Friday, March 30, 2012

What Are The Best Private Eye Novels of All Time?

Yep, it's that time again. On April 1st (HEY! That's this Sunday!) The Thrilling Detective Web Site will be squeezing out another year of existence. As usual, I'll be trotting out a lot of self-serving hoopla, including a couple of new essays, a few trivia lists and, yes, a P.I. Poll.

And the topic for this year is "The 14 Best Private Eye Novels of All Time," eh?

I'm not going to tell you what to suggest, but here are a few titles that have already been submitted via the usual sources: the site, our mailing list, Twitter and the like.

Yeah, some of these are to be expected (does anyone expect Chandler or Hammett to be shut out?), some of them may nudge fond memories (Oh, yeah! Texas Wind!) and some of them suggest some of you may have started celebrating early...

The way it works, just suggest some titles. If someone else has already suggested it, well, that's just another vote for that title. It ain't rock science, bubba.

And then sometime in the wee wee hours of April 1st, I'll tally the final results and post them on the site with the rest of the birthday stuff.

Anyway, here are some of the titles nominated so far, in no particular order...
  • The Dawn Patrol by Don Winston
  • Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett
  • Halo in Blood by John Evans
  • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
  • A Firing Offense by George Pelecanos
  • Hard Trade by Arthur Lyons
  • The Way Some People Die by Ross Macdonald
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  • The Staked Goat by Jeremiah Healey
  • Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
  • The Promised Land by Robert B. Parker
  • The Taste of Ashes by Howard Browne
  • Wild Wives by Charles Willeford
  • The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer
  • Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block
  • Dead Skip by Joe Gores
  • L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais
  • The Judas Goat by Robert B. Parker
  • Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • "G" is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
  • Texas Wind by James Reasoner
  • Down in the Valley by David M Pierce
  • Shackles by Bill Pronzini
  • Act of Fear by Michael Collin
  • Castles of Burning by Arthur Lyons
  • Fatal Obsession by Stephen Greenleaf
  • Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky
  • Blues for the Prince by Bart Spicer
  • When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
  • The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
  • I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane
  • Mortal Stakes by Robert B. Parker
  • The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald
  • The James Deans by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • The Convertible Hearse by William Campbell Gault
  • The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout
  • The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Big Knockover by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Blue Hammer by Ross Macdonald
  • Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky
  • Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  • The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald
  • Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker
  • Leave a Message for Willie by Marcia Muller
  • Yesterday's News by Jeremiah Healy
  • Stone Quarry by S.J. Rozan
  • Trigger City by Sean Chercover
  • The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais
  • The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker
  • City of the Sun by David Levien
  • Mucho Mojo by Joe R Lansdale
  • The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
  • Big Red Tequila by Rick Riordan
  • "S" is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  • Skin Deep by Timothy Hallinan
  • Way Past Dead by Steven Womack
  • Blood Ties by Lori Armstrong
  • Promise Me by Harlan Coben
  • The Dark Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald
  • The Killing Floor by Arthur Lyons
  • The Mother Hunt by Rex Stout
  • Find A Victim Ross Macdonald
  • The Million Dollar Wound by Max Allan Collins
  • Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta
  • Empty Ever After by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Murder on the Wild Side by Jeff Jacks
  • Winter of the Wolf Moon by Steve Hamilton
  • In Defense of Sextus Roscius of Ameria by Marcus Cicero
  • The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
That oughtta wet your whistle... what do YOU think are the best private eye novels of all time?


Blogger MP said...

The Chill-Ross Macdonald
The Long Goodbye-Raymond Chandler
Falling Angel-William Hjortsberg

10:09 AM, March 30, 2012  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

MP is obviously a man of great taste, as both THE CHILL and THE LONG GOODBYE would be among my faves. Also GONE BABY GONE and DOWN BY THE RIVER WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO, by Lehane and Pelecanos, respectively. How 'bout A SMILE ON THE FACE OF THE TIGER by Loren Esleman? And I thinkn I'd throw TRUE DETECTIVE by Max Allan Collins in there.

10:21 AM, March 30, 2012  
Blogger Guillaume said...

Hey, glad you are blogging again and that there is a new edition (is this the right word?) of Thrilling Detective.

I feel like I am so ignorant when it comes to PI/crime novels. I would however put Right as Rain, Hell to Pay and Soul Circus by Pelecanos somewhere on my list of the best I read. But yes, it is difficult to ignore Chandler and Hammett, but then which one to choose and which one to discart? The Maltese Falcon I would most likely put on my list. As for Conan Doyle's novels... I really like him and I have fond memories of reading the stories as a child/teenager, but is Sherlock Holmes a PI, really? If so I might put The Hound of the Baskerville among them, although even as detective fiction it borrows to another genre.

10:55 AM, March 30, 2012  
Blogger Guillaume said...

And I hate polls like this because I hate to choose netween books I love.

11:03 AM, March 30, 2012  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

I see out left out Crumley. I vote THE WRONG CASE, which I liked a lot better than THE LAST GOOD KISS.

7:12 PM, March 30, 2012  
Blogger August West said...

Guess I'll add my two cents:

SLEEP WITH SLANDER by Dolores Hitchens. And my favorite Paul Pine novel by John Evans/Howard Browne, HALO FOR SATAN.

4:36 PM, March 31, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Long Goodbye"-Raymond Chandler
"The Zebra Striped Hearse" Ross Macdonald
"kyd for Hire"-Timothy Harris

7:32 PM, March 31, 2012  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Oh, man, wait'll you guys see this list... I'm just compiling it now, it should all be up in an hour and a coffee or so...

7:36 AM, April 01, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing..

7:15 PM, May 31, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

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1:05 AM, August 27, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please take a look at "Walking Backwards" and "Two Thursdays" by C. Martin Stepp. Two new detective novels featuring P.I. Hitchcock Brown. (Available at

5:15 PM, January 24, 2013  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Gee, Anonymous, if you wanna talk to me, use my e-mail address to plug your books, not the comments section of a months old blog post. Lemme guess -- they're self-published, right?

11:04 PM, January 24, 2013  

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