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Recommend a good series

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

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Jul 25, 2010, 10:16am Top

I need help finding a good series. It could be crime or thriller or mystery, it doesn't matter. But the most important thing that I'm looking for is no romance!! If possible, of course. I'm willing to give it a chance if the series have a tiny bit of romance. Thank you!!

Jul 25, 2010, 12:00pm Top

I am hosting a giveaway of Medical mystery author Michael Palmer's books on my blog. To enter go to themysterybookshelf.blogspot.com.

Jul 25, 2010, 12:28pm Top

Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan books -- forensic thrillers. Don't be fooled by the fact that they made a really bad TV series (Bones) out of the books. The books are great.

Likewise, Tess Gerritsen's thriller series that has just become a TV series (Rizzoli & Isles). I didn't like the most recent book, but the other ones are good.

For mystery rather than thriller, go for Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books.

And, of course, there are the classic Ed McBain police procedural 87th Precinct series.

Oh, and the John D. MacDonald Travis McGee books. Also classic.

Jul 25, 2010, 2:24pm Top

I'm a big fan of Michael Connelly, especially his Harry Bosch series, although most of his books introduce other characters he uses in other series. I also love James Lee Burke. Nelson DeMille has some series mysteries, but I've never read a DeMille book that disappointed. I'm just beginning to read, the latest in a series.

Jul 25, 2010, 3:34pm Top

Louise Penny's series, starting with Still Life are murder mysteries set in a small town with very well drawn characters. It's about the writing and characters even more than the mystery.
There is no 'romance' per se in these books, although some couples are portrayed, both happy and unhappy ones.
Nearly everyone over on the 75 books challenge thread loves this series!

Jul 25, 2010, 3:47pm Top

Amanda Cross has a bit of romance in that the main character has a relationship that develops over the course of the series. Romance is not center stage in the series, though.

Jul 25, 2010, 4:33pm Top

Someone (can't recall who) suggested to try this site for CIA/FBI type series: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/JobCats/CIA_FBI.html

Jul 25, 2010, 4:37pm Top

Marcia Muller - Sharon McCone, p.i., Sue Grafton - Kinsey Millhone, p.i., Laurie R. King - Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes, Quintin Jardine - Bob Skinner, Scottish policeman, Sujata Massey, Bill Pronzini - Nameless, p.i. and I could go on and on ...

Check out http://www.wiznet.ca/~ambedian/mystery_table.html

Jul 25, 2010, 11:15pm Top

There's always the Mary Russell series by Laurie R King, the Alexandra Cooper series by Linda Fairstein, Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry - they are all great!

Most cozy mysteries have a touch of romance so you really need to stick with thrillers, IMHO.

Jul 26, 2010, 10:13am Top

Jul 27, 2010, 7:31am Top

Stuart MacBride writes excellent police procedurals set in Aberdeen - they should definitely be read in order!

Jul 27, 2010, 1:23pm Top

Check out Maj Sjowall Per Wahloo. The Martin Beck novels are classic.

Jul 27, 2010, 4:04pm Top

I would recommend Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney or her Jo Beckett series of books. And not just because I won a contest and I'm included as a character in her latest book The Liar's Lullaby. They are all very well written.

Jul 27, 2010, 4:25pm Top

C.J. Box series features game warden Joe Pickett. Second recommendation for James Lee Burke-has two series, both excellent.

Jul 27, 2010, 8:20pm Top

Hey, KAzevedo ~ I'm reading (as an audiobook) my first Joe Pickett mystery now: Blood Trail. Pretty good stuff!

Jul 27, 2010, 8:48pm Top

John Dunning, starting with Booked to Die. Ex-cop turned rare book dealer solving crimes related to rare books. Very minor romance. It's not a "cozy" series.

Marshall Karp, starting with The Rabbit Factory. Down and dirty crimes with funny lead characters. Also very minor romance. Think "Rockford Files" type humor.

Edited: Jul 27, 2010, 9:42pm Top

Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge series - set in England in the aftermath of WWI. Ian Rutledge is a shell-shocked survivor of the war and has returned to his career as a police detective.

There are currently 12 books in the series. I recommend reading them in order, starting with A Test of Wills.

Jul 27, 2010, 9:44pm Top

Lots of good recommendations here I would also add a series that I'm loving (just finished book 5) Savannah Reid series by G.A. McKevett. I guess it falls under the "cozy" category with a plus-size female, southern P.I. who knows how pamper herself and so far no romance. Quick, easy fun reads.

