Nine Standout Mystery Series for National Police Week

mystery2016_buttonYesterday marked the official beginning of National Police Week. As explained on the official website:

“In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C. to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

The fictional cops in the famous series below owe their inspiration to the men who women who put their lives on the line to protect the communities they serve.


Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

Alex Cross

Patterson’s signature series features a Washington, D.C. homicide detective and began with Along Came a Spider (1993).



87th Precinct

McBain’s legendary series, set in Isola, New York (a fictionalized Manhattan) features a rotating cast of recurring characters. Beginning with Cop Hater (1956), the final installment was Fiddlers (2005).


A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

Harlem Detective

Beginning with A Rage in Harlem (1957), violent detectives Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson worked a dangerous beat in Harlem for nine novels.


The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch

Michael Connelly’s homicide detective plies his trade in L.A. He made his first appearance in The Black Echo (1992).


Hollywood Station by Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Station

One of only a few characters to recur in all five novels of the Hollywood Station series (Hollywood Station, 2006), Nathan Weiss (aka “Hollywood Nate”) is a cop who dreams of being a star in L.A.


Mallory's Oracle by Carol o'Connell

Kathy Mallory

Described by her creator, author Carol O’Connell, as a “sociopath,” Mallory is a homicide detective in New York City. She first appeared in Mallory’s Oracle (1994).


The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman

Leaphorn and Chee

The Blessing Way (1970) marked the first appearances of Joe Leaphorn; Jim Chee made his debut in People of Darkness (1980), a book where Leaphorn played a small part. Eventually, the Navajo tribal police officers would share billing.


Rules of Prey by John Sandford


The lead character in Sandford’s popular Prey series, Lucas Davenport is a police detective in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He made his debut in Rules of Prey (1989).


The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Rizzoli & Isles

One half of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series, homicide detective Jane Rizzoli has worked with medical examiner Maura Isles on the mean streets of Boston since The Surgeon (1991).




About the Author:

Karen Kleckner Keefe is the director of the Hinsdale (IL) Public Library, a Booklist reviewer, and one of Library Journal's 2009 "Movers and Shakers." Follow her on Twitter at @KarenKleckner.

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