Sunday, February 24, 2008

50 Crime Writers to Read Before You Die

I came across this article from The Telegraph about the 50 crime writers you should read before you die. It seem a fairly good list with some of the classics (Hammett, Chandler, Poe, Christie, etc) and some more recent masters (Ellroy, Leonard, Robert Crais). There are even some pleasant surprises along the way. But, as with all lists of this type, there are some omissions. I know some people will scream that James Crumley was left off. My main issue is the omission of Ross Macdonald. I've only read a couple Macdonald novels (with a couple more on my TBR pile) and others could make more eloquent defenses of why he should be on the list, but any list of top crime writers should include Macdonald. He took the style created and refined by Hammett and Chandler and gave it the depth you only saw in "literary" novels up to that point.

On a personal note, I'm happy Crais and Mickey Spillane were included.


Cormac Brown said...

I thought the list was a little too Brit-centric and I agree with the person who posted the article in The Rap Sheet that it was a shame that Connelly was left off the list.

WellesFan said...

Lots of people are miffed about the exclusion of Connelly. I haven't read much of him, so I really don't feel qualified to comment. Another I'm not quite sure about is Cornell Woolrich. He is one of the fathers of noir, but I didn't push him much because he's not a "crime" writer in the sense that the others on the list are.

Cormac Brown said...

Which begs the question, "what is crime fiction?"

Should noir-based authors dominate because of the genre's influence on cinema and literature, or should they include just the Agatha Christie-set? How about straight heist/dirty crime novelists such as Edward Bunker?