The Dain Curse - Dashiel Hammett
Classic Hammett, staring the Continental Op. I liked Red Harvest (the other Continental Op book) better, but they're both fantastic reads.
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
Beautifully crafted novel about the multi-decade building of a cathedral. The characterization and plotting (particularly the plotting) are fantastic. The only complaint, and it's minor, is that there aren't really any shades of grey in this novel. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad - at one point, the main villain is described as having "eyes that shone with greed". This piece of historical fiction could be a gateway drug to the novels of George RR Martin or KJ Parker.
Double Idemnity - James M Cain
Pretty much the same as the movie, except for a fairly significant change at the end. If you're not familiar with the film, it's about an insurance salesman and a woman who conspire to kill the woman's husband so that they can split the insurance money. I liked this, but for most people I'd say read Hammett and watch the movie for this one.
Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon
Although this isn't Chabon's first novel, I feel like this is the one where he really hit it big? Novel about a couple of Jewish kids in New York who are involved in the creation of one of the world's first superheroes, along the same time that Batman and Superman are created. Nothing wrong with this novel and I don't regret reading it, but I'm not sure what the fuss was about. Based on the reviews I thought that this would be a novel that provoked strong emotions, but i didn't really get that.