My Favorite Books on Crime

Crime fiction is a popular genre of literature that has been a minefield for literary writers for a long time. For most of the last century, you had to be either a novelist or a detective to be taken seriously in this genre. The same is true for the crime novel in the 21st century. But in the 21st century, an author doesn’t have to be a novelist or a detective to be taken seriously as a crime writer. 

Anyone who writes a story about crime has a chance of being considered a crime writer. The mystery genre is a favorite of ours, as is a crime in particular. And why not combine the two? So, in this first-ever Crime Blog, we will share our favorite books on crime in no particular order.

The Dry by Jane Harper

In, The Dry, a woman has shot her husband, an abusive drug addict, and is now living in a small town in Australia. As she tries to leave the country, she must confront her dark past. “The Dry” tells the story of a love triangle between a nanny, a painter, and a housemaid. 

While this story sounds fairly typical, the way it’s written is unique. Jane Harper (author of “The Girl Who Played with Fire”) uses a skillfully executed writing style that is as engrossing as realistic. Harper uses lots of dialogue, and the way the characters speak feels real. The style of writing works well in conveying the different characters’ personalities.

• A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell

A Judgement in Stone is a powerful mystery that manages to stay true to the classic crime fiction genre. Ruth Rendell’s protagonist, Dr. Emily Gilmore, is a psychologist who is able to see into the mind of a person and provide not only an analysis of the person’s personality but also an action plan that will solve the person’s problems. 

The story is full of mystery, drama, and murder, and it is a superb example of how great mysteries can be written—and one that I would recommend to anyone who has ever wondered about the ethics of psychology and the true nature of their own personality.

• Garnethill by Denise Mina

The depth of the author’s voice in her novel, “Garnethill,” is unsettling, and the terror of the story’s events is inescapable. The character of Father Donald, the priest who runs Garnethill, was inspired by Father James Gilligan, the priest who ran the Boys’ Home of the Good Shepherds in Boston. Father Donald’s actions mirror the actions attributed to Father Gilligan. The similarities between Father Donald and Father Gilligan are uncanny.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

I’ve always enjoyed Patricia Highsmith’s books. She is a great writer who can create a mood with a very little description. I also love the way her other works come off as a “dark romantic” noir. Strangers on a Train is not the typical book for this writer, yet it is at the top of my list (next to her The Talented Mr. Ripley). It begins with a young couple, Guy and Claire, on a train to a summer resort. 

Guy, a photographer, is on his way to meet his mistress, and Claire is with a friend. He seeks her out to …