David Housewright Books in Order

The David Housewright books have become so popular over the years that generation after generation, people keep going back to them.

If you're just starting with it and want a reading list, you're in luck. Here we list out all the David Housewright books in order; keeping in mind various factors like the publication year, reviews, its popularity among readers, etc.

It’s always a good idea to read such book titles in sequence so that you don't miss out on the story plot and its discussions in the book clubs.

Publication Order of Holland Taylor Books

Penance

Housewright, David 1995

Winner of the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. A Saint Paul PI investigates the murder of the man who killed his wife. Holland Taylor is comfortable in interrogation rooms. For years the cold dark cells of the St. Paul Police Department homicide squad were his turf, and with the help of his partner he wrung confessions out of countless killers.

But that was long ago. Tonight Taylor is on the other side of the desk. Tonight he is the suspect. Taylor's career in the department ended after his wife and daughter were killed in a drunk driving accident. The culprit, John Brown, was sentenced to a measly six years for vehicular manslaughter, and Taylor vowed bloody vengeance in front of open court.

After a few months of freedom, Brown is shot dead, and Taylor, now a private investigator, is called in as the obvious suspect. He didn't kill John Brown, but he will find out who did if-even it means tearing the Twin Cities apart from the inside out.

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Practice to Deceive

Housewright, David 1997
St. Paul investigator Holland Taylor finds himself pursued by a hired killer when he tries to recover money for an elderly woman cheated out of her life savings and must untangle a complicated web involving prominent people and large investments. Read More

Dearly Departed

Housewright, David 1999

PI Holland Taylor is no fan of sleazy lawyer Hunter Truman, but when the frantic attorney plays him a tape Alison Emerton left behind when she mysteriously vanished, he can't resist the challenge of unraveling the woman's fate--was she murdered, like thepolice seem to believe, or did she fake her own death

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Darkness, Sing Me a Song

Housewright, David 2018

David Housewright’s Edgar Award-winning Holland Taylor series returns with a case of murder resulting from tragic, twisted drama in an extremely wealthy family in Darkness, Sing Me a Song.Holland Taylor is a PI who does simple background checks and other mostly unchallenging cases.

Still wounded by the long-ago death of his wife and daughter, and newly mourning a recently failed relationship, Taylor doesn’t have much interest in more challenging work. But almost by accident, he finds himself in the middle of the crime of the century.

Eleanor Barrington, the doyenne of a socially prominent family of great wealth, has been arrested for the murder of Emily Denys, her son’s fiancée. Barrington made no secret of her disdain for the victim, convinced that she was trying to take advantage of her son and her family.

Taylor had been brought in to do a full background check on Emily, only to discover that both her name and her background were fabricated. Before he could learn more, she was murdered―shot in the head outside her apartment. Barrington had been overheard threatening to kill her son’s fiancé and an eyewitness claims to have seen her kill Emily.

But that’s not the worst of it. Barrington’s own son has even worse accusations to make against her. Caught in the dark tangle of a twisted family and haunted by his own past, Taylor finds that the truth is both elusive and dangerous.

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First, Kill the Lawyers

Housewright, David 2019

P.I. Holland Taylor returns in David Housewright’s Edgar Award-winning series with First, Kill the Lawyers, where Taylor is hired to recover stolen files before they are leaked, ruining more than just the careers of five local lawyers. Five prominent attorneys in Minneapolis have had their computer systems hacked and very sensitive case files stolen.

Those attorneys are then contacted by an association of local whistleblowers known as NIMN and are quietly alerted that they have received those documents from an anonymous source. If those files are released, then not only will those lawyers be ruined, but it might even destroy the integrity of the entire Minnesota legal system.

This group of lawyers turns to Private Investigator Holland Taylor with a simple directive: stop the disclosure any way you can.But while the directive is simple, the case is not. To find the missing files and the person responsible, Holland must first dive into the five cases covered in the files―divorce, bribery, class action, rape, and murder.

While Taylor is untangling the associates and connections between the cases and families affected, things take another mysterious turn and the time before the files are released is running out. As the situation becomes more threatening, Holland Taylor is trapped in the middle of what is legal and what is ethical―between right, wrong, and deadly.

