Online Book Clubs
by JC Gatlin
Meeting face-to-face to discuss the latest mystery novel with a group of like-minded bookworms has become increasingly difficult over the last couple of years. But filling that vacuum, online book clubs are popping up across the globe thanks to video conference platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others.
Now book clubs are expanding beyond coffeeshops, libraries, and living rooms to bring all those avid readers together virtually.
Here are six online book club groups that can bring the mystery and suspense discussions directly to your laptop.
LibraryThing.com – Crime, Thriller, and Mystery Groups
LibraryThing is a social networking site that offers several online groups to join, based on the mystery subgenre—Cozy, British, Agatha Christie, and more. Group discussions include varying online meetings to ongoing message boards. The site offers reading challenges as well as recommendations to its 2 million-plus members. And you can “friend” other members who’ve read similar books to continue conversations beyond the group.
BookTalk.org is a free online reading and discussion club with thousands of members. Recommended books include mystery and suspense titles, along with fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and poetry. Discussions are available in forums as well as live chats hosted by the website.
Crime Space is a social networking site for “readers and writers of crime fiction to meet.” They showcase new authors and provide forums to discuss the latest in crime fiction. Like any social media site, members can share photos and videos about the book being read and discussed in a group, as well as chat one-on-one with other members.
GoodReads.com – Crime, Mysteries & Thrillers
Goodreads.com is the ultimate online source for book clubs and groups. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of book discussion groups available to chat, analyze, and gush about any book you’ve enjoyed. The Crime, Mysteries, & Thrillers group offers several different titles to read each month, as well as group reads, buddy reads, games, and challenges. It’s a great way to find new titles as well as meet other avid readers who share your mystery-suspense passion.
I Love a Mystery Book Club
A lot of libraries offer book clubs, and the Harris County Public Library in Cypress, Texas offers a great mystery book club that meets online via Webex on the last Wednesday of the month. Their book selections run the gamut of cozy mysteries, classic whodunits, and thrillers. Though this book club is in Texas, participation is open to anyone who’d like to read and discuss the current mystery. Or, check your local library to see what clubs they offer.
Mystery Readers International
Mystery Readers International is a great resource to find a reader group near you. The site lists book clubs in every state, as well as a few international locations. Although most of the posts list physical meet-up locations, it’s a safe bet that a lot of them have moved their meetings to an online space. Contact information is given for each club so you can find out how and where they’re currently handling group meetings.
About the Author
JC Gatlin is an award-winning mystery-suspense author with Millford House Press, the fiction imprint for Sunbury Press. His newest book, Darkness Hides, was published in April 2021, and his 2019 mystery H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word won “Gold – Top Mystery or Crime Fiction” at the Florida Royal Palm Literary Awards. Prior to that, he wrote three Indie mystery-suspense novels set in Florida, including 21 Dares, which went to Number One on Amazon’s Top Mystery Suspense and Top Young Adult charts. JC lives in Tampa, Florida and is a member of the Florida Writers Association and a board member of the Florida Writers Foundation, which gives grants to schools and libraries for literacy programs.