Culture

The Best Crime Authors 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated July 6, 2020 28.4k votes 5.7k voters 265k views 174 items

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
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun
2
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles
3
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo
4
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
5
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine
6
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep
7
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm
8
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T
9
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Shutter Island, Gone, Baby
10
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
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Let it Bleed, Dead Souls, Fleshmarket Close
12
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail
13
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox
14
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure
15
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
16
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot
17
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Cross of Fire, L.A. Requiem, Hostage
18
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis
19
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well
20
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential
21
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land
22
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox, Isaac Asimov Presents
23
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory
24
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven
25
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Cause of Death, Unnatural Exposure, Blow Fly