MysteryPeople’s Scott M. is back on the blog with a round-up of his five favorite crime reads of 2020 by authors based in Texas. Read on for more.
2020 was a great time for authors in our Lone Star home. They ranged in sub-genre, tone, and region, using Texas as a metaphor for America and life. Here are the five (maybe six) Texas crime novels that struck me most.
More Better Deals and Of Mice & Minestrone by Joe R. Lansdale
One of Texas’ finest landed a one two punch this year, a collection of stories involving the formative years of his series characters Hap & Leonard, and an East Texas-flavored tribute to James M. Cain starring a 1960s used car salesman with more than a few secrets that the author puts his own spin on. Reading both of these is like taking a master class in writing. Plus, he wrote a great female buddy novel, Jane Goes North.
All Things Left Wild by James Wade
On the border during the early twentieth century, two young horse thieves murder a a rancher’s son and are pursued by the father who is more poet than pistoleer in this look at nature, brutality, and male identity. This mix of crime novel and western haunts the reader like a fine murder ballad.
Hard Times by Les Edgerton
A tight, tough, and poignant novel of an abused wife who connects with a Black man on the run during the Depression. Edgerton finds the human grace in the bleak circumstances of his characters.
The Burn by Kathleen Kent
Dallas narcotics cop Betty Rhyzyk is back, having to break out of desk duty when informants pop up murdered all over the city. A tough hard-boiled cop thriller with one of contemporary crime fiction’s most complex lead characters.
Lineage Most Lethal by S.C. Perkins
This second book to feature Austin genealogist Lucy Lancaster provides something unique—a cozy espionage thriller—when a dying woman hands her a fountain pen. A great use of the state capitol, the nearby town of Wimberly, and the novel The Thirty-Nine Steps.
These titles and other mystery favorites are available online now at BookPeople. Curbside service by phone is available, too. Give us a ring at (512) 472 – 5050.
2 thoughts on “Top 5 Texas Crime Novels of 2020”
Scott, thank you so very much for this singular honor! I’m just thrilled to be included in any list with Joe Lansdale! I’ve read several of these and look forward to reading the rest. Merry Christmas!
Been searching for best crime books to read, I find this list of yours awesome. Thank you for sharing this I’d love to add these books to my list. The first great crime book I’ve read so far was THE NUMBERED CUPS MYSTERY by JB Clemmens.