I watch a lot of crime drama but have never read a crime book. Can you recommend one?

(61 Posts)
IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 17-Aug-13 15:49:44


I tell a lie, I've read some Agatha Christie. There is an awful lot of crime fiction authors and they are very prolific. I like Wire in the Blood so I though maybe Val McDermid but even if I narrow it down that much there is still a lot of choice, plus I don't want to read something I know the plot to from TV.

Can someone tell me hat to do? I'm very grateful.

I quite like the Karin slaughter books, starts with blindsighted.

Jack Reacher books by Lee Child are good.

magimedi Sat 17-Aug-13 17:07:14

I am a great fan of crime - but not keen on American crime novles.

If you could mention some of the other stuff you read it might be easier to guide you.

MikeLitoris Sat 17-Aug-13 17:11:56

Karin slaughter for a good american crime series.

Stuart mcbride is my current fave British crime series. The logan mcrae series

EstelleGetty Sat 17-Aug-13 17:13:12

I really like the Wallander books, well written, juicy stories with an icy Scandi atmosphere! A million times better than the Dragon Tattoo series, I think.

Love Val McDermot and Karin Slaughter. Also quite like Karen Rose

Doobydoo Sat 17-Aug-13 17:15:17

Susan Hill...Simon Serrailler.Fab

kissmyshineymetalass Sat 17-Aug-13 17:16:44

Yes I recommend Karin Slaughter as well.I love her books

cocolepew Sat 17-Aug-13 17:21:52

Michael Connelly Harry Bosch books are excellent. Others are Harlan Coben, John Sandford 'Prey' books, Perter Robibson, Peter James, Jonathan Kellerman, Robert Crais Dennis LeHane.

SilverApples Sat 17-Aug-13 17:23:14

So what series have you watched and enjoyed? Top five? Then we can try and work out what you might like in a novel.

GetStuffezd Sat 17-Aug-13 17:29:12

Can I recommend wholeheartedly a book called oh shit I've forgotten...let me just google...ok it's called The Executor by Jesse Kellerman. Absolutely brilliant, I read it in a day. "Lent" it to a friend though and never seen it again.
Harlan Coben is worth a read - I have every one of his books but IMO they are very samey and I've gone off them now.
Martina Cole is atrocious. I have all of hers. hmm
Richard Montanari is excellent.
Lee Weeks and Nicci French are brilliant too.
Can I also recommend scouting your local British Heart Foundation shop - they always seem to have a brilliant selection of crime books.

MrsSlocombesPussy Sat 17-Aug-13 17:33:29

I like Michael Connelly too, also Jo Nesbo, the Harry Hole books.

AnneElliott Sat 17-Aug-13 17:46:48

I'd recommend P D James.

edam Sat 17-Aug-13 17:48:02

Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford books, or her non-Wexford ones, written as Barbara Vine.

mignonette Sat 17-Aug-13 17:50:12

If you don't mind a bit of gore then Chris Carter.

Tess Gerritsen starting with 'The Surgeon' is great.

Alex Kava

M J Kerley

Lisa Gardner

Karin Slaughter

All the above are American.

emsiepoops Sat 17-Aug-13 17:51:30

Karen Slaughter for me.

Although I never realised at first they were linked and read a 2nd book and though i'd somehow already read it grin

SandStorm Sat 17-Aug-13 17:53:57

I love the Dalziel and Pascoe books by Reginald Hill. I've read them all.

mignonette Sat 17-Aug-13 17:54:35

Me too Emsie Me too. I do wish they would make it clear that it is part of a chronological series. Especially with UK first publishing of a author who has been published for quite some time in the USA. Or they bring out new editions with different titles for foreign markets and that really hacks me off.

emsie some of her books have different titles for the USA and Europe, I've done the same thing, got a couple of chapters in and thought hmm this is all a bit familiar smile

You can narrow it down.
Do you like blood and gore gritty realism and violence?
Detailed complicated plots?

There are so many crime writers but they can be very different. Gentle Midsomer Murders types, humorous like Rizzoli and Isles?

ClartyCarol Sat 17-Aug-13 17:59:16

Mark Billingham
Stuart McBride
Peter Robinson

Not as keen on US crime fiction.

oldfatandtired1 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:01:57

Linwooc Barclay (American) and Mo Hayder (gory)!

oldfatandtired1 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:02:42

Linwooc, that is!

oldfatandtired1 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:03:42

Linwood! For god's sake! And I haven't had a drink yet!

koalacube Sat 17-Aug-13 18:05:22

I like:

Peter Robinson (DI Banks, set in Yorkshire)
Ian Rankin
Jeffrey Deaver (Author of Bone Collector - Lincoln Rhyme bboks)
Harlan Coben
Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch)
Lee Child (Jack Reacher)
Stuart McBride
Val McDermid
Tess Gerritsen
Stephen Leather

I haven't read them for a while but also read in the past:
PD James
Ruth Rendell
Agatha Christie

I have also read a lot on Kindle - you can normally get the first in the series for free/very cheap - a great way to test them out.

