Top fiction books to read for fun and relaxation


Murder Mystery Writers

More Crime Writers 

For witty asides and great characters PLUS solid narratives and plotting I recommend
Robert Crais (Elvis Cole series)
Harlen Coben(Myron Bolitar series)
James Grippando (Jack Swyteck series)

These writers are never just formulaic.
Each writes a fresh new yarn that captivates and quickly becomes one that you cannot put down.
Their series are immensely enjoyable reads as are their other novels


I have purposely separated this category into American and British – mainly because I can’t decide which I like better.

The cultural differences, locales, and perspectives are sufficiently different that it makes comparisons odious and much better to enjoy the two different styles as stand alones although they are of the same genre.

I write this from an Australian perspective that is heavily influenced by a British heritage and significant American influence through media and political alliances ……. I can enjoy both worlds without being hindered by ‘native’ bias.



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Crime Thrillers USA

Best Crime Novels To Read

Crime Thrillers USA is about some of the best American authors of Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers, Murder Mysteries, Detective Stories and Suspense Novels, even a Women's Murder Club.

For satisfactory recreational reading there is nothing better than a good murder mystery because they are some of the best books to read for relaxation and pleasure. And, we are not talking about potboilers either – there are writers who not only offer interesting characters and good plots (with all the twists and turns); but who are good writers of the language which adds immensely to the pleasure of reading.

There are some key American authors who excel at this – my top nominations include:
Michael Connelly
James Lee Burke
John Lescroart
Dennis Lehane
Lawrence Block

I think of USA crime novels under two groups which I don’t really know how to classify.  The common thread is that I look forward to new releases and find them all worth re-reading (at least once – usually more)

The first group is because of the main characters – set in storylines that are always have depth and are fresh and superbly written.
These are the novels by authors who have storylines that grip you and don’t let go.
Authors such as my top nominations listed  above

The 2nd  group – while also great yarns there is a sense of fun written into them because the main character in each is bit of a wiseass – the dialogue fairly crackles with fabulous repartee, wisecracks and deadpan humor – these authors at least know what irony is too!

The principal authors who excel at this are:
James Grippando – the Jack Swyteck novels
Robert Crais, – the Elvis Cole yarns
Harlen Coben – the Myron Bolitar stories
Robert B Parker – the Spenser PI novels

There is perhaps less ‘mystery’ than group one, but still deliver a yarn in an ‘un-put-downable’ style.

They are best described by these one word blurbs “Bliss”, “Glorious”, “Masters”

All the above are marked by the consistency of character development, narrative strength and stories and plots that never become formulaic and contrived.

And, still really good, but just a little bit down a wee level ..... and this is purely subjective:
Lee Childs, Jonathan Kellerman, Robert K Tanenbaum, George Pelicanos, John Grisham, David Balducci, Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson,
John Connolly. TheEye

Crime thrillers, to maintain your interest, do not have to keep you guessing ‘whodunit’ (a la Agatha Christie style with Miss Marple) though that’s great if they do.

That’s an added pleasure but, they do have to be plotted well and offer protagonists whom you care about and are interested in…… such as Harry Bosch (Connelly); Matt Scudder (Block); Dave Robicheaux (Burke);  Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky (Lescroart);   Kenzie and Gennaro (Lehane)

It's not just the ‘good yarn’ that brings you back to an author – it’s his development of the lead characters that also grabs your interest and who become the thread woven throughout all of the series – perhaps best summed up by John Lescroart

    “When I was just starting to write it (his current work), I asked my wife, Lisa, what she hoped to see in my next book, and she said she'd like to just sit down and spend some time with all of her favorite characters—not just Diz and Abe, but Frannie and Treya, and Wes Farrell, and Wyatt Hunt and Gina Roake. And that's pretty much what I used as my template for this one (The Victims).”

With most of the authors in Crime Thrillers USA (Connelly et al - above) I recommend you start from the beginning of their series to obtain maximum benefit – all of them have maintained a high standard of storytelling and writing excellence throughout their works…....

They don't just simply churn out novels to make a buck and then gradually decline into clichés, formulaic writing, contrived plotting or the implausible as some writers have done after initially giving us really good books to read...... Clive Cussler being a main offender at this.

The best fiction novels are those which constantly maintain a standard of excellence and meet our expectations…… and in the crime genre ……. The above mentioned are among few who can claim to write top fiction books, consistently.

A caveat – just because some writers are not included doesn’t mean that they don’t match up to those I have included – it’s simply that I haven’t yet added them in or I haven’t read them.

Click on the authors in the left column to go to their pages. Note more will be added as time goes by.

They can all be obtained online at AMAZON

Click on the following to go to their pages

Michael Connelly
for Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller

John Lescroart
for Dismas Hardy

James Lee Burke
for Dave Robicheaux in the Louisiana Bayou

Lawrence Block
for Matt Scudder

Murder Mystery Writers
for James Patterson, Harlan Coben, George Pelicanos, John Connolly

More Crime Writers
Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, James Grippando, Ed McBain, Lee Childs, John Sandford, George Pelicanos

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