Re: RARA-AVIS: Top Hard-Boiled Mysteries

Mark Sullivan (
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 23:15:06 -0500 (EST) Before I type their list, I thought I'd point out that it is headed
"Murder Ink's FAVORITE Hard-Boiled Mysteries" (emphasis added), not
BEST. And although it isn't noted, I think it's pretty apparent that
they limited themselves to one book by author. In alphabetical order:

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
The Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonald
The Chill by Ross Macdonald
Ice by Ed McBain
Nick's Trip by George Pelecanos
Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky
Mortal Stakes by Robert B. Parker
Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
Miami Blues by Charles Willeford

Personally, I've read all of them except Ice and Postmortem. Right off
the bat, I'd say the list looks a bit tilted toward recent writers and
in-print writers. And as much as I like Pelecanos, I don't think he'd
make my cut for the top 25. Robert B. Parker certainly wouldn't. I
would certainly place The Hunter/Point Blank/Payback by Richard Stark,
which is missing, way above both. Likewise, Box Nine or Wireless by
Jack O'Connell, Street of No Return by David Goodis and, maybe, GBH by
Ted Lewis. And, of course, God is a Bullet. Just joking on that last;
I'm only about 50 pages into it.


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