What's the next step in my chronological, geographical reading list ?
July 30, 2013 2:11 AM   Subscribe

I've just read The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (takes place on the West Coast in the 1940's), I'm currently reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (takes places in Kansas in the 1950's). Please help me find books in the similar genre that take place in the 1960's/1970's/1980's (possibly 1990's) *and* that move eastward of each other.

What (good) crime/detective/etc. novel takes place somewhere east of Kansas in the 1960's, 70's, 80's etc. so that I can draw a line in time and geography with my reading list.
posted by Baud to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The early Travis McGhee novels take place in Florida in the mid 1960s. I've only read the first 5 so far so I'm not sure if the setting moves forward with time, or if he is permanently stuck in mid 60s Florida.
posted by COD at 4:32 AM on July 30, 2013

Hmm you're gonna have lots of options in Chicago (e.g. sara paretsky) and again on the east coast, it's in between that's tricky. Ask the parrot by Donald Westlake was set in upstate NY...
posted by pete_22 at 4:43 AM on July 30, 2013

Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness is a fictional take on the Cleveland Torso Murderer.
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:22 AM on July 30, 2013

Wait, I just realized it violates your dating preference as it is set in the 1930s.
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:23 AM on July 30, 2013

King Suckerman, by George Pelecanos. It's 1976 in Washington, DC.
posted by rtha at 5:43 AM on July 30, 2013

While I love the Travis McGee books, they're not really in the same true crime ballpark. Maybe look for something tied into Richard Speck and the Student Nurse House murders?
posted by PussKillian at 5:55 AM on July 30, 2013

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is set in Minnesota and North Dakota around 1960.
posted by belladonna at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2013

Bitter Blood is a true-crime novel about a series of murders that took place in Kentucky and North Carolina in the mid-80s. The first set of murders occurred in Kentucky, the rest in North Carolina, so the book itself also moves eastward, in a sense, as it progresses.
posted by pecanpies at 8:13 AM on July 30, 2013

How far east are you willing to go? Sjowall and Wahloo wrote 10 detective novels in the late-60s, early 70s. The books, which are set in Sweden, have been widely recognized as influential on an international level.

(Recent releases include forwards from prominent writers. Jonathan Franzen's is good and funny.)
posted by ambient2 at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2013

Just a clarification, both those books are based on true stories. Are you only looking for true-crime?

Get Shorty is based in Miami in the 80s, and the main character Chili Palmer is based on a real dude (he has a cameo in the movie). Other than that, I don't know how much of the novel is based on true events.
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2013

The two books you've cited are kinda unique, as they're heavily fictionalized accounts of true crimes. Assuming the geography is more important than the "true crime" aspect, here's some ideas:

The McGee novels do move forward in time, ending early 80's.

I haven't read a ton of George Pelecanos, but I wanna say a lot of his stuff is D.C. based & set in the 70's & 80's.

The incomparable Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty) hits 70's & 80's Detroit pretty well.

Lorn D. Estleman has the "Amos Walker" series of P.I. novels that are set in 80's Detroit, and another group of crime novels set at various points in Detroit's history.

The "Parker" novels by Donald Westlake (under the Richard Stark pseudonym) are mostly from the 60's & 70's, set all over the place, mostly east of the Mississippi, but there's not much "sense of place", IMO, if that's what you're looking for. He revived the series in '97 - "Ask the Parrot" cited above is from the later set.

Les Roberts has a P.I. series set in Cleveland in the late 80's through now.

Lawrence Block has the "Matthew Scudder" series, which is very much set in New York City, running from the mid-70's through today.

Dan Simmons has the three "Joe Kurtz" novels (very much homages to Westlake's "Parker" novels) set in current-day Buffalo.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:43 PM on July 30, 2013

« Older Books on philosophy and beauty, art, narrative, or...   |   Help! I have hobbit feet! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.