10 Best Carter Brown Books You Must Read

Ready to check out some tried-and-true crime novels? Take a look at our guide with the best Carter Brown books created throughout his three-decade career.

Carter Brown is a world-renowned crime thriller author born in England in 1923. Born as Alan Geoffrey Yates, this author has published 322 crime novels and about 75 novellas in his thirty-year writing career.

Brown wrote several crime series over his three decades of writing, including Lt. Al Wheeler, Rick Holman, and Paul Donovan. In his novels, Brown is known for combining the struggles of day-to-day life, relationships, and attraction with true crime, often switching between a detective’s adventures with the law and his love adventures.

While some feel that Brown’s work is a bit outdated, many agree that it is timeless. Today’s readers love the nostalgia associated with reading Brown’s work, as it can take them back to simpler times.

1. The Wench Is Wicked

Published in 1956, The Wench Is Wicked invites readers into the world of Lt. Al Wheeler for the first time. This novel introduced the author’s unique style to many Brown fans where Wheeler is forced to solve the mystery of a murdered writer in Hollywood. The writer doesn’t just turn up dead–he also turns up at the bottom of a gravel pit with three grand stuffed into his pockets. A Hollywood film is shooting just down the road from where the body was found, and there’s a reason for Wheeler to include everyone on set as a suspect.

The Wench is Wicked / The Blonde / Blonde Verdict: Al Wheeler Omnibus 1
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 300 Pages - 06/22/2017 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

2. No Harp For My Angel

In No Harp For My Angel, readers see Wheeler get to know a gorgeous redhead–and square up against her gangster boyfriend. Wheeler is forced to defend his lady against her gun-slinging, club-owning beau while working to bring the place down. Wheeler becomes the decoy working to infiltrate the organized crime ring at the club, and he has to temper himself carefully not to blow his cover while also working to keep his new girlfriend safe.

“I approached her cabin with more care than a lover would take when he isn’t quite sure if the husband is home or not. I eased myself around a corner and saw the light shining through the big living-room window, making a patch of brightness on the ground outside… An elephant-sized mosquito hummed happily onto my nose like a homing pigeon.”

No Harp for My Angel / Booty for a Babe / Eve, It's Extortion
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 520 Pages - 07/17/2018 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

3. The Wanton 

Readers are on a wild ride in The Wanton as Brown expertly describes the lieutenant’s latest case. Wheeler must determine who killed the youngest Randall child–and why she’s been branded with the letter “W.” Wheeler must also work closely with the family, as it’s clear that another member of the crew faces imminent danger at the hands of the same criminal who took their family member’s life.

“This time I took a good look at the oil painting. Stuart Randall had been in his early fifties when he sat for the artist. A gray-haired, overweight guy, and the artist had done his best to give him a tycoon look, but it came out more like Capone than Carnegie. The blue eyes were a little too vicious, the thin lips too tight, and the hands, with their short, square-tipped fingers, were too brutal.”

The Wanton / The Dame / The Desired
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/05/2022 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

4. The Unorthodox Corpse 

Lieutenant Wheeler is called to yet another confusing case in The Unorthodox Corpse. During a magic show at an all-girls school, one of the students was stabbed. The performing magician, The Great Mephisto, is immediately a suspect–but it’s tough for Wheeler to figure out whether the performer is at fault after he’s faked his death. Later, a second student is found with a knife in her back, and Wheeler must get to the bottom of the mystery to keep the rest of the students safe.

“She was blonde with bright blue eyes and wearing no makeup whatsoever because she didn’t need it. She wore a blue blazer with a large b woven in white on the pocket. Underneath the blazer was a white blouse. A neat gray skirt, nylons, and sensible shoes completed the outfit. She smiled warmly at me.”

The Unorthodox Corpse / Death on the Downbeat / The Blonde
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 298 Pages - 03/16/2020 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

5. No Law Against Angels 

In No Law Against Angels, Lieutenant Wheeler must make an unexpected trip to the mortuary–to investigate the untimely deaths of two female employees. Wheeler begins to investigate the connections that link the murders. Both girls have matching tattoos and worked as call girls for a mysterious man known only as Snake Lannigan. Wheeler must set out to find Lannigan and find out what happened to the women–before a third employee is killed.

