07/24/2011 10:04 am ET | Updated Sep 23, 2011

Best Thriller Beach Reads

Imagine an industry that sells over three billion products a year across the world. This is not an electronic gadget or a knife that can cut through a soda can, but rather a publishing genre known as the thriller. I am a thriller and crime fiction junkie. I've been addicted to these books for years, and my habit keeps growing, so it's not unusual for me to be reading a few of them concurrently. The authors who write in these genres seem to churn them out on a yearly basis. The one common element among all these books is that they hold more testosterone than Gold's Gym. However, many thriller readers are women and so are many bestselling authors of these books. Their female protagonists are revered by millions of readers, both men and women alike. My mother used to call these books beach reads but they're good anywhere.

The following is a list of my five favorite female authors from the crime fiction and thriller genres.