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Royal Rother

Modern Day Crime Writers

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So who are the best?

 

My personal favourite is Michael Connelly, whose novels featuring Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb, although exciting stories in themselves, also focus more strongly than many authors on the actual art of police work. The collecting of evidence, the examination of crime scenes, the piecing together of the clues are right up my street.

 

There is usually a good twist at the end, with generally two endings, in that the crime is solved with possibly 40 pages to go, and then a further issue is closed perhaps relating to the private lives of the detectives, or internal workings of the LAPD etc.

 

The twists though never feel contrived....

 

....unlike James Patterson. That might be a bit unfair as I've only read one of his novels, "1st To Die", but whilst the story rattled along very well (3 page chapters do get on my nerves a bit after a while though) the twist at the end was so huge that it made me feel somewhat cheated. I almost felt like reading it again to prove to myself that Patterson had not just hidden "the truth" but had deliberately misled the reader. But I resisted the temptation!

 

The feeling I had was that he writes as if it's a screenplay - which might actually be quite close to the truth I suppose.

 

I have also recently read a novel by Karin Slaughter "A Cold Dark Fear" that I enjoyed a lot. I shall definitely read some more of hers. Similar depth of detail in the police work that I like about Connelly.

 

A writer whose books I have never seen in a bookshop in UK is Ridley Pearson. Once again it is the detail that appeals to me. "Pied Piper" and "Hard Fall" were both excellent.

 

Not quite crime, more court room / political dramas I suppose but I have generally found Richard North Patterson an excellent read. It's a while since I've read one of his though am looking forward to getting into a recent purchase "Balance of Power".

 

Not an exhaustive list, but something to go on and I'd be delighted to receive recommendations from other subscribers that might appeal to my tastes.

 

James Patterson seems to sell in huge numbers - am I wrong in my judgement after just one novel?

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So who are the best?

 

My personal favourite is Michael Connelly, whose novels featuring Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb, although exciting stories in themselves, also focus more strongly than many authors on the actual art of police work. The collecting of evidence, the examination of crime scenes, the piecing together of the clues are right up my street.

 

There is usually a good twist at the end, with generally two endings, in that the crime is solved with possibly 40 pages to go, and then a further issue is closed perhaps relating to the private lives of the detectives, or internal workings of the LAPD etc.

 

The twists though never feel contrived....

 

....unlike James Patterson. That might be a bit unfair as I've only read one of his novels, "1st To Die", but whilst the story rattled along very well (3 page chapters do get on my nerves a bit after a while though) the twist at the end was so huge that it made me feel somewhat cheated. I almost felt like reading it again to prove to myself that Patterson had not just hidden "the truth" but had deliberately misled the reader. But I resisted the temptation!

 

The feeling I had was that he writes as if it's a screenplay - which might actually be quite close to the truth I suppose.

 

I have also recently read a novel by Karin Slaughter "A Cold Dark Fear" that I enjoyed a lot. I shall definitely read some more of hers. Similar depth of detail in the police work that I like about Connelly.

 

A writer whose books I have never seen in a bookshop in UK is Ridley Pearson. Once again it is the detail that appeals to me. "Pied Piper" and "Hard Fall" were both excellent.

 

Not quite crime, more court room / political dramas I suppose but I have generally found Richard North Patterson an excellent read. It's a while since I've read one of his though am looking forward to getting into a recent purchase "Balance of Power".

 

Not an exhaustive list, but something to go on and I'd be delighted to receive recommendations from other subscribers that might appeal to my tastes.

 

James Patterson seems to sell in huge numbers - am I wrong in my judgement after just one novel?

 

No I never really bonded with James Patterson either. Thanks for the list, I shall try your choices out. I like Kathy Reichs, although her last one "blow fly" or something like had a ridiculous ending. I like P D James - she's of the old school like Agatha Christie. Someone introduced me to Deaver and he is gripping but I found the Bone Collector had a far fetched ending, his Maidens Grave was good though.

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Having been a PD James/Ruth Rendell fan for a number of years, but always having to wait so long for the next publication, I went browsing in the library and stumbled across Elizabeth George. Good holiday reading, best consumed in one go. The sleuths are always the same five characters, who have their own stories intertwined with the crime solving theme. I haven't read them in order, but that does not seem to matter.

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RR - have you read any of Robert Goddard's books? Must admit, I've only tried one, and I felt that it was written with TV adaptation in mind, but it was quite a good story - certainly the twist at the end was a complete surprise, causing me to re-read a few chunks. No idea what the title was, and it must have been 4 or 5 years ago... actually, I seem to recall it was around the time of P Diana's death, which makes it - er - about 7 1/2 years ago. Anyway, I assume that Goddard is British, as the book was based mainly in London and Gloucestershire.

