Ten Great Books by Up-and-Coming Crime Fiction Writers


Is your to-be-read pile looking a little thin? Need some new blood in your reading rotation? Check out these authors—up-and-coming voices in crime fiction, all of them with a ton of talent and potential. There’s a little something for everyone here, from traditional hard-boiled to pulpy southern noir to drug dealers doing battle with inhuman gangbangers. Get in on the ground floor so you can say you read them when.


Cleaning Up Finn by Sarah M. Chen – A lecherous restaurant manager gets a taste of his own medicine. Chen’s novella is a lean slice of noir with an old-school feel; the seaside setting conjures Charles Williams.


A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner – This is being reissued by Down and Out Books soon. When it does, you’d best pick it up. Chicago Detective Elliot Caprice is an arresting (ha) protagonist, and Gardner’s got style and voice for days.


Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias – A drug dealer goes up against an inhuman gangbanger. This is dark, but you will be rewarded. The narrative is whip-fast and occasionally drifts into Spanish, which works way better than you’d think.


Bad Citizen Corporation by SW Lauden – Greg Salem—cop by day and punk rocker by night—is investigating his friend’s murder. He’s a compelling protagonist, and this is a confident, engaging, and timely thriller, with some serious punk rock bona fides.


All Your Lies Came True by Mike Creeden – Fallen rocker Declan St. James goes from writing click-bait journalism to investigating an old friend’s mysterious overdose. A spiritual sibling to Lauden’s novel. Smart, well written, and another love letter to the music industry.


The Fury of Blacky Jaguar by Angel Luis Colon – Blacky Jaguar is an ex-IRA hard man. Someone stole Polly, his 1959 Plymouth Fury. He’s going to get it back, no matter what it takes. Do you need more? Colon’s voice is hard-hitting and audacious.


Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me: 17 Noir Tales by Nick Kolakowski – This dude’s short stories are always sharp. An entire collection of them? That’s something to be excited about. “A Bad Day in Boat Repo” is a personal favorite.


The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka – This isn’t coming out until next year, but I was lucky enough to get an early read. Private investigator Roxie Weary is a hot mess—and she proves hard-boiled and feminine aren’t mutually exclusive.

Ten Great Books by Up-and-Coming Crime Fiction Writers

A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post – James Hart doesn’t want to go home, but his brother needs him, so he gets sucked into this dark tale of Florida noir. Gorgeous prose, but the appearance of an Alligator Mafia is enough to grab my attention.


Hashtag by Eryk Pruitt – A pulpy ride through the American south. Pruitt is good at a lot of things, but his strongest asset is how he populates his stories with compelling characters—and then puts them on a collision course.

 Bio: Rob Hart is the author of New Yorked, nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, as well as City of Rose. His latest novel, South Village, is out now. He’s also cowriting a novella with James Patterson, Scott Free, due out next year.


Rob is the publisher at MysteriousPress.com and the class director at LitReactor. His short stories have appeared in publications like Thuglit, Needle, Joyland, and Helix Literary Magazine. Nonfiction has appeared in The Daily Beast, Salon, The Literary Hub, and Electric Literature. You can find him online at @robwhart and http://www.robwhart.com.