Looking for recommendations for mystery and thriller books
June 13, 2009 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for some books for my dad, who likes Tony Hillerman, Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, and John LeCarre.

My dad really likes mysteries and thrillers, as well as crime stories with a touch of humor. He's devoured everything by Tony Hillerman and Elmore Leonard, and I think most of the stuff by John LeCarre. He also liked several Carl Hiassen books (Nature Girl is one title I remember).

I'm looking for books by other authors that he might enjoy.

He's also enjoyed Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Poppy Brite's book Liquor (about opening a restaurant in New Orleans, not horror.) In general, he likes stuff that has very detailed explanations about history, or the way the world works, or some clever plan that the protagonists come up with.

He's not been interested in older English mysteries like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, but I think detective stories in some other setting, modern or not (he did like The Name of the Rose) would be fine.
posted by creepygirl to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If he likes Carl Hiassen and John LeCarre, he will definitely enjoy John Sandford's Prey series. Bonus: Lucas Davenport is a great character, and there's lots of "detecting" going on.
posted by misha at 8:57 AM on June 13, 2009

Eric Ambler. He probably influenced everyone on your list.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2009

If you want a technical answer, I would setup a new Amazon account, add some books by this author to your list, and see what it recommends.
posted by devnull at 9:24 AM on June 13, 2009

If he likes Carl Hiassen, he'll enjoy Laurence Shames.
posted by shinybeast at 9:24 AM on June 13, 2009

I fit the same reader profile, and I love Christopher Moore. Start with A Dirty Job. While it's not based in south Florida and it contains no washed-up former gangsters, it's a fun read with absurdity, humor, and tone similar to the other authors you mentioned. Other favorites from Christopher Moore include Lamb, and Fool.

Happy reading!
posted by nadise at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2009

Alan Furst, specifically Dark Star.
posted by diftb at 9:40 AM on June 13, 2009

I also came in here to suggest Alan Furst's stylish spy novels set in and around World War II.
posted by Jahaza at 9:54 AM on June 13, 2009

Betcha he'd like Cryptonomicron.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on June 13, 2009

Robert Ludlum's Bourne series is really excellent reading. The books are much smarter than the movies.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:30 AM on June 13, 2009

Anything by Dennis Lehane.
posted by orrnyereg at 10:56 AM on June 13, 2009

If he liked Fatherland then he will definitely enjoy Len Deighton's novels - I'd probably start him with SS-GB and then go on to the Game, Set and Match / Hook, Line and Sinker trilogies.

A little dated in style now but Nevil Shute wrote some cracking good novels - he could try A Town Like Alice, Chequer Board, etc.

Oh and John Katzenbach writes rather good thrillers too.

Seconding grapefruitmoon's suggestion for the Bourne series too.
posted by ceri richard at 10:57 AM on June 13, 2009

If your father hasn't read Le Carre's newest, A Most Wanted Man, it's quite good. It just came out in paperback.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 11:00 AM on June 13, 2009

Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford novels.
John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels.
James McClure's Kramer and Zondi novels.
Peter Bowen's Gabriel du Pre series.
posted by jet_silver at 11:29 AM on June 13, 2009

The Bryant and May books.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:40 AM on June 13, 2009

Dennis Lehane, as mentioned above. I'm half way through "Motherless Brooklyn" by Jonathan Lethem, and it's awesome so far, so I'll recommend that too (since reviews all seem good).
posted by backwards guitar at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2009

If he likes Hiassen, I'd recommend Harlan Coben, specifically Tell No One (which is also a fantastic film, if you fancy buying your dad a DVD).
posted by tapeguy at 1:04 PM on June 13, 2009

I would recommend Charles Willeford's Hoke Mosely books - beginning with Miami Blues - for anyone that enjoys Elmore Leonard.
posted by cinemafiend at 2:38 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm a librarian, and I use Literature map all the time for such questions.

Right off the top of my head, I would say Len Deighton, James Ellroy, Donald Westlake, maybe Dashiell Hammet for some old style detective stuff.
posted by bradth27 at 2:58 PM on June 13, 2009

Seconding Harlan Coban, his Myron Bolitar books fit the profile very well, good humorous mysteries. Nelson DeMille's writes great thrillers. I just started reading Steve Martini - lawyer mysteries with a good, humorous voice.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2009

crime stories with a touch of humor - Donald Westlake. Actuially, more than a touch. The Dortmunder series in particular. (Westlake also wrote the noir counterpart under the pen name Richard Stark. Series character Parker.)
Westlake died recently, but the final Dortmunder is out I believe next month. Really, they're brilliant.

Oh, and Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books (on which the show is based) are blackly entertaining.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:43 PM on June 13, 2009

My dad also loves Le Carre, LOVED cryptnomicon, liked Alan Furst, and Elmore Leonard, enjoyed Carl Hiaasen... these have all been father's day and birthday book gifts from me.

I'm going to suggest something else, however... last year, instead of a book, I bought him a DVD season of The Wire. He TOTALLY LOVED it; and for all the reasons that you cited your father loving those authors: "he likes stuff that has very detailed explanations about history, or the way the world works, or some clever plan that the protagonists come up with."
posted by Auden at 10:02 PM on June 13, 2009

Lee Child's books about Jack Reacher are a good bet.
posted by mearls at 7:02 AM on June 14, 2009

Try Ian Rankin's excellent series of 'REBUS' novels, all set in Edinburgh and very readable.
posted by cameronfromedinburgh at 9:27 AM on June 14, 2009

I've really liked Chris Grabenstien's mysteries in the John Ceepak series. Don't know if I'm particularly discriminating, but they've got a good plot with good humor.

2nding Christopher Moore. Really funny author.
posted by specialnobodie at 11:33 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I'm glad there's so much out there. I now have years of birthday, Father's Day, and Christmas gift ideas.
posted by creepygirl at 9:00 PM on June 16, 2009

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