10 Best Authors Like Paul Doiron if You Love Nature and Crime Fighting

Discover our guide to the best authors like Paul Doiron. They weave natural settings into intricate crime dramas for thrilling tales in stunning locations.

Author Paul Doiron created the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels. These books take place in the woods of Maine, adding a natural element to the world of crime solving. Doiron launched the series with The Poacher’s Son, which he published in 2010. It earned many accolades, including a Barry Award for best first novel and nominations for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. The book also was honored with the Best Fiction of 2010 Maine Literary Award.

In addition to writing, Doiron works as a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing. The author also served as the chair of the Maine Humanities Council, and he is an Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine. Today, his books have been translated into 11 languages, and he continues to produce new ones. Dead by Dawn, his 2022 book, is one of his most recent, and it won the New England Society’s 2022 Book Award for Fiction.

It also brought Doiron his second Maine Literary Award. If you’re a fan of the top mystery writers, check out our guide to find your next favorite novel.

Best Authors Like Paul Doiron Rankde

1. William Kent Krueger, 1950 –

William Kent Krueger
William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger is a crime author best known for his Cork O’Connor books. Krueger fell in love with words at a young age, and his teachers and parents called him “The Walking Dictionary” when he was in the third grade. For college, Krueger attempted to attend Stanford, but he left when he failed to see eye to eye with the administration during student protests in the 1970s. As a young adult, he worked various odd jobs, including ditch digging and timber logging, and as a freelance journalist. During these early years, Krueger wrote short stories and sketches.

In 1999 when he was 40, he published Iron Lakehis first novel and the first Cork O’Connor book. It won the Best First Novel from the Anthony and Barry Awards, and it also earned the Minnesota Book Award. In 2005 and 2006, he won back-to-back Anthony awards for Mercy Falls and Ordinary Grace. A resident of Minnesota, Krueger often sets his stories in his home state.

“Haven’t you seen that part of me as well? A man’s many things. To isolate one part of him and judge him on that alone is to do him an injustice, don’t you think?”

William Kent Krueger, Iron Lake
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Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor Mystery Series)
  • Krueger, William Kent (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 05/01/1999 (Publication Date) - Pocket Star (Publisher)

2. C.J. Box, 1958 –

Book cover of The Highway by C.J. Box
Book cover of The Highway by C.J. Box

C.J. Box has over 30 novels, many of which are number-one New York Times bestsellers. Most famous for the Joe Pickett series, he primarily writes mystery fiction thriller books. Box was born in Wyoming and continues to live in that state, but he attended the University of Denver for college. In 2001, Box published his first book, Open Season, and it earned a spot on the New York Times list of notable books for the year.

Several books, including Blue Heaven and Nowhere to Run, have been optioned for movies or TV shows. The Highway, his 2013 novel, was the source material for the ABC drama Big Sky. Looking for more crime thriller novels to read? Check out our round-up of the best war books! You can also search for crime authors using our search bar at the top right of the post.

“It came in horrible flashes, and Cassie found herself fast-forwarding, getting the gist but not dwelling a second longer than necessary on the actual details.”

C.J. Box, The Highway
The Highway: A Novel (Highway Quartet)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Box, C.J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 07/30/2013 (Publication Date) - Minotaur Books (Publisher)

3. Craig Johnson, 1961 –

Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

A native of Wyoming, Craig Johnson writes westerns and detective stories, many of which feature settings from his home state. The Sheriff Walt Longmire novel series is one of his most famous, and it has been made into a TV series by the same name. The first Longmire book, The Cold Dish, was published in 2004. In 2009, his Longmire book Another Man’s Moccasins won the Spur Award for Best Western Short Novel. Longmire books often end up on the New York Times bestselling list. Each year Johnson’s work is celebrated in a festival named Longmire Days, and Johnson usually attends, as do some of the actors from the television show.

“A writer, like a sheriff, is the embodiment of a group of people, and without their support, both are in a tight spot.”

Craig Johnson, Another Man’s Moccasins
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Another Man's Moccasins: A Walt Longmire Mystery
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Johnson, Craig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 05/29/2008 (Publication Date) - Viking Adult (Publisher)

4. Bruce Robert Coffin

Book cover of Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin
Book cover of Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce Robert Coffin is an award-winning author of the Detective Byron novels. As a former detective sergeant who spent over 27 years in law enforcement, he draws from his personal experience to write his books. In this line of work, he was the supervisor for all the homicide and violent crimes in the largest city in Maine. Coffin also spent four years investigating counter-terrorism for the FBI after the 9-11 attacks. He has several awards as an author, including Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award and the Maine Literary Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel for Within Plain Sight. His books have also been finalists for the Agatha Award.

“The flies buzzing around the body were a telltale sign that death had not occurred overnight.”

Bruce Robert Coffin, Within Plain Sight
Within Plain Sight: A Detective Byron Mystery (The John Byron Novels Book 4)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Coffin, Bruce Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 02/04/2020 (Publication Date) - Witness Impulse (Publisher)

5. Steve Hamilton, 1961 –

Book cover of A Cold Day In Paradise by Steve Hamilton
Book cover of A Cold Day In Paradise by Steve Hamilton

An award-winning mystery novel writer, Steve Hamilton resides in New York. As a young adult, he worked for IBM, writing at night after his family went to bed. This lasted for his first 12 books when he decided he could retire to write full-time. A Cold Day in Paradise, his 1998 book, has won multiple awards, including the Best First P.I. Novel from St. Martin’s Press and Edgar Allan Poe and a Shamus award for Best First Novel. In 2016 his novel The Second Life of Nick Mason debuted as a New York Times bestseller for hardcover and e-book releases. Hamilton writes the Alex McNight, the Nick Mason series, and some standalone novels.

