The best mystery novels with the most interesting and entertaining detectives, from wacky to dark and deadly

Who am I?

With a Ph.D. in pharmacology, I worked in drug development for many years. Now a published author, mysteries are my passion. I love to laugh and enjoy the humor of Steve Martin and Mel Brooks, so I’ve written a medical comedy mystery series. This dysfunctional detective series, starting with Pleasuria: Take as Directed, takes place in the pharmaceutical industry, a surprisingly fertile ground for humor, and murder. I’ve also written a dark mystery series, The Guardian Angel series. This includes a serial killer, a cult leader, and a touch of vigilante justice. With my overactive imagination you’ll enjoy engaging characters and unique plots.


I wrote...

The Realtor's Curse

By John J Jessop, Jacqueline Jessop (illustrator),

Book cover of The Realtor's Curse

What is my book about?

A wacky medical mystery, a fun read with a unique plot, way better than a prescription for antidepressants. Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI and dysfunctional detective, and nurse wife Chelsea try to buy a beach condo in Florida. Should be simple, right? But why are people in Florida so angry? A perky young realtor attacks Jason with a kitchen implement. Every condo comes with a dead body. Angry realtors, killer mosquitoes, a boat chase, and a hurricane. And this is one clever killer. Can Chelsea keep Jason sufficiently focused to solve the mystery? After reading this Firebird Book Award-winning mystery, you’ll find yourself smiling and wanting more. But warning, you might never vacation in Florida again.

The books I picked & why

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One for the Money

By Janet Evanovich,

Book cover of One for the Money

Why this book?

In One for the Money, Evanovich sets the stage for a mystery novel series filled with wacky fun. Stephanie Plum goes to work for her cousin Vinnie as a bounty hunter with no experience in law enforcement. Her first case involves a Trenton cop and old flame, Joe Morelli, accused of shooting an unarmed man. On the face of it, she has no chance. With helpful mentoring from fellow bounty hunter and overall hottie Ranger, a series of disasters, and an impressive amount of determination, Stephanie pursues Morelli while he tries to charm the pants off her. Then there’s Stephanie’s parents, her Grandma Mazur, and a new hooker friend, Lula, characters you enjoy getting to know better with each book. The adventure is great fun, the characters are interesting, flawed, full of surprises, and generally wonderful.

One for the Money

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked One for the Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. She's lost her job, her car's on the brink of repossession, and her apartment is fast becoming furniture-free.

Enter Cousin Vinnie, a low-life who runs a bail-bond company. If Stephanie can bring in vice cop turned outlaw Joe Morelli, she stands to pick up $10,000. But tracking down a cop wanted for murder isn't easy . . .

And when Benito Ramirez, a prize-fighter with more menace than mentality, wants to be her friend Stephanie soon knows what it's like to be pursued. Unfortunately the best person to protect her just happens to…


A Dance at the Slaughterhouse

By Lawrence Block,

Book cover of A Dance at the Slaughterhouse

Why this book?

In A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, Lawrence Block’s alcoholic and unlicensed PI, Matthew Scudder, investigates two cases. Scudder is introduced to the first when shown a copy of the movie The Dirty Dozen, over which someone has taped a gruesome crime involving a child. The second involves sex games and a potential murder for hire. Scudder is a PI who often skirts the law, and sometimes strays into brutality. His friend Mick Ballou, churchgoing butcher and Irish mobster, and his lover call-girl Elaine, help him sort things out. This book includes superb characterizations, interesting insight into the world of alcoholism, and a very dark nature. The book also delves into the world of vigilante justice. In this arena, the worse the bad guy, the more satisfying the justice, and in this case, Block is spot on.”   

A Dance at the Slaughterhouse

By Lawrence Block,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dance at the Slaughterhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 9th breakneck thriller in the Matt Scudder series, from a master of the genre.

To Matt Scudder, no one can rise above the law.

