Okay, say someone hasn't read a lot in the mystery/thriller/noir genre(s) and has asked you for recommendations? Who are the must-reads in each of those sub-genres and why? If they're "classic masters" that's fine, but I'd love to see a list of who you all think are the contemporary best-of-the-genre as well.

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I've read Hollywood Station, only other Wambaugh I've read is "The Choirboys" so not that much to compare it to. I found Hollywood Station mostly very good, in terms of dialogue/rounded perspective of the cops lives, but I feel it lacked the bite of the Choirboys at time, and the subplot dragged a bit. Still very worth reading IMHO.
I am so glad to see somebody mention Jenny Siler. Her book ICED is one of my all-time favorites.
I'm doing an interview with Jenny on my blog this week - or at least with her alterego.
David - agree with you about Berlin Noir trilogy! And do you know that a sequel has recently been published (The one from the other - a new Bernie Gunter novel). Bruen and Woodrell are very near the top of the "Intend to read in near future pile" :)

British police procedurals:-
would add:-
John Harvey
Ann Cleeves
John Connor
Ruth Rendell
P D James
Peter Robinson

Continental European police procedurals:-
Carlo Lucarelli and Andrea Camilleri (Italy)
Jo Nesbo (Norway)
Karin Fossum, Henning Mankell, Sjowall (Sweden)
Friedrich Glauser (Switzerland)
Jean Claude-Izzo, Jean Christophe Grange (France)
Luca Di Fulvio (the Mannequin Man)
Olen Steinhauer (unnamed country, eastern european under totalitarianism setting)
Arnaldur Indridaarson (Iceland)

Algeria - Yasmina Khadra - bleak uncompromising view of society by a former high ranking police officer (the female nom de plume was a cunning attempt to evade the military censors!).

Thrillers -
Alan Furst - lovingly detailed depiction of WWII Europe
Anthony Price - cold war era very british espionage thrillers
Robert Wilson
Gianrico Carofiglio - legal "thrillers" in the loosest term of the word - very naturalistic deliberately unheroic style of writing , more of an "everyman" with a conscience.
How about some Australian authors?

Peter Temple, Garry Disher, Peter Corris, Gabrielle Lord ...

Actually, just hurry up and read all the Peter Temple you can lay your hands on. Some of it's out in the U.S. now.

For those that might be interested in checking out more Aussie authors, go take a peek around crimedownunder.com
Absolutely on the Peter Temple, Garry Disher etc list.

But also Philip McLaren if you want an authentic aboriginal perspective:

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/index.php/McLaren%2C_Philip

Adrian Hyland if you want a realistic current day portrayal, albeit by a non-Aboriginal but Diamond Dove is going to be one of my wow books from 2007.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/index.php/Hyland%2C_Adrian

If you're into Hiaasen (I think that's how you spell it) then you should try Robert G Barrett:

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/index.php/Barrett%2C_Robert_G.

And for a cat detective who's actually a woman who has a side business in finding lost cats (it's hilarious) - Caroline Shaw.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/index.php/Shaw%2C_Caroline
Adrian Hyland rings a bell. I'm pretty sure he frequented the Mystery Writers Forum (MWF) some time back, getting feedback on some of his ideas. I'll have to check him out, thanks.
And let's not forget the ever-tardy Shane Maloney's Murray Whelan series. It looks as though he might actually have another one out before the end of the year.

I'll second you with Peter Temple - particularly THE BROKEN SHORE which was a group read on 4 Mystery Addicts group and really polarised opnions. There seemed to be no half way with that one. You either loved it or hated it.

I'm currently reading a book by a new-to-me author - Adrian Hyland . The book's called DIAMOND DOVE and is told through the eyes of an aboriginal woman returning to her tribe after a number of years living in the big city and overseas. Wonderful witty writing with a matter-of-fact depiction of the problems of aboriginal people without being beaten over the head with a political agenda.
Dashiell Hammett
Ian Rankin
Val McDermid
Gianrico Carofiglio
Mary Higgins Clark
Philip Margolian
Robert Crais
Donna Leon
Michael Connelly
"Total Eclipse" by Liz Rigeby
"Laidlaw" by William McIlvanney.
I reckon that varied lot would orient you pretty well in the vast crime fiction universe.
My fave stuff has to be the series stuff. Thus far, for me, my favorites have been:

Travis McGee (MacDonald)
Spenser (Parker)
Elvis Cole (Crais)
Harry Bosch (Connelley)
Dave Robicheaux (Burke)
Myron Bolitar (Coben)
Alex McKnight (Hamilton)

I also really liked Dan Simmons' Joe Kurtz novels (there were only three, and apparently that's all there will ever be, sadly.

Oh, and I sure hope there's another Ray Dudgeon from Sean Chercover. What a debut!

Also, surprised nobody's mentioned T. Jefferson Parker yet. I've not read many of his, but CALIFORNIA GIRL and THE FALLEN are two of my favorite novels in any genre I've read in ages...
Oops...can't forget Child's Reacher series!
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo who wrote 10 Swedish classics between 1965 and 1975. The most famous of these is The Laughing Policeman, made into a film starring Walter Mathau. Their Martin Beck novels were both crime fiction and a social commentary on the state of Swedish society.

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