Updated: Jan 29
Best crime authors include classic mystery authors like the brilliant Agatha Christie to detective authors like Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, and pulp crime fiction authors like Jim Thompson.
Assembling a comprehensive list of the most popular crime writers is a daunting task, but I'm taking a leap and giving it a shot. Be sure to vote for your favorite crime authors and if your personal favorite isn't on the list, at them!
Some of the best crime authors are able to combine just the right formula of psychological tension and mystery with cold, hard facts. The best crime novels offer up enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end. In a world where readers often demand instant gratification, keeping a crime book interesting until the final page is turned isn't an easy task to accomplish.
Famous crime authors I've included on this list include writers who've managed to churn out incredibly complex, entertaining mystery novels and detective books for decades, including Robert B. Parker, John le Carre and Graham Greene. Other, more contemporary crime and mystery writers have developed tremendously popular characters that readers eagerly follow through several novels (examples, you say? Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell and Dennis Lehane come to mind immediately).
Some of the best crime authors burned brightly, but didn't actually write more than a handful of brilliant crime fiction ('The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' author Steig Larsson, for instance). The number of actual novels produced doesn't always count - it's the quality of those books that make all the difference!
If you're a crime novel fan, chances are you've read most, if not all, of the top crime authors on this list. If you're just getting into the genre, hopefully this list will provide a great guide. Happy reading!
Conan Doyle The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd
Michael Connelly A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice
Raymond Chandler Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, Annabel Lee
Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest
Ian Rankin Let it Bleed, Dead Souls
AndrewSutherland addedLee Child Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble
John le Carré The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Dennis Lehane Shutter Island, Gone
James Ellroy Street Kings, The Black Dahlia
Jo Nesbø Jackpot, The Redbreast
James Lee Burke Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose
David Baldacci The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing
Elmore Leonard 3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd
Graham Greene The Third Man, The Fallen Idol
Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow
Robert Crais Cross of Fire, L.A. Requiem
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne
Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
John Grisham The Firm, A Time to Kill
John D. MacDonald Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox
Harlan Coben Hold Tight, Tell No One
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise
Ross Macdonald Sleeping Beauty: A Lew Archer Novel, The Way Some People Die
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face
Robert B. Parker Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice
Lawrence Block The Funhouse, My Blueberry Nights
Thomas Harris Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs
Henning Mankell The Dogs of Riga, Before the Frost
Robert Pinolehto addedSue Grafton Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection: A Caribbean Mystery, "F" Is for Fugitive
The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap