My Favorite Mystery/Suspense Writers

Sherlock Holmes

So, who are some my favorite mystery and suspense writers? Well, I’ll tell you! It’s a list that has no specific criteria other than a story that has a crime in it and set in the past or present. The following list is my own personal list of favorite mystery/suspense authors and in no particular order. Please, feel free to share your own favorite mystery/suspense authors.

Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch series, first book is The Black Echo. The series is mainly set in present day Los Angeles, California and mostly told in third person but it does shift to first person later in the series. Harry Bosch has a code he lives by and that is “everybody counts or no one counts.” Or something like that. Next book out in the Harry Bosh series is Nine Dragons, Oct 13, 2009.

Karin Slaughter – her strengths are her rich characterizations and plotting but her books tend to have graphic violence in them so consider yourself warned. She has two series going: the Grant County series set in a fictional town outside Atlanta and the first book is Blindsighted and the Will Trent series set in Atlanta, Ga with the first book being Triptych. I strongly recommend the Will Trent series and her latest just came out this year, Undone, which is a merging of the two series.

Chelsea Cain – has three books out in her Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan series. The stories revolve around the twisted relationship between a damaged cop and a beautiful serial killer. They both play cat and mouse games with each other and Cain delivers on the gore and gives readers plenty to talk about, too. Evil At Heart is coming out Sept 1 and look for a review on the same date. The first book in the series is Heartsick.

Ken Bruen – his noir style and Ireland setting along with his economical prose style has led me to enjoy three of his novels in the Jack Taylor series. The first book that introduced him was The Guards. The antihero, Jack, is an ex-cop who is an alcoholic. He also has issues with authority. The series is suffused with black humor along with insights into people and society. Did I mention that Jack Taylor is a reader? He quotes a lot of his favorite writers. Excellent series thus far. I’m at book #4 in this series and the latest just recently came out, Sanctuary.

Julia Spencer-Fleming – she’s not really crime fiction per se but more of what mystery readers term “cozy” because it’s the characters and the interpersonal relationships that drive the stories. The first book in the series, In the Bleak Midwinter, blew me away when it first came out. The next book in the series, One Was A Soldier, is due out April 2010. Yep, that’s a long time to wait but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

Jo Nesbo – This Scandinavian author is one that I just discovered this year and have enjoyed two of his books in his Harry Hole series. The English versions of this books are incomplete but what is available is Redbreast and Nemesis and the other two: The Devil’s Star and The Redeemer are also available used. Anyway, look for a review of The Devil’s Star.

Ariana Franklin – her Mistress of the Art of Death series set during the 12th Century is really taking off. The first book that introduced her was Mistress of the Art of Death. This author is a solid writer having read her as Diana Norman a few years ago. I am thrilled that her medieval mystery series is taking shape and readers are enjoying them. Next book due out is, A Murderous Procession, tentatively scheduled for April 2010.

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10 Responses to My Favorite Mystery/Suspense Writers

  1. SarahT says:

    Great list, Keishon! A few of these authors are ones you introduced me to. I must try Ken Bruen and Jo Nesbo.

    I see you’re into Scandanavian crime writers at the moment. It’s been years since I read her work but I remember enjoying Kerstin Ekman’s detective novels. The two I read were ‘Blackwater’ and ‘Under the Snow’. I have no idea how they’d stand the test of time but I know I liked them when I read them.

  2. Tee says:

    Hi Keishon. My favorite genre. How can I hold back from responding? The authors who top my list are–

    Karin Slaughter (for the same reaons you listed)
    Chelsea Cain (ditto)
    Lisa Gardner (fantastic writer)
    Karen Rose (combines suspense and romance well)
    Joy Fielding (have always enjoyed her different way of writing)
    Jilliane Hoffman (only three books written–all great)
    Tess Gerritsen (last couple of books not as good as her earlier ones)
    Mariah Stewart (combines romance and suspense well)
    Linda Castillo (good stories with well-drawn characters)

    Here are some honorable mentions–

    Erica Spindler
    Cody McFadyen
    Andrea Kane
    Tami Hoag (stories a bit too cold these days)
    Alafair Burke (at your rec and I liked her latest book a lot)

  3. Avid Reader says:

    @SarahT – Hey thanks for the Kerstin Ekman mention. Will give her a look.

