Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The twelve books of Christmas

by Dietrich

I had plenty of reading time this past year, and I’ve already recommended some of my favorites from earlier this year, so I won’t repeat any of them. Here are a dozen more from the books I read since then that deserve a place on the holiday list – perfect picks for the fiction fan.

Blood and Lemonade by by Joe R. Lansdale is number eleven in the Hap and Leonard series. Published in 2017, it’s a mosaic of stories from the early days of Hap and Leonard. Often funny, sometimes touching, and always addictive storytelling, it’s a great book.

Last Stand at Saber River by Elmore Leonard. It’s one of his early westerns, first published as a Dell paperback in 1959. In spite of being written sixty years ago, it holds up well and delivers a tale filled with interesting characters and unexpected turns in that early Leonard style.

Comeback by Richard Stark is number seventeen in the Parker series. It was first printed in 1997, and when it came out it was the first Parker novel in over twenty years. And if you love Parker, this one’s a classic.

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke is number twenty-one in that series, and even if you haven’t followed Dave Robicheaux, this one can be read on its own. In it, Burke shows readers why he’s one of the greatest story-telling talents of our time.

The Convict and Other Stories also by James Lee Burke. This one’s from 2009, and it’s a powerful collection of nine short stories that show’s more of Burke’s masterful touch. 

What it Was by George Pelecanos was published in 2012. The story’s set in Washington, DC in 1972. In it, he brings back private detective Derek Strange, along with his old partner Frank Vaughn.The story’s filled with mobsters, hookers, cops, killers and plenty of soul music. Told in typical Pelecanos style and pace, it’s guaranteed to keep you entertained.

The Gentlemen’s Hour by Don Winslow is the 2009 sequel to The Dawn Patrol. Winslow brings back Boone Daniels who is possibly the most laid back private investigator ever. It’s packed with a lot of dark humor, tension and some of the best dialogue on the printed page.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy. It was his third novel, published back in 1973. Set in the mountains of Tennessee, it’s a dark, often disturbing, yet brilliantly told story of a man falsely accused who attempts to live outside the social order.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowlings, 2012. It’s a beautiful, well-told tale of class, social order and small town political strife, set in Rowlings’ imaginary town of Pagford.

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, published in 2012. It’s the tale of a group of black musicians who escaped pre-war Germany, only to return to Berlin for the opening of a documentary about their lives fifty years later. It’s told in an easy style that evokes the jazz music from that era. Pick it up and you’ll see why Esi’s twice won the Giller Prize.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is the long awaited sequel to the modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale. The joint winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, the story picks up fifteen years after the events told in the original story. It’s a terrific book.

City of Ice by John Farrow is set in mid-winter Montreal and follows Sergeant-Detective Emilé Cinq Mars as he deals with biker gangs, mafia and crooked cops while trying to solve a murder.

Well, there you have it, a few detective series, a western, some dark comedy, some short story collections, and some dystopian fiction. I hope I’ve given you some ideas for the fiction fan on your list. And I’d also like to wish one and all the very best for the Holidays, and I look forward to joining the other minds here in the new year. 

1 comment:

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks for the tip about the JK Rowling book. I think I will have to check that one out!