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 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I love a solid mystery and a well-written detective series. I check for new books from my favorite detective series writers every few months.

My favorites are:

James Lee Burke’s David Robicheaux novels. Burke is one of the best living American writer. His prose is poetic, and his mysteries are multi-layered. His hero is flawed but noble, and his villains are complex.

Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Jessie Stone novels. Loved all of them. Since he died, other writers have continued the series, but the originals are the best.

Michael Connelly’s Heronimous Bosch series. Connelly is a great writer, and Bosch is a complex, savvy detective.

John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series. I’ve like most but not all of the books in this series. You have to accept a little bit of the supernatural at times.

J.D. Robb’s Dallas and Rourke series. Set about 40 years in the future, Robb tackles important issues with complex characters.

Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole and Pike series. Lots of action and fun and well as writing about important topics.

Carol O’Conner’s Mallory series. As sociopath makes an interesting detective.

Karin Slaughter’s Sarah, Sheriff and Trent series. It is a graphic series not for the easily offended.

Peter James’ Roy Grace novels, and Peter Robinson’s Bank’s series. Both excellent British mysteries.

Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series. Most, but not all, of her novels have been excellent.

David Baldacci’s Robbie and Amos books.

Other favorites are: Paul Doiron series about a forest ranger in Maine, Gregg Hurwitz Orphan X series, Robert Galbraith’s Corman Strike series (British) Tony Parson’s series (British) Candice Fox’s new series (Australian), Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles, Linda Castillo’s Ex-Amish Sheriff’s series, John Verdon’s Gerney novels, Mo Hayden books (British), Sharon Bolton’s Lacy series (British), Sara Blasdell’s series (Danish), Susan Hill’s Simon series (British), Elly Griffith series (British), Val McDermid’ Tony Hill series (British) Steig Larrson, Camilla Lackberg, and Karin Fossum series (Scandinavian) and a few others. These series should all be read in order.

Do you have a favorite Detective series? SHARE it with us.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 2:34 PM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

For me I read Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe stories, sort of on a loop every year or two. I've a bad memory so it's often like reading a new book. I like the styles of writing and usually I've forgotten the twists and turns,even if I do know the ending.

I'm not very well read in this genre though at all and haven't read any of the books or authors yôu mention.

Oh, I read and enjoyed all the Fletch novels, if that counts too. They were very short, easy reads.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 3:24 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

Hands down for me are Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective" books - at least all of the ones up to 1995 or so. After that, the quality of the writing and plotting sadly sunk.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Xebec, I feel guilty because I've never read Phillip Marlowe books. I should go back in history and read Marlowe.

Mark, I forgot the Nameless Detective series. I still read him, although a younger guy seems to be taking his place as Nameless works less and less. I've really liked many of Pronzini's novels. I should check for any new ones.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 4:37 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

Xebec, I feel guilty because I've never read Phillip Marlowe books. I should go back in history and read Marlowe.

Mark, I forgot the Nameless Detective series. I still read him, although a younger guy seems to be taking his place as Nameless works less and less. I've really liked many of Pronzini's novels. I should check for any new ones.


Joan, I hope you have at least seen Bogart as Marlowe in "The Big Sleep"!

I think Pronzini has recently ended the Nameless series, but, imo, it peaked in the 1990s. As you mentioned, it just wasn't the same when it started having multiple narrators. Pronzini's skill at both story-telling and descriptive writing appears to have deserted him in the later novels.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

Joan, as usual I agree with your picks. Especially Michael Connelly. But I will add Ross MacDonald and the Lew Archer series of novels. They are superb. Talk about multi-layered plotting.

John D. MacDonald should also be mentioned for the Travis MacGee series.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Yep, I've seen The Big Sleep but not read Marlow stories. It isn't too late.

mgh, since you and I are twinsies, I should check out Ross MacDonald.

