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February 23, 2009 / C.T. Henry

My FACEBOOK Essential Mystery/Thriller List

There have been lots of reading lists going around Facebook, so I decided to post my own:

How many mystery/thriller authors have you read?

Instructions: Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those AUTHORS that you’ve read. (Included are some of the titles that they are known for.)

50. Edgar Allan Poe (Murders of the Rue Morgue, Tell-Tale Heart) – X
49. Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White, The Moonstone) – X
48. Arthur Conan Doyle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles)- X
47. Agatha Christie(The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None)- X
46. Daphne Du Maurier (Rebecca)
45. Rext Stout – (The League of Frightened Men)
44. Dashiell Hammett (Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man) – X
43. Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye)- X
42. James M. Cain (Double Indemnity, Postman Always Rings Twice)
41. Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) – X
40. Ross Macdonald (The Chill)
39. James Crumley (The Last Good Kiss)- X
38. John D. MacDonald (The Deep Blue Good-by)- X
37. Robert B. Parker (Looking for Rachel Wallace, The Godwulf Manuscript)- X
36. Carl Hiaasen (Tourist Season, Skinny Dip) – X
35. Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty)
34. Ed McBain (Saidie When She Died)
33. Sue Grafton (A is for Alibi)- X
32. Janet Evanovich (One for the Money)- X
31. Laura Lippman (Baltimore Blues, What the Dead Know)- X
30. Sara Paretsky (Deadlock)
29. Lawrence Block (When the Sacred Ginmill Closes)- X
28. James Lee Burke (Black Cherry Blues)- X
27. James Ellroy (Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential)
26. Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress)- X
25. Donald E. Westlake (The Hot Rock)
24. Scott Turrow (Presumed Innocent)- X
23. John Grisham (The Firm, A Time to Kill)- X
22. Tony Hillerman (A Thief of Time)- X
21. John Sandford (Hidden Prey)
20. Jeffrey Deaver (The Bone Collector)- X
19. Tom Clancy (The Hunt for Red October)- X
18. John le Carre (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold)
17. Daniel Silva (The Confessor)
16. Nelson DeMille (Night Fall) – X
15. Joseph Finder (Paranoia. High Crimes) – X
14. Barry Eisler (Rain Fall)- X
13. Lee Child (The Killing Floor)- X
12. P.D. James (Unsuitable Job for a Woman)- X
11. Peter Robinson (In a Dry Season)- X
10. Ian Rankin (Resurrection Men)
9. Val McDermid (A Place of Execution) – X
8. Laurie King (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) – X
7. Harlan Coben (Tell No One) – X
6. Robert Crais (L.A. Requiem, The Watchman) – X
5. Michael Connelly (Blood Work, Echo Park) – X
4. George Pelecanos (Right as Rain) – X
3. Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) – X
2. John Hart (Down River) – X
1. C.J. Sansom (Dissolution, Sovereign) – X

Knowing the audience, I listed some popular fiction authors too.  But I draw the line at putting rubbish, like James Patterson or Patricia Cornwell, on the list.  (Yeah, I couldn’t resist putting the last two, they’ve become my favorite authors.)



Leave a Comment
  1. Corey Wilde / Feb 23 2009 2:26 pm

    Looks like you hit a very high percentage. I think my percentage would be considerably lower. I counted 15 names whose work I’ve either not read at all or not more than a few pages.

  2. Joe Barone / Feb 23 2009 2:47 pm

    Thanks for the list. I use lists like this to find new authors and people I might like to read but haven’t yet.

  3. john sheridan / Feb 23 2009 3:09 pm

    Went thru the list and have read 17 of the 50 authors but there are another 11 sitting in my to-be-read pile if I ever get to them.

    I also visited to view their top 250 mystery authors and had only covered 20 of their 250.

  4. MysterLover / Feb 25 2009 2:55 pm

    I wouldn’t say Ms.Cornwell is rubbish!

    She initiated me into the Crime/mystery genre!

    Let’s not hate… especially someone who has meant so much for forensic and crime fiction, outselling quite a few people on that list – all put together! 😉

    • henryct / Feb 25 2009 6:33 pm

      I’m sorry, MysterLover. Cornwell’s first few books may have been decent, but There is a reason why The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and the L.A. Times won’t review her books any more. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything about her, but people still think she (and James Patterson) are great since they’re on the bestseller list all the time. They would expect to see their names on a list such as mine.

      Critic Patrick Anderson, who wrote THE TRIUMPH OF THE THRILLER, had this to say:

      “You couldn’t pay me to read another of her novels. The main problem has to do with her characterization – one might say her deification – of her heroine…I read a few chapters and told my editor it was awful and I didn’t want to review it. She said Cornwell was a highly successful writer, and if the book was awful, we should tell our readers. She was right, of course. The [Washington] Post prints my email address and the Cornwell review prompted a flurry of messages. A handful protested my vicious attack on their heroine, but far more readers thanked me. Many of the latter said that Cornwell’s early novels had been good, but she had gone astray. Some cited news stories about an FBI agent who shot his wife, allegedly because she had become involved with Corwell…One reader said, ‘As Patricia Cornwell’s personal life spins out of control, her characters’ lives more and more reflect her desperate fantasy of perfection victimized.’ Another said, ‘Thank you for letting us know there is no point in hoping for a miraculous reversal of Ms. Cornwell’s writing career.’ ”

      This is what was written in Cornwell’s last NY Times review: “…it takes the first 100 pages of this overlong narrative just to explain (none too convincingly) how they all happen to be in New York at the same time, working on the same case.”

      I’m sorry, but her body of work doesn’t rise to the standard set by the other authors on the list.

      Other critic

  5. MysterLover / Mar 1 2009 6:11 am

    People have created so much hype about her personal life. Well, let me tell you something: that incident mentioned occurred in 1995/1996… so I don’t see how that could have an effect on her books 13 years later. I hated Trace, skipped Predator and have yet to start the latest two Scarpettas. But newbies are still picking up PCornwell books and falling in love with her, in fact I hear from many new time readers who pick up her newer books and adore them. The problem is that people cannot let go of the old Scarpetta and the old writing style, and I know that books like Predator and Trace were awful… but the bad hype over Blowfly always perplexes me – as it was a quality novel. With quality characters and mystery AND thrills!

    I don’t read Patterson anymore, wouldn’t either. But he has lost my respect for more than one reason. Ms. Cornwell on the other hand, stands out for all the good novels she has written. And the good does outweigh the bad in this case. I was simply saying that you shouldn’t disregard her because of her latest novels… as quite a few people on your list (Lee Child, Val McDermid – who I adore) have also suffered ‘bad-book-syndrome’ occasionally! While other, like Grisham have not produced a quality read in far more years than Patterson or Cornwell.

    Please don’t see my comments as an insult, as I really love your blog.

    • henryct / Mar 1 2009 4:37 pm

      No worries. No insults taken or given. Just a good ole book discussion. I agree with you that Cornwell’s early books were good reads.

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