    @Tee – oh wow, agree with more than half of your list but I tend to think of most of those authors as romantic suspense but no matter, great list! I would most certainly add Sandra Brown (Ricochet, Play Dirty) and Anne Frasier (Play Dead, Hush). I’ve never read Tami Hoag believe it or not and must give her a look. I have one book by her and that’s The Alibi Man. I also haven’t read Lisa Gardener yet but I will!

  4. Tee says:

    Avid Reader: @Tee — oh wow, agree with more than half of your list but I tend to think of most of those authors as roman­tic sus­pense but no mat­ter, great list!I would most cer­tainly add San­dra Brown (Ric­o­chet, Play Dirty) and Anne Frasier (Play Dead, Hush). I’ve never read Tami Hoag believe it or not and must give her a look. I also haven’t read Lisa Gar­dener yet but I will!

    I would say that many on my list no longer write romantic suspense although at times there may be a relationship there. Tami Hoag is pretty much straight suspense, as well as Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner and Jilliane Hoffman. The relationships that may develop are not necessarily front and center and often are subtle. These four authors are fabulous writers who certainly hold my attention, much like Slaughter and Cain do. Give Gardner a try–she’s excellent.

    I agree with you about Sandra Brown and Anne Frasier. The problem with them is they’re not coming out with consistent stories these days. I loved “Play Dirty,” but haven’t like anything since then from Brown. Frasier has gone over to another kind of story writing and it just isn’t my bag, but her earlier suspense books were wonderful.

  5. Bev Stephans says:

    My all-time favorite mystery writer is Rex Stout. His Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin stories blow me away. The characterizations are wonderful. I’m even re-reading some of them now.

    Also on my list are:

    Agatha Christie
    Robert Barnard
    Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Margaret Maron
    James Lee Burke
    Nevada Barr
    Randy Wayne White

    Romance and mystery are my favorite genres. When they come together, it’s wonderful. I know I’ve forgotten some authors, but this is what I came up with on the spur of the moment.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    Bev Stephans: Rex Stout.

    Never heard of this guy. Will need to check him out. Also, I’ve always wanted to read Randy Wayne White but don’t know where to start and he doesn’t have any ebooks available last I checked.

    @Tee – oh, sorry! My response made zero sense because I meant to associate Tami Hoag with romantic suspense but she’s not anymore. Didn’t mean to label your entire list as r/s. My bad. I do have Jillian Hoffman so I am def. looking forward to reading her work. I recently bought Lisa Unger’s stuff as well because I want to read her too. Ah, so many books.

  7. Bev Stephans says:

    @Keishon

    Rex Stout wrote the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin stories from 1934 to 1974. The best place to start is, The Red Box (1937), followed by, Too Many Cooks and Some Buried Caesar. I think that all of them are still in print, but I don’t know about ebooks.

    I think that you can start anywhere with Randy Wayne White.

  8. senetra says:

    I’m not a huge mystery or suspense fan, and I tend to read ones that have continuing storylines for established characters and skim the actual mystery part. I love Elizabeth George’s Lynley and Havers stories, the In Death series, Charlaine Harris’ Roe Teagarden and Lily Bard stories and anything by Dick Francis. I read a few books from other series, but gave up. I may have to try Julia Spencer-Fleming again.

  9. Magdalen says:

    Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books
    Laurie R. King’s Beekeeper’s Apprentice & subsequent Mary Russell books
    Thomas Perry, but particularly the Jane Whitefield books
    David Lindsey
    Colin Harrison (I’ve read The Havana Room and Afterburn; both excellent)

    None of these are romantic suspense, but they’re all really well written. For romance, I’ll go with Julia Spencer-Fleming, or re-read the Dorothy Sayers where Harriet Vane shows up!

  10. Avid Reader says:

    Magdalen: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books
    Lau­rie R. King’s Beekeeper’s Appren­tice & sub­se­quent Mary Rus­sell books

    @Magdalen, I have maybe four or five of the Mary Russell books in my stacks. Plan to get to them. Hopefully soon. Was curious about the Jack Reacher books, too. Thanks.

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