Whether we agree or disagree with them, there is something that draws us to lists. Whether debating placement or the inclusion or exclusion of an item, a list always provokes discussion, often with passion. Few are as passionate as crime fiction fans, so we thought we’d celebrate our fifth anniversary as MysteryPeople and stir up some trouble with our own list of the Top 100 Suspense & Crime Novels.
I would be lying if I said the approach was scientific or unbiased. We called on many of our author friends to help us out with the list. Reed Farrel Coleman, Craig Johnson, Megan Abbott, Jeff Abbott, Janice Hamrick, Mark Pryor, Hilary Davidson, Meg Gardiner, Jesse Sublett, as well as KAZI book reviewer Hopeton Hay all contributed a list of 20 of their favorites. Many of those lists have been posted previously on the website in the run up to the release of the full list. Molly and I also threw in with our own top 20. Admittedly, most of these authors skew toward the noir and hard boiled. If Janice wasn’t in there it would have gotten really bloody. The one thing everyone agreed on, was this was a lot harder than they thought.
We then started to synthesize all the opinions. Titles that appeared the most were placed at the top. When it got down to where a title was mentioned in just one list, we factored in things like if the author had other titles mentioned, the book’s contribution to the genre, its status on that list, or how much we personally liked it. Since many of the contributors said their list was in no particular order, we took that as giving us some leeway.
What we ended up with is a very personal list that reflects what we love, sell, and stand for. While most sub-genres are represented, the list leans toward the harder, darker styles (There are four Jim Thompson titles). We have a lot of the familiar names, but there are many lesser known we hope you discover. Most lists of this type have only decades-old books, we give you several less than a decade old. We hope you have fun with this, even in argument, and maybe find a book in it that will be at the top of your list.
- Scott Montgomery, Crime Fiction Coordinator for MysteryPeople