Dennis Lehane

  

The Hound's pick

Darkness, Take My Hand

(1997)

  

Boston’s Dennis Lehane’s novels include Gone, Baby, Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island. The tightly wound plots are driven by well-developed characters as vivid as the neighbourhoods they inhabit. His books perfectly lend themselves to the silver screen.

“The crime writer's crime writer; with a spare, stark edge to his work that lifts it into the truly great class...” Daily Mail

William McIlvanney

  

The Hound's pick

Laidlaw

(1977)

  

William McIlvanney is the author of gritty yet poetic literature generally set in or near the town of Graithnock (a thinly disguised Kilmarnock) or Glasgow. He joined that ranks of master crime writer with the introduction of his Glaswegian DI, Jack Laidlaw. Observations of working class life and the murky lines between good and bad are told with wit.

“William McIlvanney paints a world of harsh reality, but does so in language that is strangely beautiful and hauntingly poetic…simply great writing from a master of his craft” Craig Russell

Malcom Mackay

The Hound's pick

The Necesarry Death of Lewis Winter

(2013)

  

Stornoway's Malcom Mackay writes gritty novels set in the violent Glasgow underworld. His gun men, gang lords, money lenders and cops are well defined but it's his style of writing that grabs the reader and makes this author stand out. 

“Mackay grabs the action from the start . . . He completely commands his material as he steers it towards a dramatic culmination" Scotsman

The Hound's pick

Black Cherry Blues

(1990)

  

James Lee Burke

  

Corruption in rural and urban Louisiana keeps Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux busy in James Lee Burke’s popular series. Human greed is shown to exploit the people and land of Burke’s stories in these realistic and well-plotted novels.

“America’s best novelist” The Denver Post

Ken Bruen

The Hound's pick

The Killing of the Tinkers

(2004)

  

Galway’s Ken Bruen has two long-running series, the best of which features disgraced former policeman Jack Taylor. The style is bleak, the prose clipped, as Bruen examines the darker side Ireland. Grim Irish noir but with no lack of humour.

“Bruen writes tight, urgent, powerful prose, his dialogue is harsh and authentic and Jack Taylor has become one of today's most interesting shamuses” The Times

Laura Lippman

  

The Hound's pick

What the Dead Know

(2007)

  

A reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun, Laura Lippman is the author of the Tess Monaghan series; feature the Baltimore reporter come accidental PI. Lippman has also written some excellent standalone novels.

“One of the best novelists around, period” The Washington Post

The Hound's pick

LA Requiem

(1999)

  

Robert Crais

  

A native of Louisiana, Robert Crais moved to LA where he began a successful career in television. His usual protagonist  - and first-person narrator - is the ex-ranger and private detective Elvis Cole, while some of the books focus on Cole’s partner, former marine Joe Pike.

“Robert Crais is hands-down the World’s Greatest Crime Fiction Writer, and that’s no joke”  Huffington Post

James Ellroy

The Hound's pick

The Big Nowhere

(1988)

  

Most associated with Los Angeles, Lee Earle ‘James’ Ellroy is known for his manic, staccato, prose in which he omits words other he considers unecessary, and often features sentence fragments. His complex books are noted for their dark humour and depiction of American authoritarianism.

“Ellroy is the author of some of the most powerful crime novels ever written” New York Times

John Le Carré

During his five years working as a spy for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, David John Moore Cornwell began writing espionage novels as John Le Carré. A best-seller for more than half a century he has redefined the spy thriller genre.

“John le Carré is the great master of the spy story . . . the constant flow of emotion lifts him above most novelists now practising” Financial Times

The Hound's pick

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

(1963)

Christopher Brookmyre

The Hound's pick

One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night

(2000)

One of Scotland’s golden generation of crime writers, Christopher Brookmyre writes Tartan Noir but with biting satire. Plot-driven and thrilling, his novels deal with political and social injustice, all told with a comedic and compelling style.

“Five-star sense of humour and full tank of genuine talent” The Times

When lists are published of the greatest crime writers it’s often the same names that dominate, you know the ones, Chandler, Christie, Conan Doyle: so, to shake things up, here’s the Hound’s top ‘living’ crime writers (last updated 27/11/14).

 

Making the cut are, in no particular order:

The Hound's Greatest Living Crime/Thriller Writers 

Michael Connelly

Inspired by the writing of Raymond Chandler, and fuelled by working as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly first brought us his best-known character, the LAPD’s Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch, in 1992. He’s still ‘speaking for the dead’ to millions of readers.

  

"His heros are haunted and driven, his villains savage and smart, and his novels filled with shocking, fascinating twists" Entertainment Weekly

The Hound's pick

Lost Light

(2003)

  

The Hound's pick

Little Green

(2013)

  

Walter Mosley

  

A prolific writer of numerous genres, Walter Mosley is perhaps best-known for his mystery series featuring the hard-boiled detective, World War II veteran - and redemption-seeking ex-con - PI Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlings and his sidekick Mouse. Moseley’s entertaining cast of outsiders offer a realistic, street-wise take on life.

