4 modern private detective series we love

Modern private detective series

Elvis Cole

It’s hard to imagine any fan of the modern private detective series who hasn’t at least brushed up against Elvis Cole. Robert Crais’s “World’s Greatest Detective,” along with his no-nonsense partner Joe Pike, have been wowing readers for decades with their relentless pursuit of the truth. And in recent years, the series seems to have taken on new momentum. Cole is as moral of a man as can be imagined, and he is willing to sacrifice anything for the good of those he decides to help, clients or not.

But what makes the series shine is Cole’s witty comebacks and roll-with-the-punches style. He is the epitome of what a hero should be, and almost any reader with a pulse will fall in love with him.

Frank Marr

Fans who like a little noir in their modern private detective series need look no further than David Swinson’s Frank Marr.  Swinson is an ex-police detective, and that experience lends a realism to the way his protagonist, disgraced ex-cop Frank Marr, goes about his work. All three installments in this short series, The Second Girl, Crime Song, and Trigger, bring with them both Marr’s streetwise dialog, and the constant reminder that the line between good and evil is often transgressed even by those we consider to be just.

Marr is likable in spite of deep character flaws, and this makes him a fresh voice in a genre that occasionally flirts with white knighting. Although Swinson has apparently moved onto a new series, readers will not regret getting to know Frank Marr.

Lincoln Perry

Much like our own series author Michael Pool, Michael Koryta spent time working as a real-life private investigator. Koryta’s experience shines through in the Lincoln Perry series without derailing the storytelling in his books. Perry’s fieldwork has a realistic rhythm to it, but Koryta never sacrifices the larger-than-life storytelling that makes a good P.I. mystery work.

Perry has a quiet dignity that climbs off the page. He has hopes and dreams that echo the reality of real working private investigators, and these imbue him with a familiar and engaging quality that keeps the pages turning.

Koryta is a master of the genre, along with being an incredible thriller writer outside of it. These books do not disappoint, period.

Dave Wakeland

Engaged fans of the P.I. genre have been buzzing about Sam Wiebe since his debut P.I. novel, the Unhanged Arthur Award-winning Last of the Independents. And although rights issues kept what would have been an incredible series featuring protagonist Michael Drayton from ultimately getting off the ground, Wiebe bounced back a few years later with Invisible Dead, his first novel featuring Vancouver private eye Dave Wakeland.

The series displays to perfection why we feel Wiebe is one of the premier artists writing in the P.I. genre. Wakeland is tough and introspective, with a keen eye that tracks social change but never misses an inch of the behavior displayed by those he questions.

He has a deep longing for a past that may or may not have existed, as well as a future that may not arrive if things keep going the way they are. The second novel Cut You Down only added to Wakeland’s depth as a series character while continuing to display Wiebe’s developing mastery of mixing the genre with modern social issues. Last we heard the series was in momentary limbo, but we hope to see much more from Dave Wakeland in the future, fingers crossed.

Find your next modern private detective series, Riley Reeves

Psst… We’ve got a pretty great detective series of our own coming out. Yeah, you knew we were gonna say that, right? Shameless… But the truth is, we’re excited about the launch of the Riley Reeve’s series via her debut novel by Michael Pool, Throwing Off Sparks. We know readers will fall in love with her fearless commentary and boundless devotion to her clients.

And like the other detectives on this list, she possesses a fearless focus bordering on obsession. Readers of each series mentioned above will find much to love in Riley. We hope you’ll consider checking out Throwing Off Sparks when it is released on May 12, 2020!

Fans of these 3 fictional female private investigators will love Riley Reeves (here’s why)

fictional female private investigators

Private investigators have a long and storied history in crime fiction. 

Over the years, a powerful cast of fictional female private investigators have made their way onto the scene to great fanfare. Over time, readers have come to understand that underestimating these women is a critical, and possibly fatal, error.

And the same can be said for our own female private eye, Riley Reeves, whose debut novel, Throwing Off Sparks, is scheduled for release May 12, 2020. In preparation for that release, we’ve made a list of 3 fictional female private investigators whose fans will definitely want to meet Riley (and why).

Kinsey Millhone

fictional female private investigatorsShrewd, determined, and haunted by the loss of her parents, the late Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone  is one of crime fiction’s most dynamic female private investigators. And, like Kinsey, Riley Reeves is also haunted by the loss of her parents, though to natural causes rather than anything sudden. Like Kinsey, Riley is constantly trying to determine what her place is in a world without her family, and always coming up shorter for answers than she might have hoped.

Both are at their best when working their cases. For Riley, this quality creates a conflict between her two selves, and nowhere is this more present than in the events of her debut novel,Throwing Off Sparks.


Jessica Shaw

fictional female private investigatorsTough. Courageous. Determined. Many readers apply these labels to Lisa Gray’s traveling female private investigator, Jessica Shaw.  And these characteristics also describe Riley Reeves to a “T”. Both characters live and breathe their work. Each shows a willingness to lay it all on the line, even when the costs may not be worth it, and even when their choice is not the only viable path forward.

Jessica is often focused on uncovering her past, even at the expense of the present. Riley, too, is unable to leave the past out of her day-to-day life. Readers will love the similar fast pace these two work at, and Riley’s efficient, obsessive approach to her cases is sure to feel familiar to Jessica’s fans.


Nichelle Clarke

fictional female private investigatorsNichelle Clarke is a reporter by trade but has all the hallmarks of a private investigator in her approach. Unafraid to wade into danger in service to a story, Nichelle will stop at nothing to solve the mysteries uncovered by her reporting. She readily sticks her nose where it “doesn’t belong,” which often gets her into hot water in the process.

Like Nichelle, Riley Reeves is also unafraid to wade into the danger. She may be a woman working in a man’s world, but she’s no pushover. Undeterred by violence or threat of death, Riley is one to do her research, but even more of one to get her hands as dirty as it takes to solve her cases and protect her clients. Fans of Nichelle will find a kindred spirit in Riley and are sure to love everything about her thoughts and stories.


Meet Riley Reeves

Book one in the Riley Reeves private investigator series, Throwing Off Sparks, releases May 12, 2020. We are BEYOND excited to share her stories with the world. Learn more HERE.

Wait! You don’t have to wait for May to meet Riley. Join our email list and we will give you an eBook copy of the prologue to Throwing Off Sparks, which serves as the perfect introduction to how Riley conducts business! Use the form below to get your free e-copy and get ready to pre-order the novel after Riley steals your heart.