If you’re a crime fiction novelist looking to approach a publishing company directly with your manuscript, you have plenty of options, such as one of these 19 top crime fiction publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
However, if you want to land a deal with a large publisher, having one of the following 15 top literary agents for crime fiction represent you will increase your chances of doing so.
Becky Lejeune began agenting at the Bond Literary Agency in Denver, Colorado, in 2014. Amusingly, she already met the founder seven years earlier while studying publishing at the University of Denver. Before her current job at the agency, she took on editorial roles at two publishing companies.
Her preferences lie in fiction and nonfiction titles about cuisine and recipes. In the former, Becky caters to middle-grade, YA, and adult fiction authors. Her client list includes crime novelists Johann Thorsson (Whitesands) and Jon Basoff (Beneath Cruel Waters).
2. Dan Conaway
Based in New York City, Dan Conaway is one of the best agents at Writers House. His amiable demeanor and sharp agenting have helped to diversify his list, which includes journalists, scholars, and novelists. In addition, he got his start in the publishing industry at big names such as HarperCollins and W. W. Norton & Company.
Dan is searching for clever contemporary fiction. Likewise, this agent wants book club fiction in the crime and suspense genres. He applauds well-written characters, exquisite use of settings, and flawless pacing. Megan Abbott’s The Turnout and Greg Iles’s The Bone Tree are only two of the best-selling crime novels in his repertoire.
If you seek representation from Dan, you can email your query. Simply click on his name in the right section of the submissions page for his email address.
3. Nicola Barr
Originally from Northern Ireland, Nicola Barr lives in London and works at The Bent Agency in Richmond, UK. She was a veteran agent even before entering the company since she already had her own client list at Green & Heaton. Now, Nicola is proud to have successful and acclaimed authors under her care.
She is highly experienced at handling acclaimed and best-selling authors whether in commercial fiction, literary fiction, or in-between. In particular, Nicola prefers women’s fiction and crime novels that attract general readers. Currently, she represents Susan Allott (The Silence) and Adam Handy (The Other Side of Night).
To say that James McGowan knows about the BookEnds Literary Agency like the back of his hand would be an understatement. He set foot at the agency based in Gillette, New Jersey, in 2015 for his internship. As years went by, he gained firsthand experience at all divisions and eventually became a literary agent.
James has made a name for himself as one of the leading agents for authors and illustrators of children’s literature. However, his current focus rests solely on adult fiction. Aside from book club fiction, he loves crime fiction, suspense, and mystery novels.
Writers can get in touch with James via his QueryManager page linked on his agent profile at BookEnds.
Before her present agenting role at the New York-based The Book Group, Elisabeth Weed already left a big mark in the industry. Apart from her contributions to Curtis Brown, she founded her titular literary agency in the late 2000s. It’s no surprise then that her list has no scarcity of international bestsellers.
This agent values originality and impeccable narrative structuring. Furthermore, Elisabeth likes romance, crime fiction, dystopian sci-fi, and historical fiction, among others. If you check her list, you’ll spot crime novelists like Adam Sternbergh (The Blinds) and Wendy Walker (What Remains, Emma in the Night).
Elisabeth is available for queries. Visit the submissions page once you have acquainted yourself with her literary preferences.
Mitch Hoffman is a valuable member of PEN America who honed relevant skills in the book industry at formidable companies like Dell Publishing and Grand Central Publishing. At present, he is a senior agent at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency in New York City.
Fiction and nonfiction alike are welcome to Mitch. In the former, he is a fan of crime fiction and related genres like suspense and thriller. Mitch represents Hilary Davidson, the acclaimed author of crime novels One Small Sacrifice and Don’t Look Down. He also manages Radha Vatsal, writer of Murder Between the Lines.
If you’re ready to work with Mitch, go to the submissions section for the query instructions and contact details.
