The best novels in police procedural series

Who am I?

I’ve been a writer of nonfiction and fiction and full-time editor since my college years, and a publisher (Smart Rhino Publications). I’ve read horror and suspense fiction all my life, but it’s only been in the past decade or so that my reading has turned more and more toward police procedurals, noir, and crime fiction. It was only natural that I’d turn to writing a police procedural series, starting with Harvester of Sorrow. I hope you’ll read all the wonderful books I’ve recommended!

I wrote...

Harvester of Sorrow

By Weldon Burge,

Book cover of Harvester of Sorrow

What is my book about?

"Assured, gritty, expertly paced, and sleek as a bullet, Burge's eerie and intense tale of grizzled detectives frantically searching for a ritual killer who may be far more than he seems is not to be missed. I could not put it down!" - Greg F. Gifune, Bestselling Author of The Bleeding Season

Detective Ezekiel Marrs and his fellow police officers face two of the most vicious adversaries they've ever encountered. Lives hang in the balance as they battle to survive a deadly, inevitable confrontation with unimaginable evil. This is the first in the Ezekiel Marrs Harvester series.

The books I picked & why

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By Ed McBain,

Book cover of Ghosts

Why this book?

Ghosts was the first book of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series that I read, primarily because I was interested in the paranormal aspect—I’ve always been a sucker for ghost stories. This was the first true police procedural I’d read, and I was most impressed with McBain’s mastery of writing dialogue. I was hooked and I’ve read most of the series since. As I wrote my own debut novel I referred to McBain’s novels many times to see how he handled dialogue tags and beats throughout his books. His dialogue is almost seamless. I’d recommend the 87th Precinct series to any writer serious about writing police procedurals.

The Bone Collector

By Jeffery Deaver,

Book cover of The Bone Collector

Why this book?

After watching the film version of The Bone Collector, I searched out the book, knowing it would be for more interesting structurally for a fellow writer. When reading the novel, I was most impressed with the massive amount of research Deaver must have done before writing the book. Weaving technical information into fiction is a tricky thing—it can get rather tedious and boring to the reader if not handled well--but Deaver does it with finesse. As a crime fiction writer, I came to realize that I had to be more meticulous with my research to maintain veracity in my own work.

The Flimflam Affair

By Bill Pronzini,

Book cover of The Flimflam Affair

Why this book?

I’ve always enjoyed Bill Pronzini’s work (including his work with wife Marcia Muller). The Flimflam Affair is the first book I read from his Carpenter and Quincannon series. This is a perfect example of how to embed historical fact into crime fiction. Although this is not a police procedural novel (the lead characters are private detectives), procedural elements are certainly included throughout. I’m envious of Pronzini’s ability to use the beginning of the 20th century as a backdrop for this fine series.

Dead Girls Dancing: Volume 8

By Graham Masterton,

Book cover of Dead Girls Dancing: Volume 8

Why this book?

Graham Masterton grew to fame with his horror novels, including the best-selling novel The Manitou. It was only decades later that he began his Katie Maguire series of police procedurals, which have been equally successful. Having read Masterton over the years, I was fascinated by his shift from horror to crime fiction, often incorporating horror elements into his work. I started primarily as a horror writer, but have now shifted toward crime fiction. Masterton’s novels have been great “guides” in this respect.

Finding Claire Fletcher

By Lisa Regan,

Book cover of Finding Claire Fletcher

Why this book?

As a male writer, I find writing from a female point of view can often be difficult. Lisa Regan’s Finding Claire Fletcher, the first in her Connor Parks series, focused largely on a girl that has been kidnapped and held in captivity for years. As I read the book, I learned much from Regan’s use of the girl’s perspective, especially juxtaposed with that of Parks’ POV. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in police procedurals, private investigators, and romantic love?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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