There was a thread recently which asked people to name their all time top author. This was, as it happens, incredibly difficult. So I'm now going to make it easier (or is it even harder?) by asking for a top 10. I have an ulterior motive because I am always looking for new authors to try (heaven only knows why, since I already have a TBR pile the size of a small European country) and I know that if someone lists several authors they like and they match my favourites, then there's a pretty good chance that I will like the others on their list.

So, who are your 10 very favourite authors and, if you like, a brief idea of why you particularly like them.

Here's my list, in no particular order. And it was too bloody hard, so I have left out the classics (otherwise Chandler and Cain would have been in there) just so I have more room (plus I also got to mention Chandler and Cain...how sneaky am I?!)

Daniel Woodrell (memorable characters and stunning writing)
Ken Bruen (funny, stylish, strong characters you either love or love to hate)
Eddie Muller (wonderful sense of place and time, wonderful film noir style, characters)
Joe Lansdale (funny, sad, atmospheric, characters that grab your heart)
Charles Willeford (hard-boiled, sardonic, slice of life)
Charlie Williams (insane, funny, quirky)
Al Guthrie (dark, violent and hilarious)
Barbara Seranella (those heart grabbing characters again, touching and funny)
Megan Abbott (stylish writing, noir atmosphere)

That's 9. I'm struggling to narrow my choice down for the tenth author for the list. Do I pick someone who has several books out but I've only read a couple? Do I pick someone with only a couple of books out so far? How do I choose out of Ray Banks, Kevin Wignall, Declan Burke, Duane Swierczynski, Stuart Pawson, Bill Fitzhugh, Steve Brewer, Colin Cotterill, David Corbett, Reed Farrel Coleman, Mark Haskell Smith? All of them are writers whose books I buy as soon as they come out.

Will I remember others I should have included as soon as I have sent this post? Definitely. Have I already cheated by naming about 20 writers I love? Errrr...yes :o) Do I care? Not a jot.

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See this is what I love about this place...I have read Diamond Dove and loved it...but sadly I have no idea who Paul Cleave is...so off to the net.
Patricia - NZ author - first book came out last year - second magic'd itself onto the must be read portion of the to be read pile last week :)

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/node/552
and
http://tinyurl.com/3yzgzu

(He's shortlisted for the Ned Kelly's this year)
Karen - I LOVE Colin Watson - his Flaxborough novels are so funny. Shame they are quite hard to find. I still haven't managed to get Broomsticks Over Flaxborough or The Naked Nuns.
Donna - I was really really lucky to find a copy of the Plaster Sinners a while ago thereby (FINALLY) completing my Colin Watson collection - they were extremely hard to find!
Having read through all that's been offered it seems Top 10 is very biased towards the US writers wherreas there is a whole world out there in Britain, Scandinavia, Italy (including the wonderful Sicilian tales of Andrea Camilleri), eastern Europe, Japan and, of course, my own Australia where Karen is valiantly going into bat for the locals even if she did omit Garry Disher.
One emerging writer for anyone's Top 10 must surely be Louise Welsh. And then there's Barry Maitland (with Brook and Koller in the mean streets of London) and Marshall Browne (with one-legged Inspector Anders).
Half of my top 10 (OK...20!) are either British, Irish or from Thailand. I'll leave the naming of australian faves for those better in the know than me (although I love Peter Temple and Shane Moloney), but here's a quick trip around some of my non-US/UK/Irish faves :

Arnaldur Indridason - Iceland
Karin Fossum - Norway
Patrick Manchette - France
Massimo Carlotto - Italy
Hakan Nesser - Sweden
Natsuo Kirino - Japan
Petros Markaris - Greece
Paco Taibo III - Mexico
Colin Cotterill - Laos

I have a number of 'international' authors on Mt TBR to try - loads of Scandinavians plus Rafael Reig (Spain) and Rubem Fonseca (Brazil)
Oh Damn - Louise Welsh - yes! I knew I'd miss somebody. I must confess I admitted Disher for want of brevity (HA) but now that you mention him......
My list is going to seem completely wrong and out of place here, given crime isn't my preferred genre (yes, I know, I'm the resident heretic), so if you're looking for new authors to sample, it's probably best to just move on, nothing to see here.

- Terry Pratchett
- Diana Wynne-Jones
- Susanna Clarke
- Robert Rankin
- Jonathan Stroud
- Philip Pullman
- J K Rowling
- Michael Marshall Smith (can't comment on Michael Marshall's work - I wasn't inclined to keep reading when he swapped sci-fi for serial killers)

I'm struggling to think of many more authors I'd unequivocally put on the list. Isaac Asimov maybe. Glen David Gold could make it if he writes another book to match 'Carter Beats The Devil'. I should probably check out more Charles De Lint after enjoying one of his novels. Umm. No, that's all that springs to mind at the moment.
I dig Terry Pratchett too, have read all the Discworld, and try and keep up with the new releases. I also really enjoy the supposeldy children's books - the Tiffany Aching series, Maurice and the Educated Mice etc. I've read a few Robert Rankin too, but I'm not as keen on those.
I must admit, I have temporarily put aside the latest Robert Rankin in favour of a Diana Wynne Jones (another supposed children's writer). Sometimes he's funny and original, sometimes he falls back on chapter after chapter of the characters' talking the same old toot down the pub.
I have several Robert Rankin books (to which, shallow person I am, I was attracted by the titles!) Not read any of them yet - which is your favourite Vincent? I also have several Terry Pratchetts, which everyone tells me I will love, and just haven't got round to them yet.
To be honest, most of the Robert Rankins blur into a salmagundi of toot-talking, Brentford and apocalypses, but I have a soft-spot for the first one I read: Armageddon: The B-Movie and his almost latest is toot at its best: The Brightonomicon.

How can you have several Terry Pratchetts and not have read them? One, okay, but why have more if you don't even like that one? He does irritate me occasionally, most notably with 'Monstrous Regiment', but few, if any, other writers can explore grand themes, tell a cracking story and be funny, all at the same time.

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