The best private investigator books 📚

Browse the best books on private investigators as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Monkey's Raincoat: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

The Monkey's Raincoat: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

By Robert Crais

Why this book?

Introducing Elvis Cole, L.A. Private Eye, who, along with his business partner Joe Pike, features in 18 books. Cole is a literate, wisecracking Vietnam vet who is determined to never grow up. Pike is a former Marine, quiet, ruthless, and deadly.

When Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-Deco office, she's lost her husband and her young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower, Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs, sex, and…

From the list:

The best books with exciting first appearances of serial thriller characters

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Book cover of Killing Floor

Killing Floor

By Lee Child

Why this book?

The book that introduced the world to the iconic Jack Reacher has it all: a one-of-a-kind protagonist who’s larger than life; incredible tension from page one; an outstanding hook—Reacher getting arrested while minding his own business one hour after arriving in a small Georgia town and being charged with murder; lean prose (ala Hemingway) that fits the main character; and something that few reviewers mention—the incredible rhythm Child infuses into his prose. Because I have a music background, the rhythmic cadence that appears in so many scenes added great depth to my reading experience.

From the list:

The best debut mystery-thrillers of all time

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Book cover of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Why this book?

Along with a complete reprinting of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, this is an incredibly well-researched account of the background from which they sprang. Leslie Klinger clarifies and defines many of the archaic terms and complex historical quirks which sometimes makes the initial reading of Sherlock Holmes difficult for newcomers to the Canon. He delineates the tales connection to the true crimes upon which Conan Doyle drew. It’s a bit like seeing an old, somewhat blurry photograph suddenly sharpened to give maximum impact. It’s simply necessary for anyone with a serious interest in Mr. Holmes.
From the list:

The best books since the beginning of crime

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Book cover of L.A. Requiem: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

L.A. Requiem: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

By Robert Crais

Why this book?

This novel was a revelation to me. First, I’ll note that it’s a book in the Elvis Cole series, and the earlier novels were told in the first person (with a couple of exceptions for prologues). This book changed everything by going full-on multiple viewpoints, and in so doing, deepened the characters in amazing ways. It’s not necessary to read the earlier books to enjoy this one, but I predict you’ll get addicted to Crais and read all of them anyway. This novel will appeal to fantasy readers by reminding them how great books can affect us by awakening our…

From the list:

The best non-fantasy novels for fantasy readers

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Book cover of Hammers on Bone

Hammers on Bone

By Cassandra Khaw

Why this book?

Khaw, known for their genre-spanning sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, does a terrific job flipping the script on many older cosmic horror tropes in this cosmic horror noir novella. In crisp, graceful prose we watch as the unknowable monsters threatening our hero (and his client) turn out to be human, and the powerful forces assisting them are the more traditional horrors. I love it when cosmic horror is presented in a way that lets imagination do the work, and Khaw delivers here--leaving mysteries intact, and letting the reader scare themselves.

From the list:

The best modern cosmic horror

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Book cover of Peace Talks

Peace Talks

By Jim Butcher

Why this book?

I am currently reading this book and enjoying it. I have been a big fan of the Dresden Files series for a long time and admire the strength it takes to be a wizard in the modern world. Jim comes up with the wildest and imaginative stories featuring battles with the supernatural. The author is also a fencer and martial artist just like me!  

From the list:

The best captivating novels that will take you on a magical and fun journey

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