Edited: Jul 27, 2010, 10:48pm Top

Almost forgot Robert McCammon starting with Speaks the Nightbird. Takes place in late 16th century. Rather gruesome. Great characters.

Edited: Jul 29, 2010, 10:32am Top

I would suggest Vince Flynn and the Mitch Rapp series. Mitch Rapp is a spy working for the CIA. Terrorism, especially post 911, is a common theme.

He has one book that isn't part of the series, Term Limits, which should be read as it establishes a few characters that play roles in the early books of the Mitch Rapp series (especially The Third Option). Term Limits involves violence internally within the government via hire...the idea being that if you want your vote on a bill to go through, kill a few that you know will vote the other way, eliminate the opposition. There ends up being 3 deaths (I think, if not, it's 4).

It's his second book, Transfer of Power, where Mitch Rapp comes in.

The person he saves in Transfer of Power becomes his girlfriend, then wife, then dead (won't tell you when) over the course of the books, so it's crucial that they are read in order. Also, many changes occur from a political perspective, like Presiden't health condition, election, etc, and so all the more reason to read them in order.

Just as a guide, the following would be the order to read them (oh, and by the way, I don't recall any of these books not having someone important dying, so you have to be willing to deal with death):

Term Limits
Transfer of Power
The Third Option
Separation of Power
Transfer of Power
Memorial Day
Consent to Kill
Act of Treason (I'm nearing the end of this one)
Protect and Defend
Extreme Measures
Pursuit of Honor (Comes in paperback end of August)
American Assassin (Comes in hardcover in October)

I can tell you a little about some of the other authors mentioned, either thru reading myself or thru conversion from friends I have that have read them:

- I have one friend that basically read all of Lee Child and Michael Connelly. He liked them both, but said Connelly was better. He has also read many books by McHammon, but he's not really a crime or thriller writer, he writes more horror. If you like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc, then he might be worth a try.

- An acquaintance said to me that Steve Berry is worth a try, but that he's one of those authors that most either really love or can't stand, supposedly.

- I myself have read a number of Sue Grafton's books. They were ok at first, A, B, C. By "D" they were all seeming to be exactly the same. "E" was awful. "F" was decent, "G" was ok, "H" was eh, not great, but not like "E", and by the time I got to "I" I just couldn't finish it. From my research of reviews, it seems like they get worse as they go on. Same for Lilian Jackson Braun, whom I read the first 13 books, have seen reviews that her latter ones, like #'s 25-29, were just going downhill.

I'm on Vince Flynn's 8th book, 7th in the Mitch Rapp series, and it hasn't gone one big south yet.

Hope this all helps.

Jul 30, 2010, 5:24pm Top

I have to disagree about the Sue Grafton comments. I only started to read her stuff about six months ago, and have not read them in any order. I could not even tell you which were better or worse than any of the others. I think they're all done well and serve their purpose of giving us fun crime stories.

I'd also recommend John Lescroart for series book that are always enjoyable.

Finally, just finished The Lion by Nelson Demille I listened to it on audio. Fifteen discs and I didn't want it to end.

Aug 1, 2010, 9:55am Top

I don't know if it's appropriate to recommend my own series, but I've received a lot of terrific reader feedback and Mystery Scene magazine has given my stories high praise. Yet many readers still don't about me. :)

I write the Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series, based on a homicide investigator in Eugene, Oregon. The first two books, THE SEX CLUB and SECRETS TO DIE FOR, are in print now, and the third novel, THRILLED TO DEATH, will be released in three weeks. All three are available as e-books for $2.99. The fourth Jackson story comes out early next year. I hope you'll check them out.

Aug 1, 2010, 11:20am Top

I like Martha Grimes. Her Richard Jury mysteries are great. I also agree with vivienbrenda above regarding Sue Grafton. Her Kinsey Millhone books are a lot of fun, too.

Aug 3, 2010, 10:54pm Top

There's a series about this English detective, lives with another guy most of the time . . . sometimes some of the minor characters, not to mention the other guy, have romances, but never the main character, no matter what films might imply. Cracking good stories, too.

Oh--his name is Sherlock Holmes.

Aug 3, 2010, 11:06pm Top

I actually think the Lord Peter Wimsey series might suit--the romance is so awkward I can't imagine it distracting much from the series.

The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters and the Dame Frevisse series by Margaret Frazer are both series in which the detective is a religious, so they don't have romances, though sometimes the secondary characters do.