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Big fan of Ian Rankin - John Rebus is a wonderful creation and the way Edinburgh is a major character looming ominously above the all the misery is quite brilliant - pity the TV series was so poor - John Hannah is a fine actor but too young for the character - the use of musical refs throughout is very good and if nothing else got me into Mogwai......

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I like Rebus too.

 

I find Michael Connolly's Harry Bosch a very similar character and the stories slightly more intricate and slightly more satisfying. LA is probably not so strong as Edinburgh is in Rankin's novels but you still get a pretty good feeling for the plce. (Or not!)

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Has anyone read any Walter Mosley books? He writes about Easy Rawlins, a black ex soldier, in postwar Los Angeles, forced by circumstances into becoming a kind of private eye. He takes on Mouse as his deadly but aimiable sidekick. The series gets progressively more sophisticated and noir as it progresses but you have to start with Devil in a Blue Dress to get the feel of the characters and setting. Very thought provoking and evocative.

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So who are the best?

 

My personal favourite is Michael Connelly,

 

I like all the authors you've mentioned. Have you tried Barry Eisler? I guess he would fit in this catagory, his three novels that I'm acquainted with are about an asassin...pretty good. Have just begun "Rain Storm".

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Nancy, when you say "all the authors you've mentioned", did you mean me, or the whole thread? You must read a lot!! ;)

 

I've not heard of Eisler, I wonder whether he, like Ridley Pierson, is not published in UK - I'll go looking shortly - (note to self - must remember to follow the Amazon link from here!)

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I like Kathy Reichs, although her last one "blow fly" or something like had a ridiculous ending.

 

Blowfly was Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs' latest book is called Monday Mourning and as usual it is excellent.

 

I read about twenty pages of Kisscut by Karin Slaughter, but I obviously wasn't in the mood for a mystery because it just bored me :)

 

I like James Patterson - well, his earlier novels anyway - Along came a Spider and Kiss the Girls especially. They've been adapted for film, but they aren't a patch on the novels.

 

I also like Jonathan Kellerman's novels starring child psychologist Alex Delaware. A similar writer called Stephen White has been recommended to me though I haven't yet read any of his books.

 

I have to agree about PD James, she always writes excellent mysteries. I prefer the novels Ruth Rendell writes as Barbara Vine, they seem to have a bit more of an edge to them than her Ruth Rendell ones.

 

I've read most of Robert Goddard's novels and would definitely recommend him. Hand in Glove is my favourite of his.

 

My favourite crime fiction novelist is Sue Grafton. She writes the alphabet mysteries - A is for Alibi etc. I always eagerly await every book she releases.

 

This is my first post and I hope you don't mind me jumping in with opinions without an introduction :) Thanks for the recomendations already posted - I have increased my wish-list accordingly!

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Hi - this looks like a good group to be on. I like a lot of the big names - Michael Connolly, P D James etc, but I like to come to places like this to check out the writers that aren't so well known. I've found some of my best reads that way. I love Danuta Reah - try Bleak Water. That book is so, so scary. Real page turner, for me. I like Andrew Taylor as well. The American Boy was a good read - a bit slow, but worth it.

 

Am I the only person in the world who didn't rate The Da Vinci Code?

 

Sara Paretsky rocks. Blacklist has to be her best yet.

 

Rhi

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Rhiannon, take a look at the thread on the Da Vinci Code under the UK best selling paperbacks, and you will see you are among friends! Must admit that I haven't read it - can't say I'm all that encouraged to, either!

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Right. I wasn't expecting high art, I was expecting a good read, and I was stuck on a plane with it which is the only reason I didn't chuck it out of the wondow as it got more and more unlikely. I know crime fiction is often very unlikely, but a good writer can make me believe it, and make me care. With Da Vinci, I didn't believe it and I didn't care either. Still my best friend thought it was okay.

Rhi

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At one time I read nothing but 'whodunnits', as I had trouble finding anything else I enjoyed, Since then there seems to have been a great burgeoning of writing talent, and being a member of 3 bookgroups I rarely get to choose my own reading. When I do, I usually pick a detective (private, as opposed to police) story.

I think I have all of Agatha Christie's books, but don't read them any more, apart from checking the plot of TV adaptations. Loved Ruth Rendell's books and her Barbara Vine novels. Most other authors I have read just odd ones and twos of, as I pick them up in second-hand or charity shops .