One older detective series that I did read was the Travis McGee novels, all of them. Sadly John MacDonald died which ended the series.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 7:13 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

Do you have a favorite Detective series? SHARE it with us.


Joan, Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer books are top-notch and absolutely essential. I also enjoy very much Tony Hillerman's novels about Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo tribal police set in New Mexico and Arizona. P.D. James' series about Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh is also pretty good.

I also like John Franklin Bardin's books featuring Dr. George Matthews, a psychiatrist-detective, but they're an acquired taste so I'm not sure if I can actually recommend them. There's only two, written in the late 40s: 'The Deadly Percheron' and 'The Last of Philip Banter'. Bardin is kind of a cult writer, almost unknown, but who seems to have small resurgences from time to time.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Essankay, I too read the Hillerman Chee and Leaphorn novels. Really liked them, and the geography was like a character in those novels. The author died, and I understand his daughter is continuing the series, but I have tried her novels yet. (So many books and so little time.) I see another vote for Ross MacDonald.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2019 - 11:37 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

Marlowe
Holmes

nuff said!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 11, 2019 - 9:02 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

nuff said!

Not really. More series could be added.

I'd like to hear from others about their favorite detective series.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 8:40 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I'm surprised no one has added Henning Mankell's Wallander series, Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series or Patterson's Alex Cross books. I've only read a few books from any of these series.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 8:56 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

My list would largely echo your own, Joan, in part because many of them were suggested to me by you! wink I've never been disappointed by a Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly) or an Elvis Cole/Joe Pike (Robert Crais) entry, and if I had to sound a contrary note about the Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke) series it would be Burke's tendency in recent volumes to pontificate a bit much on the issues of the day. Otherwise, top-notch.

Some additions I would make to your list (for me) would include:

Caimh McDonnell's Dublin Trilogy (there are actually four books in this "trilogy"), featuring Irish detective Bunny McGarry, a lovable trainwreck of a character.

The Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child Agent Pendergast series, a bit Sherlock Holmesy and "out there" but nevertheless addictive and never dull.

I would add my echo to your thumbs up to anything and everything (including the westerns) by Robert B. Parker, creator of the hands-down drollest of any of the aforementioned detective characters, Spenser. I have found Baldacci's Amos books to be progressively less interesting, following a promising debut...

All of course "imho".

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Hey Dana, thanks for chiming in. You added a few that I need to check out. Many of my picks were due to your suggestions. Let's keep on reading.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

My list would largely echo your own, Joan, in part because many of them were suggested to me by you! wink


Hi Dana! Seeing as you are a detective fiction fan, I'm wondering if you've read any of the Bernie Gunther books by Philip Kerr. I'd never heard of Kerr until I read a recent obit. His protagonist, Gunther, is a Berlin police detective in Weimar, then Nazi, then post-war Germany.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

My list would largely echo your own, Joan, in part because many of them were suggested to me by you! wink


Hi Dana! Seeing as you are a detective fiction fan, I'm wondering if you've read any of the Bernie Gunther books by Philip Kerr. I'd never heard of Kerr until I read a recent obit. His protagonist, Gunther, is a Berlin police detective in Weimar, then Nazi, then post-war Germany.


Hi Steve! I haven't read any of this series, but the time frame and location are very much within my areas of interest. Thank you for the suggestion -- will check them out first on Wikipedia and then on Amazon. Wikipedia comes first as I have been brainwashed by Joan to begin any book series I embark upon by reading the first one and proceeding in order. This has proven to be good advice, since many authors tend to mention earlier events in the lives and cases of their protagonists, often thus throwing out "spoilers" if you haven't read the earlier book that covered those cases. Wikipedia is a great place to get a chronological listing of the books in a series.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Hey Dana, thanks for chiming in. You added a few that I need to check out. Many of my picks were due to your suggestions. Let's keep on reading.

Hey Joan! I was surprised to not see John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series on your list! I've actually liked some of Sandford's other characters better than Davenport, but I thought I remembered that you were a solid Davenport fan.