Either of Agatha Christie's two main series, Miss Marple and Poirot, would give you detectives who do not indulge.

Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy series features a detective who dallies with the ladies, but he's never serious about any of them, and at least half the time is only sleeping with them to get closer to some antique he's lusting after.

P.D. James's Adam Dalglish series features a detective whose wife and child have died, so he's mostly just pretty depressed.

Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe doesn't do romance, though his sidekick is another guy who flirts in the cause of getting information.

Aug 4, 2010, 2:53pm Top

This site was created (by me) some years ago and hasn't been updated recently, but it should give you a lot of ideas for hardboiled mystery authors (some who are still writing today) to read: http://writer89.tripod.com/


Aug 4, 2010, 3:46pm Top

I'd like to recommend the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. The first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, spends an awful lot of time setting up the backstory, but that's to be expected. The books take place in London in the 1930's, a few years after WWI. Maisie bills herself as an 'investigator and psychologist' so there is a lot more mental than physical interaction. So far I have read four of her books and while they may not be cracking good mysteries, they are good reads, especially if you happen to be a fan of 'cozies'.

Edited: Aug 4, 2010, 5:22pm Top

I'd like to second the recommendations for Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series and Marshall Karp's Lomax and Biggs books.

Also I'd like to add John Sandford's Prey series featuring Lucas Davenport, Stephen White's Alan Gregory series, Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series,, Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series featuring the wonderful Precious Ramotswe and P.J. Tracy's offbeat Monkeewrench series.

Edited to add links to series pages.

Aug 4, 2010, 7:32pm Top

Try John Burdett's Bangkok series, starting with Bangkok 8

Edited: Aug 4, 2010, 8:43pm Top

A few more to add to your now enormous list of TBR series:

Peter Robinson Inspector Banks Series.

Shirley Wells Max Trentham series.

Both are British cop series. Wonderful characters, very well written.

Michael McGarrity Kevin Kerney series. Set in New Mexico, the desolate beauty of the state is a lovely, important part of each story.

I could go on but I'll give someone else a chance -- enjoy!

Aug 9, 2010, 11:14am Top

I'm a huge fan of Jeremy Robinson's Chess Team (now Jack Sigler) Series. Two books are out with a third on the way. The team is all code named different chess pieces which is where the series got its name from (Jack Sigler = King, leader of the Delta operatives). There are monsters, insane action, great locales, and cool science to create a very entertaining read with each book. Rook has to be my favorite character, as you read it you'll see why.

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your thoughts. Take care.

Edited: Aug 9, 2010, 5:25pm Top

I have 3 series to suggest all UK based, Firstly the Peter James books featuring Roy Grace all set in Brighton. There are the Jon Spicer books set in Manchester written by Chris Simms and finally the wonder Dalziel and Pascoe series by the brilliant Reginald Hill.

Edited: Aug 10, 2010, 2:10pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Aug 13, 2010, 7:28am Top

While I didn't post the original question, I would like to thank those who recommended Louise Penny. I am listening to Still Life on audio, and I am enjoying it very much. I've already reserved two others from the library. Penny has a light, whimsical touch; her characters remind me of those I loved in the the E.B. Benson, Lucia series.

Aug 27, 2010, 8:28am Top

#34 vivienbrenda - I love the Penny books! And I always want to eat everything she mentions, especially the licorice pipes and the sandwiches.

Enjoy the series - they're all fantastic.

Aug 27, 2010, 8:37am Top

I haven't yet seen a mention of the Pendergast series by Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston. I love them. They're semi-supernatural (at least to start) and are written in a 1930s serial style...lots of cliffhangers. Agent Pendergast is enigmatic, extremely cultured and knows everything about everything. He's got lots of depth and his supporting characters are pretty terrific most of the time. Start with Relic and work your way through.

Aug 29, 2010, 9:50am Top

An easy read about two modern English detectives can be found in a trilogy by new author, James R. Vance. The series starts with Animal Instinct, followed by Killer Butterfly and finally, The Courier. In that order, their careers are charted through three different investigations.

Edited: Aug 30, 2010, 4:43pm Top

I highly recommend the Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor. I blew through those pretty quickly, and I do recommend reading them in published order. Start with The Lions of Lucerne.

