100 books like The Best of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective

By Jerry L. Schneider,

Here are 100 books that The Best of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective fans have personally recommended if you like The Best of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Big Sleep

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

The first novel about legendary private eye Phillip Marlowe is also the first mystery novel that ever made me cry when I turned the last page.

Marlowe’s poetic narration and bruised outsider’s voice offer a cynical but also strangely hopeful perspective on both the shady underworld types and the corrupt high-society folk who fill the “mean streets” down which Marlowe must walk (in Chandler’s much-quoted phrase).

Why hopeful when death–the big sleep–awaits us all? Because a man of principles like Marlowe can still bring a measure of justice in this unjust world, sometimes just by bearing witness.

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 The Best American Noir of the Century

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From my list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

G.E. Nordell Why did G.E. love this book?

A treasure trove of noir short fiction, an impressive anthology of  American greed, crime, and comeuppance by some of the genre’s greatest authors including Mickey Spillane, Evan Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, Cornell Woolrich, and editor Ellroy. The 39 selected stories are a feast of excellence, a wide-ranging buffet of tasty tales from 1923 to 2007makes me drool just thinking about a re-read.

By James Ellroy (editor), Otto Penzler (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best American Noir of the Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial anthology of American noir writing in the 20th century by the best-selling author of the LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia. The Big Nowhere , LA Confidential and White Jazz. In his intoduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, "noir is the most scrutinised offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It's the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad." Offering…


Book cover of Red Harvest

David Kruh Author Of Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure

From my list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied history in college and, after a few misspent years in broadcasting, worked in marketing and public relations for several companies. In my free time I wrote articles and books on historical events and people. A dozen years ago, on a trip to San Francisco and Alcatraz, I conceived of an idea for a novel. True to my background, it was based on a real historical event – the 1962 escape of three men in a raft from the prison. It wasn't until my mid-sixties when I felt ready to step out of my non-fiction comfort zone and write my first novel. Can't wait to start the next one.

David's book list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values

David Kruh Why did David love this book?

It would be obscene to read this on a Kindle. This early Dashiell Hammett novel has to be read in paperback, the older a copy you can find, the better.

It has everything a great pulp novel should have; murder, crooked cops, gangs, and a rumpled too-honest-for-his-own-good hero. What I love about this book is how Hammett uses his own experience working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency (who were basically hired thugs) and a real historical event (a labor dispute in Montana that resulted in several deaths) to weave a solid crime novel.

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Detective-story master Dashiell Hammett gives us yet another unforgettable read in Red Harvest: When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.


Book cover of The Postman Always Rings Twice

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From my list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

G.E. Nordell Why did G.E. love this book?

Watching bad people self-destruct is hard work, but author Cain makes sure that the bad people get what they deserve. A drifter takes a job at a roadside diner that is run by an old man and his beautiful and unhappy wife; the two youngsters begin a dangerous affair and then plot to kill the husband so that the girl inherits the property. But matters do not turn out as they planned. The novel has been adapted for film at least seven times, with the favorite being the 1946 movie starring Lana Turner.

By James M. Cain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Postman Always Rings Twice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Nobody has ever quite pulled it off the way Cain does, not Hemingway, and not even Raymond Chandler' Tom Wolfe

'It is no accident that movies based on three [of Cain's novels] helped to define the genre known as film noir' NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

'The most starkly elemental thing that has been written for years' EVENING STANDARD

The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and…


Book cover of The Dain Curse

Neal W. Fandek Author Of Peter Pike and the Lincoln Love Letters

From my list on hard-boiled PIs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of the Peter Pike private eye series. Detective, PI, and mystery fiction have come a long way since Poe’s Dupin and Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. The genre allows you to explore almost any theme you want. What is Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment if not crime/detective fiction? My passion is history and the evolution of societies, and writing in this genre lets me explore the huge, sophisticated ancient Indian civilizations that were here before the white invasion. The ugly history of the Mormons, not taught in school. Lincoln’s murky sexuality. The Russian Revolution, Lenin and Stalin, the downfall of the Romanovs. Nazis and war dogs. The U.S.-Soviet space race. The -- well, you get the idea. 

