of all the books by Peter May in reading order. We’ll also describe in brief some books in the series.
All The Series: Peter May Books in Order
There are three series that Peter May has written. Here’s the list of the series.
- China Thriller
- The Enzo Files
- The Lewis Trilogy
Apart from this, there’s an extensive collection of standalone novels and nonfiction books. We’ll be adding those in this article as well. Let’s get started with the series.
|Where to Buy
|September 1, 2005
|November 30, 2006
|Poisoned Pen Press
|October 2, 2012
|March 5, 2019
China Thrillers Series
The China Thriller series is a massively successful book series and has done exceptionally well in China.
Apart from being based in the Oriental land of China, the China Thriller series starts with an interesting take on murder mysteries by adding a hint of romance.
The two protagonists of the China Thrillers series are Margaret Campbell and Li Yan, two completely different people in every way possible. From their mindset to how they do their jobs, Yan and Campbell are two similar poles of a magnet; they can’t stand each other.
What’s interesting about the two is that even though they are always in conflict, something is endearing about their relationship.
Both of them come from different sides of the world, with their own culture. And both have their malformed version of the other person’s culture.
But as the story progresses, they get to know the real version of themselves and their culture. This blossoms into something beautiful, and it is a sheer pleasure to see them grow and appreciate each other. But think of these series as something different than romantic stories.
The China Thrillers, as the name suggests, is all about thrill and mystery. The cases they solve are baffling and will make you scratch your head. The threats are real, there are life-threatening situations everywhere, and Yan and Campbell must do all they can to solve the cases.
Here are all the books in the series in reading order:
- The Firemaker
- The Fourth Sacrifice
- The Killing Room
- The Runner
- Chinese Whispers
- The Ghost Marriage
Start With: The Firemaker
The first book in the series serves as an introductory book and establishes the tone of the stories. The story starts with Margaret Campbell, a forensic pathologist based in Chicago.
She is not living a happy life. Failing to achieve happiness and being riddled with heartbreak, she wants to leave this unhappy life in America.
She gets what she seeks when the Chinese police department calls her for six weeks to train the Beijing police. She happily accepts, hoping this trip will give her the solace she seeks. But things go differently than she hoped for right after she lands in China.
Campbell gets in a road accident with Li Yan, and while she assumes that Li does not speak English, Li scolds her in perfect English. Getting off the wrong foot is how the two characters meet for the first time, and then it all goes downhill for both.
The two conflicts almost every time, both were trying to solve the issue in their way. This tug-of-war between the two makes the story fun to read. But that’s not all. Yan later learns who Campbell is, and she is now assigned to work with him investigating a case.
Someone is on a killing spree, murdering victims every day.
The Beijing police department is baffled by the motive, and as the story progresses with the investigation by Campbell and Yan, the readers find that something sinister is afoot, and not just a few people but the entire country is under threat.
The Enzo Files Books
Peter May is a method writer. For his highly successful China Thriller series, he made trips to China and studied every little detail to create stories that are rooted in accuracy. The Enzo Files series is just as detailed and accurate as the China Thriller series.
Since this series is based in France (and Peter May lives in France), he left no stone unturned while getting everything right. The series is named after the protagonist of this series, Enzo Macleod, a half-Scottish, half-Italian, professor of Biology at a French University.
Enzo used to be a forensic expert, working on spine-chilling cases. But as with every exciting murder mystery, the expert must return to the field.
Since he has been a forensic expert before, Enzo uses his skills and modern technologies to solve cold cases. And it is a joy seeing him investigate the cases.
There are seven books in the series, and while there is plenty of mystery, thrill, and high-octane action, the unique thing about this series is the surprisingly good humor. People do not expect funny humor in a crime thriller/murder mystery novel. And it fits perfectly.
Here are all seven books in the series arranged in reading order:
- Dry Bones / Extraordinary People
- The Critic / A Vintage Corpse
- Backlight Blue
- Freeze Frame
- Cast Iron
- The Night Gate
Start With: Dry Bones / Extraordinary People
There might be some confusion about the title of this book. The original title of this book was “Extraordinary People.” Still, it was published under the title “Dry Bones” in the US. So it does not matter which book you choose, everything is the same except the name.
Enzo Macleod is a biology teacher at a French University. Macleod grew up in Scotland and worked as a forensic scientist. He is married and has a daughter as well. He lives a simple, routine life with not much happening, but he is happy with what he does.
But things change when he is asked to help solve a 10-year-old case about the disappearance of a mighty and intelligent man named Jacques Gaillard. Gaillard had connections with some compelling and influential people, and solving the case of his disappearance would reveal a lot of things.
Of course, Enzo could not say no to the thrill and rush of solving a case and getting to use his skills and the modern pieces of equipment. Enzo finds Gaillard, but not wholly. He found a skull that belonged to Gaillard. But some clues lead him to a deeper investigation.
Enzo does not know that as he leads the investigation, he is getting closer to the killer, putting his own life in danger. There is a lot of action, thrill, and humor in this book and the entire series.
The Lewis Trilogy
While the China Thrillers is perhaps Peter May’s most famous and read series, the Lewis trilogy is his most critically acclaimed series. Many critics call it his most finely crafted series, with just three books in the series. So what’s so great about this series?
The best thing about this series is the protagonist. While May has written tremendous and exciting characters, they all have a light-hearted tone. The lead of this series, Fin Macleod, is a very complex character with some darkness in his past.
The story is set in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, where the protagonist grew up. While Fin is on the island to attend family members’ funerals, something sinister is happening in that place. A murderer is on the loose, and stopping him will be difficult.
There are three books in the series. Here are the books in reading order:
Start With: The Blackhouse
As with all the other books by Peter May, this one is finely researched. That’s not a shocker because Peter May was born in Scotland. The Blackhouse presents an interesting case of a string of murders in the small Scottish islands.
The Blackhouse is an excellent book that deserves all the praise it gets. From the pacing to the intricate design of the plot, this book is a work of genius. The story will keep you hooked and looking for what’s to come next.
Apart from writing three brilliant series, Peter May has also written some prevalent, interesting, standalone novels. These novels are the ones that propelled him to popularity. Since these are standalone novels, there is no reading order to them.
Here are all the standalone novels by Peter May:
- The Reporter
- Fallen Hero
- The Man with No Face / Hidden Faces
- The Noble Path
- Virtually Dead
- Entry Island
- Coffin Road
- I’ll Keep You Safe
- A Silent Death
So that was all about the complete list of Peter May books in reading order. There is something refreshing about reading crime thrillers and murder mysteries, and Peter May’s work is one potent drug in delivering that feeling.
So start with his intriguing Lewis trilogy or his extremely fun and addictive China Thrillers series. We are sure you’ll have a great time exploring the mysteries weaved by May.