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!


1
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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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+ - 548 101
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle Died at 71 (1859-1930)

3
+ - 280 53
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Edgar Allan Poe Died at 40 (1809-1849)

4
+ - 279 53
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Raymond Chandler Died at 71 (1888-1959)

5
+ - 195 52
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dashiell Hammett Died at 67 (1894-1961)

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+ - 521 107
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors

7
+ - 278 132
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Grisham age 60

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+ - 185 47
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elmore Leonard Died at 88 (1925-2013)

9
+ - 227 91
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stieg Larsson Died at 50 (1954-2004)

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+ - 138 51
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert B. Parker Died at 78 (1932-2010)

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+ - 176 37
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dennis Lehane age 50

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+ - 173 31
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Lee Child age 61

13
+ - 194 66
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Harlan Coben age 53

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+ - 141 48
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 131 36
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Graham Greene Died at 87 (1904-1991)

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+ - 160 48
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 135 28
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
P. D. James age 95

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+ - 156 39
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Crais age 62

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+ - 117 40
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John D. MacDonald Died at 70 (1916-1986)

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+ - 221 157
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 79 35
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Erle Stanley Gardner Died at 81 (1889-1970)

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+ - 123 35
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 165 81
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 100 28
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dorothy L. Sayers Died at 64 (1893-1957)

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+ - 101 39
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 142 33
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 112 41
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stephen King age 68

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+ - 115 31
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Ellroy age 67

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+ - 171 30
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ian Rankin age 55

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+ - 101 29
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ross Macdonald Died at 68 (1915-1983)

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+ - 84 26
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jim Thompson Died at 71 (1906-1977)

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+ - 86 32
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rex Stout Died at 89 (1886-1975)

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+ - 174 34
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Sandford age 71

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+ - 96 36
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ruth Rendell age 85

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+ - 82 17
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jo Nesbø age 55

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+ - 90 28
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Daphne du Maurier Died at 82 (1907-1989)

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+ - 86 41
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kathy Reichs age 67

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+ - 106 31
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 37 9
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Sue Grafton age 75

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+ - 77 29
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Thomas Harris age 75

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+ - 63 30
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Mickey Spillane Died at 88 (1918-2006)

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+ - 102 45
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 73 19
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

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+ - 70 32
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 57 22
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Michael Crichton Died at 66 (1942-2008)

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+ - 60 25
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tony Hillerman Died at 83 (1925-2008)

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+ - 53 29
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Dickson Carr Died at 71 (1906-1977)

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+ - 85 35
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 56 31
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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+ - 48 14
Ken Follett is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ken Follett age 66