- Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
If there was a common thread through the best books of 2015, it was ambition. Authors stretched themselves by taking on large subjects or writing something much different, or taking their series characters down a different path. All of these authors raised the bar for themselves and leaped over it.
1. Hollow Man by Mark Pryor
Pryor’s smart use of point of view puts us in the head of Dominic – Austin prosecutor, musician, and sociopath – who gets involved with a robbery and to continue to tap into his darker nature when things go bad. One of the freshest and best neo-noirs to come down the pike.
2. The Cartel by Don Winslow
Winslow’s sequel to The Power Of The Dog reignites the blood feud between DEA agent Art Keller and cartel head Adán Barrera in epic fashion to show the disastrous effect of the war on drugs in Mexico. A book that both enrages and entertains.
3. The Long & Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
A private detective’s latest case takes him him back to Oklahoma City where he was once the lone survivor of a movie theater robbery. At the same time a woman plots to a trap for the man who is believed to have murdered her sister a month after that robbery. Berney skillfully tells three mystery stories to explore the ideas of survival and loss.
4. Canary by Duane Swierczynski
A college girl forced to become a confidential informant attempts to play both the cops and drug dealers off each other to get out of her circumstances in this gritty, entertaining, and surprisingly poignant novel.
5. The Guise Of Another by Allen Eskens
A disgraced cop working Fraud thinks he has found his way back to glory when he looks into the recent death of a man who died ten years earlier. Eskins moves seamlessly from procedural, to thriller, to noir by revealing his hero piece by piece.
Both of these books understand it’s not as much the crime as it is the characters committing it that make a great heist novel. That said, both have great set pieces; The Devil’s Share deals with the hijacking of Iraqi art about to be repatriated, and The “Young Americans” are robbing a gay disco during the glitter rock era of the Seventies.
7. The Ville Rat by Martin Limon
Limon continues with Sueno and Bacome, two CID cops in 70s Korea, focusing more on the military as they try to solve a murder connected to a mysterious black marketeer. A thrilling mystery that delves into class and race in the Army.
8. Love And Other Wounds by Jordan Harper
These stories that take place in the dive bars and back alley’s of low life America are told with a fierce, hard boiled attitude. Sharp and smart, they prove that even those with the blackest of hearts still have human beat to it.
9. Savage Lane by Jason Starr
Starr focuses his look at people doing bad things in suburbia. It’s a fun dark exploration of how fantasies can get the best of us.
10. All Involved by Ryan Gattis
A mosaic approach to covering the lives of several people during the week long Rodney King Riots. Person by person we get a better understanding of a society pushed to its brink.
You can find copies of the above listed books on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.