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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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29 / 40 books. 73% done!

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11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

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17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Super Sleuths of the Book World

I've been a bit absent from the blog of late thanks to a huge genealogy project I'm working on.  It's the first step in earning accreditation from ICAPGen and it's been a doozy!  The finish line is in sight, so I'm taking a break from that to give my blog a little love today.  It's been feeling neglected, poor baby!  I'm just about ready to submit my genealogy project; after that, I'll be back to BBB to post long overdue reviews, announce the winner in the giveaway I hosted recently, comment on your posts, answer emails, etc.  In the meantime, let's riff on today's fun Top Ten Tuesday prompt:  Character Freebie (any topic you want that deals with book characters). 

As always, TTT is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.  Click on over to her blog to read some quick instructions, then join the party.  It's an enjoyable way to show your love across the book blogosphere, find new blogs to enjoy, and, of course, add to your always-growing TBR list.  What could be more fun?

For today's topic, I'm going to go with my Top Ten Favorite Fictional Sleuths You've (Probably) Never Heard Of.  It's no secret that I love me a good psychological thriller/crime novel, especially if it's set in an exotic locale.  Even though they're often gritty, gory, and disturbing, giving me nightmares and corroding my delicate soul, I can't seem to stay away from my guilty pleasure!  So, when I saw today's topic, I immediately knew I wanted to use this freebie to highlight some of my favorite crime-stopping stars of the fictional (book, not screen) world.

To be clear, I'm going to be talking about professionals (we'll save amateurs for another time), or at least characters who work closely with the police department, even if they're not coppers themselves.  Even though a list like this would usually include household-name sleuths like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Harry Bosch, etc., the truth is, I'm not much for classic mysteries and I haven't read a lot of the popular modern(ish) crime writers like Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, etc.  So, yeah, the police personnel in this list might be folks with whom you're not familiar at the moment, but they're characters you're definitely going to want to get to know if you enjoy crime fiction.  All the folks featured are series leads, so the first book in their various series is shown.

Interestingly enough, my list features five police(ish) investigators from North America and five from the U.K.  I threw in a new favorite from Australia just to even things out.  I know I'm missing awesome detectives from all over the world, so please let me know which I should be getting to know.  Who are your favorite fictional detectives?   

Top Ten Eleven Favorite Fictional Sleuths You've (Probably) Never Heard Of: 

1.  Armand Gamache (Canada)—My hands-down favorite fictional detective of all-time is Louise Penny's delightful Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.  A consummate gentleman, he's intelligent, kind, and honorable.  He's also shrewd and tenacious when he needs to be.  I love him and his comrades so much that I'm reading this series slowly so I can savor every delicious word! 

2.  Dr. Temperance Brennan (Canada and U.S.)—Tempe is not a police officer, but she is a forensic anthropologist who works closely (very closely sometimes) with a sexy detective to solve murders both in Montreal and in the U.S.  Like her creator, Kathy Reichs, Tempe is a knowledgable, dedicated scientist.  She's also spunky, funny, caring, and just a whole lot of fun.  I've read all the books in this series and am stoked that a new one will be out soon.

3.  Bell Elkins (U.S.)—I've talked about this series, penned by Julia Keller, a lot, so this name may ring a bell (see what I did there?).  Belfa is the prosecuting attorney for a fictional, down-on-its-luck county in West Virginia.  Working with her friend in the local police department, she solves crimes committed by a host of quirky Appalachian characters.  I'm caught up on this series and anxiously awaiting the newest installment, The Cold Way Home, which comes out next month.

4.  Lincoln Rhyme (U.S.)—A brilliant creation of Jeffery Deaver, Lincoln is a quadriplegic forensic criminalist.  He's smart, sarcastic, self-deprecating, shrewd, and determined to put bad guys behind bars, even if, these days, he has to do it from a wheelchair.  I'm behind in this series, but it's one I enjoy, especially because of its unique hero.

5.  Anna Pigeon (U.S.)—Admittedly, I've only read the first book in Nevada Barr's series starring Anna, but I like her and will definitely read more about her.  In Track of the Cat—the series opener—she's a 39-year-old widow working as an enforcement ranger at a national park in Texas when she comes across the body of a dead colleague.  Unable to convince her superiors that the death is suspicious, Anna decides to investigate on her own.  As a sleuth, she's brave, compassionate, and likable.  I'll definitely pick up more books in this exciting series. 