“There is a bullet in my chest, less than a centimeter from my heart. I don’t think about it much anymore. It’s just a part of me now.”

Steve Hamilton, A Cold Day in Paradise
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A Cold Day in Paradise: An Alex McKnight Novel (Alex McKnight Novels)
  • Hamilton, Steve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 02/15/2000 (Publication Date) - St. Martins Press (Publisher)

6. Randy Wayne White, 1950 –

Book cover of Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White
Book cover of Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White

Randy Wayne White writes crime novels featuring Doc Ford, a retired NSA agent and marine biologist in Florida. White has lived on Sanibel Island since 1972, allowing him to write clearly about living in the state. Many of White’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, and he has written under the pen names Carl Ramm and Randy Striker.

As White, he writes the Doc Ford series, Sharks, a spin-off series for kids, and the Hannah Smith series. Sanibel Flats, published in 1990, was his first book in the Doc Ford world. In addition to writing, White operates Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, a laid-back dining establishment with four locations throughout the state. If you’re searching for more crime novels to add to your reading list, check out our guide on the best Patricia Cromwell books.

“Didn’t understand the nation’s habit of clubbing itself each morning with a list of tragedy and doom before trying to go cheerfully into the day. Like arsenic, it had to have a cumulative effect.”

Randy Wayne White, Sanibel Flats
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Sanibel Flats: A Doc Ford Novel (Doc Ford Novels, 1)
  • White, Randy Wayne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/07/2017 (Publication Date) - Minotaur Books (Publisher)

7. Ace Atkins, 1970 –

Ace Atkins
Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins is the son of former NFL football player Billy Atkins, but his life took a different route than his famous father. Atkins spent time playing football in college, but after graduating, he turned to writing, working as a crime reporter for The Tampa Tribune. This work gave him a taste for crimes and mysteries. In 1998 he published Crossroad Blues, his first novel.

While at the Tribune, he received a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, though he didn’t win. By age 30, he could retire from journalism to write novels full-time. Each of his works contains a little autobiographic content, whether it is people he knew in real life, places he lived, or crimes similar to those he wrote about. Atkins has three series to his name, including the Nick Travers, Quinn Colson and Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series.

“The blues came from all he knew, all he was. He put that lonesome feeling in each note. The longing. The losses.”

Ace Atkins, Crossroad Blues
Crossroad Blues (Nick Travers Book 1): 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Atkins, Ace (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 275 Pages - 04/21/2023 (Publication Date) - Carrefour Ltd. (Publisher)

8. Joseph Heywood, 1943 –

Book cover of Ice Hunter by Joseph Heywood
Book cover of Ice Hunter by Joseph Heywood

Author Joseph Heywood writes the Woods Cop Mysteries and standalone novels. The prolific author is also a skilled photographer and painter. After graduating high school in Michigan, Heywood attended Michigan State University, where he majored in journalism. After finishing school, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving for five years and spending time in Vietnam before receiving an honorable discharge.

The Woods Cop Mysteries books revolve around the lives of Michigan Upper Peninsula conservation officers. Heywood spends one month on patrol with them each year to learn about their work. The first book in the series, Ice Hunter, explores what would happen if diamonds were found in the UP and it became overrun with greedy miners. The author has a passion for the UP, which his books show.

“Grady Service had seen enough life to know what expectations and reality rarely intersected.”

Joseph Heywood, Ice Hunter

9. Margaret Coel, 1937 –

Book cover of The Spirit Woman by Margaret Coel
Book cover of The Spirit Woman by Margaret Coel

American historian Margaret Coel also writes mystery novels. A resident of Colorado for all of her life, she writes the Wind River Mysteries, a series of 20 books published between 1995 and 2016. These books take place on the Wind River Reservation of Wyoming, and the plots are based on actual crimes against the Arapaho people. Before starting her literary career, Coel majored in journalism at Marquette University.

After graduation, she worked for the Boulder Daily Camera and began writing books soon after. Throughout her writing career, she earned six Colorado Book Awards and one WILLA Literary Award for her novel The Spirit Woman. Coel also writes non-fiction books, including Chief Left Hand, an award-winning biography of an Arapaho chief.

“He’d drawn in a long breath, struggling to control the disappointment that flooded over him. It was as strong as the mountains, as big of the sky.”

Margaret Coel, The Spirit Woman
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The Spirit Woman (A Wind River Reservation Mystery)
  • Coel, Margaret (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 08/01/2001 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

10. Nevada Barr, 1952 –

Nevada Barr
Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr writes mystery fiction works, many of which are set in the national parks of the United States. Before she started writing, Barr attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, majoring in speech, drama, and acting. Partway through graduate school, she transferred to the University of California, Irvine. For 18 years, she performed as a professional stage actor and voice-over artist. During this time, she started writing. Barr also spent some time working as a park ranger in the summers, and those experiences found their way into her books.

In 1993, she published Track of the Cat, her first novel, and introduced Anna Pigeon, a character that would show up in most of her mystery books. Pigeon solves murders with connections to the national parks in some way. The book won the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best first novel. When her books became commercially successful, Barr stopped acting to write full-time.

“From long experience, she knew that she wore her loneliness like armor. Very few people ever recognized it for what it was. To the casual observer, it looked very much like arrogance. Sometimes it was.”

Nevada Barr, Track of the Cat
Track of the Cat (An Anna Pigeon Novel)
  • Barr, Nevada (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 06/03/2003 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of P.D. James’ best books!

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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