A Place of Execution, Val McDermid
P.D.James...the Adam Dalgliesh series. Any of them but especially Death of an Expert Witness or A Taste for Death.
Ed McBain...Hail, Hail the Gang's All Here and Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man especially. Oh, and, um, The Burning Soul by the Connolly fella.
Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg.I read this shortly before the movie version came out in 1987. It totally blew me away as few books ever have and was very hard to put down. I don't know how much the setting, post war New York City, plays in my favorable opinion, but it certainly makes for a very interesting time and place. The movie was very good, but read this one - I have to believe that time has been kind to it. Speaking of kind, Maxim Jakubowski was very kind to include it in his book 100 Great Detectives, but if you read or have read this book, you may agree that it does not belong on the list over some which were excluded. (Kevin Kateluzos, Mechanicsburg, PA)
Everybody Smokes in Hell and/or Love is a Racket by John Ridley. Two really great Hollywood-loser noir stories from the late 90s.
The Poet by Micheal Connelly, All of Jo Nesbö books an of cource John Connolly! It's a very cruel task for readers to choose one book to die for! Quite impossible to do!
Utterly impossible to just pick one absolute must-read so I've managed to get it down to two! Ira Levin's 'A Kiss Before Dying' provides a complete masterclass in how to write crime fiction for any aspiring crime writer with its cold-blooded and scheming central protagonist. I would also choose 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' by James M. Cain with its heady mix of sex and violence in small town America, where an amoral drifter becomes involved in a steamy affair and then seeks to dispose of an inconvenient husband- a compelling and sparse read that demonstrates the finest qualities of crime writing...
Recently read The Killer by British author Jack Elgos - can't wait for the follow up book.Tony
London Blues by Anthony Frewin. Which is a flawed, elegiac, captivating book about a photographer on the fringes of the Profumo affair.Born Under Punches/The White Room by Martyn Waites. Two secret histories of the north of England. The former concerns a narrative split between 1984 and 1992 and the things that happen to several individuals as a consequence of the Miners strike. The latter is the the story of the rise and fall of Newcastle, based around T. Dan Smith and Mary Bell.Also, as Patti said Val McDermid's 'A place of Excecution' is astonishing.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc. Not only did this likable thief precede The Saint by several decades and Neal Caffrey of White Collar by a century, his antics remind us that mysteries need not always be gruesome, and can have a bit of levity and humor laced around the edges as well.
William Campbell Gault (The Brock Callahan series including "The Convertible Hearse", and other novels like "Don't Cry For Me" and "Run, Killer, Run" among many others), and Joe Gores ("A Time for Predators", "Interface", any of the DKA novels, "Spade and Archer", etc. )...need I say more?
THE EXECUTIONERS by John D. MacDonald.
How about 4?Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham, The Fabulous Clipjoint by Fredric Brown, Run Man Run by Chester Himes, The Shark-Infested Custard by Charles WillefordMichael C.
Some great picks ahead of me but I will pitch for 'lost souls' by Michael Collins.
Georgette Heyer's The Blunt Instrument first published in 1938. This is a fabulous golden age mystery. Heyer was friends with Anthony Boucher (of Bouchercon). He wrote an introduction to one of the paper back editions of Blunt Instrument.
La serie John Rebus de Ian Rankin, especialmente Black and Blue. Trilogía de Argel de Yasmina Khadra. Todo lo que muere de John Connolly. La serie Montalbano de Andrea Camiller.....
The Black Angel by John Connolly. Before this book I just bounced around without any real favorites. I picked this book because I really loved the cover, it seemed very biblical to me (the original UK Cover). I read it, loved it, realised it was part of a series. So when I was finished I went and brought the previous 4 books and DEVOURED them in less than a week!
After a lifetime consuming crime novels I'm surprised at the absence of "Hillary Waugh"
"Every dead thing" John Connolly. Loved this book and have since then read all John connolly book and loved them all.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME edited by Robert Arthur; ALFRED HTICHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES TO BE READ WITH THE DOOR LOCKED edited by Harold Q. Masur; THE BLACK LIZARD ANTHOLOGY OF CRIME FICTION and THE SECOND BLACK LIZARD ANTHOLOGY OF CRIME FICTION edited by Ed Gorman; MIDNIGHT SPECIALS edited by Bill Pronzini, among a number of his other anthologies.