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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Dahiell Hammett.
terrific. hammett. just reading maltese falcon, i thought it would be dated just a bit, but it isn't. it's so sharp and cool and clever. also glass key, will read that next. thanks.
What amazed me is that Maltese Falcon is SO perfect, it was barely changed at all for the movie. A few extra pieces of dialogue that empghasized the attraction Cairo had for Elmer and a veiled hint that Sam and Brigid slept together and that was probably cut by the Hays Office.

The man was a god!
i know. i was surprised at the romance between the two. that censorship was too much in those days! but the story as a whole survived nicely onto the screen. i could hear Sam Spade as Bogie say every word though as i was reading it. it must have been something for the reader before the film--I would imagine.
Raymond Chandler. Living author, Elmore Leonard. Living and under 80 years old, tie between John Connolly and Robert Crais.
great thank you. it's hard to narrow it down to one choice!
It's a VERY tough choice. If I'm forced to go for one, I'm going to pick one who hasn't been mentioned (since some of my favourites already have - Bruen, Chandler) and say Daniel Woodrell. Every single word is sheer genius.
thank you. i'm making a list on these replies. daniel woodrell, will surely check onhim!
Living authors, I am tied between Ken Bruen and Carol O'Connell. I live for the next Mallory installment!
thank you. much appreciated. duly noted!
Thanks, Donna, there's a new name to add to my reading list: Daniel Woodrell.
R.D. Wingfield - greatest crime writer ever to work in the genre, and now sadly missed.

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