Racers Sat 17-Aug-13 18:23:54

Another vote for Harry Bosch and Harry Hole series. Bosch is my absolute favourite cop ever. I like the Alex Cross stories but not other Pattersons.

If you want non American there's the Harry hole series (Norway), also (authors) Gordon Ferris and Bill Rogers (UK), Michael Ridpath (Iceland)

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 17-Aug-13 19:16:23

Thanks everyone. I haven't heard of a lot of these authors so it's very helpful.

I tend to read what is at the front of Waterstones on a little table plus something classicy and I always have a Jeanette Winterson on the go.

Right now I'm reading Stoner by John williams -plus Wuthering Heights plus The Powerbook by JW.

I think I'd rather read something British than American, I like familiarity. On TV I like Waking the Dead, Wire in the Blood, CSI (before it got shit). Luther, Broadchurch, and that one with Gillian Anderson in blouses (can't remember its name - it was set in Belfast). I'd rather have a complicated plot than a lot of gore but I quite like a psychopath.

I'll have a trawl through amazon for everything you have suggested.

Val McDermid is really good, although quite inventively gruesome in places. I never watched the TV series Wire in the Blood so I don't know whether the stories from the books were filmed, but the first of the series featuring Tony Hill is The Mermaids Singing if you wanted a place to start.

I'm currently working my way through Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels (didn't watch those either) and he's pretty good too.

ggirl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:22:34

PD James definitely

magimedi Sat 17-Aug-13 20:03:24

Ian Rankin - gritty & set in Edinburgh.

Donna Leone - great plots & set in Venice with (a rare thing) a detective who is neither an alcoholic, a mysoginist or unhappy with his life. Aqua Alta is a good start.

Just enjoy - you'll be hooked soon

And I'd also go for PD James & look in charity shops or the library.

Mintyy Sat 17-Aug-13 20:08:51

All the Barbara Vines are excellent, but I would say she writes psychological thrillers rather than straight crime/detective novels.

If you want to read a Ruth Rendell I would start with Simisola or A Judgement In Stone.

NicholasTeakozy Sat 17-Aug-13 21:17:00

Start with Every Dead Thing by John Connolly and then the rest of the Charlie Parker books. Written by an Irishman about an American (anti)hero. Honestly, it's a corking read.

SilverApples Sat 17-Aug-13 21:40:11

I agree Nicholas, I'm a great John Connolly fan, along with Rankin.
Those are ones I keep, along with DL Sayers, PD James, Hillerman and Paretsky.

Actually the original Sherlock Holmes stories are very good, as are any books by Wilkie Collins, particularly "The Moonstone". Also the Dorothy L Sayers "Lord Peter Wimsey" books.

Kasterborous Sat 17-Aug-13 21:53:54

Mo Hayder, Linwood Barclay, Tess Gerrtisen, Peter Robinson, Mark Billingham, Sue Grafton.

racingheart Mon 26-Aug-13 22:35:22

For a complicated plot and lots of gritty UK realism, with atmosphere try Cathi Unsworth Weirdo or Alex Marwood Wicked Girls (both happen to be set in rather bleak UK seaside resorts with grim funfairs but that's just by chance. Belinda Bauer's Blacklands is good too.

If you like soft crime - more plotty and chatty than violent, Anne Cleeve is really good. She wrote the Vera series. Books far better than the TV series.

Val mcdermid is great I think only the first 2 of her tony hill ones were adapted then they just featured her characters so you've plenty more there. The ones that were adapted are probably still worth a read and some of her stand alone books are good too.

crazykat Mon 26-Aug-13 23:28:30

Nicci French books are good if you like crime books with a twist.

I love James Patterson's 'Womens Murder Club' series. It's American but I got hooked on the first one and am now on number twelve!

LemonMousse Mon 26-Aug-13 23:57:15

Try Simon Beckett's series about a forensic anthropologist (Dr David Hunter) - the first one is The Chemistry of Death. Some great plot twists that keep you guessing until the end (set in Britain).

cq Tue 27-Aug-13 00:05:11

Anything by Minette Walters - she does a great psychopath.

Rowlers Tue 27-Aug-13 00:14:45

I have read almost all of PD James and Ruth Rendell's crime novels. They are all really very good. PD James is my first option I would say. Her books are so beautifully written, they transcend the "Crime" novel genre in my view as she is brilliant at depicting person and place and atmosphere.
Ruth Rendell is getting close in my view but PD james has the edge.
I've just read "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo - a Harry Hole novel. Pretty good I must say - I couldn't put it down kind of book.
Also just read "Autumn Killing" by Mons Kallentoft which was another page-turner. Really enjoyed it and felt that Kallentoft had the edge over the two.

