A real toughie this, but if you had to name only one writer (of crime fiction) that you think was the best--who would you name?

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Thank goodness, someone has at last widened their horizons beyond the US of A. Now, how about looking towards Europe (Karen Fossum, Henning Mankel, Donna Leon for starters) and then perhaps waking up to what's happening Down Under where there is a wealth of top-class crime writers, one of whom (Peter Temple) won this year's Golden Dagger Award
Ah, yes, influence.... For that I'm not sure WHO I'd choose. Maybe Martin Cruz Smith, though I'm not sure. I'll have to read my own stuff and see if I can figure it out.
Raymond Chandler. Poetry in prose.
I agree probably the best.
I agree with L.J. Parker's point on former journalists. Those who can pull it together and make you forget you're reading words and are right there, moving with the story, and feeling that triumph personally at the conclusion -- that is unconditionally the best. And each of these - McBain, Chandler, Hammett, Leonard -- are the absolute when you're in the midst of their stories... and you just want more!
Chandler has a unique ability that you don't see too often any more, of being able to tell volumes about a character in few words
Yes!
that's what I love about his writing.
a brief description and we get it all.
thanks Jessica.
John D. MacDonald, pre Travis Magee.
thank you for all your replies. most i read and I agree with, others i will read. i have so much reading to do! but i want so to read all the hardboiled i can. i think the end result is we have to agree there isn't just one great! but a number of greats in that tradition.
Ken Bruen. No doubt my fav of the current crew. Although I'm totally digging Megan Abbot right now, as well...
i agree. just finished a bookd b her. i'll have to look into bruen.
Easy peasy - Reginald Hill.

Love his lyrical style, the quirky humour, his story telling.

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