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Publication Order of Mac McKenzie Books

A Hard Ticket Home

Housewright, David 2004
When a friend is diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant from her long-lost older sister, former cop Rushmore McKenzie embarks on an investigation that takes him to Minneapolis in search of the missing woman. Reprint. Read More

Tin City

Housewright, David 2005
Asked to discover what has been killing his friend's honeybees, Twin Cities private detective Mac McKenzie finds himself up to his ears in trouble with a case involving a vicious thug who mysteriously vanishes, irate federal agents, rape, and murder. Reprint. Read More

Pretty Girl Gone

Housewright, David 2006

McKenzie has a lot of old girlfriends. But only one went on to marry the current governor of the state of Minnesota. And only one is calling him with a desperate request to meet in secret. The First Lady is carrying an email that contains a nasty rumor about her husband, and the truth is buried decades deep in a small town's history.

Of course McKenzie always has plenty of time on his hands and is in the business of handling such matters for his friends. So he heads straight into the governor's past, planning to poke around and see if he can stir up a little information. Before long, someone starts poking him back, and it's clear that he has stirred up nothing but trouble.

McKenzie is soon shifting through a complex web of interlocking secrets and lies, some decades-old, and some rooted violently in the present day. Praise for PRETTY GIRL GONE: “Housewright’s unapologetically flawed hero charms, while the clean plot lines, palpable Minnesota winter and understated humor make this a good, satisfying read.

” —Publishers Weekly “This is the third McKenzie mystery, and it’s turning into quite an interesting series: solid premise, tight plotting, and this time more depth in character development, as Housewright explores McKenzie’s emotional side.

” —Booklist “Pretty Girl Gone is an incredible addition to ‘Cold Case’ mysteries, joining the likes of recent books by Michael Connelly, KJ Erickson, Mary Logue, and Reed Farrell Coleman. Housewright artfully portrays the hopelessness of a group of men who’s defining moment happened when they were teenager’s; of pitiful lives spent chasing a memory soured by tragedy and deceit.

.. McKenzie is an entertaining and engaging character, and in this, the 3rd novel in the series (following A Hard Ticket Home and Tin City), appears all too human... Pretty Girl Gone is a complex, thoroughly enjoyable addition to what is becoming one of our favorite mystery series.

” —CrimeSpree Magazine “(Housewright is one) of Minnesota’s most dependable practitioners of the craft... McKenzie is good company...with a wry sense of humor, often aimed at himself, and a quick, accurate take on people and places. While certainly not an errant knight in the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Robert B.

Parker, he’s a good man who’s wise enough to know that he will disappoint himself.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Dead Boyfriends

Housewright, David 2007

Right up until they put him in jail, McKenzie thought the cops were kidding.  After all, he did them a favor by stopping a rookie cop from roughing up a distraught woman at a murder scene.  But the next thing Mac knows he’s in jail, missing an important date with his girlfriend and reliving nightmares he thought he’d finally left behind – and he’s vowing payback for all of it.

  If that means sticking his nose into a crime investigation, well, he’s done it before.     Only, what appears to be a straightforward case of a cheating boyfriend, his alcoholic girlfriend and an opportune baseball bat proves far more complicated than the police are willing to accept.

More disconcerting, as he investigates, Mac finds himself again fighting the influence of a shadowy figure who controls more of what goes on in the Twin Cities than a rational voter would believe. And then there are the unidentified thugs who kill a witness and rough up him and his female lawyer-ally.

  Soon Mac realizes that the truth of this sordid crime may be as hard to find – and as hard to live with – as the justice he seeks.

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Madman on a Drum

Housewright, David 2008

Homicide cop Bobby Dunston's daughter has been kidnapped, taken in broad daylight on a city street in the middle of September. The kidnappers demand a million dollars and force Dunston to get the ransom from his friend McKenzie. It soon becomes apparent to the two of them that one of the kidnappers is childhood pal Scottie, a once aspiring drummer now gone astray, and that the kidnapping is payback for "crimes" committed in their past.

McKenzie, former cop and now unlicensed P.I., handles the ransom drop-off and the child is returned safely.  But Scottie is found dead - brutally murdered - and someone has taken out an open contract on McKenzie, using his own money to pay for it.  Dodging attempts on his life from assassins of all shapes and sizes, McKenzie now has precious little time to uncover the mastermind behind it all if he's going to survive.

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Jelly's Gold

Housewright, David 2009

Rushmore McKenzie, a retired St. Paul policeman and unexpected millionaire, often works as an unlicensed P.I., doing favors as it suits him. When graduate students Ivy Flynn and Josh Berglund show up with a story about $8 million in missing stolen gold from the ‘30s, McKenzie is intrigued.

In the early 20th century, St. Paul, Minnesota was an open city —a place where gangsters could come and stay unmolested by the local authorities. Frank “Jelly” Nash was suspected of masterminding a daring robbery of gold bars in 1933, but, before he could unload it, he was killed in the Kansas City Massacre.

