Pulse-Pounding Police Procedurals

Police Procedurals for Every MoodFrom small-town scandals to high-stakes Hollywood horrors, these crime fiction novels have all the gritty twists and turns you’ve been missing.

Facing his demons in his first year of sobriety, Matthew Scudder finds himself on the trail of a killer. When Scudder’s childhood friend Jack Ellery is murdered, presumably while attempting to atone for past sins, Scudder reluctantly begins his own investigation, with just one lead: Ellery’s Alcoholics Anonymous list of people he wronged. One of them may be a killer, but that’s not necessarily Scudder’s greatest danger. Immersing himself in Ellery’s world may lead him right back to the bar stool.

In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circle back to how it all began, reestablishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.

Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sanda is convinced it was anything but.

Launching her own inquiries, Sanda finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband’s murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows.

Not much can make Detective Betty Rhyzyk flinch. But when forced into therapy, a desk assignment, and domestic bliss following a terrifying run-in with an apocalyptic cult, she’s having trouble readjusting to life as it once was. At home, she struggles to connect with her loving wife, Jackie. At work, someone has been assassinating confidential informants. To make matters worse, Betty’s partner seems to be increasingly dependent on the painkillers he was prescribed for injuries he sustained narrowly rescuing her.

Betty’s at the point of breaking when she decides to go rogue, on a chase that will lead her to the dark heart of a drug cartel terrorizing Dallas, and straight to the crooked cops who plan to profit from it all.

The Complaints: that’s the name given to the Internal Affairs department who seek out dirty and compromised cops, the ones who’ve made deals with the devil. And sometimes The Complaints must travel.

A major inquiry into a neighboring police force sees Malcolm Fox and his colleagues cast adrift, unsure of territory, protocol, or who they can trust. An entire station-house looks to have been compromised, but as Fox digs deeper he finds the trail leads him back in time to the suicide of a prominent politician and activist. There are secrets buried in the past, and reputations on the line.

In his newest pulse-pounding thriller, Ian Rankin holds up a mirror to an age of fear and paranoia, and shows us something of our own lives reflected there.

For a cop, a night on the job means killing time and trying not to get killed. If you’re a cop in Hollywood Division, it also means dealing with the most overwrought, desperate, and deluded criminals anywhere. When you’re patrolling Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, neither a good reputation nor the lessons of scandals past will help you keep your cool, your sanity, or your life when things heat up.The robbery of a Hollywood jewelry store, complete with masks and a hand grenade, quickly connects to a Russian nightclub, an undercover operation gone bloodily wrong, and a cluelessly ambitious pair of tweakers.

Putting the pieces together are the sergeant they call the Oracle and his squad of street cops. There’s Budgie Polk, a twenty-something firecracker with a four-month-old at home, and Wesley Drubb, a rich boy who joined the force seeking thrills. Fausto Gamboa is the tetchy veteran, and Hollywood Nate is the one who never shuts up about movies. They spend their days in patrol cars and their nights in the underbelly of a city that never sleeps. From their headquarters at Hollywood Station, they see the glamour city for what it is: a field of land mines, where the mundane is dangerous and the dangerous is mundane.

A killer is on the loose. The victims: children whose mothers can’t protect them.

The past is coming back to haunt the people of London: a murderer is targeting the children of victims of Raymond Garvey, an infamous serial killer from London’s past.

When Murder Squad veteran Detective Tom Thorne, who solves the London Police Department’s most difficult cases, is called into what seems like, for once, an ordinary domestic murder, he thinks he’s caught a break. A woman has been murdered by someone she knows. A positive pregnancy test found on the floor beside her. Thorne plans to question the husband, arrest him and return home to deal with his own deteriorating personal life.

But when a mysterious sliver of bloodstained X-ray that was found clutched in the victim’s fist is replicated at other crime scenes around the city, Thorne realizes that this is not a simple case. As the bits of X-ray begin to come together to form a picture, it becomes clear that the killer knows his prey all too well and is moving through a list that was started long ago.

As Thorne attempts to protect those still alive, nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted.

Ex-cop turned #1 New York Times bestselling writer Joseph Wambaugh forged a new kind of literature with his great early police procedurals. Here in his classic debut novel, Wambaugh presents a stunning, raw, and unforgettable depiction of life behind the thin blue line.

In a class of new police recruits, Augustus Plebesly is fast and scared. Roy Fehler is full of ideals. And Serge Duran is an ex-marine running away from his Chicano childhood. In a few weeks they’ll put on the blue uniform of the LAPD. In months they’ll know how to interpret the mad babble of the car radio, smell danger, trap a drug dealer, hide a secret, and-most of all-live with the understanding that cops are different from everyone else. But for these men, these new centurions, time is an enemy. The year is 1960. The streets are burning with rage. And before they can grow old on this job, they’ll have to fight for their lives . . .

Brattleboro is the epitome of scenic Vermont. Quaint in its architecture and plainspoken in its politics, it dominates the state’s southeast corner as both an employment hub and an election year powerhouse-all while looking like a genteel, postindustrial New England mill town. And yet there is darkness here, too, and nobody knows it better than Joe Gunther. Over the years he has battled drug pushers and corporate swindlers, grappled with environmental conspirators, and foiled gangs and home invaders. But while usually successful in his fight for the town’s future, Gunther hasn’t always come out on top… Thirty years earlier store owner Klaus Ober-feldt was robbed and beaten senseless. When Klaus died six months later, a case of assault and battery became first degree murder. The guilty man eventually appeared to be a well-known, small-time crook, but enough time had elapsed for him to vanish. Gunther, distracted by his wife’s losing struggle with cancer in the same hospital where Klaus was slipping from life, did something that would plague him for the rest of his career: He let the case go cold, burying it in the past along with his private sorrows. Now serendipitously reopened, the Ober-feldt investigation forces Gunther to revisit ancient history and open old wounds. Torn between righting the past and confronting his demons, the veteran cop faces the most personal and dangerous case of his career. For somewhere on the idyllic Brattleboro streets stalks a long-lost murderer who never quite disappeared-and with Joe’s renewed interest, now has good reason to kill again . . .

A man is murdered in a back alley. Renowned forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs are left with a veritable mountain of evidence collected from the trash-filled alley, and their only lead is a young eyewitness: the man’s eight-year-old son, who was riding along on his father’s delivery route.

But the murder victim may have been more than just a simple deliveryman. Rhyme and Sachs uncover clues that he might have been delivering a highly illegal, contraband shipment–which is now missing. And someone wants it back . . .

Merci Rayborn, T. Jefferson Parker’s stubborn, principled Orange County detective, is almost alone in believing that deputy Archie Wildcraft didn’t kill his beautiful young wife and then turn his service weapon on himself. The evidence against Wildcraft–now hospitalized with a bullet lodged in his head–seems overwhelming. But Merci, who’s still unpopular for exposing an old police scandal that caused the death of one cop and the ruination of others (The Blue Hour), is resisting pressure from her boss and a headline-hunting D.A. to arrest Wildcraft and charge him with murder. Then the deputy, who’s lost his memory and maybe his mind as a result of his injury, goes missing from his hospital room, intent on tracking down the real killers and managing to stay a step ahead of Merci. Soon, they both begin to realize that Gwen Wildcraft wasn’t killed because she got in the way of an attempted hit on her husband–it was the other way around. Parker, whose skills at characterization are as well honed as his expert pacing and intricate plotting, has penned another standout that will keep readers guessing and gasping until the last dramatic page. –Jane Adams