The year is more than half over and already crime fiction is giving us some great reads. Here’s a mid 2013 top ten (actually twelve) list.
1. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman and Little Green by Walter Mosley
Both Coleman and Mosley use the late Sixties, as well as their prose poet styles, to look at their characters in fresh and exciting ways. Read them back to back and you’ll get a view of an era on each coast from two very different perspectives.
2. The Serpent’s Tooth by Craig Johnson
A game changer in the Walt Longmire series. Johnson skillfully runs a gamut of tones and emotions as the Wyoming Sheriff goes up against a polygamy cult, delivering a book that reflects on faith and love in all its forms.
3. Donnybrook by Frank Bill
One of the wildest rides I’ve ever taken through a book. This tale of several contenders heading toward a bare knuckles competition and the several people after them is a visceral, at times brutal, read with indelible character, gritty style, and some of the best fights put on paper.
4. Evil In All It’s Disguises by Hilary Davidson
The third book with Lily Moore puts her in a moody thriller that will change her forever. Davidson has a master’s skill in use of location and emotion to deliver one of the freshest thriller series.
5. Rake by Scott Phillips
This is straight up filthy fun as an American soap star in Paris juggles a film deal, four lovers (at least) and the arms dealing husband of one of them. Phillips’ voice meshes with his lead characters, giving a smart, sleazy, socially satiric crime romp.
6. The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson
This is the debut of Boo and Junior, two Boston bouncers hired to hit the mean streets to search for a missing girl. A tough tale with hard boiled humor and more emotion than one might expect.
7. A Man Without Breath by Philip Kerr
Berlin detective Bernie Gunther is sent to Poland to find evidence to pin on the Russians for war crimes, but instead finds a murder that leads to the highest ranks in Germany. A great historical mystery that delves into the darker aspects of social morality.
8. Long Fall From Heaven by George Wier & Milton T Burton
and These Mortal Remains by Milton T Burton
Published posthumously after Milton’s death, both of these books have a great feel of Texas both past and present. Milton pokes around the back rooms of both Galveston and small town East Texas with an indelible voice.
9. Point & Shoot by Duane Swierczynski
Swierczynski wraps up his Charlie Hardie trilogy, traveling down twists and turns at a dangerous pace. A perfect cap to a pulp epic.
10. Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick
A smart comic mystery that puts Austin school teacher Jocelyn Shore back home in West Texas with a murder where many of the suspects come from her own family. Hamrick demonstrates keen insight into human behavior.