His gold, they believe, is still somewhere in St. Paul. But they aren’t the only ones looking. So are a couple of two-bit thugs, a woman named Heavenly, a local big-wig, and others. When Berglund is shot dead outside of Ivy’s apartment, the treasure hunt turns unexpectedly deadly.

McKenzie is looking for more than a legendary stash from seventy-five years ago, he’s looking for a killer and the long hidden truth behind Jelly’s gold.

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The Taking of Libbie, SD

Housewright, David 2010

In David Housewright's The Taking of Libbie, SD, a grifter cons an entire town using Mac McKenzie’s name, leaving the real McKenzie facing an angry town with nothing left to lose. Rushmore McKenzie is a retired cop, an unexpected millionaire, and an occasional unlicensed private investigator.

So, it isn’t the biggest surprise in the world when he’s attacked and kidnapped from his home—McKenzie has more than a few enemies out there with a grudge against him. But it is a surprise when it turns out his kidnapping is a case of mistaken identity.

McKenzie was taken to the small plains town of Libbie, South Dakota which just lost pretty much everything it had to a con man using McKenzie’s name. Using a scam involving a new shopping mall, the grifter apparently stole all the money electronically from the bank then disappeared, leaving behind a devastated town full of people with many reasons to hate him.

To that list of enemies, he’s just added McKenzie who is now determined to help the devastated townspeople, as well as catch and punish the weasel besmirching his reputation.

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Highway 61

Housewright, David 2011

Mac McKenzie returns with a too-personal case that leads him up the legendary Highway 61 in the latest in David Housewright's awardwinning seriesRushmore McKenzie is a former cop, current millionaire, and an occasional unlicensed P.I. who does favors for friends.

Yet he has reservations when his girlfriend's daughter asks him to help her father Jason Truhler, the ex-husband of McKenzie's girlfriend, and a man in serious trouble. En route from St. Paul to a Canadian blues festival on Highway 61, he met a girl, blacked out, and awoke hours later in a strange motel, with the girl's murdered body on the floor.

Slipping away unnoticed and heading home, he thought he'd got away―until he started getting texts with photos of the body and demands for blackmail payments he couldn't pay. McKenzie soon finds that Truhler was set up in a modified honey trap, designed to blackmail him.

But Truhler's version wasn't exactly the truth either. And McKenzie now finds himself trapped in the middle of a very dangerous game with some of the most powerful men in the state on one side and some of the deadliest on the other.

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Curse of the Jade Lily

Housewright, David 2012

A stolen gem with a tragic history, a curse and a million dollar ransom is Mac McKenzie's latest case, in David Housewright's Curse of the Jade LilySeveral years ago, Rushmore McKenzie became an unexpected millionaire and set about doing not much of anything.

Now, showing up at his doorstep is the insurance company that paid the settlement that made him rich―and they want a favor. Someone has stolen a very expensive gem from a local art museum and is willing to ransom it back. The only condition is that McKenzie has to be the go between.

And this is no ordinary gem―it is a jade with a history going back to the Qing Dynasty and a reputed curse that stories claim has ruined or killed everyone who has ever owned it. McKenzie agrees to help but what starts out as a simple ransom quickly becomes complicated.

Suddenly other parties―including the State Department and a mysterious woman named Heavenly―start showing up, wanting McKenzie to turn over the gem to them. When the murdered body of on of the thieves turns up in a snow drift, it looks like the cursed Jade Lily has claimed its latest victim.

And there may well be more to follow…

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The Last Kind Word

Housewright, David 2013

Rushmore McKenzie agrees to go undercover to help the ATF track a cache of stolen guns―after all, what could possible go wrong?Rushmore McKenzie is both a millionaire and an unlicensed PI, which means he can afford to do the occasional favor and, as a former detective for the St.

Paul (Minnesota) Police Department, he's got the necessary skills and connections to do them right. But this time, he's really stepped in it. When the ATF gets a lead on a much sought-after cache of illegal guns near the Canadian border, they call McKenzie in to help them track down the elusive gunrunners.

Their only lead is a guy who is part of a small-time gang of armed robbers working north of the Twin Cities. Their idea is for McKenzie to infiltrate the group and wait for them to lead him to the guns. Their plan is to fix McKenzie with a false identity as a serious bad guy and then fake an escape with the captured gang member.

Which seemed like a bad idea to McKenzie at the time, but even he had no idea just how bad things were going to get.

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The Devil May Care

Housewright, David 2014

Riley Brodin is the granddaughter of Walter Muehlenhaus―a man as rich, powerful, and connected as anyone since the days of J. P. Morgan. Despite her family's connections, it's McKenzie she reaches out to when her relatively new boyfriend goes missing.