Have read one Walter Mosely, some years ago. White Butterfly? I remember that I enjoyed it, but my taste is towards stories set in the UK...Although I am enjoying the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

There is a Sue Grafton waiting to be read, but I think i ought to start a bit nearer the beginning of her alphabet!

How modern is modern day?. I have mentioned Aggie, but she is hardly modern, although she is more up to date than Conan Doyle. is there a cut off date I have missed?

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Hello there :)

 

I am an new member and love reading crime, thriller and action novels. I am a fan of Michael Crichton, Lee Childs and Matthew Reilly and have read most of Elizabeth George's novels. I recently read Kathy Reichs' Bare Bones and found it rather slow going - are her other books worth trying?

 

The book I am currently reading and can't put down is 'Storm' by Boris Starling. It starts off with the heroine on a ferry in the North Sea which sinks in the middle of the night and the way the drama is written is very compelling and realistic. The horror of the sinking is very well described and I found it challenged my perception as the reader of what is acceptable behaviour in those circumstances.

 

It turns out the heroine is a DCI and when she gets back to dry land she becomes embroiled in a rather nasty murder investigation but is also haunted by her experiences on the ferry and the subsequent investigation of the disaster.

 

I had not read anything by Boris Starling before but his earlier book Messiah was made into a drama on the BBC starring Ken Stott as Red Metcalfe.

 

Is anyone else reading a thriller/crime novel that they can't put down?

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I always struggled with Rebus. Too much personal stuff, not enough plot. The last one I read was just about him and Edinburgh, as if the plot didn't matter. Fraid I'll pass on any future ones.

 

Reichs and Cornwell I'd have to lump together. Both of them professionally "female" in a man's pathology world. Especially Cornwell. What's with all the niece business? Sorry, have to pass on both of them too. They're the book embodiment of that Irish pathologist on telly.

 

Crime? First the three R's:

 

Julian Rathbone, especially Sandblind

Derek Raymond, especially The Crust on its Uppers and A State of Denmark

Anything by Mike Ripley

 

For English crime writers I love Ken Bruen, MC Beaton, Christopher Brookmyre, Stella Duffy. Also the early Sarah Dunant.

 

My taste, though, is American crime writers. George Pelecanos is the king. Also Rita Mae Brown and Lillian Jackson Braun. Bunker, Hammett, Chandler, Douglas E. Winter, many, many more.

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Been giving this topic some thought for a while.

 

Like Chris, my preference is for US rather than UK writing, and I've said why on the US v UK thread. I'm generally more of a hardboiled, noir reader than one of cosy country house mysteries.

 

I'd say my favourite is James Ellroy, although if you're new to the genre I wouldn't start with him, he is the hardest boiled writer ever to put pen to paper.

 

I also rate highly the brilliantly funny Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, both of whose books I can whizz through without stopping for breath. Elmore Leonard is still turning out splendid books in his 80s.

 

Michael Crichton has written some great thrillers but his upcoming book apparently denies global warming, for which this greenie hopes he gets substantially more than a slapped wrist.

 

Some of these names I've only read one or two out of a vast output. I've enjoyed what I read but couldn't comment on their whole canon - James Lee Burke, Michael Connolly, Walter Mosley, Sara Paretsky, Kinky Friedman.

 

Going back in time a bit, there's the holy trinity of Hammett, Chandler and Jim Thompson. I've also got some James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich on my To Be Read pile who sounded good for me to shell out for at the NFT 2nd hand bookstalls.

 

From this side of the pond, my vote would go to Ian Rankin, Lindsey Davis, Mark Timlin, Chris Brookmyre, Philip Kerr. I also rate the novels of Simenon and Henning Mankell.

 

Conan Doyle is the daddy of them all to whom respect must be paid.

 

Also on my To Be Read pile is David Peace, who again sounds brilliant, but would welcome anyone telling me I'm wasting my time.

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I also rate highly the brilliantly funny Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, both of whose books I can whizz through without stopping for breath.

 

I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I've just finished reading Ten Big Ones and I laughed so much that my lazy cats got off their behinds to come and see if I was dying :) I haven't read any Carl Hiaasen yet, but a bookcrosser friend is sending me one soon, now I'm looking forward to it even more.

 

And next up on audio will be Dorothy L Sayers - Whose Body? I've listened to an extract already and it is hysterical so I'm really looking forward to it, in fact I might abandon my current listen (The Lovely Bones) to start it. Although I guess she could hardly be called a modern crime writer, unless you compare her to Wilkie Collins ;)

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