books The Best Crime Authors  

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List Rules Crime writers, including any sub-genre of crime fiction including detective, mystery or hard-boiled

Best crime authors include classic mystery authors like the brilliant Agatha Christie to detective authors like Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, and pulp crime fiction authors like Jim Thompson. Assembling a comprehensive list of the most popular crime writers is a daunting task, but I'm taking a leap and giving it a shot. Be sure to vote for your favorite crime authors and if your personal favorite isn't on the list, at them!

Some of the best crime authors are able to combine just the right formula of psychological tension and mystery with cold, hard facts. The best crime novels offer up enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end. In a world where readers often demand instant gratification, keeping a crime book interesting until the final page is turned isn't an easy task to accomplish.

Famous crime authors I've included on this list include writers who've managed to churn out incredibly complex, entertaining mystery novels and detective books for decades, including Robert B. Parker, John le Carre and Graham Greene. Other, more contemporary crime and mystery writers have developed tremendously popular characters that readers eagerly follow through several novels (examples, you say? Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell and Dennis Lehane come to mind immediately). Some of the best crime authors burned brightly, but didn't actually write more than a handful of brilliant crime fiction ('The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' author Steig Larsson, for instance). The number of actual novels produced doesn't always count - it's the quality of those books that make all the difference!

If you're a crime novel fan, chances are you've read most, if not all, of the top crime authors on this list. If you're just getting into the genre, hopefully this list will provide a great guide. Happy reading!


list ordered by

1
+ - 749 123
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Agatha Christie Died at 86 (1890-1976)

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2
+ - 616 118
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle Died at 71 (1859-1930)

3
+ - 316 64
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Edgar Allan Poe Died at 40 (1809-1849)

4
+ - 314 61
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Raymond Chandler Died at 71 (1888-1959)

5
+ - 564 118
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors

6
+ - 216 61
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dashiell Hammett Died at 67 (1894-1961)

7
+ - 313 146
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Grisham age 62

8
+ - 214 53
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elmore Leonard Died at 88 (1925-2013)

9
+ - 243 99
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stieg Larsson Died at 50 (1954-2004)

10
+ - 159 59
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert B. Parker Died at 78 (1932-2010)

11
+ - 202 37
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Lee Child age 63

12
+ - 189 43
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dennis Lehane age 52

13
+ - 154 51
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors

14
+ - 183 52
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors

15
+ - 211 72
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Harlan Coben age 55

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16
+ - 133 43
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John D. MacDonald Died at 70 (1916-1986)

17
+ - 142 41
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Graham Greene Died at 87 (1904-1991)

18
+ - 169 42
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Crais age 64

19
+ - 153 34
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
P. D. James age 97

20
+ - 89 38
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Erle Stanley Gardner Died at 81 (1889-1970)

21
+ - 117 41
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors

22
+ - 237 177
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors

23
+ - 128 40
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors

24
+ - 177 93
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors

25
+ - 135 50
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stephen King age 70

26
+ - 129 33
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Ellroy age 69

27
+ - 157 40
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors

28
+ - 111 36
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dorothy L. Sayers Died at 64 (1893-1957)

29
+ - 112 32
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ross Macdonald Died at 68 (1915-1983)

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30
+ - 92 28
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jim Thompson Died at 71 (1906-1977)

31
+ - 105 21
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jo Nesbø age 57

32
+ - 93 35
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rex Stout Died at 89 (1886-1975)

33
+ - 186 36
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Sandford age 73

34
+ - 182 35
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ian Rankin age 57

35
+ - 106 41
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ruth Rendell age 87

36
+ - 104 30
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Daphne du Maurier Died at 82 (1907-1989)

37
+ - 49 12
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Sue Grafton age 77

38
+ - 116 32
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors

39
+ - 97 47
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kathy Reichs age 67

40
+ - 71 31
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Mickey Spillane Died at 88 (1918-2006)

41
+ - 114 47
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors

42
+ - 84 31
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Thomas Harris age 77

43
+ - 82 21
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

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44
+ - 66 26
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Michael Crichton Died at 66 (1942-2008)

45
+ - 68 26
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tony Hillerman Died at 83 (1925-2008)

46
+ - 74 34
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors

47
+ - 57 30
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Dickson Carr Died at 71 (1906-1977)

48
+ - 91 37
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors

49
+ - 62 32
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors

50
+ - 70 27
Nelson DeMille is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors