Mystery > Hardboiled

Started in the 1920s and perfected in the 1930s, the hard boiled detective was one of the most popular forms to arise from the pulp fiction magazines.

The hard boiled detective was a character who had to live on the mean streets of the city where fighting, drinking, swearing, poverty and death were all part of life. This new type of detective had to balance the day to day needs of survival against the desire to uphold the law and assist justice. Living in the toughest of environments, and required to be tougher than the evil surrounding him, our new heroes had to become "hard boiled".

In this new world, the hard boiled detective began to administer a new form of justice where if need be, he himself would cross the line and break the law, to insure that justice was done. Our hero was thrust into a world where he had to choose between different levels of evil and no one was truely on the side of good. His survival often depended upon a shoot first, ask questions later approach where the ability to reason out a murder is less important than the ability to fight one's way out of a jam.

This ushered in a new era of action packed detective stories where the murder no longer took place off stage and instead took place all around our hero on an ongoing basis. In some respects, the hard boiled detective was in response to the rising crime and gangster activety caused by Prohibition and then the Great Depression. But once Carroll John Daly introduced us to Race Williams, and Dashiell Hammett introduced us to Sam Spade, the world of detective fiction changed forever.

    Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty -- even if that meant taking on an entire town.

Year: 1929
Genre: ActionHardboiled

    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler's first novel, published in 1939, introduces us to Philip Marlowe, a thirty-eight-old private detective moving through the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s. The case involves a paralyzed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail, and murder.

Year: 1939
Genre: ExtortionHardboiledMysteryPrivate Eye

    Turn on the Heat by Erle Stanley Gardner

Hired by a mysterious "Mr. Smith" to find a woman who vanished 21 years earlier, Donald Lam finds himself facing a sadistic cop, a desperate showgirl, a duplicitous client, and one very dogged (and beautiful) newspaper reporter - while Bertha Cool's attempts to cut herself in on this lucrative opportunity land them both hip-deep in murder...

Year: 1940
Genre: HardboiledMissing Person

    The Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonald

McGee isn't particularly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet backwoods girl who's been tortured repeatedly by her manipulative ex-boyfriend Junior Allen? What Travis isn't anticipating is just how many women Junior has torn apart and left in his wake. Enter Junior's latest victim, Lois Atkinson.

Year: 1964
Genre: Hardboiled

 

TitleAuthorSeriesGenres & Tags

Collected Millar: The Tom Aragon Novels Margaret Millar HardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
A Deadly Shade of Gold John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
A Drink Before the War Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiledPrivate Eye
A is for Alibi Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledMysteryPrivate Eye
A Purple Place for Dying John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
A Tan and Sandy Silence John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiledMissing Person
A Walk Among the Tombstones Lawrence Block Matthew ScudderHardboiledPrivate Eye
Altered Carbon Richard K. Morgan Takeshi KovacsCyberpunkDetectiveHard SFHardboiled
B is for Burglar Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Back Spin Harlan Coben Myron BolitarHardboiled, Golf
Blacklist Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
Blood Shot Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
Blue City Ross Macdonald Hardboiled
Borderline Lawrence Block Hardboiled
Bright Orange for the Shroud John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
Burn Marks Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiArsonHardboiledPrivate Eye
C is for Corpse Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Chasing Darkness Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiledThriller
Cut Me In Ed McBain HardboiledMurder MysteryStolen Goods
D is for Deadbeat Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Darker Than Amber John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
Darkness, Take My Hand Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiledPrivate Eye
Dead Land Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate EyeWhats New, Chicago
Deadlock Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye, Chicago
Doan and Carstairs: Their Complete Cases Norbert Davis Hardboiled
E is for Evidence Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
F is for Fugitive Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiledPrivate Eye
Fade Away Harlan Coben Myron BolitarHardboiledSuspense
Find a Victim Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledPrivate Eye
Fire Sale Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
Free Fall Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
G is for Gumshoe Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
God Save the Child Robert B. Parker SpenserHardboiledKidnapping
Gone, Baby, Gone Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
Gun, with Occasional Music Jonathan Lethem HardboiledNear FutureSatireSpeculative Fiction, Bay Area
H is for Homicide Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Hard Time Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
I is for Innocent Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Indemnity Only Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
Indigo Slam Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
J is for Judgement Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Joyland Stephen King Hardboiled
K is for Killer Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiledPrivate Eye
Killing Orders Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
L is for Lawless Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Lucky at Cards Lawrence Block Hardboiled, Poker
Lullaby Town Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiledPrivate Eye, Hollywood
M is for Money Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
N is for Noose Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Nightmare in Pink John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
O is for Outlaw Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiledPrivate Eye
One Fearful Yellow Eye John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeExtortionHardboiled
P is for Peril Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
Pale Gray for Guilt John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
Q is for Quarry Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiledPrivate Eye
R is for Ricochet Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett Continental OpActionHardboiled
S is for Silence Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
Sacred Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiledPrivate Eye
Shell Game Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
Shoot the Piano Player David Goodis HardboiledNoir Fiction
Sinner Man Lawrence Block Hardboiled
Snatch Gregory McDonald HardboiledKidnapping
So Nude, So Dead Ed McBain HardboiledMurder Mystery
T is for Trespass Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiledPrivate Eye
Taken Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled, Human Trafficing
The Barbarous Coast Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye, Hollywood
The Big Book of the Continental Op Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled
The Big Knockover Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled
The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweExtortionHardboiledMysteryPrivate Eye
The Colorado Kid Stephen King Hardboiled
The Complete Cases of Bail-Bond Dodd Volume 1 Norbert Davis Hardboiled
The Complete Cases of the Reckoner Carroll John Daly Hardboiled
The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Volume 1 Carroll John Daly Hardboiled
The Continental Op Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled
The Deep Blue Good-By John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
The Doomsters Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledPrivate Eye
The Drowning Pool Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledMurder MysteryPrivate Eye
The First Rule Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
The Forgotten Man Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes Lawrence Block Hardboiled
The Ivory Grin Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledPrivate Eye
The Knife Slipped Erle Stanley Gardner Cool & LamHardboiledPrivate Eye
The Lady in the Lake Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiledPrivate Eye
The Long Lavender Look John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
The Monkey's Raincoat Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiledPrivate Eye, Hollywood
The Moving Target Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledKidnappingPrivate Eye
The Outfit Donald E. Westlake ParkerHardboiledOrganized Crime
The Promise Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
The Quick Red Fox John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeExtortionHardboiled, Hollywood
The Scarlet Ruse John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled
The Sentry Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
The Sins of the Fathers Lawrence Block Matthew ScudderHardboiled
The Turquoise Lament John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled, Hawaii
The Wanted Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled
The Watchman Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiledThriller
The Way Some People Die Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiledMissing PersonPrivate Eye
Total Recall Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye
Trouble Is My Business Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiledPrivate Eye
Tunnel Vision Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiledPrivate Eye, Homeless
Turn on the Heat Erle Stanley Gardner Cool & LamHardboiledMissing Person
Voodoo River Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled