The best crime books from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen
By Edmond Gagnon

Who am I?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  


I wrote...

Trafficking Chen

By Edmond Gagnon,

Book cover of Trafficking Chen

What is my book about?

Trafficking Chen is the heartfelt story of one victim, Chen, a young Chinese girl taken from her family home in the settlement of her father’s outstanding gambling debt. Forced into slave labor by a powerful Chinese Triad, she becomes a servant to the rich. Chen comes of age and must serve using her own body to satisfy her master’s sexual appetite. She becomes a prostitute and is sexually exploited and put to work as an exotic dancer in their chain of strip clubs.

Street Crimes Detective Norm Strom receives a tip from a confidential informant about illegal Asian women dancing at a local club. While trying to handle his personal issues, Strom joins a task force investigating possible human trafficking in his city.

The books I picked & why

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The Black Ice

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Black Ice

Why this book?

For me, reading a Harry Bosch novel is like inviting an old friend to dinner and catching up over beers. The Black Ice is the 2nd installment in Michael Connelly's Bosch series, published back in 1993, but recently re-released as a paperback.

Whether it's an old book or a new one, I can't get enough of Harry Bosch. There’re still a few stories I haven't read yet, but the television series has filled in a lot of the blanks. I think I've seen each episode at least five times now.

The Black Ice is a good story, about a Robbery/Homicide case that should have been assigned to Bosch, but he inserts himself into it anyway. The plot moves well and kept me interested throughout. And, if you're a really sharp detective, you might pick up on a couple of clues as to the major twist at the end.

The Black Ice

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black Ice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When an LAPD narcotics officer is found with a fatal bullet wound and a suicide note, Detective Harry Bosch follows a bloody trail of drug murders across the Mexico border.

​Working the case, LAPD detective Harry Bosch is reminded of the primal police rule he learned long ago: Don't look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together. Soon Harry's making some very dangerous connections, starting with a dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that wind from Hollywood Boulevard to the back alleys south of the border. Now this battle-scarred veteran will find himself…


Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

Why this book?

I've read a few of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels and I have to say this was probably my favorite. I found Reacher’s humor a little drier in this one, and there was a lot less of Child's sometimes painfully slow narrative.

I liked the characters and the plot moved well, with a couple of cool twists to keep you guessing right until the end. For me, it was a fun read!

Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Consistently pulse-raising. . .an exhilarating ride. . .Personal wrests back the sheer gusto of the earlier novels; it's the best Reacher adventure in some considerable time." (Independent)

Jack Reacher walks alone.

Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he's a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.

Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child's number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to…


Swan Peak

By James Lee Burke,

Book cover of Swan Peak

Why this book?

Dave Robicheaux is one of my favorite characters, perhaps because I can relate to him so easily. James Lee Burke is a master of metaphors and he can offer descriptions of the sky like no other. His storytelling is enjoyable and almost philosophical at times.

In this book Burke's firsthand knowledge of the pristine scenery in Northern Montana shines above his usual inside look at the Louisiana bayou country. Robicheauxs's sidekick, Clete Purcel, is a colorful and easily likable character.

Swan Peak wasn’t as exciting as the other Robicheaux novels I’ve read but it was still a great page-turner and good story.

Swan Peak

By James Lee Burke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Swan Peak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Trouble follows Dave Robicheaux.

James Lee Burke's new novel, Swan Peak, finds Detective Robicheaux far from his New Iberia roots, attempting to relax in the untouched wilderness of rural Montana. He, his wife, and his buddy Clete Purcell have retreated to stay at an old friend's ranch, hoping to spend their days fishing and enjoying their distance from the harsh, gritty landscape of Louisiana post-Katrina.

But the serenity is soon shattered when two college students are found brutally murdered in the hills behind where the Robicheauxs and Purcell are staying. They quickly find themselves involved in a twisted and dangerous…


Memory Man

By David Baldacci,

Book cover of Memory Man

Why this book?

If you like a crime drama that builds slowly, teasing you all the way, only giving you enough details to guess who done it, Memory Man by David Baldacci is a story you should read.

The elements of the story were familiar, with cops and killers, but the characters were special, each in their own way. Amos Decker is not a super cop, but he has a super brain - from an injury, that makes him more of a super freak. His condition gives him an almost perfect memory, which is a help and hindrance to him in solving a mass murder case.

It took me a while to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I enjoyed the ride and raced to the end. A great read!

Memory Man

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memory Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This "impossible to put down" #1 New York Times bestseller introduces Amos Decker, a gifted police detective with a perfect memory who must solve a mystery he wishes he could forget: his family's murder (Washington Post).

Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to play in the NFL. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field forever, and left him with an improbable…


The Lost Symbol

By Dan Brown,

Book cover of The Lost Symbol

Why this book?

Dan Brown grabs you within the first few pages and holds on to you through the whole book. The pace is frantic and can leave you breathless at times.

There's a great character twist at the end but I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending. The story went so deep into the symbolic and mythical world, I guess I expected more. Perhaps I just wanted more.

The Lost Symbol

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Symbol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR TELEVISION SERIES

The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical…


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