James Sallis (American, 1944- )
http://www.jamessallis.com/
Where to begin?  For over three decades James Sallis has been making his mark as a writer of exceptionally fine crime fiction.  Nominated for the Shamus, Anthony, Edgar and Gold Dagger awards, in 2012 he received the Hammett Award for Best Novel for The Killer is Dying.  But it would be a mistake to think of Sallis as “only” a genre writer, for his work extends to other literary forms, and the quality of his prose is distinctive.  Indeed, his crime novels challenge the very distinction between genre and literary fiction, and show a profound grasp, and mastery of voice.  Sallis has penned three series to date, including the popular Lew Griffin novels, several standalones, a definitive biography of Chester Himes, along with several other works of non-fiction, short stories and poems.  He has translated the works of nearly a dozen poets and novelists spanning several languages.  A gifted musician who plays the guitar, French horn, fiddle, Hawaiian guitar, mandolin, sitar, and dobro, Sallis has also written or edited three works on musicology.  In addition to teaching creative writing, he has worked as a respiratory therapist, and has acted on screen.  In short, James Sallis is a man of prodigious talents.  If you enjoy fine writing with a quintessentially American voice, you cannot do better.
Sansom, C. J.  (British, 1952- )
(Historicals)
Having earned a Ph.D. in history, Sansom retrained and practiced as a solicitor before turning to writing full-time.   In 2005 the British-based author won the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for Dark Fire , the second in his Shardlake series of novels set during the reign of Henry VIII.   He was also nominated for a Dagger in 2007 for Sovereign , the third in the series.   But don't overlook his equally-compelling WWII-era standalone, Winter in Madrid .
Santlofer, Jonathan
Sayers, Dorothy L.   (British, 1893-1957)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/dorothy-l-sayers/
(Cozies)
Along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers was responsible for ushering in what came to be known as the Golden Age of Crime Fiction in Britain during the 1920's and 30's.   Creator of the ground-breaking series featuring aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey and his fiancée Harriet Vane , her stories were subsequently transformed successfully into films for television.   As much a social history as puzzle tales, Sayers' fourteen original novels continue to delight readers to this day, and the influence of her protagonist can be traced all the way to Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series of novels.
 
Schirach, Ferdinand von (German, 1964 - )
http://www.schirach.de
(Thrillers)
Von Schirach was born into an aristocratic West Slavic family, the grandson of the Hitler Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach, who was later sentenced to twenty years imprisonment at the Nuremburg war trials.  The younger Von Schirach studied in Bonn and became an attorney in 1994, specializing exclusively in criminal law.  His first book Verbrechen (“Crime”) was a collection of stories based on cases, and remained on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list for 54 weeks.  To date von Schirach has published three collections of cases and two well-written novels, The Collini Case (2012) and The Girl Who Wasn’t There (2015).  His novels center on lawyers who take on baffling cases where either the motive for the crime, or the crime itself, remains elusive.

Sharp, Deborah (American)
http://www.deborahsharp.com/
Humourous Mysteries, Cozies
In addition to her crime-writing duties, Florida native Deborah Sharp is a former long-time reporter for USA Today.  In 2008 she came out with the first of the Mace Bauer mysteries, Moma Does Time, featuring an alligator-wrestling protagonist and her equally-quirky family.  That was followed by Moma Rides Shotgun (2009) and Moma Gets Hitched (2010).  Her stories revolve around a thirty-two-year-old single woman who must contend with an over-the-top mother (married five times to date) and two sisters, as she strives to find meaning in her life and wonders if there is a man she can feel truly comfortable with.  Set in central Florida, her tales abound with eccentric characters and colourful settings, and showcase her trademark over-the-top humour.  Definitely entertaining reading.
Shrier, Howard (Canadian, 1956-)
www.howardshrier.com 

(PI series)
A former journalist, Montreal-born Howard Shrier is one of the freshest new faces in many years. His debut novel Buffalo Jump introduced readers to Toronto PI Jonah Geller, his business partner Jenn Raudsepp, and a former hitman with serious anger-management issues, Dante Ryan.  It picked up the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel in 2008.  A year later Shrier followed that achievement with a second AE Award, this time for Best Novel, for High Chicago.  The third in the series, Boston Cream, appeared in 2012, and in 2013 Miss Montreal gave readers a fascinating glimpse of ethnic Montreal, both in the past and today.  Shrier also penned a standalone thriller, Lostport, in 2011.  One of the best of the new breed of crime writers, Canadian or otherwise, his fan base is growing rapidly.  The Jonah Geller series is also being developed for television by a team that includes Emmy Award-winning writer and producer René Balcer, of Law and Order fame.
Silva, Daniel (American, 1960- )
http://www.danielsilvabooks.com/content/index.asp
(Thrillers)
One of the new breed of political/spy-thriller authors, Daniel Silva's tales have, over the past decade, propelled him to the top of the best-seller lists, and no wonder: with plots full of twists and turns, populated by an impressive array of characters, and narrated with a strong voice, Silva's stories appeal to readers seeking fast-paced entertainment fashioned from the headlines.
 
