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5. ‘THE MALTESE FALCON‘ BY DASHIELL HAMMETT


Maybe you’ve seen the movie. Now it’s time to read the book. This is the only novel featuring Hammett’s iconic private eye, Sam Spade — he appears in a handful of other short stories — and it’s not overstating things to say that without Falcon, we might not have Raymond Chandler (or Philip Marlowe) or much hardboiled PI crime fiction at all. Could this even be the noir origin of “put a bird on it”? Read more
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6. ‘THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE‘ BY LENE KAABERBØL AND AGNETE FRIIS


These Danes are grim. In a fantastic, compulsively readable way. This is the first installment in their series featuring Copenhagen Red Cross nurse Nina Borg, who’s not exactly Florence Nightingale. But it’s more fun to read about complex women who find little boys stuffed in suitcases — don’t worry, he’s not dead — than it is to read about saints, right? Read more
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7. ‘A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR‘ BY DENNIS LEHANE


Before Lehane wrote Mystic River, the film adaptation of which had Sean Penn screaming about his daughter all the way to Oscar glory, he introduced readers to tough Dorchester, Massachusetts, private eyes Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. And — insert thick Boston accent here — they won our goddamn hearts. Read more
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8. ‘EVERY SECRET THING‘ BY LAURA LIPPMAN


Lippman writes about the things that we aren’t supposed to talk about and she does it so very well. There are few writers who can write a compelling, emotionally gripping story about children who murder another child. Lippman does and tackles perhaps the hardest question of all: What happens next? Read more
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9. THE GLASGOW TRILOGY BY MALCOLM MACKAY


Mackay serves readers a Scottish Tartan Noir fry-up special (is that a thing? It is now!): three fantastic linked crime novels. His Glasgow trilogy — The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, How a Gunman Says Goodbye, and The Sudden Arrival of Violence — explores the ultra-violent life of Glasgow’s underworld, as a young hitman considers whether to stay in the murdering business or get out while he can. Read more
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10. ‘WHERE THEY FOUND HER‘ BY KIMBERLY MCCREIGHT


Told in alternating perspectives, McCreight’s second novel is a swift series of gut-punches from page one, as an affluent college town tries to come to terms with the discovery of a dead infant in the woods. The three women whose lives are forever altered by the event each bring something different to the story but their underlying pain unites them, even if they don’t know it yet. Read more
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