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
+ - 727 114
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
+ - 603 112
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle Died at 71 (1859-1930)

3
+ - 307 59
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Edgar Allan Poe Died at 40 (1809-1849)

4
+ - 306 57
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Raymond Chandler Died at 71 (1888-1959)

5
+ - 212 58
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dashiell Hammett Died at 67 (1894-1961)

6
+ - 554 113
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors

7
+ - 300 143
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Grisham age 62

8
+ - 203 50
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elmore Leonard Died at 88 (1925-2013)

9
+ - 240 95
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stieg Larsson Died at 50 (1954-2004)

10
+ - 151 57
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert B. Parker Died at 78 (1932-2010)

11
+ - 184 39
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dennis Lehane age 52

12
+ - 192 35
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Lee Child age 63

13
+ - 151 50
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors

14
+ - 177 49
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors

15
+ - 132 41
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John D. MacDonald Died at 70 (1916-1986)

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16
+ - 203 69
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Harlan Coben age 55

17
+ - 140 38
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Graham Greene Died at 87 (1904-1991)

18
+ - 149 31
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
P. D. James age 97

19
+ - 165 41
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Crais age 64

20
+ - 86 36
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Erle Stanley Gardner Died at 81 (1889-1970)

21
+ - 230 170
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors

22
+ - 110 39
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors

23
+ - 125 37
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors

24
+ - 110 33
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dorothy L. Sayers Died at 64 (1893-1957)

25
+ - 172 90
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors

26
+ - 123 31
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Ellroy age 69

27
+ - 127 48
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stephen King age 70

28
+ - 110 30
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ross Macdonald Died at 68 (1915-1983)

29
+ - 148 38
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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30
+ - 90 27
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jim Thompson Died at 71 (1906-1977)

31
+ - 101 18
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jo Nesbø age 57

32
+ - 92 33
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rex Stout Died at 89 (1886-1975)

33
+ - 182 35
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Sandford age 73

34
+ - 178 34
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ian Rankin age 57

35
+ - 106 40
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ruth Rendell age 87

36
+ - 101 29
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Daphne du Maurier Died at 82 (1907-1989)

37
+ - 115 31
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors

38
+ - 45 11
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Sue Grafton age 77

39
+ - 93 46
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kathy Reichs age 67

40
+ - 69 31
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Mickey Spillane Died at 88 (1918-2006)

41
+ - 81 20
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

42
+ - 81 30
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Thomas Harris age 77

43
+ - 108 47
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors

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44
+ - 64 24
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Michael Crichton Died at 66 (1942-2008)

45
+ - 74 33
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors

46
+ - 66 26
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tony Hillerman Died at 83 (1925-2008)

47
+ - 57 29
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Dickson Carr Died at 71 (1906-1977)

48
+ - 88 35
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors

49
+ - 60 31
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors

50
+ - 61 33
Dick Francis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dick Francis Died at 90 (1920-2010)