Friday, December 19, 2014

(Even More) great Books from 2014

By Russel D McLean

Last week, my Herald (Scotland) crime books of the year was published. It was one of the toughest columns I've had to write in ages, because there were so many good books I read this year. Some of them I got the chance to review professionally, others I never managed to place. But I only had space for a set number of books in the column, and narrowing it down was a killer. So here, as this is the last DSD post I'll do before Christmas, are my "runners up" in books of the year - these are all worth your time: some great books from some incredible writers.

Jason Starr's modern noir classic Cold Caller, charting the hell of a cold caller in the city, who might just have a few psychological issues, has been reissued by No Exit Press, and if you haven't read it, you need to do so. Now.

Stuart Neville's The Final Silence was one of my favourite serial killer thrillers of the year: pulse pounding stuff from a writer who never disappoints.

And speaking of never disappointing, John Connolly's The Wolf in Winter is the best entry yet in his long running Charlie Parker series - and the end will leave the Parker faithful with their jaws on the floor.

K.T. Medina's White Crocodile was a brilliant debut - set among the minefields of Cambodia (and the less minstrewn but equally dangerous mean streets of Manchester), it marks the arrival a stunning new talent.

Chris Ewan's Dark Tides was, I think, his best book yet - set during the Manx Halloween, its a claustrophobic and psychologically unsettling novel with shades of all your favourite slasger movies running through it.

Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe was tense and filled with his usual eye for period detail: a riproaring espionage novel.

Louise Welsh wrote a brilliant dystopian crime novel (first in a trilogy, so there's even more to come!) in the pacy and punchy A Lovely Way To Burn.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer prize winner Robert Olen Butler wrote a Hemmingway-esque crime novel in The Hot Country which is only the start of what I hope will be a spectacular series.

Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook was my favourite true crime book this year.

And, before I run out of time, one final choice... Reed Farrel Coleman's The Hollow Girl saw us say a bittersweet farewell to the incredible Mo Prager, one of the most developed detectives in recent years. Sad as I was to see Mo go, I'm glad it ended like that... it just felt... right.

1 comment:

Kristopher said...

This is a great list of books Russel.

One of them (The Wolf in Winter) made it onto my Top Reads list as well. And a few of the others were damn close.

Like you mentioned with the Connolly book, I think that The Final Silence is Stuart Neville's best book yet, and given how great the others are, that is saying something.

I loved Dark Tides as well, but since it is not out here in the States yet, I chose not to include it on my list for that reason.

I really need to check out Louise Welsh's dystopian crime novel. Many have told me I will love it. Off to order it now.