Mystery > Hardboiled Detective

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 brought 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 Detective

    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: ExtortionHardboiled DetectiveMysteryPrivate 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: Hardboiled DetectiveMissing 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 Detective

 

My Library
 
Own Read Rating WishYearTitleAuthorSeriesGenres & Tags

-- -- -- --1976 Collected Millar: The Tom Aragon Novels Margaret Millar Hardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1994 A Drink Before the War Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1982 A is for Alibi Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectiveMysteryPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1964 A Purple Place for Dying John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1971 A Tan and Sandy Silence John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled DetectiveMissing Person
-- -- -- --1992 A Walk Among the Tombstones Lawrence Block Matthew ScudderHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2002 Altered Carbon Richard K. Morgan Takeshi KovacsCyberpunkDetectiveHard SFHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1985 B is for Burglar Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1997 Back Spin Harlan Coben Myron BolitarHardboiled Detective, Golf
-- -- -- --2003 Blacklist Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1988 Blood Shot Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1947 Blue City Ross Macdonald Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1962 Borderline Lawrence Block Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1965 Bright Orange for the Shroud John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1990 Burn Marks Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiArsonHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1986 C is for Corpse Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2008 Chasing Darkness Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled DetectiveThriller
-- -- -- --1982 Cinnamon Skin John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1954 Cut Me In Ed McBain Hardboiled DetectiveMurder MysteryStolen Goods
-- -- -- --1987 D is for Deadbeat Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1966 Darker Than Amber John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1996 Darkness, Take My Hand Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2020 Dead Land Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate EyeWhats New, Chicago
-- -- -- --1984 Deadlock Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye, Chicago
-- -- -- -- Doan and Carstairs: Their Complete Cases Norbert Davis Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1988 E is for Evidence Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1989 F is for Fugitive Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1996 Fade Away Harlan Coben Myron BolitarHardboiled DetectiveSuspense
-- -- -- --1954 Find a Victim Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2005 Fire Sale Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1993 Free Fall Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1981 Free Fall in Crimson John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1990 G is for Gumshoe Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1974 God Save the Child Robert B. Parker SpenserHardboiled DetectiveKidnapping
-- -- -- --1998 Gone, Baby, Gone Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1994 Gun, with Occasional Music Jonathan Lethem Hardboiled DetectiveNear FutureSatireSpeculative Fiction, Bay Area
-- -- -- --1991 H is for Homicide Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1999 Hard Time Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1992 I is for Innocent Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1947 I, The Jury Mickey Spillane Mike HammerFebruaryHardboiled DetectiveMurder MysteryRevengeVengeance, New York City
-- -- -- --1982 Indemnity Only Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1997 Indigo Slam Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1993 J is for Judgement Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2013 Joyland Stephen King Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1994 K is for Killer Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1985 Killing Orders Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1952 Kiss Me, Deadly Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled DetectiveOrganized Crime
-- -- -- --1995 L is for Lawless Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1964 Lucky at Cards Lawrence Block Hardboiled Detective, Poker
-- -- -- --1992 Lullaby Town Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled DetectiveNew York CityPrivate Eye, Hollywood
-- -- -- --1996 M is for Money Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2001 Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 1 Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled DetectiveMurder Mystery
-- -- -- --2001 Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 2 Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2001 Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 3 Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1950 My Gun Is Quick Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1998 N is for Noose Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1964 Nightmare in Pink John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1999 O is for Outlaw Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1966 One Fearful Yellow Eye John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeExtortionHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1951 One Lonely Night Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2001 P is for Peril Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1968 Pale Gray for Guilt John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2002 Q is for Quarry Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2004 R is for Ricochet Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1929 Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett Continental OpActionHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2005 S is for Silence Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneCold CaseHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1997 Sacred Dennis Lehane Kenzie and GennaroHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2018 Shell Game Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1956 Shoot the Piano Player David Goodis Hardboiled DetectiveNoir Fiction
-- -- -- --1958 Sinner Man Lawrence Block Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1985 Snatch Gregory Mcdonald Hardboiled DetectiveKidnapping
-- -- -- --1952 So Nude, So Dead Ed McBain Hardboiled DetectiveMurder Mystery
-- -- -- --2007 T is for Trespass Sue Grafton Kinsey MillhoneHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2012 Taken Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective, Human Trafficing
-- -- -- --1956 The Barbarous Coast Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye, Hollywood
-- -- -- -- The Big Book of the Continental Op Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1951 The Big Kill Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Big Knockover Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1939 The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweExtortionHardboiled DetectiveMysteryPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1950 The Brass Cupcake John D. MacDonald Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2005 The Colorado Kid Stephen King Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Complete Cases of Bail-Bond Dodd Volume 1 Norbert Davis Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1933 The Complete Cases of the Reckoner Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Volume 1 Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Volume 2 Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Continental Op Dashiell Hammett Continental OpHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1964 The Deep Blue Good-By John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1958 The Doomsters Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1975 The Dreadful Lemon Sky John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1950 The Drowning Pool Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectiveMurder MysteryPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1978 The Empty Copper Sea John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2010 The First Rule Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2005 The Forgotten Man Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1968 The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2015 The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes Lawrence Block Hardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1952 The Ivory Grin Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1939 The Knife Slipped Erle Stanley Gardner Cool & LamHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1943 The Lady in the Lake Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1985 The Lonely Silver Rain John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1953 The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1970 The Long Lavender Look John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1987 The Monkey's Raincoat Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeFebruaryHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye, Hollywood
-- -- -- --1949 The Moving Target Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectiveKidnappingPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1963 The Outfit Donald E. Westlake ParkerHardboiled DetectiveOrganized Crime
-- -- -- --2015 The Promise Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1964 The Quick Red Fox John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeExtortionHardboiled Detective, Hollywood
-- -- -- --1973 The Scarlet Ruse John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2011 The Sentry Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1976 The Sins of the Fathers Lawrence Block Matthew ScudderHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- -- The Snarl of the Beast Carroll John Daly Race WilliamsHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1973 The Turquoise Lament John D. MacDonald Travis McGeeHardboiled Detective, Hawaii
-- -- -- --2017 The Wanted Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --2007 The Watchman Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled DetectiveThriller
-- -- -- --1951 The Way Some People Die Ross Macdonald Lew ArcherHardboiled DetectiveMissing PersonPrivate Eye
-- -- -- --2001 Total Recall Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1939 Trouble Is My Business Raymond Chandler Philip MarloweHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye
-- -- -- --1994 Tunnel Vision Sara Paretsky V.I. WarshawskiHardboiled DetectivePrivate Eye, Homeless
-- -- -- --1940 Turn on the Heat Erle Stanley Gardner Cool & LamHardboiled DetectiveMissing Person
-- -- -- --1950 Vengeance is Mine! Mickey Spillane Mike HammerHardboiled Detective
-- -- -- --1995 Voodoo River Robert Crais Elvis Cole and Joe PikeHardboiled Detective