This year’s debut list means a lot to me. Three of the authors (Todd, Thomas, and Dan) have been good friends whose work I’ve been waiting to see in novel form. They prove they deserve to be widely read. Terry and Elaine (aka Anynomous-9) are others who I discovered this year who became good friends. Congrats gang, hope this was an early step to a road of success.
1. The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson
A rich hard boiled novel about two Boston bouncers hired to find a missing girl. Tough and smart, with a lot of wicked humor and fist fighting.
2. Blade Of Dishonor by Thomas Pluck
This novel of non-stop action has an MMA fighter caught in battle between a ninja and samurai over a sword that his grandfather brought back from World War II. It’s the most pure enjoyment I’ve had this year. Pulp in epic scale.
3. A Killing At Cotton Hill by Terry Shames
Shames looks at her central Texas community the way Craig Johnson looks at Wyoming and Louise Penny look at Quebec, with the intimacy and expertise of a native. While not bloody or violent, it resists pulling punches when it comes to small town life, greed, politics, family, and nearing the end of one’s life.
4. Penance by Dan O’Shea
A sniper shooting outside a church pulls a Chicago police detective into dirty local and Washington politics, CIA assassins, and a 1970s cover up connected to the murder of his father, who was a cop. With strong characters and plenty of action, it’s like your favorite ’80s cop movie given a literary treatment.
5. Hard Bite by Anonymous-9
This may not qualify, since technically it was available as an ebook in 2012, but I can’t neglect this offbeat and often violent tale of a quadriplegic who uses his helper monkey to kill hit and run drivers and runs afoul of the Mexican mob. Unique and also incredibly well crafted.
Copies of all of these books are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via bookpeople.com.