May is mystery month and Booklist magazine has published their list of the year’s best crime novels.
Here’s their top ten in alphabetical order.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
Joe Spork, a mild-mannered clockmaker in contemporary London, is trying to live down the legacy of his Mob-boss father when he finds himself forced to rebuild and then disarm a doomsday machine of unimagined power. (This is advertised as a funny action adventure with espionage and clock repair. What an interesting combination. )
Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham
Psychologist Joe O’Loughlin finds a blood-soaked neighbor on his doorstep in Bath, England, and, attempting to help her, lands in a criminal investigation. Beautiful but understated prose; bright, funny, and touching characters; plotting that is both clever and well thought out—this one has it all. (Robotham is the pseudonymous author of 10 best-selling non-fiction titles, involving prominent figures in the military, the arts, sport, and science. Hmm. That’s a mystery in itself. )
Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess by Simon Brett
The privileged 1920s sibling pair of Blotto and his sister, Twinks, once again embarks on solving a mystery that drops into their laps. Brett is a devastating social critic and master of equally devastating physical characterization. This is the kind of book you’ll have to put down frequently, as you roar with laughter. (The is number 2 of Brett’s Blotto series. Let me know if you want to read the others and I’ll help you find them.)
The Devil She Knows by Bill Loehfelm
Tough, street-smart, but vulnerable cocktail waitress Maureen sees a politician in a compromising position and finds her life in danger. One of the most compelling characters to appear in crime fiction this year, Maureen drives a novel that is both suspenseful and remarkably textured. (This is Loehfelm’s third novel, but he hasn’t got that much attention. Maybe an up and coming guy you might want to watch. )
Iron House by John Hart
Michael, a New York hit man who spent his early years in an orphanage, returns to North Carolina to settle scores. The present-time plot—Michael trying to carve a new life without endangering those he loves—makes a superb thriller on its own, but it’s what Hart does with the backstory that gives the novel its beyond-genre depth.