Joe's Twenty-Five Fave
Detective Novels
As chosen by Joe Lofgreen from.Joe's Detective Pages.

One of the very first contributors to this site, Joe graciously allowed me to reprint this list way, way back in 1998, taken right from his own, now sadly defunct, Joe's Detective Pages.

Joe prefaced his selection by stating, "I'm not big on lists, especially top ten lists. But I get a lot a requests for a listing of my favorite detective novels. So here it goes... The only ones I'm real sure of are the top three. To add more variety, I've limited it to one entry per author. I have no idea what you'll want to do with this information."

At the time, I urged readers to head on over to that web site for Joe's illuminating explanation of his choices, and the complete, annotated list. And yes, even back then, both Jowe and I knew that they weren't all PI novels. But who cares, when they're this good?

Joe's Top Ten Faves

  • A Dance at the Slaughterhouse (1992) by Lawrence Block (Matt Scudder)
  • Called by a Panther (1992) by Michael Z. Lewin
  • You Get What You Pay For (1988), by Larry Beinhart
  • Killer on the Road (1990) by James Ellroy
  • Heaven's Prisoners (1988) by James Lee Burke (Dave Robicheaux)
  • Eyes of Prey (1992) by John Sandford (Lucas Davenport)
  • Drowned Hopes (1990) by Donald Westlake (Dortmunder)
  • Strega (1994) by Andrew Vachss (Burke)
  • La Brava (1983) by Elmore Leonard (Joseph LaBrava)
  • A Catskill Eagle (1985), by Robert B. Parker (Spenser)

Joe's Top 5 Classic Influences

  • Lady in the Lake (1943) by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1930) by Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade)
  • The Blue Hammer (1976) by Ross MacDonald (Lew Archer)
  • The Green Ripper (1979) by John D. MacDonald (Travis McGee)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), by James M. Cain

Joe's Next 10 Faves

  • New Hope For The Dead (1985) by Charles Willeford (Hoke Moseley)
  • Tony's Justice (1993) by Eugene Izzi
  • Flame (1990) by John Lutz (Fred Carver)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris
  • Half Nelson (1994) by Jerome Doolittle (Tom Bethany)
  • Alice in La-La Land (1987) by Robert Campbell (Whistler)
  • Skinwalkers (1990) by Tony Hillerman (Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn)
  • Chain of Fools (1996) by Steven Womack (Harry James Denton)
  • Skin Tight (1990) by Carl Hiaasen
  • Blue Bayou (1992) by Dick Lochte (Terry Manion)

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