Simenon, Georges (Belgian, 1903-1989)
http://www.maigret.com/home/
(Police Procedurals)
A prolific author, over a period of four decades Georges Simenon turned out a total of 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring the phlegmatic Parisian Inspector (later Chief Inspector) Jules Maigret .   Often ignoring physical evidence, Maigret relies instead on his intuitions about the characters of those involved in a crime.   In 2002 Simenon was voted one of the five most significant authors of the 20 th Century writing in the French language, and his stories have been filmed for television many times, most successfully in Europe.
 
Sjöwall, Maj (Swedish, 1935- )
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/maj-sjowall/
(Police Procedurals)
Together with her husband Per Wahlöö, Sjöwall created the seminal series of realistic Swedish police procedurals featuring Inspector (later Superintendent) Martin Beck .   Although nominally a series of crime novels, owing to the authors' Marxist orientation there is also an ideological critique of Swedish social justice.   The Laughing Policeman won an Edgar for Best Novel of 1971.   The series ended with Wahlöö's death in 1975.
 
Smallman, Phyllis
http://www.phyllissmallman.com/
(Cozies)
Phyllis Smallman has been making her mark in the world of crime fiction since 2008, when she became the first ever recipient of the Arthur Ellis Award for the Unhanged Arthur given by the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her debut novel Margarita Nights was nominated for the Malice Domestic Award in the U.S.A, and shortlisted for both the Debut Dagger given out by the British Crime Writers’ Association and the Best First Novel award from the Crime Writers of Canada.  More recently An Accidental Death won the Royal Palm Literary Award for Flash Fiction from the Florida Writers Association, and Highball Exit won the 2013 Bronze medal award for best mystery/thriller eBook from the Independent Publishers Association, while Champagne For Buzzards won the Florida Writers Association silver award for the best Mystery/Thriller in 2013.
Smallman’s Sherry Travis novels feature a sassy bartender-cum-bar-owner with a penchant for taking a genuine interest in her friends' affairs and then getting in over her head, aided and abetted by as quirky a group of characters you'll find anywhere, and pitted against a collection of villains you wouldn't ever want to meet, even in your dreams.  In contrast, her Singer Brown series turn on a protagonist who is diffident and vulnerable, but every bit as compelling.  Smallman’s strengths lie in her strong voice, a great sense of place, an engaging protagonist, snappy dialogue and fast-paced action.
Smith, Alexander McCall (Scottish, 1948- )
http://www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk/
(Cozies, Young Adults)
The prolific author of no less than eight series of novels, including the bestselling No 1 Ladies Detective Agency , and another dozen standalones set in such diverse locales as Scotland and Botswana, Alex McCall Smith leads the field of contemporary cozy writers.   Did I mention that in his spare time he's a Professor of Medical Law and has his own band?
Soles, Caro (Canadian)
http://www.carosoles.com/
(Gay Crime)
A guiding force in the Crime Writers of Canada and a talented writer with an eye for socially-relevant plots, Caro Soles has penned several crime novels dealing with gender issues.   Standouts include The Tangled Boy , about the small-town murder of a young man, and it's impact on others, The Danger Dance , and my personal favourite, Drag Queen in the Court of Death .   Soles received the CWC's Derrick Murdoch Award in 2002, and in 2008 was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Drag Queen .
Spillane, Mickey (Frank Morrison Spillane) (American, 1918-2006)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/mickey-spillane/
(Hard-boiled)
With nearly 200 million copies of his books in print, and seven of his novels being among the top fifteen bestselling American novels of all time , Mickey Spillane has an indisputable claim to being near the top of the pantheon of American hard-boiled crime writers.   His Mike Hammer series of over a dozen novels spawned several successful films and TV series, and before his death in 2006 he added another four novels in his Tiger Mann series, as well as a further nine standalones.   Not politically correct in his portrayal of the relations between the sexes, but quintessentially American in his take on violence and street justice, Spillane dismissed his critics by noting that "there are more...peanuts consumed than caviar."
 
