The best funny mystery books that'll keep you up at night (and late for work tomorrow)

Who am I?

I am a Canadian author of eleven mystery/thriller novels that combine suspense and humor, featuring unorthodox private detective Gabriel Ross. Pick a book from the series to step back in time to Biloxi, Mississippi, in the late '70s and early '80s. You'll get caught up in a fast-paced plot driven by compelling and unusual characters. There are elements of my books that I can directly attribute to the five books I've chosen.  

I wrote...

Right Place, Wrong Time

By Joe Hamilton,

Book cover of Right Place, Wrong Time

What is my book about?

It was a day hotter than the hinges of hell. A squadron of pelicans looked down in judgment and started squawking as I approached the blue Caprice in the deserted parking lot. I hadn't planned on being a detective. They don't teach you about guns or dead bodies in my accounting class. As I approached, I noticed the bullet-riddled trunk and figured I'd better get up to speed fast. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Gold Coast

Joe Hamilton Why did I love this book?

This is the 1st of two books by DeMille featuring wise-cracking lawyer John Sutton. Set on the ultra-affluent Gold coast of Long Island, DeMille masterfully plays up the romantic tension between Sutton and his wife while dealing with a mafia don who moves in next door. Lots of snappy dialogue and intrigue will keep you turning the pages. 

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Great Gatsby meets The Godfather in this #1 New York Times bestselling story of friendship and seduction, love and betrayal.

"[Demille is] a true master." - Dan Brown, #1 bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code

Welcome to the fabled Gold Coast, that stretch on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America. Here two men are destined for an explosive collision: John Sutter, Wall Street lawyer, holding fast to a fading aristocratic legacy; and Frank Bellarosa, the Mafia don who seizes his piece of the staid and unprepared…

Book cover of Fletch

Joe Hamilton Why did I love this book?

I read this book ages ago, but it is an excellent example of the type of book I write—a humorous mystery. Fletcher is an investigative reporter working undercover on the beach and assigned to write about the trafficking of illegal drugs. Instead, he's approached by a wealthy man making him an offer he can't refuse. However, he soon finds out that all is not as it seems. 

By Gregory McDonald,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fletch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book one in the bestselling mystery series that brought to life an iconic literary antihero of subversion and schemes
Fletch, investigative reporter extraordinaire, can’t be bothered with deadlines or expense-account budgets when it comes to getting his story.

Working undercover at the beach to dig up a drug-trafficking scheme for his next blockbuster piece, Fletch is invited into a much deeper narrative. Alan Stanwyk, CEO of Collins Aviation and all-around family man, mistakes the reporter for a strung-out vagabond and asks him for a favor: kill him and escape to Brazil with $50,000. Intrigued, Fletch can’t help but dig into…

Book cover of Falling Angel

Joe Hamilton Why did I love this book?

A mysterious client approaches a tough-as-nails private investigator named Harry Angel. At first blush, it looks like a straightforward missing person's case. But as he starts peeling back the onion, Harry discovers a deeper mystery and a load of bad guys, murder, and voodoo. I recommend this book because of the author's hard-boiled writing style and how he describes the scenes. 

By William Hjortsberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filmed as Angel Heart by Alan Parker

An outstanding, spellbinding novel of murder, mystery and the occult, Falling Angel pits a tough New York private eye, Harry Angel against the most fearsome adversary a detective ever faced - one Louis Cyphre. For Angel a routine missing-persons case turns into a fiendish nightmare of voodoo and black magic, of dizzying peril and violent death - a world in which the shadow he chases seems to be the shadow he casts.

Book cover of A Time to Kill

Joe Hamilton Why did I love this book?

A legal thriller set in the Deep South deals with racism, distinguishing between what is legally justified and what is morally wrong. Racial tension and local corruption were the reasons I chose Biloxi as the setting for my novels. Grisham is a master storyteller who engages the reader from the first paragraph. 

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Time to Kill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


John Grisham's first and most shocking novel, adapted as a film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey

When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the violent racists who raped his ten-year-old daughter, the people of the small town of Clanton, Mississippi see it as justice done, and call for his acquittal.

But when extremists outside Clanton - including the KKK - hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. A national media circus descends on Clanton.


Book cover of Rules of Prey

Joe Hamilton Why did I love this book?

This is the very first Lucas Davenport mystery (there are now 32 in the series). Davenport is a tough Minnesota cop on the trail of a diabolical serial killer. As a police procedural, it is accurate and fast-paced, with Sandford being an expert at keeping the reader engaged. Sandford is also the master of quips, snappy dialogue, and bad jokes. I picked this book as a template for a continuing crime series for my novels.

By John Sandford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Don't miss John Sandford's brand-new thriller Ocean Prey - out now**

#1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford's 'haunting, unforgettable, ice-blooded thriller' - first in the Lucas Davenport series!

The killer was mad but brilliant.

He left notes with every woman he killed. Rules of murder: Never have a motive. Never follow a discernible pattern. Never carry a weapon after it has been used...So many rules to his sick, violent games of death.

But Lucas Davenport, the cop who's out to get him, isn't playing by the rules.

***Praise for RULES OF PREY***

'Terrifying... Sandford has crafted the kind…

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The River of Eternity

By Bruce Balfour,

Book cover of The River of Eternity

Bruce Balfour

New book alert!

What is my book about?

1184 BCE. Ramesses III, who will become the last of the great pharaohs, is returning home from battle. He will one day assume the throne of the Egyptian empire, and the plots against him and his children have already started. Even a god can die.

Ray was raised with the teenage children of Ramesses as their friend, but his own mysterious past exposes him to threats inside and outside of the Egyptian court. When a prince is killed, Ray is framed for the murder and must run to protect Bull, the oldest son of Ramesses. So begins Ray’s dangerous journey from the snake pit of royal palace intrigue into a violent world of treachery and enemies that will take years to conquer if he can survive.

The River of Eternity

By Bruce Balfour,

What is this book about?

From the national bestselling author of The Forge of Mars and The Digital Dead, an Ancient Egyptian epic adventure thriller series, based on real events, for fans of Wilbur Smith, Steven Saylor, and Paul Doherty.

This is the first book of a series leading up to the event known as The Harem Conspiracy, the assassination of Pharaoh Ramesses III in New Kingdom Egypt (1184 BCE), which was led by members of his own family. Details were drawn from the first recorded judicial trial transcript ever recovered (Judicial Papyrus of Turin plus other fragments of the original papyrus).

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