Lucy: the five books that got me hooked on crime fiction

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Like LoiteringWithIntent I also got into crime fiction fairly late in life. One year, whilst on holiday with my parents, I finished my book and hadn’t brought another one with me. My father is an avid crime fiction reader, and handed me a James Patterson novel. I haven’t looked back since. So here are the five books that got me hooked on crime fiction…

ASISA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)
You can’t really have a list of the best crime fiction books without featuring Sherlock Holmes. Whilst debating which of his adventures to choose from I thought I should start at the beginning when Holmes and Watson first meet. After the body of a well-dressed gentleman is found, the duo plunge straight into a murder investigation. Holmes is a character who will never age. His adventures have entertained both adults and children from 1887 right up until present day. I particularly love the fact that that the majority of Conan Doyle’s novels are written from the viewpoint of Watson – it adds to the sense of awe that surrounds Holmes.
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ALONG CAME A SPIDER COVERAlong Came A Spider by James Patterson (1993)
This is probably the most famous of Patterson’s novels and the first one I ever read. Along Came A Spider is the first time we encounter Alex Cross, a likeable cop who goes on to feature in many more of Patterson’s books. As a teenager reading my first crime fiction book I enjoyed this author’s short but sweet paragraphs which keep your attention throughout. The storyline is that two children have been kidnapped by a crazed psychopath, Gary Sonji, who is desperate to become famous. If you haven’t read the book but have seen the film let me tell you the book is much better! One thing I will add – Morgan Freeman cast as Alex Cross? That isn’t how I imagined him. Thoughts?
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TCBThe Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly (1994)
Connelly is probably one of my all-time favourite crime fiction writers, with his Harry Bosch character among my top detectives. This is not the first novel to feature Harry Bosch (that was The Black Echo) but it was the first Harry Bosch novel that I read. Four years prior, Bosch shot and killed a man named Norman Church, the man he believed was ‘The Dollmaker’, a serial killer who uses makeup to paint his victims. Now, while being sued by Church’s widow, the police receive a note which leads them to the discovery of a body killed with The Dollmaker’s signature MO. I think this is still my favourite Bosch novel as not only does the book have fast-paced action but also springs a number of surprises which leave you guessing right up until the last minute.
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SurgeonThe Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (2005)
I chose to read The Surgeon after a recommendation from my granddad (another avid crime fiction reader). This is the first in the series of novels following partners Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, and was the first Tess Gerritsen novel I had read. Several woman have been tortured and killed by a serial killer that can only be identified as having a medical background. Surgeon Catherine Cordell is trying to put the past behind her after being raped and nearly killed two years ago, but this proves difficult because she is now being hunted by the killer. The Surgeon is one of my most treasured crime fiction books, with gruesome, gory details and a love story between Cordell and Moore. What more could you want?
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NTFGNo Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (2008)
After hearing about No Time For Goodbye from Richard and Judy’s Summer Reads, I had to buy it. It wasn’t hard to see what all the fuss was about, and after turning the first page I couldn’t put the book down. This novel features not only a clever plot line but characters that the reader can identify with. Cynthia Biggie was 14 when she woke up one morning to discover her entire family (mother, father, brother) had vanished. Here, 25 years later, she’s married with a daughter, and trying to unravel what happened to her family all those years ago.
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Last week, we featured the books that got PulpCurry hooked on crime fiction, and tune in next Friday for DispatchesFromNoir!

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