Staincliffe, Cath (British, 1956- )
http://www.murdersquad.co.uk/index.php?staincliffe
(Police Procedurals. Psychological Thrillers)
Her first crime novel was short-listed for the CWA’s Best First Novel in the mid-90s; since then Cath Staincliffe has gone on to pen three standalones and two series.  The first centers on PI (and single mother) Sal Kilkenny; the second, featuring DI Janine Lewis (also a single mom), was made into the very popular ITV television series, Blue Murder.  Staincliffe skillfully explores the effects of criminal acts on ordinary people, forcing readers to confront the ethical crises facing her characters.  Her books are impossible to put down, and the issues she raises will stay with readers long after they’ve finished her books. 
Stallwood, Veronica
Stanley, Kristina
Strange, Mark
Swain, James (American)
http://www.jimswain.com/
(Thrillers)
Having penned over a dozen bestselling novels that have been published in half a dozen countries, James Swain is no stranger to many crime fiction readers, having received three Barry Award nominations for his work, and France’s Prix Calibre .38 Award for Best American Crime Fiction.  His Tony Valentine series features a retired cop from New Jersey who’s moved to Las Vegas and become a PI specializing in casino scams, and a film is in the works.  Swain’s more recent Jack Carpenter tales are based on a Florida ex-cop turned child rescuer, and features his trademark hard-hitting prose combined with fast-paced action and an intelligent protagonist. The Carpenter series raises Swain to the very top of the heap among American thriller writers, and will earn him many new fans.
Talley, Marcia (American, 1943- )
http://www.marciatalley.com/
(Cozies)
Contemporary novelist and short-story writer Macia Talley has garnered both Agatha and Anthony awards for her original tales, which feature Baltimore-based amateur sleuth Hannah Ives .   Seemingly unable to avoid sinister goings-on in her own life and the lives of those around her, Hannah just can't resist getting involved, and inevitably finds herself in over her head.   Entertaining reading from a master of the genre.
Taylor, Andrew (British)
http://www.lydmouth.co.uk/
(Psychological Thrillers, Historical Cozies)
Andrew Taylor was awarded the British-based Crime Writers Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2009, reflecting his lifetime contribution to the genre.   His debut novel Caroline Miniscule introduced a series chronicling the exploits of William Dougal , an amoral student of history who is not above committing murder to get what he wants -- an unlikely candidate for a crime-solving sleuth.   It won him Taylor the John Creasey Award for Best First Novel of 1982.   His more recent Lydmouth series (1994-2006) features DI Richard Thornhill and Journalist Jill Francis in a delightful collection of post-war puzzles set in a Welsh border town.   A literate and engaging author with a good eye for atmosphere and an unerring ear for dialogue.
Taylor, David C.
Templeton, Aline (Scottish)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/aline-templeton/
(Police Procedurals, Psychological Thrillers)
One of the emerging bright lights in contemporary British crime writing, Aline Templeton's atmospheric series features Yorkshire-based DI Marjory Fleming in half a dozen original and compelling tales, and counting.   Keep an eye on this talented writer.
 