6.  The Dublin Murder Squad (Ireland)—This is a bit of a cheat since the squad is made up of more than one detective, but still ... I've enjoyed all of Tana French's books starring this collection of coppers solving crimes in The Fair City.  French only publishes every two years, which makes die-hard fans like me very impatient for each new installment!

7.  Maeve Kerrigan (England)—This Irish-born detective constable works the mean streets of London in a constant effort to convict bad guys while proving herself to her mostly-male colleagues.  While the male coppers ridicule her for her "womanly" empathy, it's a big part of what makes her a great detective—and an eternally likable character.  Jane Casey has created a tough, but caring police professional of whom I just can't get enough.  Maeve's newest adventure, Cruel Acts, comes out soon.  I can't wait!

8.  Lacey Flint (England)—A detective constable assigned to locate London's stolen property, Lacey is just as enigmatic and complex as her oxymoronic name suggests.  Intent on proving herself capable of more than tracking down missing bicycles, she takes on risks and danger in an effort to show her male colleagues just how valuable she can really be.  Sharon Bolton is a master of gritty crime novels and Lacey Flint is, in my humble opinion, her greatest creation to date.

9.  Cormac Reily (Ireland)—With only two books under his belt, this detective sergeant working in Galway is a new kid on the block.  But he's definitely one to watch.  Cormac is an understated character, one who's going to be very intriguing to watch as his series moves on.  Dervla McTiernan has definitely caught my attention with the first two Cormac Reily books. I'm anxiously awaiting the third! 

10.  Fin Macleod (Scotland)—In The Blackhouse, the first book in a trilogy starring Fin, the Edinburgh detective is sent to his native Outer Hebrides to investigate a murder there that bears an unsettling resemblance to one that has just occurred in Edinburgh.  Fin is a complex, empathetic character who's as moody and broody as the islands he once called home.  I've read a number of books by Peter May and Fin is my favorite of his many creations.

11.  Aaron Falk (Australia)—Like McTiernan, Jane Harper has published two crime novels featuring an intriguing male detective about whom I'd like to read more.  Aaron is a Federal Police investigator who's as underrated as Cormac Reily, but also committed and compassionate.  I was a *little* disappointed to discover that Harper's third novel doesn't feature this intriguing character (even though it was an excellent crime novel just the same).  Here's hoping her next one does.

There you go, eleven fictional detectives I enjoy reading about.  Which police(ish) sleuths do you dig?  What are your favorite crime novels (and/or writers)?  I'd love to know, especially if they're similar to the ones I've listed above.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 


  1. I don't read a lot of mysteries, so I didn't expect to know any of these, but I did watch the TV show Bones, and knew it was based on Reichs's series (though I have yet to read any)

    1. Funny enough, the book series is VERY different from the t.v. show. Tempe's personality is COMPLETELY different (and much better) in the books and the characters aren't the same either. I couldn't ever get into the show because of the weird discrepancies between the two.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  2. Well- you might not read SFF, but I have read a couple of these! And I cant believe I forgot about Tempe/Bones!! She definitely qualifies as a strong female protagonist. I don’t love the Tana French books as much- (I needed more horror... or something) but I can see why someone who likes crime fiction would. Great list!

    1. Ha ha. You obviously read a bigger variety of books than I do! I do need to venture out more and I have seen tons of great-sounding SFF books, but I just never seem to actually pick them up, you know?

  3. You know, I so don't read as much mystery as I should. xD All I can think of are amateur sleuths that I used to read, because I was all about that when I was a kid. I've heard good things about several of these (like The Bone collector) but just haven't picked them up yet. Gonna have to add them to my TBR, because these sleuths sound fantastic. :3

    The only "professional" sleuth I've read recently is Warlock Holmes, and that's parody/mystery, so I'm not sure that counts, ha!

    1. I love amateur sleuths too, even if their stories are a whole lot less probable than those of their counterparts in the police department! I'll have to do another post on my favorite amateurs. That would be fun.

      Thanks for coming by, Sammie!

  4. I've been wanting to try the Armand Gamache series from Louise Penny for the longest time. I really need to get on that.

    1. You definitely should! It's a great series. While the books are mysteries, they read more like literary fiction with complex characters, detailed settings, skilled prose, etc.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Fitting that a genealogist would appreciate sleuths! :)

    1. LOL. That connection did not even occur to me, but it's so right! I spend a lot of time trying to solve family history mysteries in my real life :)

      Thanks for dropping by, Stephen!

