Meg Gardiner books in order
Meg Gardiner is a former American lawyer and Edgar-winning author of mystery and thriller novels.
Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Meg attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School before practicing law in Los Angeles.
She also taught in the Writing Program at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Meg is best known for writing the Edgar-winning China Lake (2002), the first book in the Evan Delaney Series featuring a journalist from Santa Barbara.
She has also written the Jo Beckett, and UNSUB thriller series, as well as other standalone titles.
Her books, which have been translated into more than 20 languages, have been bestsellers in the U.S. and internationally.
A three-time Jeopardy! champion and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Meg is a former president of Mystery Writers of America (2019 and 2020).
She resides in Austin, Texas.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
- Ransom River (2012)
- The Shadow Tracer (2013)
- Phantom Instinct (2014)
- Heat 2 (2022)
- China Lake (2002)
- Mission Canyon (2004)
- Jericho Point (2004)
- Crosscut (2005)
- Kill Chain (2006)
- The Dirty Secrets Club (2008)
- The Memory Collector (2009)
- The Liar's Lullaby (2010)
- The Nightmare Thief (2011)
- UNSUB (2017)
- Into the Black Nowhere (2018)
- The Dark Corners of the Night (2020)
Detailed book overview
JUDGE, JURY—AND EXECUTION.
Rory Mackenzie vowed to never return to her hometown of Ransom River, California. But she comes back and does her civic duty. Now she’s juror number seven on a high-profile murder case.
While most of the town is focused on the tense and shocking circumstances of the trial, Rory’s return to Ransom River dredges up troubling memories from her childhood that she can no longer ignore. And in the wake of a desperate attack on the courthouse, Rory realizes exposing these dark skeletons has connected her to an old case that was never solved, and that bringing the truth to light just might destroy her.
Sarah Keller is a skip tracer, tracking criminals who have gone on the lam. She’s also a single mother to five-year-old Zoe, living quietly in small-town Oklahoma—until an accident sends Zoe to the ER, and their life changes in a heartbeat.
Medical tests reveal a desperate secret Sarah has been hiding for years: Zoe is not her daughter, but rather a girl once rescued from a nightmare of murder, vengeance, and harrowing family ties she can’t possibly remember. Sarah does. And someone wants to make sure she never forgets.
Now Sarah must abandon her carefully constructed life and take Zoe on the run. Using her knowledge as a skip tracer to stay off the grid, she must remain one step ahead of her pursuers if she is to stay alive, save Zoe, and bury the past once and for all.
One year ago, a shootout in a trendy L.A. club left bartender Harper Flynn’s boyfriend dead, Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison shattered, and two gunmen engulfed in flames. But if the case is closed, why is Harper still afraid?
Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting survivors, Harper pins her last hope on the only person willing to listen. But a traumatic brain injury has left Aiden with a rare and terrifying disorder: a delusion that random people are actually the same person in disguise.
As Harper and Aiden delve deeper into the case, Harper fears that the attack might have been more personal than anyone believed. And now her only ally is unstable, paranoid, and mistrustful—because he’s seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.
One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.
In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.
Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.
Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.
NB: Co-authored with Michael Mann.
Evan Delaney is a heroine of our times: a woman with a big heart, a quick tongue and a hot temper that gets her into trouble.
She is shocked to discover that Tabitha, her ex-sister-in-law, has joined the Remnant - the Reverend Pete Wyoming's fanatical band of disciples. And that Tabitha is trying to regain custody of her six-year-old son, Luke, currently in Evan's care while his father is posted to the Naval Air Warfare Center. Then one of the Remnant is killed, and Evan's brother is the prime suspect.
With her boyfriend, lawyer Jesse Blackburn, Evan tries to clear her brother's name and rescue her nephew. In doing so, she finds herself caught up in a wild plan to steal weapons, and a blazing inferno on a Santa Barbara hillside.
Evan Delaney, novelist and legal go-fer, is dressed as Diana Ross in order to crash a fancy-dress party and serve a summons, when she hears that Franklin Brand is back in town.
Brand is the hit-and-run driver who sentenced Evan's lover Jesse to life in a wheelchair, and killed his best friend. Since the accident, Brand has been avoiding justice overseas; but if he's back, Evan and Jesse are determined to get him, helped by the dead boy's brother Adam.
Brand had been a high-flier in Mako Technologies, a cyber-security firm, and this is where Evan starts looking. She quickly uncovers evidence that Brand was embezzling funds, and that Adam's brother knew all about it. So maybe that hit-and-run wasn't an accident at all? Then the policeman investigating is killed, and Adam and Jesse both come under suspicion.
The plot has more twists, thrills and spills than a white-knuckle ride, and is complicated by the confused emotions of the main parties involved: Jesse feels a survivor's guilt; Adam resents the fact that Jesse is alive while his brother died. But there are more corpses - including a near miss for Evan herself - to come before the bad guys are finally brought to book.