In comparing my list to yours, I have a confession to make which may add another tilt to the discussion. At the risk of being branded in various ways, I have to confess that I have generally not much liked the books of female detective writers as much as the books of male writers. I've searched my conscious for evidence of a sexist prejudice in other things, but just don't find that to be a part of me at all! I have not as yet been able to put a finger on it... That said, I did recently enjoy the first entry in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, so there you go.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Hey Dana, I had the Sanford books in my notes, and now going back over my initial post, I see I left him off which was accidental. I read every Sanford L. Davenport novel up until a few years ago. The character sort of wore out his welcome or changed. So I started with Sanford's Virgil Flowers' novels and still love them.

Hey, one likes what one likes. I like both male and female detective writers. Some of the female writers have female detectives, but others like Hill, George, Galbraith, Fox, and Fossum have male detectives. I've heard nothing but great things about L. Penny. Still haven't tried her yet.

One other I forgot was Archer Mayor and his Gunther series. They take place in Vermont.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 4:06 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

I'm a dilettante in this arena based on the lists you all have put together. Except for the Hillerman novels, introduced to me by my mom, I have only read a bit of these. A Robert Parker here (but he pisses me off, so I don't go back), a Robert Crais there (but not the series books, I think I read Hostage), etc....

I don't think Lawrence Block has been mentioned yet. He is such a favorite writer - when I get the occasional urge to read crime fiction, and he has so many series, I just go back to him. I've read all but the last couple of Block's Matthew Scudder books, and yes, another best read in order, especially as you travel with him through his journey through alcoholism and recovery.

More fun, a little silly and old-fashioned, are Block's "The Burglar who...." series starring Bernie Rhodenbarr - a burglar (and bookseller) who always has to solve a murder, often to clear himself.

And then, not detection but assassination - Block's Keller books, which are really mostly a series of short stories, about a killer for hire. Hit Man is the first in the series. I love these.

But now you all have given me a lot to think about. It's funny, we watched an old "Touch of Frost" episode last night, which spurred me to download the first Pronzini Nameless detective book, Snatch, because I've been meaning to read one of these. And here you are talking about him.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

I'm a dilettante in this arena based on the lists you all have put together. Except for the Hillerman novels, introduced to me by my mom, I have only read a bit of these. A Robert Parker here (but he pisses me off, so I don't go back), a Robert Crais there (but not the series books, I think I read Hostage), etc....

I don't think Lawrence Block has been mentioned yet. He is such a favorite writer when I get the occasional urge to read crime fiction, and he has so many series, I just go back to him. I've read all but the last couple of Matthew Scudder books, and yes, another best read in order, especially as you travel with him through his journey through alcoholism and recovery.

More fun, a little silly and old-fashioned, are his "The Burglar who...." series starring Bernie Rhodenbarr - a burglar (and bookseller) who always has to solve a murder, often to clear himself.

And then, not detection but assassination - the Keller books, which are really mostly a series of short stories, about a killer for hire. Hit Man is the first in the series. I love these.

But now you all have given me a lot to think about. It's funny, we watched an old "Touch of Frost" episode last night, which convinced me to download the first Pronzini Nameless detective book, Snatch. And here you are talking about him.


Sean, I am not familiar with any of these writers but thank you for mentioning them -- I'm always up for a new discovery! A couple of your plot descriptions remind me of another author whose books I usually love, although I'm not sure they exactly fit with this genre, or even how I would categorize them. Thomas Perry has written a series of books which feature a character named Jane Whitefield, a native American woman who helps people in trouble disappear without a trace. The techniques she uses are ingenious and there are always some bad guys hot on her trail, so plenty of suspense, and of course she has to outwit the bad guys, which she does with equal ingenuity. Perry also has some novels which star a professional hit man, and these are as intricately plotted and clever as the Whitefield books. So there you are, rooting for the hit man to beat the "good guys." Big fun!

 
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