TOP TWELVE BOOKS

This is the time of the year when readers make lists of the books that they liked the most.  I have never done this because how does one go about making such a choice?

Every book I reviewed on Murder By Type is a book that I liked, enjoyed, written by an author I will continue to seek out.  If I don’t like a book, I don’t review it because every review is an opinion piece.  I will bang the drum loudly for the authors whose books I enjoy but I won’t pass judgment on those whose books I didn’t enjoy as much.

That being said, I would love to post reviews from those who read the blog.  There have been guest posters since the blog began six months ago and I hope these generous people will continue to provide reviews throughout 2011.  Reviews can be sent to murderblog@yahoo.com.

This year, I opted to join the group of people who list their favorites.   The books I chose are those that were a bit different. My list is in alphabetical order by author.

Zoe Ferraris:

FINDING NOUF is the story of a teenager who wants more than her religion and her society will allow her to experience.  The great wealth of her family doesn’t broaden her horizons and expand her experience of life but, instead, contains her within a wall that is  impossible to breach without serious consequences.

Leighton Gage:

To say that Leighton Gage gets better with each book suggests that the previous books are less than EVERY BITTER THING.  They aren’t.  Gage has the ability to use the same central characters in the same setting and write different stories as if everything and everyone  is new.  There is no danger that this series will become stale.

Timothy Hallinan:

THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, A POKE RAFFERTY THRILLER is a title that is something of a misnomer.  It is the fourth book in the Poke Rafferty series by Timothy Hallinan, but while it is definitely a thriller it isn’t really a Poke Rafferty book.  The book belongs to Rose, Poke’s wife, a former dancer in a bar.

Timothy Hallinan’s protagonists, be they Simeon Grist, Poke Rafferty, or Junior Bender, are men who have a strong code of moral behavior that is a bit off to the side of the straight and narrow.  The characters in CRASHED are damaged people.

Declan Hughes:

Hughes intersperses the narrative with the thoughts of the murderer but he doesn’t give anything away about the identity until he is ready to let the reader in on the secret. There is less overt brutality in this book but the body count is higher. I think it is the best book of the series.

Lenny Kleinfeld:

…the book is funny. Kleinfeld writes wonderful dialogue even when the dialogue is interior. I don’t know how many times I had to stop reading and laugh.  This is a book that will appeal to just about anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers. This is an author who deserves a wide readership. SHOOTER & CHASERS is a wonderful way to spend a day.

Jassy Mackenzie:

Jade is a  morally ambiguous character.  Are Jade and Robbie amoral or immoral in their capacity as paid vigilantes?  Does murder and torture have to be repaid in kind? What if the violence isn’t random at all?

The characters are interesting enough that I will read the next in the series when it makes it to the United States.

Kwei Quartey:

Kwei Quartey was born in Ghana, the son of a Ghanaian man and an African-American woman. When his father died, he moved to the United States with his mother and he is now a practicing physician in California. In researching his book, he looked at all aspects of the culture, including the trokosi. Although the practice has been outlawed, it has not disappeared because many in Ghana still believe is the power of the chiefs and high priests. The media has made known practices that violate human rights but the trokosis have yet to come to light in the main stream media.

Caro Ramsay:

…as Alan is becoming increasingly lost, the team is becoming increasingly sure of the identity of their killer.

It isn’t particularly difficult for the reader to determine the identity of the killer.  But it is as the story moves toward its resolution that the reader is satisfied that all the threads will come together to a reasonable conclusion.

Jeffrey Siger:

PREY ON PATMOS led me to do something I would never have dreamed of doing before reading this book.  The story captures the reader from the first paragraph so I couldn’t stop reading but there was so much information I wanted to investigate that I made marks in the margin, an unforgivable sin for a bibliophile.

Johan Theorin:

There is a sense of sorrow that permeates this story; a community has lived for 60 years under a cloud that formed with the death of one child and a family is destroyed by the disappearance of another. ECHOES FROM THE DEAD is not light reading but it is a compelling story of damage wrought by loss, fear, and suspicion. Johan Theorin is another master in the circle of Swedish masters of the genre.

Charles Todd:

THE RED DOOR is the story of the visible and invisible wounds left by the war. It is the story of money, class, privilege, inheritance, and secrets. And it is the story of the destruction of a powerful family,  victims of the control exerted by their father from beyond the grave.

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4 Responses to TOP TWELVE BOOKS

  1. Beth–

    Thank you. I don’t know which I enjoyed more, your including Shooters in such distinguished company, or your writing research notes on the pages of Prey On Patmos. Jeff is a very successful lawyer, so checking into any “facts” he asserts is an absolute requirement.

    I also recently received a highly unlikely but quite pleasant Bouchercon-related frisson. You can research that at:

    http://www.lennykleinfeld.com/COHABITING_WITH_DASHIELL_HAMMETT.html

    –Lenny

    • Beth says:

      Lenny, I was actually using PREY ON PATMOS as a learning tool. I was checking things off so I could look them up and learn more.

      Did the frisson arise from a sense of terror that Hammett might be haunting writers who try to take up space in his space.

      SHOOTERS AND CHASERS looks right at home with Hammett’s books.

      I will not say anything about the diva part except that only a diva could afford it (or get someone else to pay for it).

  2. What?? No Louise Penny?

    I thought Bury Your Dead and The Brutal Telling were incredible…

  3. Beth says:

    I agree about Louise Penny. I was trying to keep the list to 10 and could not.

    THE BRUTAL TELLING was reviewed on the blog on July 23 and BURY YOUR DEAD was reviewed on October 19. I have liked all her books and look forward to the next one.

    Who are your favorite authors?

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