  6. You won't be surprised that I recognized all these sleuths and, of course, we share the love for many of them. Especially the first. I have only read a couple of Kathy Reichs' books and I agree that the book and TV Tempe are completely different. I liked the TV show. I might try the books again. My husband has read a bunch of the Jeffery Deaver series and I noticed that a new TV adaptation of those Lincoln Rhyme books is coming this fall (I think). Wonder how it will be?

    1. Not surprised at all, especially since I started reading about at least one of these sleuths on your suggestion! And, yes, Gamache is the best of the best. He's one of my favorite literary characters of all time.

      I really like Kathy Reichs. Her books really engage me, not just because of their great characters and twisty mysteries, but because Reichs takes time to explain forensic science in a way that's interesting but also makes sense to the average reader.

      I hadn't heard about the Lincoln Rhyme series. Interesting. Hollywood did make the first Rhyme book into a movie starring Denzel Washington, but I haven't watched it. I'm not usually a fan of Hollywood adaptations of books -- that's probably why I've hesitated to watch it.

      Thanks for coming by, as always, Kay!

  7. oK, all these look great I don't read much mystery I'm more into the sff thing :) I need to change that.

    1. I'm the opposite, but I definitely need to branch out more. What are your favorite SFF? Which would you recommend for a genre noob?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hope you are well Susan. You always make me remember one's I want to get to and add new. I think my favourites would be Andrea Kane's Forensic Instincts and JT Ellison. The Dry I really want to read.

    1. Hi Marce! I'm almost finished with my big project, so I'm feeling a lot less stress now. Of course, now I have to catch up on everything I've been ignoring while I worked on my project ...

      I haven't read anything by Andrea Kane or J.T. Ellison. I'll have to give them a go.

      THE DRY is great. Very atmospheric. You should definitely read it.

      Thanks for coming by!

  9. I wondered where you were and what was taking up all your time. We missed you. Good luck, though, on the new venture; I hope it goes well for you.

    1. Thank you! I've been interested in family history for a long time and have been researching on my own for years, but I just decided to make it "official" with a genealogy certification. It's a lot of work, but enjoyable.

      How are your eyes? Hopefully they're/you're feeling better.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

  10. I've heard of Barr's series with Anna Pigeon, but I haven't read any of these! They all sound a bit more intense than I usually go for with my mysteries, though. I tend to prefer the cozy varietal. :) Great list!

    1. I've been reading and appreciating cozies a lot more lately than I have in the past. Psychological and crime thrillers can get really dark and disturbing -- it's nice to read lighter mysteries. What are your favorite cozies?

      Thanks for coming by!

  11. I love Lacey Flint! And the Dublin Murder Squad as well. :)

    1. Right? They're both such good series.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

  12. Great list! I love the Lacey Flint books. I think Bolton's standalones are good too, but I hope she will go back to writing about Lacey one day.

    1. Agreed. I've enjoyed all of Bolton's books, although of course there are some I like better than others. I definitely hope she writes more about Lacey since she's such an enigmatic character. I feel like there's still lots to know about her.

      Thanks for coming by!

  13. I liked the early books in the Nevada Barr series but I think the series should have ended sooner than it did. I loved the settings and Anna herself though! So many great sleuths and so many I need to try!

    1. Really? I feel that way sometimes about series, too. I guess there is such a thing as too much of a good thing :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  14. I love Jane Harper’s books and Tana French is one of my favourites too! I’ve added a few of the others on your list to my TBR too because I love a good crime series! Great list 😊

    1. Me too! I'm always on the hunt for new ones to love. Glad you found some new ones to check out. Let me know what you think of them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. This is a great post! I don't read mysteries but a lot of these authors are popular in my local library in the UK (I would guess a lot of the UK too!)

    1. Yeah, I feel like some of these books and authors are better known across the pond. I love them, though, and will keep talking them up in the U.S. as well!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  16. What a fun topic! I think my favorite sleuth of all time is probably Eve from J.D. Robb's series.

    1. I haven't read that series. I'll have to give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for stopping by!

  17. I've seen a couple bloggers take the sleuth route for this TTT. I think the only one of these I've read is The Burning.

    1. Have you? I saw one other list about amateur sleuths, but that's it. I'd love to compare TTT lists with someone doing the same topic spin, that would be fun!

      Thanks for coming by!

  18. I don't know the others but I love Dr Temperance Brennan!!

  19. Louise Penny is a good choice and I recently got a Jane Harper, perhaps on your recommendation. On my vacation I read a book by Peter Robinson (British detective series), which I quite liked.

  20. I love your list. I have heard of all of them, but have not read them all. I need to read Jane Harper's books, they have such great reviews.


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