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Top 10 fantasy crime novels

At Dead Good we love a good list especially when there are books, films or dramas on there that have been recommended to us – which is where you came in! Over the last two weeks we’ve been compiling your suggestions of brilliant crime and fantasy books to create a list of top ten fantasy crime novels.

A big thank you to all of you on Twitter who helped compile this list.

So here it is – share it, save it, disagree with it – let us know in the comments below!

In no particular order…

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Harry is the best at what he does, and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost.

Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.- Book 1 of the same name features Peter Grant, Detective Constable and trainee Wizard in a book described as CSI London, Urban Fantasy-style!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where the Crimean war still rages, dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is deeply disappointed by the ending of ‘Jane Eyre’. In this world there are no jet-liners or computers, but there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic, a great interest in all things literary – and a woman called Thursday Next.

In this utterly original and wonderfully funny first novel, Fforde has created a fiesty, loveable heroine and a plot of such richness and ingenuity that it will take your breath away.

The Clown Service by Guy Adams

Toby Greene has been reassigned – charged with protecting Great Britain and its interests from paranormal terrorism. The threat? An old enemy has returned, and with him Operation Black Earth, a Soviet plan to create the ultimate insurgents by re-animating the dead.

This book has been described as Spooks meets The X-Files with a generous helping of le Carré and a dash of Stephen King. Enough said!

The City and the City by China Mieville

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlú must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other.

With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

Dead Harvest by Chris Holm

Meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls. Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure their souls are dispatched to the appropriate destination.

But when he’s dispatched to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before: no.

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connelly had a lucky escape when she was hit by lightning: she didn’t die. But sometimes she wishes she had died, because the lightning strike left her with an unusual talent – she can find dead people. Everyone wants to know how she does it; it’s almost electric – a buzzing all through her body, and the fresher the corpse, the more intense the buzz.

Harper and her brother Tolliver make their living from finding the dead, for desperate parents, worried friends and police departments who have nowhere else to look. But it’s not always easy for someone like Harper, as finding the body doesn’t always bring closure – it just opens a whole new can of worms.

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

1585. When Edward Kelley and his master, Dr John Dee, discover a dark secret at the heart of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory’s illness, they fear the cure will prove more terrifying than death.

2013. When Jackdaw Hammond learns of a young woman found dead on a train, her body covered in arcane symbols, she must finish what Kelley and Dee started – or die trying.

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Tormented and racked with guilt over the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter, Charlie Parker, ex-cop with the NYPD, agrees to track down a missing girl. It is a search that will lead him into an abyss of evil.

At the same time, he is warned by an old black woman in Louisiana that ‘The Travelling Man’ is about to strike again. Multiple strands converge with a horrific confrontation in which hunter and hunted are intimately connected by guilt.

A Matter Of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

The recession has left the world exhausted. Crime is rising; financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt. But DI Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he’s haunted by the deeds of his past, and he’s got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve – not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies.

Then Cass Jones’ personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide – leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it’s time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself – only to discover that all three cases are linked…

There you have it, our top ten fantasy crime books. Some belong to a series, some are standalones and all are recommended by readers!

How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below.


    another favourite of mine is the Nursery Crimes series, also by Jasper Fforde.

    I’m a little shocked that there are no Garrett P.I. novels on this list. Old Tin Sorrows, Bitter Gold Hearts and Cold Copper Tears are old fashioned noir detective fiction set in a fantasy world. There is an entire long lived series out there, but those three stand out for sure.

    Have never heard of them – will look them out. Think we might need to do a post on rediscovering lost classics.

    Have just finished Rebecca Alexander’s ‘The Secrets of Life and Death’. What a fantastic story with urban and historical strands winding their way through the novel to an amazing conclusion. Part of a trilogy, and I just can’t wait for the sequel. Love the characters and location descriptions; totally believable. A real page turner, right from the start.

    I totally agree with Jasper Fforde and Malcolm Pryce – but what about Christopher Fowler: Bryant and May series? Surely the Peculiar Crimes team deserves a mention?!

    Ah yes I did consider them – love the PCU, but the answers are always firmly based in reality.

    And another thing: BLATANT PLUG FOR CLOWN SERVICE!!!!!!! Don’t think we don’t notice these things. Shame on you.

    It was a genuine suggestion!! Haven’t pulled it out in a tweet or anything, honest guvnor!

    Paul Magrs: The Adventure of Brenda and Efiie – starting with Never the Bride. Set in Whitby – very funny crime solving and involving every supernatural being possible.

    Oh I love Paul Magrs! This was a crowd-sourced list. Maybe next time I’ll also create a sub-list of my own favourites!!

    Jasper fforde – a serious omission! Love Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher . I am hoping The Rook by Daniel O’Malley becomes a very long series. Inspector McLean Mysteries by James Oswald has got dark satanic elements.

    you did not list the Jasper Fforde or Malcolm Pryce ‘Aberystwyth noir’ series

    How could we forget Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series?! I’m already sensing a second version!

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