Aug 31, 2010, 4:25pm Top

The Charles Lennox series by Charles Finch

Aug 31, 2010, 7:36pm Top

Carol O'Connell's 'Kathleen Mallory' series...definitely NOT a "cozy" series. Series starts with #1: "Mallory's Oracle"... #9: "Find Me". Recommend reading the series in order as the "mystery of Mallory" is explored throughout the series.

Sep 1, 2010, 10:39am Top


I started to read that series. Relic was decent, but Reliquary stunk. I kinda gave up there. Are the ones after Reliquary any better than Reliquary? Or is it one of those where Relic will amuse anybody, and only a select few will find the rest being worth while? Many series are like that, first book great, the rest blah!

Sep 3, 2010, 2:05pm Top

Yes, they do get better, esp the next one Cabinet of Curiosities. I think the characters of Pendergast and Constance are well drawn and mysterious enough in themselves to keep a person reading.

Sep 23, 2010, 3:27pm Top

The Prey books by John Sanford starting with Rules of prey. Great series that he has kept interesting through many books.

Oct 8, 2010, 4:37pm Top

I would highly recommend the Maigret series by Georges Simenon. The books are short, stylish tales, full of mid-twentieth century Parisien vignettes. A good starting point might be The Yellow Dog or Maigret in Montmartre.

I am sad that Maigret is a comparatively forgotten figure, and will continue to plow my lonely furrow, as I attempt to read all 70-odd novels.

Oct 11, 2010, 4:07am Top

You're not alone - I love the Maigret books, too!

Oct 15, 2010, 11:09pm Top

The Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr features a national park ranger who investigates murders at US parks. Each book is set in a different park and you experience the parks as a worker rather than as a tourist. The author brings her own US park background to the stories, which contributes to the "you are there" feel. Anna is a widow; the earlier books take you through her pain and there are a few love interests in the later books, but these are *not* cozies or romantic novels.

Edited: Oct 16, 2010, 1:44am Top

Interesting . . . the love interest of the detective in Aaron Elkins' mysteries is a park ranger, also. The detective, Gideon Oliver, is a forensic anthropologist. If I haven't recommended this series already, let me do so now.

Oops . . . just looked back at the OP, which requested no romance. I don't think it's particularly heavy-handed in Elkins' works, but it is there.

Edited: Nov 15, 2010, 9:14pm Top

I think these are fairly romance-free, or lightly included (or I've completely forgotten it if there is :)

Janwillem van de Wetering - Grijpstra and de Gier series Outsider in Amsterdam
Jane Langton - Homer Kelly series, The Transcendental Murder
Sara Paretsky - V I Warshawski, Indemnity Only
Dana Stabenow - Kate Shugak, A Cold Day for Murder
Marcia Muller - Sharon McCone, Edwin of the Iron Shoes
Amanda Cross - Kate Fansler, In the Last Analysis
Sarah Caudwell - Hilary Tamar, Thus Was Adonis Murdered
G M Ford - Frank Corso series: Fury, Black River; Leo Waterman: Who the Hell is Wanda Fuca?
Earl Emerson - Thomas Black series The Rainy City
Harlan Coben - Myron Bolitar series Deal Breaker
Aaron Elkins - Gideon Oliver series Fellowship of Fear
Martha Grimes - Richard Jury series The Man with a Load of Mischief, The Anodyne Necklace
P D James - Adam Dalgliesh series Cover Her Face
John Dunning - Cliff Janeway series Booked to Die
Marianne Macdonald - Dido Hoare series Death's Autograph

May 11, 2011, 2:16pm Top

You can't not like this series. I'd start with Still Life - I envy you this discovery.

May 11, 2011, 4:36pm Top

Has noone recommended Boris Akunin yet? His series featuring Erast Fandorin are great. I suggest reading them in the correct order (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/boris-akunin/ ). Akunin makes every Fandorin-book in a different style: espionage, conspiracy, contract killer, locked room mystery...

Then there's the French author Fred Vargas (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/v/fred-vargas/). Commissaire Adamsberg stars in several stories, and even though only one (?) book in the Three Evangelist series has been translated into English, if you're able to read in French, there are at least 3 of those. Just a tiny bit of romance but a lot of very sound mysteries and a LOT of eccentric fun :)

May 17, 2011, 10:15pm Top

I've finished the first two of the Joe Farraday series by Graham Hurley: Turnstone and The Take. I haven't found the romance obtrusive. These are great police procedurals plus the characters and plots are very realistic.

May 18, 2011, 4:35pm Top

Putting the Hurley series on my TBR list. Thanks, jmyers24!

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