Favorite book covers of 2014, non-fiction books, re-issues, crime graphic novels, and short story collections and anthologies. Yesterday Kristi Belcamino gave her favorite books of 2014. (And I think there may be another list coming tomorrow). Today I've got a selection of most of my favorite crime fiction books (next week will be the final, main favorites book list with some guest contributors).
Angel of the Abyss by Ed Kurtz - I was cruising along the story path that Kurtz was laying out for me when, part way through, something unexpected happened and there was a narrative shift. Now I was paying attention. This might be Kurtz's most accessible work to date. And that's a good thing.
The Big Ugly by Jake Hinkson - Hinkson has quickly become a must read author for me. I get whatever he publishes pretty soon after publication and get to reading pretty quickly after. In his latest novel Hinkson crafts more of a classic hardboiled novel. The Big Ugly has a bit of a throwback feel to it and is enjoyable as hell from the jump and never lets up.
Black Rock by John McFetridge - McFetridge has long been a favorite and with Black Rock he starts a more traditional series (past novels have been linked by characters). All of McFetridge's strengths are on display here: an interesting exploration of an explosive historical time, great characters, great interactions, and a hell of a story. Looking forward to the next book in the series, A Little More Free. McFetridge is your new favorite crime fiction writer, you just don't know it yet.
Duke City Split by Max Austin - Duke City Split is straight up crime fiction. It has criminals doing criminal things and interacting with other criminals. I love this kind of book, and it doesn't disappoint. There's a lot of fun to be had here. The sequel, Duke City Hit, is already out.
Federales by Chris Irvin - One Eye Press continues to put out enjoyable novellas with their Singles line. Federales gives us a taste of of a larger story, there's action, drama, and the search for redemption packed tight into these pages.
The Fix by Steve Lowe - Boxing and crime stories have a long fruitful history. Criminals, boxers, schemers, old acquaintances (can you trust 'em, will it stop you from getting involved?), grudges that need to be paid back, and much more. Broken River continues to pump out great crime fiction and The Fix is one of my favorites from them this year.
Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe - Wiebe adds to the canon of great Canadian crime fiction with Last of the Independents. One of the things that I really liked about this novel was how grounded it was. The main character, a PI, was very much a professional trying to run a business. He worked multiple cases at once. And he did not conjure many (if any) of the tropes that can bog down a sub-genre that is many decades old. Never an anachronism, thoroughly modern, Michael Drayton is one to watch.
Third Rail by Rory Flynn - With Eddy Harkness we get a great character: A really good detective, with a past that sees him benched, and a bit of a self-destructive streak. Third Rail is a rip roaring ride that is a lot of fun to read.