Best Sellers

Friday, May 24, 2013

Booklist's Year's Best Crime Novels

Booklist, a journal that I read monthly, has recently published a list of what they consider the year's best crime novels.  The list is pulled from crime novels reviewed from May 1, 2012 until April 15, 2013. It is a interesting selection of titles and I agree with most and many I've previously mentioned here. Alphabetically by title they are:

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg. This is the first of a Scandinavian crime trilogy. Do you watch Dexter or Breaking Bad? Do you find yourself sometimes routing for the supposed 'bad' guy? This tale will sweep you along at a fast pace. Sophie Brinkmann, a nurse and single mother, finds herself falling for a patient in the hospital. Only after he is out does she discovers that he is the head of a crime ring and she is in the middle of a gang war.

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. The winner of  the Agatha for best novel appears on this list too. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache looking for the killer among a group of silent monks. Those who like Penny, LOVE Penny. Plot is good and characters are usually complex. There is less action but more thinking in my opinion.

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs. Jack White lives off the grid but specializes in cleaning up messes and evidences of heists. When one heist goes awry, the organizer wants Jack dead and he finds himself in the middle of a deadly mess. Hobbs is a debut author who sold this novel to a publisher on the first 50 pages when he was 22 and right out of college.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Once again, the title has been talked about too much this year. It was really good - really, really good but let's get on to the next best thing. A story of a dysfunctional couple. If you haven't read it yet, you probably won't.

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane. This one won the Edgar for Best Novel for 2012. This is Lehane's tale of gangsters in the 1920 and the son of  a prominent police captain. It has some weighty things to say about violence and fathers and sons.

The Rage by Gene Kerrigan. Kerrigan is an Irish author and generally writes of Dublin, corruption, crime and the economy. this title won the Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year. It is a police procedural that follows Detective Sergeant Bob Tidey in his investigation of ' the perfect crime' which turns out to be less than perfect. Dark and violent, Kerrigan is sometimes compared to Lee Child.

Shatter the Bones by Stuart MacBride. . This title is the 7th in the Scottish Logan McRae series. The mother and daughter singing duo who are about to win 'Britian's Next Big Star' are kidnapped and a public demand is made by the kidnappers that everyone needs to contribute if they want to see the duo alive. Violent and dark but with humor. Recommended for those who like British mysteries.

Suspect by Robert Crais. LAPD officer Scott James is experiencing PTSD after a brutal attack that killed his partner and seriously injured him. Back at work, he requests K-9 duty because he doesn't want to be paired with another person. His new partner, Maggie is a military working dog who is also experiencing a dog form of PTSD after the death of her person. Together, they go on the hunt for  James' partner's killer. A stand alone and some people think it is one of his best.

What Comes Next by John Katzenbach. A retired college professor attempts to find a young woman he witnessed being kidnapped after the police come up empty. The couple who kidnapped her are putting their torture of her up on the Internet for public display. Not for the squeamish but an interesting take on today's digital society.

All titles are available at you Chattahoochee Library.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Summer Thrillers

Do you like to spend the summer reading books that give you that shot of adrenaline? There are several big names that are coming out with titles this summer that will fulfill that need. There are some by less known ones that also do so. Take a look at these and see what you think.

C.J. Box gives us The Highway on July 30th. Two sisters who are suppose to be driving to visit their father for Thanksgiving, instead decide to drive to Montana to visit a boyfriend. Along the way, they vanish. Cody Hoyt, is a fired sheriff investigator who planted evidence and has a fondness for the bottle. The sisters were suppose to be visiting his son. When his son convinces him to try to find them, he vanishes also. The only one left to rescue them is Hoyt's rookie partner - Cassandra Dewell. This book has been described as 'dark and creepy' and ' with vivid imagery and suspense.' If those things appeal to you, give this a try. Although some of the characters were in Back of Beyond (Cody Hoyt), it is really a stand alone.

On June 18th, Jonathan Holt gives us Book 1 from the Carnivia Trilogy, The Abomination. The book takes place in Venice and almost every review I've read talks about it's description of Italy and Italian food. In addition, it is compared to Dan Brown's fiction but without the secret codes and well written. Two strong female leads - Carabiniere captain Kat Tapo and U.S. Army second lieutenant Holly Boland become involved in investigating a women's death, a website and NATO involvement with the Yugoslavian war. Described as an intelligent thriller with political and international conspiracies. There will be 2 more coming so if it sounds like your cup of tea, pick up this 400 page treat.
Jeffery Deaver is back with a Lincoln Rhyme's novel on June 4th, The Kill Room. If you haven't read any of bestselling author Deaver's books yet - you probably don't want to read this one either. If you are a Deaver fan - as many are - this is a must read. Lincoln Rhyme's, the quadriplegic detective, 10th story. This time Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are asked to investigate a shooting of an American who is very vocal about his dislike of the government's foreign policy. The shooting was reportedly ordered by CIA-style government agency. Ethical issues abound about the rights of the individual vs the safety of many. Perhaps the ethical issues are not resolved in this book but the plot is fast paced and intelligent.
Stephen King has referred to Meg Gardiner as "the next suspense superstar". I've written about this title in the past I believe because it has an interesting premise. Gardiner's stories always stay with you. In this one, a skip tracer (someone who track people who have gone missing), is forced to go missing herself. Sarah Keller is living quietly with her 5 year old daughter. A school bus accident sends the daughter, Zoe, to the ER and tests confirm that Zoe is not really Sarah's child but the daughter of her sister, who was murdered shortly after the birth. Sarah goes on the run, chased by federal agents AND those who actually killed her sister. Good characterization and heart stopping suspense.
This one sounds VERY interesting to me - penned by Mary Louise Kelly, an NPR journalist, Anonymous Sources will be out June 18th. Alexandra James, a journalist, is sent to investigate when Thom Carlyle, son of one of the most powerful men in Washington, falls from the top of a Harvard bell tower. Her investigation takes her from Harvard to Cambridge to London and leads to a terrorist network. When she arrives in Washington, D.C. for a final interview that she expects to tie together the facts she has uncovered, Alex James finds she has become the hunted. The fear and anxiety is transmitted to the reader. A true page turner.

