I'd like to explore shorter crime fiction, as in short stories or novellas. Any recommendations on great crime writers or titles for an impatient reader?
Well, you can check out Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines every month. Great stuff in there. Mystery Writers of America put out an annual themed anthology each year. The most recent is called THE MYSTERY BOX and last year's was VENGEANCE.
One of my favorites is Jeffery Deavers and he has two collections called. TWISTED and MORE TWISTED.
That should get you started. :)
If you're into flash fiction, a couple of excellent collections come to mind for Kindle. DISCOUNT NOIR, edited by Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle, and TERMINAL DAMAGE, also edited by Steve Weddle. I don't mean to be a shill for Steve Weddle, but these are both excellent collections from a diverse set of writers.
I write for AHMM and had a story in their "Best" anthology. My stories are available in e-format on Amazon, singly or bundled, or in a collection. They are, however, historical mysteries.
Akashic Books publishes a number of noir series books with short stories from a variety of well-known and upcoming authors. Each book features a particular locale. Sample titles include: Boston Noir, Manhattan Noir, Lone Star Noir, London Noir, etc.
Here's a link to the site's noir series lineup: http://www.akashicbooks.com/subject/noir-series/
I've found these books are a great way to sample new authors and see how they handle their respective settings and establish a sense of place.
You can't beat the original: Sherlock Holmes.
Thanks for the great suggestions. I've also found a lot of Phillip Marlowe short stories. Talk about going back to the original.
Since joining this site (a month ago) I've enjoyed being a first time reader of shorts by I.J. Parker and David Delee. I also enjoyed Stephen Seitz's book "Secrets Can't Be Kept Forever". It is around 200 pages long and feel he wouldn't like me calling it a novella, but I read it in 2 reads. One short on the commute and one at leisure on a Saturday afternoon.
Calling it a novella is just fine. I've never been sure what the distinction is, anyway.
In addition to those already mentioned: Needle Magazine and Grift Magazine in print. And The Big Click, Thug Lit, Noir Nation, and Plan B Magazine digitally . . .
I just picked up two volumes you might be interested in and a third I'd forgotten about until I picked it up again
The Interrogators edited by Ed Gorman and the late Martin Greenberg. It's a collection of the best short crime stories from 2010
Killer Year Stories to Die For...edited by Lee Child, published in 2008
and finally The Best American Mystery Stories, a volume is put out each year. The latest is 2012 and is edited by Robert Crais.
shotgunhoney.net is great for short shorts.
Near to the knuckle also has good stuff online.
Ray Banks' novella 'California' was very entertaining
Try Plan B Mystery Magazine, an online e-zine: www.plan-b-magazine.com