This was a great year for debut novels. All of these authors announced themselves as talents to be contended with. I can’t wait to read their future work.
1. Last Call For The Living by Peter Farris
This is a gritty and greasy Southern hard boiled novel about the relationship of an Aryan Brotherhood bank robber and the teller he takes hostage. Faulkner thematics with action scenes that give Lee Child a run for his money. It’s already gained notoriety for its shoot out in a snake handler church.
2. Frank Sinatra In A Blender by Matthew McBride (Due December 20th)
Nothing is socially or morally acceptable about this tough, violent, funny, over the the top tale about an alcoholic, oxy-snorting PI’s attempt to play both ends against the middle, but damn is it fun. To borrow a line from This Is Spinal Tap, this story is always on Eleven. This book contains the only instance I’ve ever read that combines ibuprofen and a chainsaw in the same scene.
3. A Death in Mexico by Jonathan Woods
Woods wowed us with his short story collection, Bad JuJu. Here he proves he can excel in the long form as well as the short, with a wonderful lurid mystery featuring the engaging hero Inspector Hector Diaz, a rumpled Mexican cop full of vices and all the virtues that count.
4. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
The Bookseller is a fun international thriller with a buddy twist. Hugo Marston, Head Of Security for the US embassy, looks for a Parisian book stall owner he believes to be kidnapped. Backed up by his semi-retired CIA pal, Tom Green, the two plunge into a plot connected to drug cartels and France’s dark history.
5. Hell On Church Street by Jake Hinkson
A down and dirty noir about a corrupt Baptist minister being blackmailed by an even more corrupt chief of police. While I agree with everybody who remarked about the echoes of Jim Thompson in this book, Hinkson proves to have a voice all his own.
For the record, three of these books, Hell On Church Street, A Death In Mexico, and Frank Sinatra In A Blender, are from independent publisher New Pulp Press, while The Bookseller is from the newly formed Seventh Street Books, proving the importance of indie publishers for great new voices.