“She stood there, waiting patiently for me to recover from the shock. I guessed it happened every time she met a guy she hadn’t met before. She had to wait for him to recover from the stunned shock, then probably hit him over the head with a baseball bat once the recovery was complete.”

No Law Against Angels / Doll for a Big House / Chorine Makes a Killing
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 523 Pages - 05/20/2019 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

6. No Tears from the Widow 

In No Tears from the Widow, readers get to know Rick Holman, a fix-it man known for putting an end to seemingly unsolvable problems that involve Hollywood stars. Readers love how Brown packs a full mystery into a short novel in Widow and how the writing quickly switches from going over Holman’s escapades with ladies to getting back to the matter.

No Tears from the Widow
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • 11/26/1966 (Publication Date) - SIGNET BOOKS (Publisher)

7. The Lover

From a nude corpse on the altar of a bearded Prophet to a sizzling story of Wheeler and his latest conquest, The Lover is rife with the twists and turns readers have come to know and expect from Carter Brown’s Al Wheeler novels. It’s uncertain whether the corpse left on the prophet’s altar is real or a fake, but one thing is for sure: the cult that the prophet set into motion in this California city is in full swing. Wheeler must navigate his new love, the brainwashed cult members, and find a killer.

“It took him thirty minutes to tell the story. The way he told it, it wasn’t worth listening to. He’d made a pickup in Harry’s Bar one night. A gorgeous blonde job and her name was Julia Grant. So after that first night he’d started dating her regularly. What they did on their regular dates I couldn’t figure out exactly, but one thing was for sure, they didn’t talk much.”

The Lover / The Mistress / The Passionate
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 401 Pages - 03/13/2021 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

8. The Blonde

Finding the secrets needed to solve a crime can be tough when the person who has the secrets decides to end their life. That’s what Al Wheeler is dealing with in The Blonde–as he works to track down the four names supposedly related to the suicide. Only one person knows what happened behind the suicide–and she was murdered just before she was scheduled to appear on a talk show and spill her secrets. Once he finally finds the four names he needs, Wheeler works to find the connections and bring the killers to justice.

The Blonde
  • BROWN, CARTER (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 11/27/2022 (Publication Date) - Signet book (Publisher)

9. Blonde Verdict 

Blonde Verdict is the follow-up novel to The Blonde, Brown fans love finding out how Wheeler works toward the murder-suicide mystery’s end. In this novel, Wheeler has several questions that he must answer.

After realizing a lawyer has been poisoned at a bar, Wheeler is first to dig deep into social circles and nefarious behavior, figuring out who wants to hurt who and why some people are seemingly unconcerned about the sudden and unexpected deaths of family members. While death and confusion abound throughout part of this sequel, readers love how Brown manages to tie the mystery up with a bow by the final pages.

The Wench is Wicked / The Blonde / Blonde Verdict: Al Wheeler Omnibus 1
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 300 Pages - 06/22/2017 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

10. The Desired

In The Desired, Wheeler finds himself dealing with murder and working to figure out who had it out for who in this charged thriller novel. In a near-miss car accident, Wheeler discovers that the car he almost crashed into is carting a dead body in the trunk–and the lieutenant becomes increasingly curious about the beautiful woman behind the wheel of the fast-flying sports car. He discovers that his new lady’s father is a labor boss involved in nefarious activity and works to set things right while his love looks on.

The Wanton / The Dame / The Desired
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Carter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/05/2022 (Publication Date) - Stark House Press (Publisher)

FAQs About The Best Carter Brown Books

What is Carter Brown’s real name?

The prolific author’s real name was Alan Geoffery Yates. When Yates signed with a publishing company in 1958, they worked to create a pseudonym they felt would be suitable for the United States market.

How many books did Carter Brown write?

Throughout his 30-year writing career, Yates wrote 322 full-length novels and thirty novellas, writing multiple books per month throughout his enduring caree

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best crime thriller authors!

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