Meg Gardiner’s 6 Favorite Crime Novels


Meg Gardineran Edgar Award-winning thriller writer, collaborated with Michael Mann to co-write Heat 2a novel that builds on Mann’s classic 1995 crime film. Below, Gardiner recommends six other books about crooks and their hunters.

Norco ’80 by Peter Houlahan (2019)

This mind-blowing true-crime book offers both a gripping tale of a savage Southern California bank robbery and a stunning story set in a courtroom. The haunting effect of the robbery on victims, witnesses and police officers is movingly portrayed. But it’s here.

Blacktop Wasteland by SA Cosby (2020)

“Drive it like you stole it.” Beauregard “Bug” Montage is a street racer, mechanic, family man, and the former and future king of escape pilots. This novel is a gritty, dazzling take on a classic detective story: A Man Brought Back to Life. It’s full of jaw-dropping action and Bug’s desperate ingenuity, vividly written. Buy it here.

City on Fire by Don Winslow (2022)

This novel about a war between rival New England crime families is wild, heartbreaking – and exhilarating. Protagonist Danny Ryan, an insider who will forever remain an outsider, is bound by love and loyalty to the Murphy family and their spiraling violence. An austere epic at street level. Buy it here.

Seashell Game by Sara Paretsky (2018)

I can never mention Chicago without paying homage to Chicago’s patron of detective fiction. Nobody writes about Chicago like Sara Paretsky, and there’s no IP like her sardonic and pugnacious VI Warshawski. shell game a VI battling, as always, with the serpents that inhabit his beloved city, running and shooting at the top of his game. Buy it here.

These Women by Ivy Pochoda (2020)

In this chilling and immersive murder mystery set in Los Angeles, a killer targets victims who seem to have little to lose. The suspense builds steadily. Ivy Pochoda’s depiction of the tenacity of women who live on the edges is beautiful and sharp. Buy it here.

Nick Bilton’s American Kingpin (2017)

I love cat and mouse duels, and this one is breathtaking. Ross Ulbricht was an Eagle Scout who dreamed of the “ultimate” free market – and created a global criminal market online. This non-fiction bestseller, subtitled “The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road,” is a rocket sled ride through Ulbricht’s underground adventure and eventual capture by the FBI. Buy it here.

This article first appeared in the latest issue of The week magazine. If you want to know more, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.


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