View Full Version : Need a recommendation

02-22-2007, 07:47 PM
I've been in Science Fiction for too long, and need a good murder mystery/whodunnit type of book to read, but having stayed out of that section for so long, I'm overwhelmed by the choices.

I like character-driven work, but I'm hoping to find good mystery elements too. I've enjoyed most of Chricton, but Ludlum makes me want to put a fork in my eye. Grisham put me to sleep on the one I tried, but I've never picked up a James Patterson (yet). Ed McBain was fine for a book or two, then I got tired of all the blow jobs he loves to put in.

Any suggestions?

Oh, and I also prefer male MC's (personal quirk brought on by reading way the heck too many "strong female leads" with McCafferey).

02-28-2007, 05:27 AM
Have you read any of Dan Brown's books? Just kidding! I can't even type that with a straight face. Seriously, have you ever read Dean Koontz? You should check out Lightning or The Blackstone Chronicles, they're both very intense and have lots of mystery. Lightning has a female MC, but it occasionally switches to a male character's perspective, and it's third person so it shouldn't bother you too much.

02-28-2007, 05:30 AM
Female MC, but I highly recommend Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels for the sheer enjoyment factor. The first one is One for the Money. Very light and entertaining.

02-28-2007, 05:51 AM
Did you ever read John D. McDonald? His Travis McGee books make for good reads. (Darker than Amber, et al.)

02-28-2007, 05:59 AM
Joseph Wambaugh--The Black Marble, The Onion Field.


Will Lavender
02-28-2007, 06:21 AM
The best pure whodunit I've ever read is Val McDermid's A Place of Execution.

IMO she puts Agatha Christie to shame.

If you're talking thrillers, I really like the work of Peter Abrahams. End of Story, about a writing teacher at a prison, is a good place to start.

03-02-2007, 06:42 PM
The Name of the Rose. Umberto Eco.

Mud Dauber
03-02-2007, 07:13 PM
but I've never picked up a James Patterson (yet).

I really liked James Patterson's Kiss the Girls.

03-06-2007, 09:27 PM
Thanks, all ! I'm gonna take this list to the bookstore this weekend :)

Actually I did read Name of the Rose years and years ago . . .

03-06-2007, 10:53 PM
Any of Sara Paretsky's V.I.Warshawski novels.

Calla Lily
03-07-2007, 12:50 AM
Run, don't walk, to get A Test of Wills by Charles Todd. The first in a series--I devour them as soon as they pub a new one.

03-07-2007, 05:49 PM
My favorite mystery writer is Martin Cruz Smith, and, while not exactly Literature, his novels are still very well written. He has a series of novels featuring a Russian police investigator called Arkady Renko. The first, and best, novel in the series is Gorky Park. His writing style is extremely descriptive with regards to setting, and his narrative is teeming with social commentary; his character is quite cynical and the dialogue is witty; his plots are fairly intricate, always with an international twist; and he really knows how to develop the reader's interest and build the plot without degenerating into an ad nauseam shoot-em-up, run-for-one's-life kind of thriller ( la Robert Ludlum). He's a wonderful author who will thrill the reader without insulting the reader's intelligence.

03-07-2007, 10:57 PM
I've been in Science Fiction for too long, and need a good murder mystery/whodunnit type of book to read...

When I first dangled my sci fi/fantasy toes in the mystery pool, I found the Brother Cadfael series, by Ellis Peters. Since it was set in 12th century England, the setting was close enough to fantasy to make the transition easy.

03-08-2007, 04:01 AM
Did you ever read John D. McDonald? His Travis McGee books make for good reads. (Darker than Amber, et al.)

Ditto this recommendation in the strongest possible terms. MacDonald was simply one of the finest pure narrative writers around. The Travis McGee novels are outstanding examples of well-written "genre" fiction.

Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries rate pretty high on my list, too.

And the granddaddy of noir fiction, James M. Cain (Mildred Pierce, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Serenade, The Butterfly) is still the King.


03-08-2007, 01:46 PM
Oh, man, the possibilities.

Raymond Chandler is a classic amongst mystery writers. If you want to stay within a sci-fi realm, try Eric Garcia's "Rex" series (Anonymous, Casual and Hot & Sweaty). Anything by Carl Hiassen is recommended highly. There's "The Naked Detective" by Laurence Shames. Lee Child's "Jack Reacher" novels are reliable, as are F Paul Wilson's "Repairman Jack" stories (I particularly liked "The Haunted Air").

More as I think of 'em.

03-08-2007, 04:11 PM
Ian Rankin's a flippin' good read. His Rebus novels are excellent, IMO anyway. :)

03-08-2007, 04:36 PM
Have you read Mystic River?

