In the last year, the best living detective writer.

This has been hammered out in some ways, but here's the question with the twist:

In the last year, the best writer of crime fiction you've read is? What did this writer bring to the table that made him/her so good?

Rate the writer: Five stars max. Five being, "Just goddamn the greastest writer since Print was invented!"
down to one star, which is' "Throw the frick'en book in the trash bin and start a big bonfire!"

I want to increase my library. I think this might be a good way to do it.

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Comment by Jack Getze on March 20, 2009 at 4:27pm
Robert Crais. The return of Hollywood P.I. Elvis Cole and his ex-special forces sidekick Joe Pike was a major celebration at our house this year. I'm a sucker for series characters, and these two are my favorite right now. Crais's prose is clear and slick, the stories compelling, his wit entertaining. I'm not much on poetry. Four stars for CHASING DARKNESS.
Comment by John McFetridge on March 20, 2009 at 12:40pm
Richard Price. Going way back to Blood Brothers he started string with great characters and setting but I think he reached a new level with Freedomland and again with Samaritan. I'm only halfway through Lush Life but it's just as good.

What he brings to the table, I think, is fully realized characters in a microcosm that speak to the greater world. Freedomland, for example, is about a detective investigating a woman's claim that she was carjacked with her son in the car. It sounds ripped from the headlines, but Price has moved the action to a public housing complex in a big city and the story is about racism and complicated relationships and there's a fair amountg of despair. The characters are too human for it to be maudlin.

Worth a read, I think, BR.
Comment by Dana King on March 20, 2009 at 10:59am
James Lee Burke. Great characters and his writing is poetry, even the violence. Five stars.

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