Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hard Boiled Women in Mystery

These are not your cozy mystery stories where everything is coming up roses. These are hard hitting stories that have a down on her luck heroine who struggles to get by.  I admit it annoyed me at first.  I read several of these books in a row and I can tell you I was getting annoyed. Why couldn't the female detectives in these stories be happily married, live in a nice neighborhood and have enough money? They are great detectives...why is life so hard for them? The primary reason is because these are hard boiled mystery stories. Part of being a hard boiled mystery includes the detective struggling to get by. These stories may be more violent than real life and are usually set in an urban setting. One of my favorite things about these mystery novels is that they are fast paced. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Very few men have written mysteries with strong female protagonists. One exception is Stieg Larsson, who has written a series featuring Lisbeth Salander, a pierced and troubled young hacker/investigator who has an innate ability to solve problems and kick ass at the same time.

One Grave Too Many by Beverly Connor
Diane Fallon is a forensic anthropologist who became a museum director after a terrible tragedy in the field. Diane is a tenacious, determined professional who is loyal to her friends and coworkers. No matter what she comes up against even is she is injured she will get her man or woman. The best thing to do is not mess with her or hurt her friends.

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
This series is a character driven story about Riley Spartz who is an audacious, outrageous and an unstoppable force-of-Nature when she’s on the hunt for a story. She can take a mediocre story and turn it into media gold. There are plenty of twists and turns in this fast paced series which will keep the most avid mystery lovers glued to their seat.

Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippmann
Downsized ex-reporter Tess Monaghan spends her days working part-time at the bookstore owned by her sexy Aunt Kitty. The rest of her time is spent investigating to find a way to save her friend. Fast paced, funny and quirky.

Report for Murder by Val McDermid
Lindsay Gordon is principled, loyal, tough witty and determined to find the truth, which often leads her into trouble. She is not afraid to take chances and frequently pays for it by either ending up in jail or injured. She is an excellent investigator, but half her trouble comes from her fierce independence.

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell
Mallory is a deep, interesting, unpredictable and enigmatic character. Raised on the streets she is understandably a bit gruff and perhaps a bit of a sociopath, but you will find yourself liking her, a lot, by the story's end. She has a strong intellect and an unusual skill set which allows her to do the job.

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