Neal's book list on hard-boiled PIs

Neal W. Fandek Why did Neal love this book?

What, more Hammett? Sure. My apologies to those expecting Raymond Chandler, but it’s hard to beat the master. Even in this sometimes almost incoherent thrill ride through the occult, drugs, the misdeeds of the rich, and amoral 1920s America. It ain’t called the Roaring 20s for nothing. This is the second in the Continental Op series and maybe Hammett’s most ambitious PI work, which follows a sharp-witted insurance investigator in Hammett’s trademark snappy prose. Sam Spade-like? Uh, no. The Op is short, fat, forty, and nameless, very far from a tough guy. He gets beaten up all the time in this, I admit it, quite convoluted novel. Fortunately for the mystery-challenged, the backstory is presented at the end of each of three parts, along with the Op’s wry takes on the case.

Is Curse a satire? A literary work? Some kind of skewed horror story? Yes to all the above.

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Miss Gabriel Dain Leggett is young and wealthy, with a penchant for morphine and religious cults. She also has an unfortunate effect on the people around her. They die - violently. Is she the victim of a family curse? The short, squat, utterly unsentimental Continental Op, the best private detective around, has his doubts and finds himself confronting something infinitely more dangerous. This is the Continental Op's most bizarre case.


Book cover of Racing the Light

Mark Love Author Of Why 319?

From my list on contemporary mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales, set in the modern world always grab my attention. In a creative writing course in college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

When it comes to private detectives, Elvis Cole is my favorite. He’s got the combination of wit, intelligence, and experience that others strive for but often fall short. Pair him with Joe Pike and you’ve got an unbeatable combination.  

I really enjoy how Pike is more inclined to let his actions do the talking, while Cole is the voice telling the tale. This latest book includes the return of Lucy, Cole’s longtime lady friend, who helps smooth out his rough edges.

Crais paints a great landscape, where Elvis and Joe run through the Los Angeles area. This is a great example of how what looks like a simple case can easily be far more complicated. 

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Another grand slam for the master storyteller' DAVID BALDACCI

'A modern master of crime fiction' GREGG HURWITZ

THE CITY OF ANGELS
Adele Schumacher isn't a typical worried mum. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, paranoid tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of mysterious bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn't alone in the hunt - a team of deadly strangers are determined to find Josh first.

THE CITY OF LIES
With dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis…


Book cover of Eight Million Ways to Die

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

I discovered Lawrence Block at my local library when I was probably still too young to read his searing, heartbreaking stories about damaged men and women navigating lives rocked by trauma and tragedy.

But his books drew me in, especially this landmark story about an alcoholic ex-cop forced to come to terms with his addiction while working to solve a brutal crime.

The character has been played in movies by Liam Neeson and Jeff Bridges, but it’s on the page and in Block’s beautiful sentences that Matthew Scudder truly comes to life.

By Lawrence Block,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Million Ways to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying…


Book cover of The Maltese Falcon

T.R. Napper Author Of 36 Streets

From my list on broken heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I a cyberpunk writer, I’m officially a Doctor of Cyberpunk. My Ph.D. thesis, The Dark Century: 1946–2046, looked at hardboiled fiction, film noir, and tech-noir (AKA cyberpunk) traditions across the past, the present, and an imagined future. It was a radical break from my previous career as an aid worker, where I ran poverty alleviation programs throughout Southeast Asia. And yet, I’ve drawn on that experience in my prose, using the experience of the cultures that I lived and worked in to breathe life into the settings for my short stories and novels. 

T.R.'s book list on broken heroes

T.R. Napper Why did T.R. love this book?

