7 Best Police Procedural Novels (Popular Detective Books)

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Police procedural is a popular subgenre of mystery and detective fiction where the protagonist is often presented as a police detective trying to solve a crime or a murder mystery case following the typical police procedural.

Whether you are a reader or aspiring writer of crime or detective fiction novels that follows police procedurals, follow our great list of seven best and most popular crime reads to enjoy the crime fiction or to learn the art of crime writing from the best detective and crime authors.

Best Police Procedural Novels

#1 The Night Fire

By Michael Connelly

From New York Times bestselling author, Michael Connelly’s crime fiction, The Night Fire is a great example of police procedural fiction.

This amazing crime fiction showcases the story of Harry Bosch, solving the murder mystery of his own former mentor Jack Thompson, who taught him the art of solving crime when Harry was just a novice homicide detective.

With the help of a murder book and an LAPD detective Renee Ballard, Harry Bosch investigates the crucial crime.

best police procedural novels
The Night Fire
by Michael Connelly

#2 Lost Hills

By Lee Goldberg

Again, from a New York Times bestselling author, Lee Goldberg’s Lost Hills follows the story of Eva Ronin, a female protagonist and newly deputy turned detective, who is under pressure to solve a crime to prove her capability and herself to her colleagues as they think she has got hired to solve the case just because she had got famous after a video of her arresting an actor went viral.

Young and inexperienced, Ronin has to find the killer of a mother and her two children, who got brutally murdered in their home with their missing bodies.

This popular police procedural novel is full of blood and brutality.

Lost Hills
by Lee Goldberg

#3 Along Came a Spider

By James Patterson

First published in 1993, this classic crime thriller is now one of PBS’s ”100 Great American Reads” and the novel popularity was later cashed by adopting as a film in 2001 with the same name.

The center plot of the novel showcases the story of the protagonist Alex Cross, trying to stop a psychopathic murderer to commit the ”crime of the century”.

The novel plot starts with following the story of Alex Cross, a homicide detective and forensic psychologist, investigating the brutal murder of two black prostitutes and an infant in Washington D.C, but, later pulled off the murder case to investigate the kidnapping of two students of a private school by a psychopath math’s teacher Gray Soneji.

Alex Cross and Jezzie Flanagan, who is the supervisor of the secret services are trying to catch the brilliant psychopath while playing together with the game of love affair at the worst possible time.

best police procedural novel
Along Came a Spider
by James Patterson

#4 The Dry

By Jane Harper

The Dry is the debut novel by British/Australian crime fiction writer Jane Harper, a New York Times & Sunday Times bestseller and an award-winning author.

Harper’s The Dry follows a murder mystery set amid the worst drought of a century and centered around the protagonist, Aaron Flake, a Melbourne-based federal agent who returns to his hometown after a decade just to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke Hadler.

After getting a request from his parents of Luke to investigate his friend’s murder, Flake reluctantly groups together with the local detectives to solve the murder mystery of his best friend, who is believed to have shot his wife, child and himself.

best police procedural novels
The Dry
by Jane Harper

#5 My Sister’s Grave

By Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of My Sister’s Grave.

The novel plot centered around forty-two-year-old protagonist Tracy Crosswhite, a former chemistry teacher turned homicide detective to solve the case of her own sister Sarah’s disappearance.

Tracy spent twenty years questioning the fact surrounding Sarah’s disappearance and a murder trial that followed and she doesn’t believe that Edmund House a convicted criminal condemned for Sarah’s murder is the guilty party.

To seek true justice for her sister, Tracy joins the Seattle police department as a detective and investigates the case when Sarah’s remains are discovered near their hometown, creating hope for Tracy to finally get all her answers which she had been seeking for twenty years and to catch the real killer.

best police procedural novels
My Sister’s Grave
by Robert Dugoni

#6 The Drop

By Michael Connelly

Connelly is again featured in this top ten list with his 24th novel, The Drop, again showcasing Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective and protagonist of most of Connelly’s novels.

Detective Harry Bosch has been left with only three years of work at LAPD and had been asked to get retired before his term ends, but now, Harry’s craving for cases has increased more than ever and he soon gets two unsolved cases.

The novel plot follows the story of Harry Bosch jumping between two cases, discovering a killer hiding behind suspicious DNA evidence, the death of a power broker falling from a hotel balcony and a political conspiracy that could destroy the LAPD.

best police procedural novels
The Drop
by Michael Connelly

#7 A Song for the Dark Times

By Ian Rankin

Released in October of 2020, A Song for the Dark Times is part of the Inspector Rebus Novel book series by New York Times bestselling author Ian Rankin AKA Jack Harvey.

The novel plot revolves around the protagonist John Rebus who has been retired from the Scottish police but one day when his daughter Samantha calls him and told that his husband is missing for two days.

Rebus left his flat and starts his investigation and eventually Samantha’s husband is found dead not far from the commune where Samantha has recently taken a lover.

Rebus knows with his experience very well that Samantha will be the prime suspect.

Rebus wasn’t there for his daughter in the past and has failed as a father because of his job and duties, but now her daughter needed him more than ever.

best police procedural novels
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Ranking

Neel Rana

About the Author- Neel Rana is a YA short story author, flash fiction writer, literary enthusiast and the founder of Pandora Post. Neel holds a degree in BA Honours in English Literature and has been writing since 2017. Neel’s magnum opus YA short storybook, “The Drunken Ghost” has been well received by the readers.