When a young woman tumbles dead onto the beach, the police identify the body. It's Evan Delaney. Except that Evan is very much alive. It's her identity that has been stolen. And the thief has compromised more than just Evan's bank account. She has been scamming money from rich Hollywood wannabes -- including a vicious drug boss. He wants his money back. From Evan. Soon she finds herself harassed by drug runners and suspected of murder. She must save herself -- but to do that must escape a web of deceit that threatens to destroy not just her, but her boyfriend Jesse.
Evan Delaney knew China Lake was a tough place to grow up. But she doesn't know how tough until she returns to the desert military base for her high-school reunion and learns that several of her classmates died young. Then, on the first night of the reunion, another one dies - this one savagely butchered. And she's just the first.
Someone has an ax to grind. And Evan's graduating class has something to fear.
When Evan Delaney's father disappears, the cops think he's fled the country to avoid prosecution. But Evan is sure he's been abducted or killed for reasons associated with his work for Naval Intelligence. As Evan hunts for clues, she's attacked by an armed man. The attacker ends up dead—and turns out to be a federal agent.
Now Evan is on the run, implicated in his murder. And then she's contacted by a sinister duo—a madam and gigolo mother-and-son team who claim her father was mixed up in their very dirty business. Can Evan save her father's reputation—and his life?
An ongoing string of high-profile and very public murder-suicides has San Francisco even more rattled than a string of recent earthquakes: A flamboyant fashion designer burns to death, clutching the body of his murdered lover. A superstar 49er jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. And most shocking of all, a U.S. attorney launches her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others.
Enter forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, hired by the SFPD to cut open not the victim's body but the victim's life. Jo's job is to complete the psychological autopsy, shedding light on the circumstances of any equivocal death. Soon she makes a shocking discovery: All the suicides belonged to something called the Dirty Secrets Club, a group of A-listers with nothing but money and plenty to hide.
As the deaths continue, Jo delves into the disturbing motives behind this shadowy group - until she receives a letter containing a dark secret Jo thought she'd left deep in her past, and ending with the most chilling words of all: 'Welcome to the Dirty Secrets Club.'
Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett's specialty is the psychological autopsy - an investigation into a person's life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She calls herself a deadshrinker instead of a head-shrinker: The silence of her 'patients' is a key part of the job's attraction. When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person - one with a suspect memory who can't be trusted to participate in his own medical care - she knows all her skills will be put to the test.
Jo is called to the scene of an aircraft inbound from London to help deal with a passenger who is behaving erratically. She figures out that he's got anterograde amnesia, and can't form new memories. Jo finds herself racing to save a patient who can walk and talk and yet can't help Jo figure out just what happened to him. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements.
Suddenly a string of clues arises, something to do with a super deadly biological agent code - named 'Slick,' a missing wife and son, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong. Jo realizes her patient's addled mind may hold the key to preventing something terrible from happening in her beloved San Francisco. In order to prevent it, she will have to get deeper into the life of a patient than she ever has before, hoping the truth emerges from the fog of his mind in time to save her city - and herself.
Tasia McFarland is a washed-up country-pop singer desperate for the break that will get her back atop the charts. She's also the ex-wife of the president of the United States. So when Tasia writes a song with politically charged lyrics, people take note and her star begins to rise anew. In the spectacle-driven opener of her comeback tour, she is lowered from a helicopter, hundreds of feet above her adoring fans, while firing a prop Colt .45 at the fireworks filled stage. Tasia is riding high.
Until she's killed by a bullet to the neck, before a shocked crowd of 30,000.
When video can't prove the shot came from Tasia's Colt .45 and the ballistics report comes up empty, the authorities call in forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett to do a psychological autopsy and help avert a political disaster. But as Jo sifts through the facts, she only finds more questions: Did Tasia kill herself in one last cry for attention? Were those lyrics the ranting of a paranoid woman losing her grip? Or warnings from a woman afraid and in danger? And most disturbing of all: Just what does Tasia's death mean for a president-and in fact a nation- teetering on the brink of catastrophe?
Autumn wants something special for her twenty-first birthday. She has the sports car, the apartment, and the private college. Now she wants excitement. She’s going to get it. Daddy has signed up Autumn and her friends for the “ultimate urban reality” game: a simulated drug deal, jailbreak, kidnapping, and manhunt. Authorities know all about it.
That’s why they’re disregarding the cries for help. How convenient for a gang of players taking it to the next level. They’re playing for real. When forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett and her partner, Gabe Quintana, are pulled into the game, the stakes are raised. After all, nobody wants to spoil Autumn’s fun. And nobody is leaving this party alive.
Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.
The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.
Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.
Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?
In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another, from her car at a stoplight. A mother is ripped from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
Caitlin's unit discovers the first victim's body in the woods, laid out in a bloodstained white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Around the bodies, Polaroid photos are stuck in the earth like headstones, picturing other women with their wrists slashed. The women in the woods are not the killer's first victims, nor are they likely to be his last.
To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind; he is a confident, meticulous killer, capable of charming his victims until their guard is down, snatching them in plain sight. He then plays out a twisted fantasy—turning them into dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy.
Caitlin's profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people's trust. But can they apprehend him before it's too late? As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims his next victim.
I am the legion of the night...
He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating.
Still reeling from her best friend's close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB unknown subject doesn't sit right.
She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin's own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?