Thornley, Scott (Canadian, 1943-)
http://www.scottthornley.com
(Police Procedurals, Thrillers)
In 2011 Scott Thornley caused quite a stir in the literary landscape when his debut novel was launched with the help of no less a figure than Margaret Atwood.  The Toronto-based author had already racked up impressive credentials as president and creative director of a major marketing firm, earning himself over 150 international awards for design in the process.  A talented, yet driven man.  But no mere dilettante he, for Thornley’s inaugural effort, Erasing Memory, set in the fictional city of Dundurn, Ontario (for which read Hamilton) introduced readers to an engaging protagonist, Detective Superintendent MacNeice, and an interesting supporting cast as they strove to solve the murder of a young violinist whose body was arranged in a tableau seemingly arranged to taunt the police.  A year on Thornley demonstrated that he wasn’t just a one-book wonder with The Ambitious City, which not only gives readers a compelling plot, but pulls the curtain back on MacNeice’s own troubled past, and hints of a more promising future.  Together his novels mark the emergence of an enticing new series for crime readers—always a welcoming sight.
Tope, Rebecca (British, 1948- )
http://www.rebeccatope.com/
(Traditional Mysteries)
The author of seventeen books spanning four series, Rebecca Tope may be best well known to Americans for the Rosemary & Thyme television series, having co-written one novel in the series (Memory of Water) with the producer, Brian Eastman.   But don't overlook either her Thea Osbourne or Drew Slocombe tales, which follow Caroline Graham's lead in exploiting the picturesque scenary of the Cotswolds as a setting for murder and mayhem.   Thea is a housesitter with a penchant for tripping over bodies, while Slocombe is an undertaker who ekes out a living by offering eco-friendly burials to the local denizens.   Tope has cannily invented an amateur sleuth whose business requires a succession of bodies; why didn't anyone think of it before?
Truman, Margaret
Turow, Scott (American, 1949- )
(Courtroom Thrillers, Historicals)
The prolific American attorney-cum-novelist has been entertaining readers since his bestselling Presumed Innocent burst on the scene in 1987, rekindling interest in a sub-genre that dates back to Earl Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason tales.   The book became a blockbuster movie, and was followed by half a dozen equally-successful sequels in what came to be known as the Kindle County series.   In 2005 Turow penned a fine standalone, Ordinary Heroes , which moved beyond the courtroom and focussed on a man struggling to understand his deceased father through a series of wartime letters he'd written to his fiancée.   Turow returned to his courtroom thrillers with Limitations, a novella published in 2006, and is slated to follow that with Innocent , to be released in 2010.
Tursten, Helene (Swedish, 1954- )
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/helene-tursten/
(Police Procedurals)
With but three novels available in English, Swedish author Helene Tursten has attracted both critical and popular attention with her series of police-procedurals that confront provocative social issues.   Her debut novel, Detective Inspector Huss , raises the spectre of racism in her native land, and departs from most crime novels by featuring a protagonist who, in addition to being a copper, is a middle-class housewife and mother, happily married.   Definitely a change of pace.
Vargas, Fred (French, 1957- )
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/v/fred-vargas/
(Cozies, Police Procedurals)
Parisian-born Fred Vargas has, in a few brief years, established herself among the top tier of contemporary crime writers, winning the 2006 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for The Three Evangelists .   Her Chief Inspector (later Commissaire) Adamsberg series includes The Chalk Circle Man , one of the most original puzzle tales to appear in some time.   Drawing on her own life experience to provide a strong sense of place, Vargas marries that with eccentric characters and compelling plots to produce fine, original novels.   A welcome addition to the crime writing scene.
Vine, Barbara (Ruth Rendell) (British, 1930)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/v/barbara-vine/
(Psychological Thrillers)
See Ruth Rendell
 
Walker,  Martin
Walters, Minette(British, 1949- )
http://www.minettewalters.co.uk/
(Thrillers)
Winner of the John Creasey Award for Best First Novel of 1992 (for The Ice House ), Minette Walters has gone on over the years to add Edgar, Macavity, and Dagger awards for Best Novel to her growing list of accolades.   Avoiding the traditional series approach with recurring characters, her tales are standalones featuring original protagonists and combining strong psychological suspense with the puzzle element central to a good tale.   Walters' stories grab the reader by the throat and refuse to let go until the final page.   Often dark, always intense, they are probing explorations of the human psyche in all of its manifestations.
Wambaugh, Joseph (American, 1937- )
http://www.josephwambaugh.net/
(Thrillers, Police Procedurals)
Drawing on his 14-year experience as a former detective in the LAPD, Joeseph Wambaugh has been turning out bestsellers since the publication of The New Centurions in 1970.   Best described as action thrillers, his novels provide a sometimes chilling insight into the tense and troubled world of police work.   Wambaugh was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2004.
Wan, Michelle
Russell Wangersky (Canadian)
http://www.russellwangersky.com
(Psychological Thrillers)
A writer, editor, and columnist for the St. John’s Telegram, Russell Wangersky makes his home in the provincial capital.  As of 2014 he had penned five books; his collection of short stories, Whirl Away, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and winner of the Thomas Head Raddall Award for Fiction, while Burning Down the House chronicled his experiences as a volunteer firefighter, and won the BC National Award for Nonfiction; The Glass Harmonica was awarded the BMO Winterset Award.  He was raised in Halifax, Nova Soctia and attended Acadia University.  He and his wife Leslie Vryenhoek have two sons.
Watson, Colin (British, 1920-1982)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/colin-watson/
(Cozies, Humourous Mysteries)
The creator of a popular series known as the Flaxborough novels, starring Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love , Colin Watson takes humourous aim at British traditions, village life, and character-types.   In his non-fiction study, Snobbery with Violence: English Crimes Stories and Their Audience, Watson classically lampoons the genre of British crime writing itself.   A witty and insightful author, well worth chasing down.
 
