Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Books, Books and more....

It’s that time of year: Time for those of us in Criminal Minds to recommend some favorite books—either to buy as gifts for others, or as a gift to yourself to sneak off to read when family threatens to overwhelm you, or to unwind after the holidays. Here’s what I, Terry Shames, recommend:

At the top of my list is always Timothy Hallinan. His Night Town is this year’s offering in the Junior Bender series, and it’s one of the best books I read this year. As usual, it’s witty with a backdrop of Junior’s philosophical musings.

Last year Steven Cooper introduced his detective Alex Mill and his psychic friend Gus Parker. I don’t usually go in for paranormal mysteries, but Gus is a treasure, annoyed because people assume he can “go psychic” any old time. Instead it’s a frustrating and elusive gift. Dig Your Grave is the latest, and a terrific, beautifully written book.

Rhys Bowen surprised and delighted her readers last year when she deviated from her two series to write a standalone historical novel,  In Farleigh Field, which was nominated for an Edgar. This year she not only produced another Lady Georgie mystery, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, but also another historical mystery, The Tuscan Child.  Everything she writes is infused with humor and is also meticulously researched. I highly recommend her books.

I’m delighted that Patricia Smiley has come out with another in her Pacific Homicide police procedural series. I haven’t read The Second Goodbye, but can’t wait to, because it has gotten rave reviews and I really like her Detective, Davie Richards.

Same with Matt Coyle, whose contemporary take on noir mysteries gets better with every book. He has sneaked his way past Michael Connelly in my estimate. Wrong Light just came out and it will go to the top of my TBR stack.

I’m sure Lou Berney will be on everyone’s list, for good reason. November Road is a treasure, one of those books that haunt you long after you’ve read it.

What’s with those Southern California writers? They seem to be hogging my attention. Here’s another one my list. Lisa Brackmann’s Black Swan Rising is as chilling a book as you’ll read in this political climate. Author Kim Fay put it best, “…captures the heat of our country’s moral and civic battles.”

I always enjoyed Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver series—it’s funny as hell. Then McPherson set out to take the psychological suspense novel to another level. And she is a master of it. Go To My Grave is a chilling read. I highly recommend it.

Sunburn, by Laura Lipmann, has captured a lot of attention this year, and for good reason. It’s the perfect thriller. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s up, there’s another twist.

In a different genre, George Weir has written a fascinating alternate reality book, Neptune’ Forge, about an ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. I was lucky enough to read it as an ARC and I think it’s his best book yet, which is saying something since George writes about a book a month.
For a look at the cover, go to: https://www.billtravismysteries.com/

I read a debut novel this year that I really liked, Lissa Redmond’s A Cold Day in Hell. With twenty-two years as a detective in Buffalo, New York under her belt, Redmond knows how police business works and she knows how to write about it. I have great expectations for this series.

My list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my pal Melissa Lenhardt’s newest, Heresy, a feminist historical novel of the old west. Since I haven’t had a chance to read it, I’ll have to rely on the New York Times, which called it, “(Lendhardt’s unapologetically baddass western…There will be shootouts and standoffs. There will be rotgut whiskey and weary horses. There will be cattle rustlers and scores to settle. The only difference is that women get all the action. It’s about time.”

So many more that I read an enjoyed. Quick mention of a few: Danny Gardner’s A Negro and an Ofay, James Anderson’s Lullaby Road, Lori Rader-Day’s Under a Dark Sky.

Do not take this as a definitive list. It’s just a few that I read and enjoyed, or am looking forward to. So many books, so little time….


Dietrich Kalteis said...

Great list, Terry. I've jotted down a couple of your recommends. Thanks.

Terry said...

I keep jotting down book ideas from the Best Of lists, and soon I may have to open my own public library.

Lori Rader-Day said...

Thanks for mentioning Under a Dark Sky, Terry! Lots of my 2018 favorites on your list, too.

Terry said...

Lori, I'm about 3/4 of the way through, but had to include it. I'm having trouble making myself go to yoga this morning instead of holing up and reading!

Marilyn said...

You closed with exactly what I was thinking: so many books, so little time.

Terry said...

Marilyn, if you saw my office, you'd run screaming. Books stacked everywhere!