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
779 132
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

Writers or Filmmakers Who Were Murdered as a Direct Result of Their Art The Scariest Novels of All Time

2
640 124
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

3
325 68
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher

4
320 62
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Raymond Chandler Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep

5
575 121
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Michael Connelly A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo

6
225 61
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine

7
322 153
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Grisham The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm

8
223 56
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elmore Leonard 3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T

9
164 52
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John le Carré The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

10
248 104
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire

11
159 62
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert B. Parker Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land

12
196 45
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dennis Lehane Shutter Island, Gone, Baby

13
190 54
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Lee Burke Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox

14
206 42
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Lee Child Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail

15
176 45
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Crais Cross of Fire, L.A. Requiem, Hostage

Writers Who Killed People The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

16
215 78
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Harlan Coben Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure

17
136 45
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John D. MacDonald Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox, Isaac Asimov Presents

18
145 43
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Graham Greene The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory

19
155 35
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

20
161 42
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
David Baldacci The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well

21
91 42
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Erle Stanley Gardner The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap, Gold Comes in Bricks

22
121 43
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Lawrence Block The Funhouse, My Blueberry Nights, The Eyes Still Have It

23
132 41
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jeffery Deaver The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair, The Cold Moon

24
239 182
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Patterson Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven

25
133 34
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Ellroy Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential

26
179 97
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Patricia Cornwell Cause of Death, Unnatural Exposure, Blow Fly

27
117 33
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ross Macdonald Sleeping Beauty: A Lew Archer Novel, The Way Some People Die, The Drowning Pool

28
140 56
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

29
111 38
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night

The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made Fun Jobs That Pay Well

30
110 22
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jo Nesbø Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis

31
93 29
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jim Thompson Paths of Glory, The Killing, The Killer Inside Me

32
190 37
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Sandford The sword and the ploughshare, Bellringing, The Eye and the Heart: Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle

33
97 36
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rex Stout A Right to Die, The Mother Hunt, Mountain Cat

34
185 36
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ian Rankin Let it Bleed, Dead Souls, Fleshmarket Close

35
72 33
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Mickey Spillane I, the Jury, The Long Wait

36
105 30
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

37
107 43
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ruth Rendell A Dark-Adapted Eye, To Fear a Painted Devil, A Judgement in Stone

38
50 12
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Pinolehto added Sue Grafton Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection: A Caribbean Mystery, "F" Is for Fugitive, "E" Is for Evidence

39
118 32
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Henning Mankell The Dogs of Riga, Before the Frost, The Return of the Dancing Master

40
88 21
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

41
97 47
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kathy Reichs Bare bones, Cross bones, Bones to Ashes

42
88 31
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Thomas Harris Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

43
115 48
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jonathan Kellerman The Murder Book, Gone, Savage spawn

The Best Crime Dramas Movies Streaming on Hulu The Greatest Out of Shape Athletes in Sports

44
67 26
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors
BillUnderwood added Michael Crichton Jurassic Park, Twister, Westworld

45
69 26
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tony Hillerman Dance Hall of the Dead, Listening Woman, Finding Moon

46
75 34
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elizabeth George In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, Deception On His Mind, Well-Schooled in Murder

47
65 32
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Joseph Wambaugh The Onion Field, The Choirboys, The Black Marble

48
58 30
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Dickson Carr The Hollow Man, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, The Black Spectacles

49
91 38
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tess Gerritsen The Apprentice, Harvest, The Surgeon

50
59 18
Ken Follett is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors
slaft added Ken Follett The Pillars of the Earth, Eye of the Needle, Winter of the World