Friday, September 27, 2013

Pay attention to the Anthony Awards

The Anthony Awards are a group of awards given to the best mystery books of the year at Bouchercon (The World Mystery Convention).  This includes CRIME FICTION.  You can only read so much vintage crime fiction, so for the last two years I have been paying attention to the winners of the Anthony Awards.

I have been concentrating on the winners of best FIRST NOVEL because reading can get a little stale, and it is nice to pick up something new every once in a while.

Last year's winner was Hilary Davidson for The Damage Done, which by now already has three novels in the series (did she already have them written?!?).  After solving the mysterious death of her sister in the first novel, the books follow the story of a travel writer who tends to get into trouble on trips around the world.  The books are a refreshing look at crime fiction, and it's kind of strange to read a crime novel from a woman's perspective.

This year's winner for best first novel was Black Fridays by Michael Sears.  This is a new type of novel for me.  The story revolves around a fresh out of jail former wall street trader hired to dissect a possible fraudulent scheme in an investment bank (is that right?  I don't know much about wall street!).  Once again, it's great to hear a new voice in crime fiction, and the novel is unlike anything I've read in the past.  The secondary character in the story is an autistic boy, which adds another dimension to the story, but at times it does feel a little too much like an autism text book.

So, finding good OLD crime fiction is easy, because everyone has already read it!  But finding new fiction is hard, but the Anthony Awards make it easier.  Pay attention in the future!  Hint:  Lee Child won for Killing Floor in 1998, so you know how I feel!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Never Go Back - Lee Child

I've just finished Never Go Back by Lee Child, and it is the perfect ending to the last three or four Reacher books, which have featured a mysterious female voice on the other end of the phone.  Reacher finally goes back to DC to meet her, and of course, everything has gone crazy.  Reacher gets recalled to the army, and chased all over the US by a mysterious group of men.

Overall the story is a nice mixture of classic Reacher and flashback Army Reacher, both of which I really enjoy.

I've also been reading some supernatural crime fiction, including Dead Harvest by Chris F Holm and Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore.  I've also read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  Awesome!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What? An actual post?

I've been indulging in a re-read of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson.  I may have mentioned it here before, maybe not.  Either way, it's 8 books, about 2500 pages, and totally worth it.  Historical sci-fi/speculative fiction set in the time of Isaac Newton!  I don't know what to read next.  I'm thinking of the new Dan Brown novel, just because it exists, versus something a little more gritty.

I've also read THE NEXT ONE TO FALL by Hilary Davidson, and I recommend it!  Ok, back to reading.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Demolition Angel - Robert Crais

I haven’t been reading much crime fiction lately since I’ve just finished up reading approximately five thousand pages of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, AKA five Game of Thrones Novels.  I still have not decided if reading all five in succession like that was a good idea or not, but I have 5 years to think about it given the rate he publishes novels in that series.  I think I read one or two crime novels in the meantime, including some Joe Pike and Elvis Cole novels.

That put me in the unusual situation of being completely caught up on Jack Reacher, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, my three favorite protagonists.  I started looking through Robert Crais’ bibliography and found Demolition Angel, starring Carol Starkey, a washed up bomb squad technician.  Also, it was published in 2001, so it has a nice little vintage vibe to it, including pagers and payphones.  This is a great novel which shows Robert Crais really can write a standalone novel.  There are absolutely no references to Elvis or Joe in this novel, but it does take place in the same LA police world that the novels typically occupy.

The feel of the novel is quick paced at the beginning, then backs itself up a little for a few hundred pages, then hits that no turning back point at about one hundred and fifty pages to go.  How do the authors do that?  Do they know that’s all they have left?  Great editing?  I have no idea, but this book really turns it on at the end.  I think i read 180 pages in about two hours to finish the book.

This is a great read, especially if you enjoy the world that Elvis and Joe normally occupy.  Up next is The Moscow Club, Joseph Finder’s first book that was recently re-released.  Apparently the timing of the novel coincided with an unexpected real-life coup in The Kremlin, and the novel put Joe on the map!  Review is forthcoming.