The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
Higgins explores a more realistic side of crime with this gritty novel focusing on Boston’s criminal underworld. Filled with gunrunning, double crosses, and bank heists, this book is exactly what I look for in crime fiction. Honest and dark.
Criminal by Ed Brubaker
Brubaker is single-handedly responsible for turning me into a crime enthusiast. This series has given us six stand-alone stories, all set in the same nameless town, and all focusing on a myriad of different characters. Ed Brubaker knows crime fiction better than anyone. Any fan of the genre will appreciate this collection.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
This is THE classic detective story. You have no excuse for not having read this already.