Rebecca Scherer is an outstanding literary agent you can find in New York City. She obtained her degree from Macaulay Honors College and quickly got the attention of the Jane Rotrosen Agency. After learning about each department, Rebecca embraced the literary and competitive thrills that come with agenting.
This agent specializes in fiction that taps into the commercial market. Aside from gripping crime novels, Rebecca likes quality projects that fit into book club fiction, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She also accepts mystery and suspense stories.
Dividing her time between New York and Austin, Texas, Allison Hunter is one of the co-founders of Trellis Literary Management. Earlier in her career, she refined her agenting at prominent businesses like Inkwell Management and Janklow & Nesbit.
Allison has her sights on fiction and nonfiction alike. Genres she hopes to read more about include crime fiction, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. Furthermore, Allison likes humorous love stories, compelling friendships between women, and writing that tackles culture and socioeconomic class.
Submissions to Allison can be sent via QueryManager. Just click on “submissions here” on her profile.
Danielle Egan-Miller currently heads the Chicago-based Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and handled editorial duties at McGraw-Hill Trade and Dearborn Trade. Over the years, she has successfully negotiated hundreds of titles.
In the realm of fiction, Danielle has a predilection for broad genres like historical fiction, mystery, and crime. To be more precise, her crime fiction interest lies in projects with female main characters, truly outrageous plot twists, and writing quality that will satisfy fans of literary fiction.
The queries page includes not only the submission process but also links to Danielle’s Manuscript Wish List and Publishers Marketplace, which you should read to be better acquainted with her preferences.
10. Lizzy Kremer
Lizzy Kremer works at David Higham Associates in London, UK, as a literary agent and managing director. She has been with the company since 2004. In 2016, her peerless dedication to her craft earned her the Agent of the Year award at The Nibbies, otherwise known as The British Book Awards.
Crime fiction is one of this agent’s top preferences in genre fiction. According to Lizzy, the best crime novelists are unafraid to explore the full and nuanced breadth of human pain, violence, psychological factors, and the unknown. As of writing, she represents crime fiction authors like Val McDermid (The Distant Echo) and Sarah Vaughan (Little Disasters).
Lizzy’s profile page contains the essential contact details and guidelines to submit your query online.
Another top-tier agent from New York City, Victoria Cappello studied media studies and psychology at two different educational institutions. With her bachelor’s degrees, she kick-started her career at other reputable literary agencies before landing an agenting job at The Bent Agency.
Victoria typically looks for nonfiction, especially those that give comprehensive information on any topic. Interestingly, she is fascinated with both true crime and crime fiction. Thus, Victoria considers fiction as long as they’re fundamentally crime and mystery novels.
12. Gordon Wise
One of the oldest and most respected literary agents at London-based Curtis Brown, Gordon Wise was first exposed to the publishing world in 1989. Before he joined the aforementioned agency in 2005, he worked at popular publishing companies Hachette and Pan Macmillan.
Gordon’s primary interests in fiction lie in crime fiction and widely appealing literary fiction. Moreover, he yearns to represent both fresh and veteran authors. Some acclaimed crime novelists on his list are Neil Cross (Natural History, Always the Sun) and T.P. Fielden (The Riviera Express, A Quarter Past Dead).
He is open to crime fiction queries. Head to Gordon’s agent page for the submission requirements and contact details.
Situated in London, UK, Stephanie Glencross didn’t have a straight path in the book publishing industry like other entries on the list. He spent years in the radio drama and story divisions of the BBC, allowing him to revel in the appeal of stories and characters. In 2018, he finally became a literary agent at David Higham Associates.
Stephanie is on the hunt for authors of book club fiction and mass-appeal fiction. Consequently, she is open to the following genres: crime fiction, suspense, contemporary, literary, and thriller. Her client list includes Robbie Morrison, author of the award-winning historical crime novel Edge of the Grave.
As of writing, she is open to new submissions. Visit Stephanie’s profile page for her contact information and query guidelines.