Stokey Tue 27-Aug-13 16:41:11

A couple of people that haven;t been mentioned so far
Ann Cleeves - the Shetland quartet and her Vera Stanhope ones, that I think have been televised
Louise Penny - a little village in Canada with a high rate of murder
Elly Griffiths - an archeaologist in Norfolk investigating crime

Agree with Val McDermid, PD James & Minette Walters

I'd also recommend the rizzolli & isles series by tess gerritson though I have found the last couple a bit far out the first few were really good.

MerlinFromCamelot Tue 27-Aug-13 22:37:48


If you like Jesse Kellerman, have you read 'brutal art' or 'trouble' ...?

Read them last year on hols and really enjoyed them despite some low ratings.

Monkfish13 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:21:02

Anything by Simon Kernick!

You don't need to read in any particular order as the books are not linked. He's fab!

wordfactory Wed 28-Aug-13 19:28:16

I think one of the best crime books I've read in a long time (and I read a lot as I'm a crime writer myself) Is The End Of The Wasp Season by Denise Mina.

Superbly written, plotted and characterised. Doesn't miss a beat.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 28-Aug-13 19:30:04

PD James
Peter Robinson
Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine
Ian Rankin
Lars Kepler

Monkfish13 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:33:59

Anything by Simon Kernick!

You don't need to read in any particular order as the books are not linked. He's fab!

Molivan Wed 28-Aug-13 20:04:42

I found an Ian Rankin book in the cottage we were staying on holiday this year and although I've never fancied his books, I needed something to read so I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. I think it was called The Falls.

Molivan Wed 28-Aug-13 20:04:51

I found an Ian Rankin book in the cottage we were staying on holiday this year and although I've never fancied his books, I needed something to read so I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. I think it was called The Falls.

Willdoitinaminute Wed 28-Aug-13 20:20:38

Ian Rankin
Michael Connolly
John Connolly -very dark but compelling read
Tess Gerritsen
Kathy Reichs is a particular favourite

justwondering72 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:37:31

Ian Rankin
Michael Connelly
Robert Crais
Pd James
Ruth Rendell
elly Griffiths
Peter Robinson

All good.

MamaMary Wed 28-Aug-13 21:38:54

I don't read crime fiction, but I really enjoyed Gone Girl and my DH liked it too.

It's very, very clever. And readable.

jollyjester Wed 28-Aug-13 23:49:46

Martian Cole is very good. Gritty and violent and tends to follow the 'bad guy' instead of the 'good guy' although a couple of her books follow a female detective investigating crimes. I'll pre warn that some of the themes can be a bit upsetting, there is no sugar coating with Martina Cole!

I'm watching one of hers on TV at the moment called The Take and it makes me want to re read the book!

My favourites of hers are
The ladykiller
Goodnight Lady
Two Women

Jesse Keane is along the same lines but not as violent but still looks at the criminal underworld.

DramaQueenofHighCs Wed 28-Aug-13 23:58:09

Honestly, Anything by ValMcDermid will be good! I started reading her books after enjoying WITB on tv and have loved every single one I have read so far! If you do want to read the Tony Hill ones, start with 'Mermaids singing' as its the first - I can't remember the rest of the order offhand, but I'd you want to know PM me and I'll send it to you. smile

mimbleandlittlemy Thu 29-Aug-13 10:49:58

Ann Cleeves is very good. Her books have been dramatized as Vera and Shetland though the first of the Shetland books is a lot better than the tv adaptation.
Peter May - Lewis trilogy and his China books too
Jo Nesbo - the Harry Hole books, definitely not Headhunters which I think is one of the worst books I've read I a long time.
Louise Penny - her books are set in Quebec
Barbara Nadel - her books have the rather exotic locations of Istanbul and Turkey

Do you like history stuff? The CJ Sansom books are crime in the 16th C and then there are the Falco books set in Ancient Rome.

And then there's always the first ever detective book The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins which is a thundering good read.

Brillig Thu 29-Aug-13 15:16:31

I was going to say Denise Mina and wordfactory beat me to it.

Honestly, Mina is bloody brilliant. I've also just finished 'The End of the Wasp Season', coincidentally, and then polished off her next one, Gods and Beasts, in about a day. There's a new one out and I'm trying to stop myself buying it in hardcover, but I'm not sure I can wait for the paperback.

OP, start with her Paddy Meehan books, or the 'Garnethill' trilogy.

Shlurpbop Thu 29-Aug-13 15:22:05

The Peter Robinson books are good, the DI Banks series. Always in charity shops and there's loads of them in the series so should keep you going for a few years!!

sherbetpips Wed 11-Sep-13 12:44:49

It depends on whether you like American crime TV or the more dark gritty english crime tv. Basically an english crime novel tends to be darker and grimier, it always rains, character you like die, etc. American crime is often glossier and prettier but not as dark.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 18-Sep-13 03:57:36

Dorothy Sayers
P.D. James
Ian Rankin
Ruth Rendell
Susan Hill
Denise Mina
Ann Cleeves
Elizabeth George (earlier books)
Patricia Cornwell (earlier books)

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