Dashiell Hammett, more than any other author, created the hardboiled anti-hero. He’s also a damn fine prose writer. I re-read one of his books every year because of this, hoping perhaps to absorb his spare, elegant style. Each sentence is brutally trimmed of any excess and yet resonates with layered meaning. 

Dashiell Hammett himself was a broken hero. He fought in two World Wars for his country and yet was sent to jail by the committee for un-American activities for refusing to name names. He was a communist, who yet, as a young man, worked for the fascist, union-busting Pinkertons.

A complex, troubled individual who created dark and cynical worlds, and none more cynical than that of The Maltese Falcon. Here, we have a femme fatale, a hardboiled detective, gangsters, and conmen, all vying for the titular prize. It is a mean-streets masterpiece. 

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Maltese Falcon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the greatest crime novels of the 20th century.

'His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow' Independent

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a…


Book cover of Killing Floor

Tina O’Hailey Author Of Dark Drink

From my list on unconventional, stubborn, loyal characters with explorer’s hearts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose my favorite books, and through careful psyche analysis, I see a theme in them: stubborn characters who persevere through miserable elements. I cave, hike, kayak, motorcycle, etc. A lot of it is not comfortable. It starts with having an explorer’s heart. It isn’t glamorous. It is 90% talking yourself into the fact that you can do something you at first don’t believe you can do. The similar-minded friends that one finds along the way are lifelong, and there’s a bond that forms from crazy people like this. That comes through in my writing – companionship against a backdrop of stubborn exploration in an indifferent environment.

Tina's book list on unconventional, stubborn, loyal characters with explorer’s hearts

Tina O’Hailey Why did Tina love this book?

Reacher is dedicated to his “family” 5000%. Nothing else matters. Nothing. He is an incredibly simple and driven character who cannot resonate with the world around him nor give a moment to care that he does not. He is. That is all. Family is his team and, in this case, one actual family member. All are on equal footing.

While most details from books fade from my memory, this book (read when it first came out and eons before the TV show) is etched into my memory completely. The characters, the places, the fights, the sights and smells. I fell for Reacher’s plight and his steadfast mission to prove his innocence. My favorite image is hobo Reacher sleeping wherever and thinking nothing strange in that.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.


Book cover of Hammers on Bone

Victor Manibo Author Of The Sleepless

From my list on blending speculative fiction and noir fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel, The Sleepless, is a sci-fi noir story born out of my passion for both speculative fiction and crime fiction. I grew up devouring Marvel comics and Ray Bradbury and Agatha Christie, and those were some of my strongest influences when I finally decided to write my own stories. As a queer immigrant and a person of color, I was also influenced by the lives of people who live these identities, as much as I was influenced by my career as a lawyer in the immigration, criminal, and civil rights fields. 

Victor's book list on blending speculative fiction and noir fiction

Victor Manibo Why did Victor love this book?

Noir can sometimes be hard to identify, but most readers are familiar with the tropes: the put-upon private investigator, the case that he can’t walk away from, the hunt for leads, the twists and double-crosses. With Hammers on Bone, we get all the aesthetics of a hardboiled detective story but also: Lovecraftian monsters. Noir stories lay bare individual and collective moral failings, and in adding eldritch horrors, the book further externalizes those ills, showing how monstrous humans can be.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw is a novella that melds the hardboiled detective novel with Lovecraftian monsters. Our private dick, John Persons, is hired by a ten-year-old kid to off his abusive stepfather. From this classic noir setup, to the character voice and dialect, to the shady characters, to the twists and reversals, this book really keys into the strengths of the genre, and amplifies them even further with…

By Cassandra Khaw,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hammers on Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cassandra Khaw bursts onto the scene with Hammers on Bone, a hard-boiled horror show that Charles Stross calls "possibly the most promising horror debut of 2016." A finalist for the British Fantasy award and the Locus Award for Best Novella!

John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable.

He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and…


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