Westlake, Donald E.   (American, 1933-2008)
http://www.donaldwestlake.com/index1.html
(Humourous Mysteries)
Named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Donald Westlake has earned three Edgar Awards and a Macavity nomination for Best Novel.   Drawing on a dark sense of humour, his John Dortmunder novels are crime capers that feature a bungling burglar who never seems to get it quite right.   Definitely the lighter side of crime, with an engaging, if doomed, protagonist.   Westlake had also penned an impressive list of sixty-six standalones by the time of his death in 2008.   A treasury for those who like their mayhem with a little mirth.
 
White, Neil
Wilson, Pat & Kris Wood
Wiken, Linda
Wingfield, R. D.   (British, 1928-2007)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/r-d-wingfield/
(Police Procedurals, Humourous Mysteries)
Before his death in 2007, the reclusive R. D. Wingfield penned half a dozen novels that spawned the highly successful TV series featuring Denton Detective Inspector Jack Frost .   Combining sardonic humour and an almost complete disrespect for authority, the rumpled detective has endured sanction and even demotion as he refuses to submit to his nominal superior, the unctuous Superintendent Mullett.   The Inspector Frost TV series has endeared Wingfield to a generation of television viewers who have never read his books, but give them a try: as is often the case, they stand up well to the filmed version.
 
Winslow, Don (American)
http://www.donwinslow.com/
(Thrillers)
Don Winslow's novel California Fire and Life won the author a Shamus Award, and later works have earned him nominations for Macavity and Barry Awards as well.   His Neal Carey series features a peripatetic graduate student who doubles as a PI and often finds himself in over his head, and his Boone Daniels stories are equally riveting.   Characterized by crisp dialogue, dark humour, and fast-paced action, Winslow's tales are always a good read.
Winspear, Jacqueline (British)
http://www.jacquelinewinspear.com/
(Historical Mysteries)
British-born Jacqueline Winspear has penned a series of engaging period tales featuring Maisie Dobbs, a former ladies-maid-turned-private investigator living in London between the wars.   Winspear has been nominated for both Agatha and Edgar awards for her novels, and won an Agatha Award for Best Novel of 2004 for Birds of a Feather .   Her character-driven stories are evocative portrayals of social class, and are destined to take their place alongside the works of Christie and Sayers as reminders of a gentler, more civilized time, when murder was for drawing rooms and country villages, rather than the back alleys of big cities.
Wishart, David (Scottish)
http://www.david-wishart.co.uk/
(Historical Mysteries)
Ah, for the glory days of Rome.   Well, maybe not.   Classical Scholar and historical crime writer David Wishart has written a dozen tales of life during the salad days of the Roman Empire, in which amateur sleuth Marcus Corvinus rubs shoulders with Ovid's grandson, the Empress Livia, Emperor Tiberius's deputy, Sejanus, and a host of lesser plotters and schemers as he attempts to sort out the machinations of the ruling classes along with the transgressions of mere mortals.
 

Wolfe, Inger Ash (Canadian?)
(Thrillers)
At this writing the publisher will only say that Inger Ash Wolfe is "the pseudonym for a well-known and well-regarded North American literary novelist."   Never mind.   Wolfe--whomever she or he is--has penned an interesting series of crime tales (just two, at this writing) centering on the travails of sixty-one year-old Hazel Micallef, a police detective in the fictional town of Port Dundas, Ontario.   In the debut novel in the series, The Calling (2009), the town struggles with a killer targeting terminally-ill victims; and in the follow-up, The Taken , a body appears in a nearby lake, just as described in a fictional story that has recently been published in the local newspaper.   Wolfe's plots are nicely layered, with interplay between Micallef and those around her, public apprehension, and her own self-doubts.   Thriller fans can look forward to more from the firm hand of this author.

Wright, Edward
Wright, Eric
Wynne-Jones, Tim (Canadian, 1948- )
http://www.timwynne-jones.com/
(Young Readers)
A prolific author of books for children as well as those of us in arrested development, Wynne-Jones has penned series (Zoom the cat), several picture books, and over two dozen standalones, including several imaginative and entertaining mystery-and-suspense tales.   His works have garnered him numerous awards, including the 2001 Arthur Ellis Award   for Best Juvenile Crime Novel, an Edgar in 2002, for Best Young Adult Novel, and not least, the 2005 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature.   Particularly recommended for mystery fans are his debut novel, Odd's End , Voices, The Boy in the Burning House, A Thief in the House of Memory, and The Uninvited.