James Lee Burke is one of the best story tellers around. He is one of only three authors who have won the Edgar Award for best mystery novel of the year, more than once. His descriptive passages are the best. i.e. from "Heaven's Prisoners" "...the sky had been streaked with red at dawn, and I knew...afternoon thunderheads would roll out of the south, the temperature would suddenly drop twenty degrees, as though all the air had suddenly been sucked out from under an enormous dark bowl, and the blackened sky would tremble with trees of lightening." Amazing talent.
John Connolly always tells an excellent story. His books keep me up at night and he brings the spirit world into his mysteries so well that I find myself looking behind the door when I go up to my room at night.
Michael Connelly is a master at the mystery novel. His plots are woven with a genius touch and are very visual. Who could read "Blood Work" and not imagine Clint Eastwood giving life to the novel's words?
Hunter's main protagonists are true heroes. I always feel good after reading one of his stories and am comforted to know these good men existed, if only in the author's imagination. Bob Lee Swagger ranks with Lee Child's Jack Reacher as two of the best characters in the mystery field.
Lehane was a good mystery writer with his series where Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are the main protagonists. When he added "Mystic River" and "Shutter Island," he rose above the medium to a place at the top of mystery and all fiction writers.
Another writer who has received great praise for his writing. His "The Death and Life of Bobby Z," was one example of his talent with characterization and dialogue. Also greatly enjoyed "California Fire and Life."