“Mosley is one of the most humane, insightful, powerful prose stylists working today in any genre. He’s also one of the most radical...” The Austin Chronicle

Andrea Camilleri

The Hound's pick

Excursion to Tindari

(2000)

One of Italy's most celebrated writers, Andrea Camilleri is the author of the Inspector Montalbano series. Through the evolution of his food-loving protagonist, Camilleri comments on the changing times of Sicilian life, from the influence of the mafia to the introduction of the euro, all with a darkly comic touch.

"Montalbano’s colleagues, chance encounters, Sicilian mores, even the contents of his fridge are described with the wit and gusto that make this narrator the best company in crime fiction today"  Guardian

Carl Hiaasen

  

Born in Plantation, Florida, where he still lives today, investigative reporter Carl Hiassen has become the state’s unofficial voice, having spent much of his life advocating the protection of the Florida natural riches. Environmental themes along with political corruption play out in Hiassen’s entertaining novels, rife with satire and funny one-liners.

“The undisputed master of organized chaos... His satire is a fierce unmuzzled snarl, swiftly followed by a painfully ironic bite. Quite simply, brilliant" The Sunday Times

The Hound's pick

Skinny Dip

(2005)

  

Denise Mina

  

The Hound's pick

The End of the Wasp Season

(2011)

  

Denise Mina is the author of the superb Garnethill Trilogy, featuring Maureen ‘Mauri’ O’Donnell, a reluctant and unlikely crime solver; then came the Patricia ‘Paddy’ Meehan series which follows the career of a crime reporter; and, more recently, there's the DS Alex Morrow books. Mina shies away from the familiar who-done-it format.

“The most exciting crime writer to have emerged in Britain for years” Ian Rankin

The Hound's pick

No Second Chance

(2003)

  

Harlan Coben

  

Sharp dialogue and plots packed with hooks and twists make New Jersey’s Harlan Coben a bestseller of standalone and series novels. Coben’s books usually feature everyday characters in extreme circumstances, and often involving a missing person.

“Harlan Coben is the modern master of the hook-and-twist - luring you in on the first page, only to shock you on the last” Dan Brown

Lawrence Block

The Hound's pick

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

(2000)

New Yorker Lawrence Block is best-known for his series characters in the form of urban noir (featuring recovering alcoholic PI Matthew Scudder), comic capers (featuring gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr) and hit man novels (featuring loner Keller) and more besides during an illustrious career.

“[Block] is simply the best at what he does...If you haven’t read him before, you’ve wasted a lot of time. Begin now” Mostly Murder

Karin Fossum

The Hound's pick

He Who Fears the Wolf

(1997)

  

The ‘Norwegian queen of crime’, Karin Fossum is the author of the Insepctor Konrad Sejer series. With his manners and respect for authority Sejer is more like a detectives from the golden age of crime fiction. Fossum writes character-driven fiction and has an interest in ‘the good guy who does something evil’.

“Fossum crafts remarkably incisive psychological suspense: novels that carry the headlong momentum of thrillers and the acuity and weight of literary fiction" The Washington Post

George Pelecanos

  

The Hound's pick

The Big Blowdown

(1996)

  

George Pelecanos depicts the gritty crime infested streets of Washington DC. Often using an ensemble cast of characters, Pelecanos’s focus tends to be on the down-of-luck small time criminals and crooked cops. He’s also famous for being a producer and writer on the TV series The Wire.

“…perhaps the greatest living American crime writer” Stephen King

The Hound's pick

Silence of the Grave

(2001)

  

Arnaldur Indridason

  

The Icelandic author of the Inspector Erlendur series. Indridason, a former journalist and film critic, has written several superb crime novels including Jar City, Silence of the Grave and Black Skies.

“'One of the most brilliant crime writers of his generation” Sunday Times

Jeffery Deaver

  

The Hound's pick

The Stone Monkey

(2002)

  

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is the international number one bestselling author of both the Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance series of crime thrillers. He also writes suspenseful stand-alone novels and is no stranger to a good twist.

“The best psychological thriller writer around” The Times

The Hound's pick

Firewall

(1988)

  

Henning Mankell 

Mankell is a Swedish crime writer, children's author and dramatist, best known for a series of mystery novels starring Inspector Kurt Wallander. One of the giants of Scandinavian crime fiction, the author also has a strong connection with Africa.

“"By far the best writer of police mysteries today" Michael Ondaatje

Fred Vargas

  

Frédérique Vargas is an renowned archaeologist, historian and political campaigner. Her Commissaire Adamsberg series has won numerous awards making her a bestseller in her native France and also throughout the English-speaking world.

“The hottest property in contemporary crime fiction” Guardian

The Hound's pick

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand

(2004)

  

The Hound's pick

Missing

(2000)

  

Karin Alvtegen

  

Multi award winning Swedish author Karin Alvtegen writes fast paced psychological crime fiction mainly set in Sweden. Several of her books, all excellent, have been translated into English, including Missing, Betrayal, Shadow and Shame.

“Reminiscent of Ruth Rendell at her best” Herald