I'd also second something by Raymond Chandler.

03-08-2007, 04:46 PM
Donna Tartt's The Secret History? Female author, male protagonist. I've read it twice and it improves each time.

03-09-2007, 03:20 AM
Randy Wayne White - Sanibel Flats, Twelve Mile Limit, well, all of them really ...

Linda Fairstein - the Dead House (my fav)

Margaret Maron - Up Jumps the Devil, Home Fires,

Yeah, the last two have women in them but they're excellent anyway. ;)

03-09-2007, 10:51 AM
Michael Connelly...LA cop procedurals about murders

John Connolly...Maine/Boston/NYC PI novels about murders with supernatural touches

Dennis LeHane...PI novels in Boston

Ian Rankin...cop in Scotland

George Pelecanos...PI in DC

03-10-2007, 02:47 AM
My list is growing :) Thanks, everyone ! I'm heading to B&N this weekend to get some.

(btw, Excelsior - Eric Garcia is one of my guilty pleasures :D )

03-11-2007, 10:43 PM
So what did you get, Muse? Some of everything?

03-12-2007, 12:41 AM
Sadly what I got was way-laid on my way to the bookstore ! But I printed off the list of everything and I have it in my pocket. Hopefully between doctor appointments on Monday I can sneak into the bookstore :)

Update: It's hard to believe . . . my town has a new Barnes & Noble (not new really, but they just got into a new building). It's large, it's clean, it's nice.

It has no books.

I printed off this list (thanks again, everyone) and took it with me yesterday. I searched, I hunted, I dug. The only thing I found there - and I mean the ONLY thing I found - was Ian Rankin. So I picked up Dead Souls - and I'm loving it so far. I'm really pleased, a little bit jealous, and trying to both enjoy and study the writing.

But can you BELIEVE that was the only thing on my list they had in stock??? What's going on? Oh sure, they could "order" anything I wanted, and they were surprised they didn't even have any Koonz in stock at the moment, let alone anything else. I showed them the list and sure enough, "sorry, but we can order it for you."

Freakin' A ! I'll just use Amazon if that's how they're going to be. I can get next-day free from Amazon, since I live in the same region as their warehouse. It's absurd !

All the non-fiction you could hope to read (and sure, yes, I do read a lot of non-fiction for research). But the fiction shelves were LOADED with tie-in novels. CSI, Law & Order, Star Trek (et al) Friggin' sanctioned fan-fiction, almost nothing more. I'm thoroughly disgusted.

Possibly over reacting, but thoroughly disgusted anyway.

The Lady
03-14-2007, 05:25 AM
I'm reading The Shadow Of The Wind at the moment. It's got a Richard and Judy book club recommendation but don't let that put you off.;) It's a truly lovely book, with a slightly surreal feel to it and there is a mystery to be be solved. I'm 300 words or there abouts in at the moment and I'm a fantasy/ mystery reader so we would probably enjoy the same kind of books.

Yeah and I have to admit, I'm a great fan of Amazon. I just compile a wish list until I'm ready to order and then splurge all at once. The book shops just stock nothing. They're going to run themselves out of business if they keep going like that.

03-14-2007, 07:45 AM
Late to the thread, but a couple of thoughts:

Robert Crais (I'd recommend his stand-alone's such as Two Minute Rule and Demolition Angel, and his series books are also great)

Harlan Coben (his stand-alones are typically Hitchcockian in that they are usually about a normal guy who gets wrapped up in a deadly circumstance. He also has a series with a Private Eye/Sports agent that I haven't read)

Doctor Shifty
03-14-2007, 04:18 PM
Mark Haddon's book, "The Unusual Incident of the Dog in the NightTime" is a murder mystery with a difference - a big difference. And if you are a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan there is an added twist that most readers will not pick up.

03-15-2007, 07:15 AM
Not "The Unusual Incident of the Dog in the NightTime", but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

03-15-2007, 03:06 PM
Did you make it to the book store yet? If not, here are some other recommendations - some obvious, some not so obvious.

Robert Parker
James Patterson
T. Jefferson Parker
William G. Tapply

I haven't read a bad book by any of these guys. I always search the shelves for a new one and I haven't been disappointed yet.

Good luck in your quest.

Soccer Mom
03-16-2007, 09:03 PM
I second the Janet Evanovich. Knowing your sense of humor, you'll really like them. Margret Maron is great. Carl Hiaasen is entertaining. Agatha Christie is the queen for a reason.

I'm not such a Patterson fan.

But I loooooove William G. Tapply. His dialogue is so dead on.