But when the ex-cop is privately hired to investigate the murder of a beautiful pregnant woman, he finds himself pushed to the limits of his beliefs. With every step he takes, Scudder discovers darker and more depraved secrets. Human trafficking, snuff films, murderous fetishes: the light of humanity seems all but extinguished.

In the seedy underworld of New York City, nothing is sacred and anything can be bought.


The Black Echo

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Black Echo

Why this book?

In The Black Echo, the first book in his Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch series, Connelly introduces his epic detective. Bosch is a Vietnam vet who served as a tunnel rat, crawling through a massive series of tunnels to ferret out and kill Vietnamese soldiers. His traumatic war experience proves useful as he investigates a dead body found in a drainpipe. The case leads to the water conduits underneath LA, the body of fellow tunnel rat, and ultimately an unsolved bank robbery. He battles the FBI, constant trouble with Internal Affairs, and he must overcome Vietnamese gangsters and his war trauma to solve this one. The characterization is superb, the plot unique, and the twists and turns fascinating. This book sets the stage for an excellent Bosch book series in which Connelly expertly weaves characters from his Lincoln Lawyer and the Renee Ballard series in and out to make for one big, happy family of interesting crime fighters with uniquely flawed personalities. 

The Black Echo

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

8 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…


Cold Service

By Robert B. Parker,

Book cover of Cold Service

Why this book?

Robert B. Parker’s Cold Service is one of my favorite Spenser novels because it provides more insight into the character Hawk. Hawk is in the hospital, three bullets in his back from trying to protect a bookie from the Ukrainian mob. The Ukrainians are spreading their turf from NYC to the Boston area (a town called Marshport). Spenser comes to the rescue, and the two men take on the impossible task of defeating the Ukrainian mob and their Afghani heroine-dealing overlords while avenging Hawks shooting. Alone, Hawk can’t deal with the thought of showing weakness and Spencer ponders his mortality. Together Spenser and Hawk appear to be invincible. Their code allows them to engage in brutality and come out as likable characters. The way in which Parker spins a tale using simple dialogue is ingenious. His main characters Spenser, Hawk, and Susan Silverman are a joy to get to know and follow, book after book.

Cold Service

By Robert B. Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When his closest ally, Hawk, is beaten and left for dead while protecting a bookie, Spenser embarks on an epic journey to rehabilitate his best pal, body and soul. But that means infiltrating a ruthless mob-and redefining his friendship with Hawk in the name of vengeance...

"Cold Service moves with the speed of light."-Orlando Sentinel


Flesh and Blood

By Patricia Cornwell,

Book cover of Flesh and Blood

Why this book?

Patricia Cornwell’s book series with medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta never disappoints, with clever plots, lots of action. In Flesh and Blood, Scarpetta receives a bizarre Mother’s Day poem and finds seven shiny 1981 pennies on the old brick wall behind her house. A sniper kills several seemingly unrelated people with a new rifle capable of incredible accuracy up to one thousand yards. One of the victims, a man involved in a lawsuit against the city, was being followed by the same sketchy insurance investigator as Scarpetta. All clues point to Scarpetta’s techno-genius millionaire daughter, Lucy. Scarpetta, her FBI husband Benton, and her ex-head of security Morino work to find out what’s really going on. The answer turns out to be Scarpetta’s worst nightmare. This book in the Scarpetta series includes a clever plot and the twists and turns that bring out the best in Cornwell’s characters.  

Flesh and Blood

By Patricia Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The legendary, No. 1 bestelling series following Dr. Kay Scarpetta Snap

The sound of a bullet hitting flesh
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is in pursuit of a sniper who leaves no trace except copper fragments. The impossible shots cause instant death.

Snap

The target is closer than you think
The victims have nothing in common, and there is no indication where the killer will strike next.

Snap

You won't hear it - you're already dead
Scarpetta tracks the sniper across the country to the Florida coast. Here she uncovers shocking evidence implicating her niece, Lucy - Scarpetta's very own flesh and…


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