Hopefully one of these will get you started with thrillers this summer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Agatha Award Winners and Anthony Award Nominees

The Agatha Awards were announced at the Malice Domestic Conference on May 3rd in Bethesda, MD. Agatha's are given to 'cozy' mysteries - tales without a bunch of violence and sex.

The winner Best Novel goes to a perennial award recipient, Louise Penny for A Beautiful Mystery. Chief Inspector Gamache is introspective as usual while investigating a murder at a Quebec monastery.

The winner of the Best First Novel went to Susan M. Boyer for Lowcountry Boil. Private Investigator Liz Talbot goes home to a South Carolina island when her grandmother is killed. Her brother is the chief of police but he wants her out of the investigation. A real southern feel to this one. I liked this one and am happy that there are to be more in this series.

Finally for the Agatha's, the winner of Best Historical Novel went to Catriona McPherson for Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder. Witty, amateur sleuth Dandy, is caught between two rival department store families. A delightful followup to Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains.

Bouchercon will be in Albany, NY September 19th through the 22nd. They announce the Anthony Awards at that time. Anthony nominees tend to be harder than cozies but as you will see, that doesn't mean that the same book won't be up for both awards.

The nominees for the Anthonys this year are:

 Dare Me by Megan Abbott - 2 cheerleaders with a new coach and a suicide that causes uncertainties. What is actually going on at this high school.

The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover - Daniel Byrne is an investigator for the Vatican’s secretive Office of the Devil’s Advocate—the department that scrutinizes miracle claims. Over ten years and 721 cases, not one miracle he tested has proved true. But case #722 is different; Daniel’s estranged uncle, a crooked TV evangelist, has started speaking in tongues—and accurately predicting the future. Daniel knows Reverend Tim Trinity is a con man. Could Trinity also be something more?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Gillian Flynn's breakthrough novel about a REALLY dysfunctional relationship. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny - this is the title that won the Agatha last week. Could it win both of them? The continuing saga of Chief Inspector Gamache follows the murder at a cloistered monastery.
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan - this title won the Mary Higgins Clark award at the Edgar Awards. A telejournalist who refused to release her source is relegated to puff newspaper pieces. She gets involved tracking down a politician's secret mistress and somehow it is tied to murdered women. Dirty politics..... 

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman - a retired policeman decides to track down an old adversary with a fortune in stolen gold.
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen - 4 college friends turn to kidnapping in the down job market. Everything appears to be going well until they kidnap the wrong man and find not only the law but organized crime are after them.
The Expats by Chris Pavone - also won the Edgar for best first novel. The story of an ex-CIA wife who moves to Luxembourg with her husband and finds herself questioning what is really happening.
The 500 by Matthew Quirk -  A year ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington's most powerful consulting firm. Now, he's staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world's most dangerous men. To get out, he'll have to do all the things he thought he'd never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill.
Black Fridays by Michael Sears - Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street hotshot who made some bad moves, paid the price with two years in prison, and is now trying to put his life back together. He’s unemployable, until an investment firm asks him to look into possible problems left by a junior trader who died recently in an accident. What he discovers is big – there are problems, all right, the kind that get you killed.

Check out these to see which you think should win. All are available at the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Edgar Winners Announced Last Night

The winners of Edgar Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers of America were announced last night in New York City. They are all available at the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries if you want to take a look.
Live by Night
Winner of Beat Novel: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane. This is Lehane's tale of gangsters in the 1920 and the son of  a prominent police captain. It has some weighty things to say about violence and fathers and sons.
The Expats
Best First Novel is Chris Pavone's The Expats. The story of an ex-CIA operative who travels to Luxembourg with her husband when he gets a lucrative job offer. Soon she starts to question everything - her neighbors and even her husband.
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
Best Fact Crime is Midnight in Peking by Paul French. A true crime tale that takes place in 1937 Peking which reads like suspenseful fiction.

The Last Policeman

Best Paperback Original is The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. If the world was going to be destroyed by a comet in six months, would you care about finding a murderer?  The newest detective in Concord, New Hampshire, is Hank Palace and it makes a difference to him. A noir pre-apocalyptic mystery that is the first of a planned trilogy.
The Other Woman
The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award was won by The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan. I have blogged about this one before. Jane Ryland, a disgraced journalist, is trying to track down a secret mistress of a Senate candidate. Jake Brogan, a detective, is looking into the serial murder of young women. Somehow, these two cases are linked.

Congratulations to all the winner. It is interesting that Gone Girl didn't win the big prize but perhaps they were looking for something weightier. I'll have to read Lehane's work and compare. Give one of these a try and let me know what you think.