No. of Recommendations: 2
JannaK: I love mysteries (and by extension, suspense). I lean toward hard-boiled, and am relatively bored by "cozies".

Wandering over to this board, I'll suggest the Joe Pickett series of western crime fiction by C.J. Box. Well written with solid characterization, fast moving plots, interesting mysteries with sufficient twists and turns to move the story along. I wouldn't describe these novels as 'cozy' but Pickett is a family man and the family plays an important role in several of the books. A secondary character, Nate Romanowski, often provides the more colorful and graphic, well, violence, in the books. Pickett tends to play by the rules, Romanowski not so much.

You might try the most recent book, "Wolf Pack," and if you like it you can wander around the other 18-20 Joe Pickett novels.

I'll also recommend "A Walk Among the Tombstones" by Lawrence Block. You might prefer this one since it's much grittier and considerably darker. The main character, Matt Scudder, is a recovered alcohol and former PI who finds himself dragged into a kidnapping, mutilation murder mystery -- complete with Russian drug dealers -- on the streets of New York City. I disliked the Liam Neeson movie which, I thought, was considerably inferior to -- and made some unnecessary character changes to -- the novel.

You might read the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Again, darker and more violent than the Box books. And again, the two movies are pale in comparison to the novels. Reacher is a former military policeman who is a vigilante/good Samaritan sort of character. Usually interesting mysteries and fast-paced page turners.

Want even grittier? Try "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Lisbeth Salander trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Salander, a misunderstood genius with serious authority issues, is a computer hacker who finds herself caught up in an intricate family thriller. Very violent, very graphic, very well written. If you watch the movies, the original Swedish series featuring Noomi Rapace is the better choice but, again, not on the same level as the books.
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