It's not quite the end of the year yet, but close enough (and far enough away so I get to ask this question again in December) for me to ask everybody to share their favourite reads of the year.
There are two books that stand out for me so far. One I read a number of months ago and the other I finished last week.

First up is Ray Banks' SATURDAY'S CHILD. It's the defining book of the cricket bat wielding PI sub-sub-genre. Chances are if you're on Crimespace, you've already read it, but if not, sort it out quick, fellas.

The other book that blew me away is Don Winslow's THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE. Although I enjoyed the movie The Matador, this book takes the premise of that film and pulls it up more than a few notches, making for a belt that's tight enough to be used as a garrotte.

If I could steal genetic material from Ray, Don and Sara Gran (I'm thinking COME CLOSER), I would shove a needle-full of it in me and finish the novel I'm trying to write before the effects wore off.

Anyone else feel like sharing their faves (or warped fantasies like mine)?

Disclaimer: This post in no way condones the use of drugs by injection. Nothing wrong with imbibing something with a suitable mixer though.

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To plug a fellow Crimespacer, I quite liked Duane Swierczynski's THE WHEELMAN.
I second Abbott's "Die A Little."

I recommend some near vérité with "Street Raised" by Pearce Hansen and an excellent collection of short stories with "Controlled Burn."

"The Blonde" by Duane Swierczynski.

Michael Connelly's "The Lincoln Lawyer."

"New Orleans Noir" and "Los Angeles Noir."
So far, the most outstanding books of this reading-year are
Allan Guthrie - Hard Man
Laura Lippman - No Good Deeds
Massimo Carlotto - The Goodbye Kiss
Ken Bruen - The Magdalen Martyr
Joe R. Lansdale - The Bottoms a second read, brillant storytelling
I've read quite a few so far this year but those than came to mind immediately are
Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman (this is the first one of hers I've read but won't be the last)
Who is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall - one of my favourite writers
Death Message by Mark Billingham
Mystic River by Denise Lehane
Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid
to name just a few
Here's my favorite crime fiction read in 2007, in the order read.

Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn - I liked the setting of 1886 London, and the way the author dealt with the different classes.

Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin - Fascinating historical mystery set in 1171. Like the previous title, I appreciated the history.

A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny - Second Inspector Gamache mystery. I like the traditional mystery, the setting, and the characters, especially Gamache.

Raven Black - Ann Cleeves - Unusual setting, the Shetland Islands. Intriguing detective, Inspector Jimmy Perez. And, again, a traditional mystery.

First Drop - Zoe Sharp - First Charlie Fox mystery set in the U.S. LOVE Charlie Fox, a female Jack Reacher. Just finished Road Kill, and I'm about to start the next one, Second Shot.

And, of course, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.
Bruen's The Priest. Fabulous and haunting.

Began 2 new series. The Jack Daniels series by J. A. Konrath and the Eva Wylie series by Liza Cody. Both with wonderful humorous streaks throughout and Eva Wylie may be the most unique character I've run across in a while. Love her. One minute you are laughing, the next you just want to cry for this way-damaged, quirky woman. Cody pushes a lot of the right buttons for me.

Also new to me....and authors I will keep getting-

Wheelman, by Duane Swierczynski.

The Rain series by Barry Eisler

Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read

There were a lot others, too many to mention right now, that made it a great year for reading.
I just finished A Field of Darkness. That's now on my list, too.
I forgot to mention Sean Doolittle's THE CLEANUP. I just read it a short time ago. Great characterizations and description, no loose ends (easy as those could have been).
A TALE ETCHED IN BLOOD AND HARD BLACK PENCIL - Christopher Brookmyre. If you dont' find this book jogging some long buried memories of school days, you never went to school. Usual slightly mad Broomyre offering. Loved it.

DIAMOND DOVE - Adrian Hyland. Probably the front runner for my book of the year. Winner of Ned Kelly Award for best first novel. Wonderful use of language, touches on many issues related to the problems in remote aboriginal communities. Given recent events in Australia - very topical and timely book.

DEATH OF DALZIEL - Reginald Hill. It's Reginald Hill. What more needs to be said?

ABOVE SUSPICION - Lynda La Plante - First in a new series - young female detective newly transferred to a Major Crimes Unit finds her first case may be the work of a serial killer. It had been quite a few years since I've read any of La Plante's books and I'd forgotten what pacey, absorbing PP's she writes. You can tell she writes screenplays. First rate.

There probably are more, but they are the ones that came to mind immediately. So I guess they left the biggest impression.
Just had the pleasure to read the new one by Steven Torres, THE CONCRETE JUNGLE. I knew his series (a Puerto Rican police procedural) and enjoyed it, but this book is a break for Steven and it turned out to be very, very good. The setting is New York and it is both hardboiled and noir. But unlike too many of these, this novel is also about family, love, and hope. And for those who take an interest in POV: Steven has a superb 1st P. narrator. Apart from all the technically wonderful stuff, this novel is a page turner you can hardly put down. If you like hardboiled/noir, be sure to take a look.
In no particular order of preference:-
1. Mr Clarinet by Nick Stone
2. Vixen by Ken Bruen
3. The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin
4. The Attack by Yasmina Khadra
5. Snakeskin Shamisen by Crimespace's own Naomi Hirahara
6. Borderlands by Brian McGillowray
7. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
8. The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp
9. The Dragon Man by Gary Disher
10. The Fugitive by Massimo Carlotto

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie


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