Unspeakable Crimes The Best Crime Authors  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
966 191
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

2
1,241 254
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

3
543 125
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher

4
459 103
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep

5
322 95
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine

6
793 189
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo

7
480 260
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm

8
317 126
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T

9
246 76
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

10
339 142
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire

11
189 70
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox, Isaac Asimov Presents

12
266 79
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox

13
225 53
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

14
201 61
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory

15
208 99
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land

16
257 73
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Shutter Island, Gone, Baby

17
308 81
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail

18
280 107
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure

19
342 251
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven

20
125 61
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap, Gold Comes in Bricks

21
231 76
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well

22
263 109
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

23
217 70
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Cross of Fire, L.A. Requiem, Hostage

24
180 45
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential

25
182 38
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis

26
171 57
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night

27
242 131
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Cause of Death, Unnatural Exposure, Blow Fly

28
101 50
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
I, the Jury, The Long Wait

29
246 43
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Let it Bleed, Dead Souls, Fleshmarket Close

30
146 60
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Funhouse, My Blueberry Nights, The Eyes Still Have It

31
142 51
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Right to Die, The Mother Hunt, Mountain Cat

32
156 45
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Sleeping Beauty: A Lew Archer Novel, The Way Some People Die, The Drowning Pool

33
153 52
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Dark-Adapted Eye, To Fear a Painted Devil, A Judgement in Stone

34
175 66
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair, The Cold Moon

35
140 37
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

36
252 56
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The sword and the ploughshare, Bellringing, The Eye and the Heart: Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle

37
132 39
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

38
89 27
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Pinolehto added Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection: A Caribbean Mystery, "F" Is for Fugitive, "E" Is for Evidence

39
126 58
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Bare bones, Cross bones, Bones to Ashes

40
112 46
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Paths of Glory, The Killing, The Killer Inside Me

41
153 46
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Dogs of Riga, Before the Frost, The Return of the Dancing Master

42
115 33
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

43
150 68
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Murder Book, Gone, Savage spawn

44
118 53
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors
BillUnderwood added Jurassic Park, Twister, Westworld

45
109 50
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, Deception On His Mind, Well-Schooled in Murder

46
94 36
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dance Hall of the Dead, Listening Woman, Finding Moon

47
90 43
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Onion Field, The Choirboys, The Black Marble

48
133 54
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Apprentice, Harvest, The Surgeon

49
79 40
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Hollow Man, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, The Black Spectacles

50
95 49
Dick Francis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dead Cert, Under Orders, A jockey's life