The best books in a hard-nosed detective series

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in California when cameras had flashcubes, skateboards had clay wheels, and kids longed for a lime-green Schwinn Stingray. Sailing, surfing, beach parties, and rock music were staples of my youth. Over time, we lost the Beatles but found the Allman Brothers, Zeppelin, and The Who. Disco had not yet destroyed us. I ditched the skateboard but kept sailing. Later, I became a criminal defense attorney. My profession inspires me to write realistic mystery/thriller novels. My sailing provides the setting. My goal is to give readers a solid, entertaining tale while bringing them to warm waters and island cultures and putting a little sand between their toes.


I wrote...

Close-Hauled

By Rob Avery,

Book cover of Close-Hauled

What is my book about?

Sim Greene has spent twenty years in the US Navy as a Master-at-Arms. He lives aboard his sailboat, surfs when he likes, and loves a woman who is way out of his league. Assigned to investigate the death of a retired Navy Lieutenant, Sim becomes entangled in something much larger and far darker than a simple murder. Soon, the things he loves and the people he cares about are all at risk. His best friend, a former Navy Seal, is drawn into the situation and the two must use their wits and skills to survive. One false move and the spider web they’ve stumbled into will ruin their lives. Or end them.

Close-Hauled is the first book in the Sim Greene series.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Big Sleep

Rob Avery Why did I love this book?

Philip Marlowe is a cynical, hardened, private detective hired by wealthy, but ailing, General Sternwood. The job is to “take care of” a pornographer who has been blackmailing the General with scandalous pictures of his youngest adult daughter. This book shows the tawdry side of 1930s Los Angeles – pornography, blackmail, gangsters, prostitution, drug-dealing – and is filled with strong, believable characters, each with their own ulterior motives. The novel is dark and sleazy and Marlowe becomes disgusted by the wickedness and corruption he sees all around him. The final reveal will surprise the reader. The Big Sleep is the first of seven Philip Marlowe novels written by Raymond Chandler.

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Big Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


Book cover of A Catskill Eagle

Rob Avery Why did I love this book?

Spenser is a hard-nosed private detective living and working in Boston. When his girlfriend Susan runs off to California with another man, Spenser feels betrayed but understands. She has her freedom. Then his best friend, Hawk, is falsely arrested and jailed in the new man’s town. This sets off a firestorm of murder and violence as Spenser first frees Hawk and then they both attempt to free Susan from an abusive, if consensual, relationship. And then the CIA gets involved. A Catskill Eagle is the twelfth of forty Spenser novels written by Parker.

By Robert B. Parker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Catskill Eagle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Susan's letter came from California: Hand was in jail, and she was on the run. Twenty-four hours later, Hawk is free, because Spenser has sprung him loose—for a brutal cross-country journey back to the East Coast. Now the two men are on a violent ride to find the woman Spenser loves, the man who took her, and the shocking reason so many people had to die. . . . 

Praise for A Catskill Eagle

“Entertaining.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“His best mystery novel.”—Time


Book cover of The Lonely Silver Rain

Rob Avery Why did I love this book?

Travis McGee lives aboard a houseboat he won in a poker game. A self-described “salvage consultant,” he’ll keep half of whatever he recovers for you. Travis locates a stolen boat for a friend, but this offends some South American drug dealers and they put him on a hit list. A subplot develops when somebody leaves little cats made of pipe cleaners on his houseboat. I enjoyed the strong female characters in this book and the non-stop action. The resolution is wonderful and shows a side of McGee the reader has never seen before. This is the last of twenty-one Travis McGee novels written by MacDonald.

By John D. MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lonely Silver Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From a beloved master of crime fiction, The Lonely Silver Rain is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.
 
Travis McGee has luck to thank for his reputation as a first-rate salvager of stolen boats. Now Billy Ingraham, a self-made tycoon, is betting that McGee can locate his $700,000 custom cruiser. McGee isn’t so sure. He knows all too well the dangerous link between Florida boatjackings and the drug trade, and he’s vowed never to swim with the sharks—but if he wants to keep his head (AKA finances) above water, swim…


Book cover of The Black Echo

Rob Avery Why did I love this book?

Harry Bosch is the epitome of the hard-boiled LAPD homicide detective. Things get personal when the body of a friend, a man who had fought side-by-side with him in Vietnam, is found in a drainpipe at the Mulholland Dam. Driven by his friendship, Bosch pulls out all the stops to find the killer. But there are enemies inside his own department and rules he must break. I enjoyed his honesty and commitment to truth. The finale ends with a well-planned and daring underground criminal heist during which Bosch learns the surprising true identity of the killer. The Black Echo is the first of twenty-four Bosch novels.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Black Echo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


An LAPD homicide detective must choose between justice and vengeance as he teams up with the FBI in this "thrilling" novel filled with mystery and adventure (New York Times Book Review).

For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal . . . because the murdered man was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who had fought side by side with him in a hellish underground war. Now Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys…


Book cover of Deal Breaker

Rob Avery Why did I love this book?

Myron Bolitar is not as hardened or cynical as others on this list. His career as a basketball star cut short by injury, Bolitar is now a sports agent. The fiancé of his number one client, a college quarterback about to go professional, disappears and foul play is suspected. Worse, the missing girl is the sister of Bolitar’s former girlfriend, a woman he still loves. Believing the missing girl is still alive, Bolitar attempts to locate her, bring peace to the girl’s family, and clear his client’s name. It’s a solid crime story and Bolitar is a funny, intelligent, and honest character. Deal Breaker is the first of twelve Myron Bolitar novels.

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Deal Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The truth can get you killed... A stunning thriller from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of SIX YEARS.

Investigator and sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big-time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour.

Suddenly Myron is plunged into a baffling mystery of sex and blackmail. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret and a man's lies, Myron is…


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By Joylynn M Ross, Falessia Booker (editor),

Book cover of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

Joylynn M Ross

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business is for anyone who wants to learn how to make money with their book and make a living as an author. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author, which can hinder book sales and the money that can be made as an author.

This resource serves as a guide to mastering the art of financial literary success and to help avoid the mistakes that many authors make while learning the ropes on their own. This book helps authors “think outside the book” in order to make money in ways other than book sales and create multiple streams of literary income.

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

By Joylynn M Ross, Falessia Booker (editor),

What is this book about?

Do you want to make money with your book? Do you want to make a living as an author? There’s more to doing so than simply writing and publishing your book. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author. This could dramatically hinder your book sales and the money you can make as an author. Without a guide such as this, mastering the art of financial literary success can take you years, and you’ll be sure to make mistakes during the learning phase. Some mistakes could cost you money;…


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