Writing as a team, usually under their Wade Miller pseudonym, Bob Wade and Bill Miller drafted some engaging thrillers and mysteries for Fawcett Gold Medal and other publishers all through the 1950s and into the early 1960s, before Miller’s untimely early death. Their writing was tight and spare, yet immersive, and they knew how to quickly hook readers into propulsive plots. Their settings sprang vividly to life, and they were capable of subtle and even nuanced character development and dialogue. Ten years ago I’d never heard of them; now I consider them among my very favorite writers.
On my own highlights reel are a number of standalones and the entire Max Thursday series. That’s not to say that each of the hardboiled private eye’s adventures is equally good, but each Max Thursday book is a strong novel and every one of them is different from the others, both in tone and subject matter. They usually fall on the gritty side of things, and are intricately plotted, so don’t go reading online discussions that tend to spoil the whodunnit. Unlike other hardboiled novels from the same era, the Thursday books are best read in order. Thursday starts out the series fighting alcoholism, and his relationships with secondary characters change in succeeding books. In order the Max Thursday novels are: Guilty Bystander, Fatal Step, Uneasy Street, Calamity Fair, Murder Charge, and Shoot to Kill. Here’s a wonderful article over at Thrilling Detective that discusses more details WITHOUT revealing the endings. I can’t guarantee that other discussions will do that.