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Recommendations for newer crime thrillers or sci-fi? (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Hey everyone - I'm looking for a new book to sink my teeth into. I need to confess that for fiction, I always gravitate towards the "classics", so I haven't read many of the "best" books published in the last few decades.

I'm in the mood for sci-fi or crime thriller/mystery.

My favorite sci-fi: Neuromancer, A Scanner Darkly, Hitchhiker's Guide, Dune. I actually haven't read Neil Stephenson, partly because the length of his books are a little daunting... but maybe I should just go for it. I've been recommended the Ian M Banks Culture series, though quite a few Amazon reviews really rip on the first entry, so I'm hesitant.

For crime thriller/mystery, I love Sherlock Holmes and anyone that can bring a serious, adult detective novel/mystery to the table. I like to read true crime (non-fiction), but I haven't delved into the fiction end as much as I would like.

I welcome all recommendations and thoughts! Bonus points for books in the last decade; I feel as if I should have a better idea of what the current market of readers are actually into nowadays.


Friends of WF
At first I thought, "This'll be quick, just read out what's in the Kindle."

But then there's that "newer" dangling there.



Don Winslow

His "Broken" (2020) is a fabulous set of novellas, by way of introduction. I have this book forever on my "this is how it's done" read-often shelf.

His "Dawn Patrol" (2008) was fun, intricate, maybe a little too much setting but good character work. 1UP for SoCal and surfing.

Just started "The Force" (2017) which is nothing like "Dawn." Meaner. In your face. Crunchy. We'll see. (I've been distracted away by wanting to write again, after a long hiatus. So the book loses my eyes. For now.)

Peter Temple

His "Truth" (2009) is unbelievable. Nearly Russian in its density and reach. Just a gorgeous piece of art. And a damn fine crime story, too.

When I finished this and reached for "Can I have some more, please, sir?" I was just stunned to find he'd died in 2018. I still sigh and, "What might have been...?"


I've throttled back on my sci-fi. Really a bit of a wasteland now, IMO.

But let me toss a couple that impressed me.

Paolo Bacigalupi

Ignore his YA recent things. Unless you like that sort, of course.

His "Windup Girl" (2009) was a fresh dream, nicely told. I remember reading someone in Interzone calling him "that guy with the unpronounceable name who writes like an angel." Truth.

And his "Pump Six and Other Stories" (2008) collection was a brilliant promise and presaged the storylines coming together in "Windup." But I think he's faded. Hate to say that, hate to see it more. Would have loved to see more of the situations laid out in the "People Of Sand And Slag" story and the eponymous "Pump Six" story.

N.K. Jemisin

While not "hard" sci-fi and, some might argue, a blurring of sci-fi and fantasy, her "The Fifth Season" (2015) was just a fabulous idea, and so very nicely told. It's the first of a series I did not pursue. No explanation for that comes to mind. Maybe I felt it was hermetic and shouldn't be added to, which is very likely snotty attitude of mine.

James S. A. Corey

Want some excellent thoughtful space opera dealing with the dynamics of the people of Earth and Mars and those mining the Asteroid Belt? Their "Leviathan Wakes" (2011) series is just the bomb. Plus you can watch their own adaptation, "The Expanse" on Amazon, However, while it's great, it is not the books.)

Neal Stephenson

But I really have to plead a little for Stephenson; he is so worth the effort. Skip "Cryptonomicon" (1999) not because it's bad -- it is not, not at all, I still have a dream about Cap'n Crunch cereal twined with Alan Turing watching a bicycle wheel because of it -- but because it's hard. Come back to it when his didactic voice isn't so... what's the word... hard?

Big books. Enormous ideas. And this guy really loves to write. Even more than me. So he can go on and on. Even more than me.

Smaller things? His earlier "Snow Crash" (1992) And "The Diamond Age" (1995) are older smaller things and more accessible.

But, really, for historical accuracy and rigor and an ability to write the confluence of forces creating this modern world, his "Baroque Cycle" books, "Quicksilver" (2003), "The Confusion" (2004), and "The System of the World" (2004), are all worth the time.

His "Reamde" (2011) was the last of his I liked. The rest just seemed "lost", grinding over the tried and true. Tried three times with "Seveneves" (2015) and wondered about the Hugo community's sanity.

He has a new one coming out October this year, "Termination Shock," which I will, with fingers crossed, read. Because, well, just because. I have hope.

William Gibson

Also. You probably already know this. There's more to Gibson than "Neuromancer," and some of it is worth the read. It's outside your time frame, but if you haven't, both the Neuromancer-following "Count Zero" and "Mona Lisa Overdrive" are well worth it.

The more recent "Agency" (2020) is a soft-serve crime and not worth the time. There's better amateur sci-fi than that one. Where was his agent and editor?

Besides "Neuromancer" (1984), his "Burning Chrome" (1986) collection of short fictions really shows his beginnings, where he was coming from. And its haunting "New Rose Hotel" story?/poem? is worth the entire price of admission. Plus, reading the "Johnny Mnemonic" story finally explained-away that awful terrible movie.

But that's old old business. And no one but silly old fools like me who admire our heroes path to here will understand.

Good reading!

[2021-11-21 1913]


Senior Member
So I looked into each and every one of these and I'm very convinced these are solid recommendations! I'm thinking of starting with Leviathan Wakes and then following it up with Snow Crash.


Senior Member
So I looked into each and every one of these and I'm very convinced these are solid recommendations! I'm thinking of starting with Leviathan Wakes and then following it up with Snow Crash.

Absolutely do Snow Crash! I came in here to suggest it in fact. It's an absolute tour de force, with hilarious sociopolitical commentary and crazy characters. Might be my favorite book of all time.