What are the crime, mystery, and thriller novels that every fan of this genre should be sure to read before he or she dies? That's the question Britain's Daily Telegraph asked a couple of weeks back, but its answers were ... well, let's be generous and call them unspectacular.

Hoping to do a better job, The Rap Sheet is putting together its own list of must-reads -- but we need your help. Which books and authors do you think should be included? We won’t limit our list falsely to 50 books and authors, as the Telegraph did, but will instead feature as many names as seems appropriate. And we'll publish the results sometime in the near future.

The floor is now open to suggestions, folks.

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I would never dream of telling anyone "You can't include this" or "You must include this" or "I wouldn't include X because they are too popular". My list of 'must read' authors is entirely personal. My Mum - who loves crime fiction - would probably dislike every one of them. And if I met a little green alien from the Planet Zog and he asked me to give him a list of books that he should read because he'd never read crime fiction before and wanted an idea of the history and the spread, then my list would be completely different and include books and authors I didn't like (and be SLIGHTLY nearer to the Telegraph's list than my own is.

That all said, if I had an identical twin, and she'd spent the last 40 years buried in an underground tomb with no books, these are the 30 or so I would suggest she reads first, simply because she's going to have a whale of a time with them. Then I'll give her another 30 :o)

Eddie Muller - The Distance
Ken Bruen - The Guards or The White Arrest
Bill Fitzhugh - Pest Control
Donald Westlake - The Hot Rock
Charles Willeford - Shark Infested Custard
Daniel Woodrell - Winter's Bone
Barbara Seranella - No Human Involved
Joe Lansdale - The Bottoms
Christa Faust - Money Shot
Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye
Richard S Prather - any
Jim Thompson - The Killer Inside Me
Dorothy Hughes - In A Lonely Place
Al Guthrie - Hard Man
James M Cain - The Postman Always Rings Twice
Ed McBain - any 87th Precinct novel featuring The Deaf Man
John Baker - Poet In The Gutter
Stuart Pawson - The Mushroom Man
Charlie Williams - Deadfolk
Kevin Wignall - Who Is Conrad Hirst?
Ray Banks - No More Heroes
Jo Nesbo - The Redbreast
John Welter - Night of The Avenging Blowfish
Arnaldur Indridason - Jar City
Steve Brewer - Fool's Paradise
David Corbett - The Devil's Redhead
Victor Gischler - Gun Monkeys

And the ones I forgot she can have next time :o)
I don't see the problem with these lists. We're not listing the 50 smallest elements in the periodic table, so I would always assume that the list was entirely subjective within a certain domain i.e the people that put the list together. It's like the desert island lists. Entirely hypothetical, but useful as an introduction to people outside the genre. Or for people on death row ("Sir, I have a list of books I have to read first.")

And it's crime. The title absolutely must include the word 'die'. Or 'murder'. Actually, that would be better: "50 books you must read before you're murdered."

Okay, enough playing. I haven't actually read 50 books that would be worthy of such a list, so I'll put up the ones that I have read (some are cross-genre, but still fall under crime/thriller):

Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep
James Ellroy: The Black Dahlia
Michael Connelly: The Black Echo
Peter Temple: The Broken Shore
Jonathan Lethem: Gun, With Occasional Music
Barry Eisler: Rain Fall
Ken Bruen: The Killing Of The Tinkers
Charles Willeford: The Shark-Infested Custard
Jim Thompson: The Killer Inside Me
Steven Torres: The Concrete Maze
Charlie Huston: Already Dead
Jeff Lindsay: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Richard Aleas: Little Girl Lost
Jess Walter: Citizen Vince
Ray Banks: Saturday's Child
Don Winslow: The Winter Of Frankie Machine
James M. Cain: Double Indemnity
Olen Steinhauer: The Confession
John Connolly: Every Dead Thing
Glad to see Temple's name on this list. You've got some fine crime writers down under.
I would add; Mark Frost's: The List of Seven, David Simon's Homicide Life on The Streets, and James Ellroy's: L.A. Confidential. (a seconding as someone else already mentioned it) Hmmm? Maybe these aren't must-reads, but they're darn good.
And J.D.Wingfield for the best police procedurals of all.
Umm, I believe it's R.D.Wingfield. Sorry.
What I haven't seen so far:
(Can't believe he hasn't been mentioned) Elmore Leonard - Get Shorty or Stick or Glitz
George V. Higgins - The Friends of Eddie Coyle
George Pelecanos - The Big Blow Down or King Suckerman
Daniel Woodrell - The Death of Sweet Mister
Scott Phillips - The Ice Harvest
Ross MacDonald - The Chill or The Doomsters
Gregory MacDonald - Fletch or Confess, Fletch
T. Jefferson Parker - Silent Joe
Caleb Carr - The Alienist
Arthur Conan Doyle - The Hounds of the Baskervilles
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock or Our Man in Havana
Cormac McCarthy - No Country for Old Men
Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley
James Crumley - The Last Good Kiss or The Wrong Case
Umberto Eco - The Name of the Rose
John Grisham - The Firm
Stephen King - Dolores Claiborne or Misery
Nelson DeMille - The Gold Coast
Tom Clancy - The Hunt for Red October
Joseph Wambaugh - The Golden Orange
Scott Turow - Presumed Innocent
Scott Smith - A Simple Plan
Richard Condon - The Manchurian Candidate or Prizzi's Honor
William Goldman - Marathon Man or Magic
Donald Westlake - The Hot Rock
Frank Miller - Sin City
Walter Mosely - Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
Robert Ferrigno - Horse Latitudes
Tom Wolfe - The Bonfire of the Vanities
Pete Dexter - Paris Trout orThe Paperboy
Richard Price - Clockers
What a great list of lists. Just about every book that I might put on the list has already been mentioned. Except perhaps for Jordan Dane's NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, which doesn't come out until next week.

Jack
You mention one of the most unappreciatiated of the crime writers, not to mention a great movie reviewer--Stephen Hunter.

Jack
Ross Macdonald, The Galton Case and all of the other novels; Michael Connelly, Rex Stout, and Dashiell Hammett.
The Lew Griffin books by James Sallis
Drive by James Sallis
Last Call by Tim Powers
Kiss Me Judas by Will Christopher Baer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Red Baker by Robert Ward
No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Paris Trout by Pete Dexter
The God File by Frank Turner Hollon
The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
The Impossible Bird by Patrick O'Leary
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Insult by Rupert Thomson
The Ruined Map by Kobo Abe
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
The Skin Palace by Jack O'Connell
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller
Clockers by Richard Price
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
An Instance of the Fingerposts
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Devil's Redhead by David Corbett
The Shark Infested Custard by Charles Willeford
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes
Giveadamn Brown by Robert Dean Pharr
The Jones Men by Vern E. Smith
American Skin by Ken Bruen
Hi everybody, hope you all are having a great day! I think that The Thin Man, Charlie Chan, Helter Skelter, Silence Of The Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Comrade Chikatilo, Conspiracy of Silence, Hannibal Rising, Caril, Murder in Coweta County, Black Dahlia, any books by Mark Furhman, Joseph Wambaugh, James Ellroy, Harold Schechter, Ron Franscell, Ann Rule, The Zodiac, The Serial Killer Files, Written in Blood, L.A. Confidential, Children Who Kill, Maltese Falcon, Righteous Carnage, Perry Mason books, Fall (Ron Franscell), Cannibals. I could go on and on, there are the older books from my dad's time), Robert Parker, oops! there I go again. Better leave well enough alone. I hope these helped a bit, they happen to be some of my favorites. Thanks for the chance to list some of them. Diane Meyer (Grandma591)

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