Despite his reservations about getting involved with the Muehlenhaus family―again―Mac McKenzie agrees to look for one Juan Carlos Navarre. What he finds, though, is a man who appears to be a ghost. The house―mansion, really―he told Riley he owned is actually a rental, barely lived in and practically devoid of personal effects.

The restaurant he claimed to own is owned by another and Navarre merely an investor. He apparently has no friends, no traceable past, and McKenzie isn't the only one looking for him. Whoever Juan Carlos Navarre is and wherever he's gone, the one thing that is clear is that he's trouble, and is perhaps someone―as Riley's family makes clear―better out of the picture.

Unfortunately for everyone, McKenzie likes trouble and trouble likes him, in The Devil May Care by David Housewright.

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Unidentified Woman #15

Housewright, David 2015

During one of the first heavy snows of the winter, on the Interstate outside the Twin Cities, Rushmore McKenzie is behind a truck behaving erratically when the man in the truck bed dumps a body out onto the road, right in front of McKenzie's car. McKenzie avoids hitting the body, a bound woman who is just barely alive, but his stopped car in the middle of the road starts a chain of accidents, resulting in a thirty-seven car pile-up.

By the time the time the police arrive, and the EMTs and ambulances have taken care of the immediate injuries, the truck is long gone. The injured woman awakens with no memories―not of the accident, not of anything―and is labeled by the police as Unidentified Woman #15.

With few leads, the detective in charge, McKenzie's former partner and old friend Bobby Dunston, turns to McKenzie for a favor. Now McKenzie has to try to identify the grievously injured woman, find out who tied her up and dumped on the freeway to die.

And why.

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Stealing the Countess

Housewright, David 2016

Since becoming an unlikely millionaire and quitting the St. Paul Police Department, Rushmore McKenzie has been working as an unlicensed private investigator, basically doing favors for friends and people in need. But even for him, this latest job is unusual.

He's been asked to find a stolen Stradivarius, known as the Countess Borromeo, that only the violinist seems to want him to find. Stolen from a locked room in a B&B in the violinist's former hometown of Bayfield, Wisconsin, the violin is valued at $4 million and is virtually irreplaceable.

But the foundation that owns it and their insurance company refuses to think about buying it back from the thief (or thieves.) However, Paul Duclos, the violinist who has played it for the past twelve years, is desperate to get it back and will pay out of his own pocket to get it back.

Though it's not his usual sort of case, McKenzie is intrigued and decides to try and help, which means going against the local police, the insurance company, the FBI's Art Crime division, and his own lawyer's advice. And, as he quickly learns, there's a lot more going on than the mere theft of a priceless instrument.

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What the Dead Leave Behind

Housewright, David 2017

Looking into an unsolved murder as a favor, McKenzie soon uncovers either the strangest set of coincidences or the sites of a very real, very deadly conspiracy.Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie has become not only an unlikely millionaire, but an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends and people in need.

When his stepdaughter Erica asks him for just such a favor, McKenzie doesn’t have it in him to refuse. Even though it sounds like a very bad idea right from the start. The father of Malcolm Harris, a college friend of Erica’s, was found murdered a year ago in a park in New Brighton, a town just outside the Twin Cities.

With no real clues and all the obvious suspects with concrete alibis, the case has long since gone cold. As McKenzie begins poking around, he soon discovers another unsolved murder that’s tangentially related to this one. And all connections seem to lead back to a group of friends the victim was close with.

But all McKenzie has is a series of odd, even suspicious, coincidences―until someone decides to make it all that more serious and personal.

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Like to Die

Housewright, David 2018

A seemingly simple investigation, done as a favor for a friend, takes McKenzie down a dark and twisted path in Like to Die, the next mystery in David Housewright’s award-winning series.Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie has become an unlikely millionaire and an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends.

The favor, this time, is for a friend of a friend―Erin Peterson, a local business person and owner of a growing food company called Salsa Girl. Someone seems to have a beef with her: the outside locks on her factory having been systematically filled with superglue.

But for some reason, Erin doesn’t want to report this harassment to the police. As a favor to his poker buddy and hockey teammate Ian, McKenzie agrees to stop by and chat with Erin. At first Erin denies there's anything going on and then, when the harassment escalates and threatens her business, she also asks for McKenzie's help.

The further McKenzie digs into the situation, the more complicated―and deadly―it becomes. And somewhere, in the middle of it all, is Erin, playing all sides against the middle, leading McKenzie to wonder if you ever really know who your friends are.

