10 Must Read Espionage Novels and Series

I LOVE stories of espionage. Whether it’s with full on spies, assassins that have to spy sometimes, or sneaky detectives, I soak it up.

The ones I read I loved. Must add the others to my books to read stack. Espionage novels, spy, detective, and assassin stories.

I love so many spy and detective movies and TV shows (Chuck and Veronica Mars I miss you SO MUCH). You would think I’d have thought to try the book for earlier. But for whatever reason I never thought to seek out espionage novels. I books that had some of that but usually as a side note for some other intriguing draw. Now that I’ve learned better I want to share 11 of my favorite spy, assassin, and detective tales. All of them are YA (or ya appropriate) except for the last one that series is DEFINITELY adult.

The Remembrandt Series by Robin King

This is a story about a girl who has an eidetic memory which is basically a photographic memory on crack. Living away from home after a tragic accident has changed her family, she’s starting fresh at college. Soon she finds herself caught up with a spy network. I just finished the second book in the series Van Gogh Gone and ADORED it. I cannot wait until the third book is released. These stories are so creative you will fall in love with Alex and smart, reasonable personality. Alex doesn’t do the stupid or immature things many YA heroines do and I love her for that. There are also cute boys, lots of awesome fighting, and great story lines. They are one of those read any time type of books and on the shorter side so they make for a great weekend read. Coincidentally Goodreads is giving away a copy of Van Gogh Gone right now so I have linked the widget below to make it easier for you to enter because I’d love one of you to win. If you do and haven’t read the first book Remembrandt and can’t find it at your library I’d be happy to buy you one that’s how much I like this series. So go enter!

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

This is a crazy kid detective tale full of sassy personalities. I adored the characters in this book. Digby carries around police files and does hardcore detective work over dinner food and somehow Zoe can’t help be acquiesce to his requests to help her dig deeper into his investigations even though she wouldn’t really say she even liked him. As Zoe learns more about the teen kidnapping case Digby is so obsessed with solving and helps him gather more information an intricate web starts to unfold. There have indeed been some crazy things that happened in this new neighborhood Zoe has moved into. Trouble is a Friend of Mine is a fun, light, and a super enjoyable read.

His Fair Assassins by Robin LaFevers

This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES. The books are SO good. They are full of all different types of strong, smart, admirable girls. Amazing healthy and not your normal love interests. And adventure. SO much adventure. Really these books are seriously amazing. They have the feel of awesome historical fiction but read like YA fantasy. They are full of gorgeous dresses, castle life, political intrigue, and swoony romance. The stories focus around a convent of teen assassin nuns. You read that right. It’s so unique and fun. Just go add them to your must read list. The first book is called Grave Mercy.

Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

Want book candy? I present to you the Gallagher Girls. It’s a training school for spies set up as a prestigious prep high school. Some of the parents of the students don’t know what the truth is behind those shinny doors. These are super easy reading with fun characters and wonderful sisterhood. Follow the girls in their not so traditional classes, assignments, and even a few unsanctioned missions. Bonus points since there are 6 books in the series and they are all out and at least in my library system super easy to get a hold of!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

These books are unlike any I have read. While book one starts of as a super cool teen girl assassin book they do turn into full on fantasy. This was surprising to me but they are just so good I didn’t mind the kind of bait and switch of genres. There is crazy action, awesome fighting, a sassy main character, and multiple cute and smart boys. And as also fun is that Celaena loves cake, reading and buying herself gorgeous dresses. It’s hard to give justice to these books but the story is so unique, it is filled with top notch characters, and you will not be able to guess where it is going. I’m just finished listening to the 4 book of the series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger

Stempunk meets precocious boarding school. But there is a twist this boarding school is really a training academy for spys. While the Gallagher Girl books read like a boarding school set in current day America the Finishing School books are otherworldly and have a district historical feel. The girls have petticoats, parasols, and of course mechanical pets. The teachers aren’t all human, there’s a werewolf and a vampire and the girls are younger so there is more of a focus on the sneakiness of youth. Don’t get me wrong these girls are a force to be reckoned with no matter their age. I adores these books but for some reason had a hard time finishing them when I tried to read them. I’m so glad I gave the audiobooks a chance because they are MAGNIFICENT and the reader gives it the perfect performance. The series starts with Etiquette and Espionage.

Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

From the writer of the Artemis Fowl books I give you Half-Moon Investigations. This book is definitely Middle Grade. Fletcher is the youngest certificated detective in the world. And a good thing to because he’s got only 12 hours to solve a case he’s been framed for or else he’ll meet the wrath of the school bully’s who all seemed to graduate into real life criminals. This is cute and easy and if you want a boy point of view or a story to read with younger kids this is fun. The audiobook is pretty great too.

Flavia De Luce books by Alan Bradley

Do you know Flavia De Luce? Oh she is a character. She’s a brilliant precocious youngster with a love for chemistry. And some how murder seems to find her. Follow her as she sleuths her way into solving crimes way beyond her years while having the the best personality on the block. Set in the 1950’s you will fall in love with inquisitive Flavia. This is another that if possible you should listen too the reader is just fantastic. The adventures start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Don’t Get Mad by Gretchen McNeil

High School doesn’t tend to be what you call fair. There are bullies and mean girls and even some power abusing teachers. For unlikely partners team up to finally Get Even. They are tired of the treatment the student body undergoes at the hands of these cruel characters. The group, DGM (don’t get mad) has been pulling pranks that call out these jerks but things get crazy when someone ends up dead and someone is making it look like DGM is to blame. This duology is super fun, starting with Get Even and continuing with Get Dirty. You will be seething at the bad guys and on your toes trying to figure out who the true villain is until the very end.

Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K.Rowling

Have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling? This these detective books by favorite J.K. Rowling under pen name Robert Galbraith have found a solid home in my heart. First off they are definitely ADULT. Mature content (sexual and graphic violence) and they are not fantastical like the Harry Potter books but they are good fun stories that will suck you in and have you cheering for the frumpy almost bankrupt detective, Cormoran Strike. I just finished the third book of the series and I think they just keep getting better and better.

10 awesome spy, detective, and assassin books. Most of these novels are YA but they are fun for older readers too.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway! See the widget below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Van Gogh Gone by Robin King

Van Gogh Gone

by Robin King

Giveaway ends January 31, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

If you liked this you should check out these:

These books all look awesome. creative fairytale retellings mostly young adult

Great Fairytale inspired reads. Not your same old same old versions at all.

So many great books for Harry Potter fans. I've read a ton of these and totally agree with this reading list.

Tons of books for people who liked Harry Potter AKA everyone right?

Great audiobooks for the whole family
I LOVE audiobooks. It’s really the only way I’ll exercise or clean my house and here are over 25 fabulous audiobooks for the whole family.

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.



  1. Always on th elookout for books to add to my reading queue at the library. I can’t believe I haven’t read the Cormorant Strike books yet! Going to put these at the top of my queue. Thanks for the compilation,.


  2. What a great article. I love to read, too, and I didn’t until I read your article how often I go for the same genre of book. Thanks for sharing your “must read” list with us at Merry Monday.

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