My Fall Crime Reading List

My favorite crime books — fiction and nonfiction alike — hook readers with more than a compelling plot and mystery. They also develop a deep and atmospheric sense of place. Think John Berendt’s Savannah in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” or Raymond Chandler’s noir Los Angeles in any of his Philip Marlowe books.

Now that I’ve finished writing my next book, I have more time to dive into the stack on my nightstand. Here’s some of what I’ll be reading this fall:

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  • As a setting, I’m fascinated by the city of Nashville, and so I can’t resist “Monster City: Murder, Music and Mayhem in Nashville’s Dark Age,” Michael Arntfield’s nonfiction account of multiple serial killers stalking the nation’s country-music capital.

  • Also in my true-crime queue: “The Old Man and the Gun and Other Tales of True Crime,” an anthology from David Grann, author of “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

  • On the crime fiction front, I’ll be picking up Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch mystery, Dark Sacred Night, when it comes out the day before Halloween. I love the setting for this one: Bosch returns to his old Hollywood stomping grounds in the company of the lead character of Connelly’s other detective series, Renée Ballard.

  • Janet Maslin’s review of Joe Ide’s third book, “Wrecked,” made me want to dive into Ide’s world. But obsessive as I am, I have to go back and read his first two books first, starting with “IQ.” I can’t wait to see what he does with the setting of East Long Beach — my own home-base when I first moved to Southern California.

  • Speaking of obsession, I have been speeding through the Walt Longmire series of books by Craig Johnson, with their beautifully rendered portraits of Wyoming life and landscape. I have a dozen books to go before I reach Johnson’s newest installment, “Depth of Winter.” Right now I’m on the fifth, “The Dark Horse,” which I’m listening to in the Audible version, expertly narrated by George Guidall, speaking just how you’d expect Walt would sound if he was kicking back on his porch with you and a couple of ice-cold Rainiers.