I'm sure this has been done here before by now ( perhaps even many times by now ... ), but I couldn't spot one that had been done in the recent past, so at the risk of being redundant I decided to go ahead & be inquisitive. This question is always a fun way to get to know people & introduce one's self as well. So ...

My personal all time top ten favorite novels are ( in no particular order ) :

1) DARK HOLLOW by John Connolly
Although I think Connolly's entire Charlie "Bird" Parker series is excellent, edge of
seat reading thus far ( & shows absolutely no signs of doing anything but getting
better as it goes along! ), I chose this second entry to represent it on this list. Though
any one of the five really could have done so.

2) THE STRAW MEN by Michael Marshall
A terrific initial entry into what became a terrific trilogy of paranoia, intrigue,
millenia old conspiracies, secret societies, ghosts, crytozoology & serial murders.
Great stuff!

An all too often overlooked classic of Lovecraftian horror in rural, backwoods New

4) DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND by Dennis Lehane
Again, so tough to pick one representative of a great series, but after
much contemplation I chose this as my favorite of Lehane's Kenzie & Genarro novels.
Charecters that I most certainly hope that we haven't seen the last of.

5) SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons
By far the SCARIEST book that I've ever had the great pleasure of reading.

6) HARD AS NAILS by Dan Simmons
This entry is meant to encompass all three of Simmons' Joe Kurtz novels.
Supposedly, NAILS was the charecter's finale after HARDCASE & HARDFREEZE, but
I refuse to believe that Dan has written the final word on Kurtz ...

I realize that this is technically cheating because this is actually three seperate
novels, but I just could not find a way to pick a fav from amoung THE WHITE
ARREST, TAMING THE ALIEN & THE McDEAD. Just couldn't do it. They're just too
bloody brilliant as a whole.

8) 'SALEM'S LOT by Stephen King

9) THE THROAT by Peter Straub
A tremendous third part to his brilliant Blue Rose trilogy that included KOKO &

10) THE WOODS ARE DARK by Richard Laymon

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i wouldn't call it Top Ten of all times list, but those are the ones that stick with me and came to mind.

The End of Alice - A.M. Homes
Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
Exquisite Corpse - Poppy Z. Brite
Dancer - Colum McCann
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Faust - JW v Goethe (not technically a novel, I know)
Apple of my Eye - Patrick Redmond
The Long Walk - Stephen King
At Swim Two Boys - Jamie O'Neill
Disturbance - Jamie O'Neill
It's not a very impressive list, but for favourite books I'd go for:

SPARES by Michael Marshall Smith
THE AFFIRMATION by Christopher Priest
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum
BEING DEAD by Jim Crace
BLACK JUICE by Margo Lanagan
THE DARK HALF by Stephen King
WATCHERS by Dean Koontz
WORD MADE FLESH by Jack O'Connell

The Lanagan story collection might be swapped for Ted Chiang's collection, depending on what day it is...
This is a great post, especially for The Old Geezer, who needs to seriously catch up on his reading. Been stuck in a rut of Leonard, Lahane, Crais, Thomas Perry, and Evanovich for years. I'd say Guyot has about five or six of my top ten already posted--Cain, Hammett, and Chandler. The opening paragraph of "The Big Sleep" made me love Marlowe and read everything R.C. ever wrote, so that book has to be included. Plus, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I believe is a nearly perfect model for the kind of mystery/suspense novel I love, and I must top any list with the book I read every few years just to remind myself what the very best writing (IMHO) looks and sounds like:

The Great Gatsby
For me ... and this isn't in order:

1) To Kill A Mockingbird -- Lee
2) The List of 7 --Mark Frost
3) The Sound and the Fury-- William F
4) Hyperion-- Dan Simmons (the 1st 3 books make up one work. And it's the best Sci-Fi I've ever read.
5) The Black Company-- Glen Cook (again a series, this time in Fantasy, and comprised of several books-- the first 5 really rock. Dark, gritty, a Harry Potter nightmare, and funny.)
6) Adiós Muchachos-- Sergio Ramirez. A great sexy read of life in Cuba, and a hell of a crime novel. I think it won an Edgar.
7) 1984: Orwell. Sadly all too revelant today.
8) Mike the Steam Shovel-- ???: The Dangers of Rust.
9) Blood Meridian-- Cormac Mccarthy
10) Star Wars: Heir to the Empire-- Timothy Zahn: (A three book series about what happens after the Death Star blows up. Damn good stuff.
Sorry to be pedantic, but wasn't Adios Muchachos written by Daniel Chavarria? A great read I agree!
You know that sounds right! Ooops. Also it's only the 1st 2 books of Hyperion that make up the one work. ... Oh is it's too late to add Gorky Park, by Smith.
Hmm, let's see.

