13 Mystery Writers Who've Created Lasting Characters
Fans of mystery novels often devour them so ravenously that one book is simply not enough. They want to find a good author and stick with a series, reading one after another. Luckily, there are many dedicated writers who faithfully churn out compelling narratives with lively characters that keep readers engaged for years. All the authors on this list have developed a unique voice and given their audience protagonists who leave an impression. If you're looking for more recommendations, try this list of the best true crime books. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research.
13 Mystery Writers Who've Created Lasting Characters
|Author||Popular Characters||Famous Titles|
|Sharon J. Bolton||Lacey Flint||"Now You See Me," "Sacrifice"|
|Frederick Forsyth||The Jackal||"The Day of the Jackal," "The Odessa File"|
|Val McDermid||Dr. Tony Hill, Detective Karen Pirie||"Fever of the Bone," "A Darker Domain"|
|Douglas Preston||Agent Pendergast, Gideon Crew||"Relic," "Beyond the Ice Limit"|
|Mo Hayder||Jack Caffery||"Birdman," "Poppet"|
|Megan Abbott||Gloria Denton, Katie Knox||"Queenpin," "You Will Know Me"|
|David Baldacci||Will Robie, Amos Decker||"Memory Man," "The Target"|
|Patricia Cornwell||Dr. Kay Scarpetta||"Postmortem," "Body of Evidence"|
|M.C. Beaton||Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin||"Death of a Poison Pen," "Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell"|
|Lee Child||Jack Reacher||"One Shot," "The Affair"|
|Janet Evanovich||Stephanie Plum||"High Five," "Hard Eight"|
|Elizabeth Haynes||Louisa Smith||"Into the Darkest Corner," "Behind Closed Doors"|
|Lawrence Block||Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder||"The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling," "A Walk Among the Tombstones"|
An Interview With Janet Evanovich
Successful writers of mystery books are able to create characters who can hold their own through a series of books. Readers respond to crime novels because they can somehow relate to the protagonist. The lead must be someone the reader wants to follow through the unpredictable events of the story.
We've collected a list of some of the best authors in the crime fiction and suspense genre. In no particular order, here are thirteen of the most prolific mystery writers working today and the characters who have found a permanent place in readers' hearts.
At #1, Sharon J. Bolton is a writer from Lancashire, United Kingdom. She is the author of ten novels, including "Sacrifice," which was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk. In 2016, a movie version of the novel was released by Luminous Pictures, starring Radha Mitchell and Rupert Graves. It was directed by Peter A. Dowling. Bolton also wrote the Lacey Flint books. The main character is a female detective constable with London's Metropolitan police.
At #2 is Frederick Forsyth. He was born on August 25, 1938, in Ashford, Kent, England. Before becoming a journalist, he was a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Some of his notable works are "The Day of the Jackal," "The Odessa File," "The Fourth Protocol," "The Dogs of War," and "The Devil's Alternative." Forsyth is known for his exhaustive research techniques as he crafts his novels. Frequently listed as best-sellers, a dozen of his titles have been adapted into film.
Val McDermid takes the #3 spot. She is a Scottish crime writer who is known for a series of suspense novels featuring Dr. Tony Hill. In 1987, her book, "Report for Murder," was published. It was her first success as a novelist. Her books have sold over eleven million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages.
At #4, Douglas Preston is an American journalist and author who is known for his suspense novels. In the early 1990s, he collaborated with Lincoln Child on a few series, including the Agent Pendergast and Gideon Crew books. For Preston's solo career, his fictional debut was "Jennie," a book about a chimpanzee that is adopted by an American family. He's also written non-fiction books about history and travel.
Mo Hayder is at #5. She was born on January 01, 1962, in Essex, UK. She is the author of ten crime and thriller fiction novels. Her debut, "Birdman," was an international bestseller in 2000. Her other books have earned a great deal of recognition, including the 2002 WH Smith Thumping Good Read and CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger awards.
Megan Abbott, an award-winning American author, is at #6. She is known for her works, "Die a Little," "Queenpin," "The Song Is You," "Bury Me Deep," and "You Will Know Me." Her 2011 novel, "The End of Everything," received a starred review from "Publishers Weekly." Her books and short stories reflect classic crime writing with an influence of film noir.
At #7 is David Baldacci. He is a bestselling American novelist whose first notable work, "Absolute Power," was adapted into film in 1997, starring Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman. The book, about a fictional American president involved in the accidental death of a woman, was an international bestseller.
Next on the list is Patricia Cornwell. She is an American writer responsible for the best-selling series featuring heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta. The character is a medical examiner who gets herself into confrontations with murder suspects during the course of investigations. Cornwell's books have sold over 100 million copies.
At #9 is M.C. Beaton. Also known as Marion Chesney, she is a Scottish writer of romance and mystery books. Two of her most popular works, the "Agatha Raisin" and "Hamish Macbeth" series, have been adapted for TV. She has also written romantic novels under the pseudonyms Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, and Sarah Chester.
The #10 spot goes to Lee Child. Born on October 29, 1954, as James Grant, he is a British author of mystery and thriller fiction. He is most well-known for his "Jack Reacher" novel series. The first film adaptation, which starred Tom Cruise, was actually based on his ninth book, "One Shot."
At #11 is Janet Evanovich. She is an American author who started her career by writing romance novels, but gained recognition for her contemporary mysteries featuring Stephanie Plum. Most of the books in the series were listed as "New York Times" bestsellers and eleven of them were on the "USA Today" Best-Selling Books list.
Taking the #12 spot is Elizabeth Haynes, a British fiction writer. Being a former police intelligence analyst, her works are inspired by her background in crime investigation. Her debut novel, "Into the Darkest Corner," was Amazon UK's Book of the Year for 2011. She was also the winner of the Amazon UK 2011 Rising Stars award.
Lawrence Block is at #13. He is the author of two long-running series, one about burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, and the other about recovering alcoholic Matthew Scudder. Active foor more than half a century, Block has published over 100 books. In 1994, he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
There are a lot more we've left out, since there are so many bestselling authors in the crime fiction genre. As mystery writers continue to delight readers with their character-driven plots and thrilling twists, this list can continue to grow.