House of Silk
What list of detective novels would be complete without Sherlock Holmes? In this novel, the first ever to be authorized by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate, the famous Baker Street sleuth tangles with a brutal Irish-American gang. Otto Penzler, the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop, thinks it’s the best Holmes takeoff ever written.
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
Known for her frank and irreverent style, Gran has written a number of standalone crime novels. Her latest, the first book in a proposed series, focuses on Claire, an adherent to the musings of the famous French detective Jacques Silette who fancies herself “the greatest detective in the world.” But a missing persons case in post-Katrina New Orleans just might prove her wrong. Insightful, creative, full of surprises.
The Killing Kind
When asked to recommend something out of the ordinary, I often point to Connolly. The Killing Kind is the third—and best—book in the fantastically dark Charlie Parker series. A killer who uses spiders to do his dirty work? How could you go wrong?
Act of Fear
While a natural for fans of Chandler, Hammett, and Ross MacDonald, Act of Fear is also one of the first novels to change-up the tough-guy formula—one-armed detective Dan Fortune is a compassionate deep-thinker—and bring the PI into the modern era.
You simply cannot call yourself a fan of the detective genre if you haven’t read at least one Inspector Rebus novel. Hide & Seek—full of junkies, Satanists, and wayward girls—is a great place to start.
This first entry in Hayder’s DI Jack Caffrey series is right up there with Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon as one of the goriest, most suspenseful mystery novels of all time.
The Black Echo
This first installment in the Harry Bosch series—winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1993—has everything you would ever want in a detective novel: a war hero’s suspicious death, an ill-advised romance, and plenty of rotten police.
The Manual of Detection
Winner of the Hammett Prize in 2009, Berry’s debut is a treat for those who like a little “weird” in their detective fiction. Great atmospheric scenes (a dive bar hidden under a cemetery, a dance house for sleepwalkers) and a quirky sense of humor. Personally, one of my all-time favorites.
We sell at least one novel by Lawton every five minutes. Okay, maybe not that much, but since he’s not that well-known in the US, we feel it’s our duty to get the word out. The Inspector Troy series is set in London at the time of the Blitz, and although Black Out is the first, you don’t have to read them in order.
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.