My Top Ten Authors

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Chuck Malone

Professor & Government and Legal Information Librarian

Hometown: Steward, IL
Colleges: Saint Louis University (BA); Dominican University (MLIS); Northern Illinois University (MA)
Favorite Book: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. It reminded me of the characters I worked with when I worked at Del Monte canneries.
Favorite TV Shows: Law and Order (especially episodes with Lenny Briscoe); CSI Miami; Gunsmoke
Favorite Movies: Fellini’s Roma; McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Favorite Food: thin crust St. Louis style pizza; BBQ shredded pork; a good burger; gooey butter cake; pecan pie

Although I never read anything non-fiction, I do read a lot of fiction. I usually read police, detective, attorney, and private eye type stories. Many of the lead characters in these stories are flawed characters, almost as flawed as the characters they pursue and arrest.

I especially like to read “regional” detective/attorney novels. That way I can also learn about different parts of the U.S. or the world.

My Favorite Top Ten Authors

Image from James Lee Burke's In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead


10. James Lee Burke
His Dave Robicheaux series of books portray an ex-disgraced New Orleans cop who is now a detective in small town Louisiana. His novels also have a bit of a new Southern Gothic Style. His book, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead was made into the movie, Electric Mist.


9. Lee Child
His Jack Reacher series is about an ex-military policeman who hitchhikes the country, going wherever his mood takes him. A typical scenario of these novels can be found in Killing Floor, where Jack Reacher gets off a bus in Margrave, Georgia, because he remembers hearing that a blues musician named Blind Blake had died in that town. Shortly after his arrival, Reacher is arrested in a local diner for murder.

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8. Steven Martini
He has a whole series where San Diego defense attorneys Paul Madriani and Harry Hinds end up off the grid in their pursuit of justice for an assortment of damaged characters.

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7. Dick Francis
Ex-steeple chase jockey Dick Francis has created a wonderful series of stories that usually have a main character from some aspect of the English horse racing crowd, getting caught up in solving a murder.

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6. Lawrence Block
His ex-cop, recovering alcoholic, Mathew Scudder tales cover all kinds of New York City plots, with a whole host of NYC characters and scenery.

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5. John Grisham
Not only does Grisham write great attorney stories, but he often takes a new Southern Gothic approach to creating characters and situations. Occasionally he even gets away from attorney characters to create some equally entertaining stories of small Southern town life.

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4. Tony Hillerman
His Navaho tribal police characters Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, take one through the beauty of New Mexico and Arizona, as they solve a whole host of crimes.

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3. Jussi Adler-Olsen
Set in Denmark, Adler-Olsen’s “Department Q” novels feature a misfit unit charged with taking on unsolved cases. The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in this series.

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2. Tana French
Set in Ireland, her novels feature various Irish detectives solving bizarre crimes. French has a fantastic understanding of human nature as is evidenced by the intricate characters and situations she creates. The results are some excellent psychological thrillers.

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1. Michael Connelly
Connelly is best known for his detective Harry Bosch – and his defense attorney Mickey Haller – stories that are both set in Los Angeles. Bosch is a poplar HBO series based on his novels. Although not part of either of the aforementioned series, his book Bloodwork was made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood. His Harry Bosch books are especially noteworthy for their character development of Harry Bosch – and both Bosch’s (and obviously the author’s) love of Los Angeles.