THE LONG GOODBYE, by Raymond Chandler

THE GLASS KEY, by Dashiell Hammett


GONE BABY GONE, by Dennis Lehane

THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE, by John Dunning

THE WRONG CASE, by James Crumley

ALL THE KING'S MEN, by Robert Penn Warren

That's all I can think of, off hand.
To DADdavenport-

The Haunting of Hillhouse

OOHHH. Shirley Jackson!
I loved that book, and her short stories, as well
To Merrill~

I think the opening paragraph of that book is absolutely perfect. I'm a huge fan of hers.
Ten off the top of my head:

Lonesome Dove by McMurtry
Revolutionary Road by Yates
The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain
The Dramatist by Bruen
King Suckerman by Pelecanos
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by Irving
Gone, Baby, Gone by Lehane
What Makes Sammy Run? by Shulberg
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Highsmith
The End of the Affair by Greene
Interesting discussion! My "top ten" is constantly changing, both in order and in content. Here is a current list, and it's subject to change:

1. THE LONG GOODBYE by Raymond Chandler

Chandler's best work. An engaging novel with social commentary, insight into the ways people interact, sharply-drawn characters, and a devastating (self?) portrait of a talented, self-loathing novelist bent on destroying himself ostensibly because he's wasted his talent on "genre" fiction. As important as what Chandler says in this book is both what he doesn't say and what he says without meaning to.

2. THE GLASS KEY by Dashiell Hammett

It was tough choosing just one by Hammett, but most people gravitate toward either THE MALTESE FALCON or THE THIN MAN (both excellent books) and tend to overlook this classic. Dealing with a society murder set against the background of early 20th century big city machine politics and told from the point of view of a political operative/fixer, this one has everything: crime, graft, romance across social classes, class warfare, racketeering... sheesh, I'm going to have to go re-read it now!

3. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Don't laugh. This guy was a stylist of the first order when he got it right. With GATSBY, he got it right.

4. CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL by Glen David Gold

Best known as Alice Sebold's (THE LOVELY BONES) husband, Gold is a terrific writer in his own right. This book has magic (of several varieties), love, a presidential "assassination," vivid descriptions, good pacing, and a central character who is equal parts mystery man and archetype. A must-read.

5. BASKET CASE by Carl Hiassen

I had a tough time picking a representative Hiassen novel (SKIN TIGHT was a close second!), and settled on this one because it's distinctive: it is his first attempt at first-person. I like Hiassen because he combines the humor of a Patrick McManus with the anger (about things like the destruction of the Everglades) of a John D. MacDonald. He hits you like a freight train.

6. BLACK MONEY by Ross MacDonald

"Elegaic" is the word I would use if asked to sum up the writing of this Canadian-American author. BLACK MONEY was his own personal favorite from among the works in his canon. A re-telling of sorts of THE GREAT GATSBY, it's got MacDonald's cypher-of-a-P.I. narrator Lew Archer at his laconic best, along with an amazing and unlikely femme fatale. One of the best.

7. THE CLUB DUMAS by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Not even Johnny Depp could save the *BAD* movie (THE NINTH GATE) that Roman Polanski made of this novel. That does nothing to change the fact that it is a charming and innovative novel which does an excellent job of breaking the "fourth wall" and getting away with it. If you ever liked swashbuckling novels, book collecting, or 19th century French novelists not named Zola, this book is for you.

8. THE SONG IS YOU by Megan Abbott

With her second novel, Megan Abbott makes her mark with the unforgettably smarmy "Hop" Hopkins, a PR flack for a big Hollywood studio during the early 50s. This unlikely amateur sleuth gets drawn into the investigation of the disappearance of a young, pretty, foolish bit-player (he had a tangential relationship with the missing girl, and feels guilty). It's magic. Abbott has a style all her own.

9. CUBA LIBRE by Elmore Leonard

Leonard started out writing westerns such as LAST STAND AT SABRE RIVER. With CUBA LIBRE, he snuck another one in, in the guise of an historical novel set in Cuba with the Spanish American War as a background. I like other Leonards (GET SHORTY, THE BIG BOUNCE, TISHOMINGO BLUES), but I've got a soft spot for this one.

10. CITIZEN VINCE by Jess Walter

A tale of redemption set in 1980 Spokane a week before the presidential election? This Edgar winner appeals to me on so many levels. For one thing, Walter's a terrific writer who seems to be just hitting his stride. For another, I was a 15 year-old Spokane Valley resident during the time period Walter discusses in this book. As such, I was intimately acquainted with the places he was talking about.

CITIZEN VINCE afforded me an opportunity prove Thomas Wolfe wrong and in fact, "go home again," and I got to remember what the place was like 27 years ago. Thanks to the genius of Jess Walter, you get to walk in those same shoes. For me, that was a precious gift.


A picture in time:

Peter Hoeg, Smilia's Sense of Snow
Minette Walters, The Shape of Snakes
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Andrew Vachss, Flood
David Lindsey, In the Lake of the Moon
Dennis Lehane; Darkness, Take My Hand
James Lee Burke, Purple Cane Road
John Dunning, Two O’Clock Eastern Wartime


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