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Dead Man's Mistress

Housewright, David 2019

An investigation of missing property takes a darker turn near Lake Superior in Dead Man’s Mistress, the next mystery in David Housewright’s award-winning McKenzie series.Louise Wykoff is arguably the most recognizable woman living in Minnesota, known for her presence in over one hundred paintings by the late and brilliant Randolph McInnis.

Louise, known better as “That Wykoff Woman,” was just a young apprentice when her intimate representation and the fact of the McInnis’s marriage caused rumors to fly―and Louise to hide away for decades. All of McInnis's paintings are in museums or known private collections, until Louise confesses to having three more that no one has ever heard of―and now they've been stolen.

Rushmore McKenzie, an occasional unlicensed private investigator, agrees to look into the theft. As he investigates, following clues that appear far too straightforward, he finds himself on the wrong side of the bars wondering if the trail might be deeper and darker than he’s been led to believe.

Hours away from St. Paul, deep in the nature of Grand Marais, the truth seems murkier―and deadlier―than usual.

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From the Grave

Housewright, David 2020

A past case comes back to haunt Twin Cities P.I. McKenzie as a stolen sum of money threatens to resurface in From the Grave, the next mystery in David Housewright’s award-winning series.Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie became an unlikely millionaire and an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends.

But this time, he finds himself in dire need of working on his own behalf.His dear friend and first love Shelby Dunston attends a public reading by a psychic medium with the hope of connecting with her grandfather one final time. Instead, she hears McKenzie’s name spoken by the psychic in connection with a huge sum of stolen―and missing―money.

Caught in a world of psychic mediums, with a man from his past with a stake in the future, and more than one party willing to go to great and deadly lengths to get involved, McKenzie must figure out just how much he’s willing to believe―like his life depends on it―before everything takes a much darker turn.

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What Doesn't Kill Us

Housewright, David 2021

In David Housewright's next novel featuring the beloved Rushmore McKenzie What Doesn't Kill Us―McKenzie has been shot and lies in a coma while the police and his friends desperately try to find out what he was doing and who tried to kill him.Rushmore McKenzie, former St.

Paul police detective and unexpected millionaire, does the occasional, unofficial private detective work―mostly favors for friends. He's faced kidnappers, domestic terrorists, art thieves, among others, and had a hand in solving some of the most perplexing mysteries of the Twin Cities.

But this time, his prodigious luck and intuition may have finally failed him: He was shot in the back by an unknown assailant and lies in a coma. His childhood friend, Lt. Bobby Dunston of the St. Paul Police Department, assigns his best detective to the case while other figures―on both sides of the law―pursue the truth.

What was McKenzie investigating, what did he learn that so threatened someone that they tried to kill him? What do a sketchy bar in the wrong part of town, the area's prominent tech millionaire family, drug dealers, investment bankers, and a mysterious woman who left an unknown package for McKenzie all have in common? As time slowly begins to run out, the answer to those questions might be what stands between life and death.

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Devil and the Diva

Housewright, David 2012

When pop diva Sheila Lews dies under puzzling circumstances, Clarisse Dufresne is approached by agents of a shadowy international crime syndicate with a proposition--“What if, after a period of time, say five years--yeah, make it five years--it was discovered that Sheila had left behind some unmixed tracks, songs she had been working on before she died but didn’t release? What do you think a find like that would be worth?” Clarisse refuses to participate in the fraud and is rescued by a mysterious man named Maurice Crevier, who conceals both his face and his intentions behind a black, obsidian mask.

But the savior soon becomes Clarisse’s tormentor when she learns that she is not his guest as he professes, but his prisoner. Despite it all--and against her better judgment--Clarisse feels a growing fascination and affection for her jailer, as well as his odd henchmen--a voodoo-practicing Haitian and a young chef who is haunted by the ghost of her mother.

Until a second attempt is made on her life. And a third. David and Renee have written a great story which is not easily classified. It has mystery, chases, gun battles, murder, sex…we’re calling it a gothic suspense novel.

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Finders Keepers

Housewright, David 2012

Thirteen-year-old James Richard McNulty has problems. His mother has just divorced his father. His grades are plummeting. Bullies are menacing him on the school bus. The coach is threatening to kick him off the basketball team. And his smart and lovely "girlfriend" thinks he's gone insane.

Then he finds a suitcase filled with cash - and thinks all his problems are over.

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And that's the end of the complete list! Now that you have it - the next step for you is to of course purchase them and dive into reading David Housewright books. Worry not, we've done the tedious job for you and added amazon direct book links including AudioBook, Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover versions as applicable.

Happy reading!


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