14. Joanna MacKenzie
Agenting at the Nelson Literary Agency in Denver, Colorado, Joanna MacKenzie fell in love with literature when she was young because of her father and her librarian. She has spent nearly two decades nurturing her client list, with many authors under her care garnering best-selling and award-winning titles.
Joanna works with highly respected and best-selling authors of fiction. Her genre preferences range from speculative fiction to crime fiction and thrillers. As such, Joanna’s client list has renowned crime novelists like John Galligan, the creative mind behind Bad Moon Rising and Dead Man Dancing.
Writers can visit her agent page for a more thorough explanation of her literary interests and the link to her QueryManager.
15. Cameron McClure
Cameron McClure is one of the go-to agents at the Donald Maass Literary Agency for authors of fiction. She has been part of the company in Brooklyn, New York, since 2004. She takes great care of her clients and wants to see more fiction projects that deal with issues about nature and the LGBTQ+ community.
She focuses on books that have familiar elements of genre fiction while boasting storytelling similar to that of literary fiction. Cameron is open to a variety of genres such as sci-fi & fantasy, horror, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and detective mystery.
She advises interested authors to send their queries through her QueryManager, which you can find on her profile.
Some More Top Literary Agents for Crime Fiction
16. Viola Hayden
Located in London, UK, Viola Hayden dedicated six years of her professional life to proving her worth in the editorial department. In early 2020, she became a literary agent at the esteemed Curtis Brown and presently hopes to develop her client list.
Apart from nonfiction, Viola holds fiction dearly in her heart. She’s seeking immersive historical fiction and eloquent women’s fiction. In addition, Viola hopes for cerebral crime fiction that challenges readers to go over every detail. She represents Morgan Greene, the best-selling author of crime novels Angel Maker and Rising Tide.
If you want to send a query, visit Viola’s agent profile and scroll down for her email address and query instructions.
17. Logan Harper
Logan Harper was born in Washington, DC, and went to the University of Washington. She also studied publishing in Oxford, UK and had a stint at a Manhattan-based company as an associate agent. In 2021, Logan moved to the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York City.
As an agent, Logan prioritizes authors whose characters (and not the plot) are the main drivers of the story. Moreover, she wants to discover fiction that offers new perspectives, especially of people from minority groups. Lastly, Logan likes everything from horror and crime fiction to upmarket fiction.
18. Joanna Swainson
Situated in London, UK, Joanna Swainson offered writing and editing services for many years after getting her bachelor’s degree. Thanks to her passion for literature, she started working with both literary agents and agencies. In 2012, she and Caroline Hardman established Hardman & Swainson.
Joanna loves crime fiction whether they lean toward commercial fiction or literary fiction. She represents authors of historical crime fiction like Michael Jecks (A Moorland Hanging, A Murder Too Soon) and crime mysteries with a psychological element (The Locked Attic, The Woman on the Pier).
If you wish to send your query to Joanna, go to the submissions page and scroll down to the “for fiction” section.
19. Lori Galvin
A senior agent at Aevitas Creative Management in New York City, Lori Galvin was initially in the culinary and hospitality industries. She not only cooked meals but also managed a lodging establishment. Before becoming an agent, Lori served as an editor and helped with food-related projects.
Adult books across fiction and nonfiction are welcome to Lori for negotiation. Specifically, this agent specializes in crime novels and women’s fiction. If you look at her list, you’ll see popular crime fiction writers Holy Watt (To the Lions) and Wanda M. Morris (All Her Little Secrets, Anywhere You Run).
Although her submission window is currently closed to accommodate older queries, Lori is excited to discover exciting new crime fiction in the future. Keep her profile page in mind to visit at a later date.
Do you know any other literary agents for crime fiction? Please tell us about them in the comments box below.
Sara is a freelance writer with an aspiring author with years of experience under her belt and two or three words of wisdom to share. She blogs at https://sistermantis.wordpress.com/