Scott’s Top Ten of 2017 (So Far)

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Around this time of the year, we like to look back on what has come out so far in the year as we think of suggestions for reading for the rest of the summer. Below, you’ll find recommended reads that deserve their due. In fact some are so good I had to combine a few, so my top ten is a top twelve.

97800626644191. The Force by Don Winslow

I know, an obvious choice, but it is so obviously great. This epic look at today’s New York through police eyes has plot, character, and theme singing together in this opera of city corruption. You can find copies of The Force on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

 


97803163805772. The Long Drop by Denise Mina

Mina takes Scotland’s crime of the last century and brings it to a chilly intimate scale. A deep, multi-faceted reflection on class, media, and the darkness that lies in our hearts. You can find copies of The Long Drop on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

3. She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

9780062394408A tour de’ force debut novel about a career criminal on the road with his eleven year old daughter after they’ve been targeted by a white supremacist gang. Both brutal and beautiful. You can find copies of She Rides Shotgun on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Jordan Harper joins us to speak and sign his latest on Wednesday, July 21st at 7 PM. 

97803991730424. What You Break by Reed Farrel Coleman

The second Gus Murphy novel has the reluctant detective working two cases involving past sins. A perfect balance between a a hard boiled detective tale and a multi-faceted and emotional character study. You can find signed copies of What You Break on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97803991731105. The Weight Of This World by David Joy

A heart breaker of a rural noir concerning a vet back in his Appalachian home, his mother, and ne’r do well friend whose who dive head first into violence and loss when a bunch of money and drugs falls into their laps. Joy poignantly shows how certain lives can close in one the ones living them. You can find copies of The Weight of This World on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97803995767136. Little White Lies & The Fallen by Ace Atkins

Atkins uses Robert B Parker’s Spenser and his own Quinn Colson to explore Trump’s America. Both books prove you can how social insight and be entertaining as hell. You can find copies of Little White Lies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. You can additionally find copies of The Fallen on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Ace joins us to speak and sign his latest on Friday, July 21st at 7 PM

97803162642117. Crime Song by David Swinson & Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton

Two debut characters from last year, junkie PI frank Marr and Nick Mason, a man in indentured criminal servitude to a kingpin who runs his empire behind bars, returned in novels that proved they can go the series distance. Both authors talent for reveals and reversals and emotionally real and complex characters have me impatiently waiting for the third book in both series. You can find copies of Crime Song on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. You can find signed copies of Exit Strategy on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97803162717768. Every Night I Dream Of Hell by Malcolm MacKay

A wildly entertaining Scottish noir about an enforcer forced to take over his crew after his boss was nicked. Full of colorful criminal characters and pitch black humor. You can find copies of Every Night I Dream of Hell on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9. A Welcome Murder by Robin Yocum

9781633882638

A twisted tale of rust belt town and its perverse citizens caught in the ripple effect of its high school sports hero returning from prison to grab his drug money and the murder of his old nemesis. Yocum creates each characters voice distinctively and keeps all the plates spinning in a funny and engaging fashion. You can find copies of A Welcome Murder on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

978194340259510. Bad Boy Boogie by Thomas Pluck

This story of a man coming out of prison, learning he still has to pay for murdering a mob bosses bullying son when they where teens is a moving study of stunted emotional growth and male identity. Picture Dennis Lehane slammed into James Lee Burke and filtered through Bruce Springsteen. You can find copies of Bad Boy Boogie on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

MysteryPeople Q&A with Robin Yocum

A Welcome Murder, by Robin Yocum, is our MysteryPeople Pick of the Month for April. The novel follows the quirky denizens of an industrial town as they plot against each other, their actions resulting in unpredictable and unintended consequences. Our reviewer Meike Alana caught up with Robin Yocum to ask him a few questions about his latest. 

  • Interview by Essential MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana

Meike Alana: This book is both hilariously funny yet at times dark and depraved. Did you set out to hit both of those marks (which you did brilliantly, by the way!)? Or did the book start out one way, and then you added elements of the other?

Robin Yocum: When I start writing, I don’t necessarily have a direction in mind. Once I have a premise for a story, I create the characters and let them interact. When the interaction is good, it’s like taking dictation. There are lots of conversations going on in my head, and sometimes the conversations are funny. I am admittedly my own best friend, and I’ll be sitting at the computer laughing along with my characters. The humor seems to appear naturally in their conversations. But, there also is situational humor, too. For example, Johnny Earl gets a new cell mate in prison and it’s this hulking white supremacist. How can there not be humor in the ensuing interactions? Smoochie Xenakis, the town door mat, suddenly thinks he is Vito Corleone. The situation calls for humor. There certainly are dark aspects of the book, such as Dena Marie trying to set her husband up for murder, but the ridiculousness of the premise is funny. She hasn’t thought it out or planned it. Rather, she’s trying to take advantage of the situation. I don’t want to write a book that is so dark and serious that I can’t inject humor. To me, the mixture of the two makes for a much better read, especially if you can surprise the reader.

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MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: A WELCOME MURDER by Robin Yocum

  • Post by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana

9781633882638Johnny Earl was once a great high school athlete—perhaps the greatest in the storied history of Steubenville High School, home of the Big Red.  But in 8 short years his star has risen and spectacularly fallen—after a brief stint as a Pittsburgh Pirate (the highlight of which was a triple hit off Nolan Ryan and which ended when he blew out his knee), his second career as a cocaine dealer ended with a spell in the federal penitentiary.

As A Welcome Murder begins, Johnny has been released from prison and has returned to his hometown of Steubenville.  He plans to stay just long enough to retrieve the drug money he hid before his incarceration, then head out for parts unknown– but just moments before he’s ready to hit the road he’s picked up for questioning in the murder of Rayce Daubner, the FBI informant who set him up on drug charges in the first place.  While he’s spending the night in jail, his former cellmate shows up—the white supremacist who wants Johnny’s drug money to help fund the Aryan nation he’s founded somewhere in the wilds of Idaho or Nevada (he’s not quite sure of the location).  He already has a pair of wives waiting for Johnny so he can do his part to further the cause.

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