Some people like to do these lists because everybody else is doing it. Others refuse to do so for the same reason. I'm a combination of the two: if everyone else does it, then I don't want to, but I'm going to anyway ... because it's what I actually want to do.

But enough with the Maxwell Smart jokes and on with the list. As always, it's based on my personal reading of the year, which has nothing to do with publishing date. Since tracking it, I've learned that I only read about thirty books a year, all chosen by a whim of the moment.

EVERY DEAD THING by John Connolly

Famed for its hourglass shaped plot (one story tapers into the next), the first Charlie Parker novel is filled to the brim with lyrical writing and beautifully gruesome imagery.

CITIZEN VINCE by Jess Walter

There are two novels in this list about crims trying to get clean or stay clean, with both having a decidedly literary bent. Walter does a brilliant job here of fleshing out so much in so few words that I really should get off my arse and read some of his other work as soon as possible.

NO DOMINION by Charlie Huston

Thankfully the world of books generally does a fair sight better with sequels than cinema does, but in the hands of Charlie Huston, disappointment seems to never be on the cards. Thanks to vampire private investigator Joe Pitt, I want to be Charlie Huston when I grow up.


Piano-playing spy John Harper has a damned fine sense of humour and a softer side when compared to more traditional protagonists in the genre and it's these differences that bring Terrenoire's debut floating up above the rest. It took me far too long to get around to reading this, but the day David writes another novel is the day I queue up for it.


Other than wanting to be the love child of Charlie Huston and Ray Banks, I can't say enough about this fine piece of work. But if I had to choose my absolute favourite of this list, it would be a close fight between this one and the next.


The retired hitman being pulled back into the biz is not a particularly new idea, but the depth of Frank "Frankie the Machine" Macchiano lifts this to the top of the foam from the cappuccino. Bob De Niro's working on a film of this and, as long as he doesn't stuff it up, I'll be one of the early viewers.


Only one classic this year, and it was one I'd seen the movie of, so I wasn't amazingly shocked by the unfolding of the plot. Still, I gobbled down this timeless and twisted tale of desire in a couple of evening sessions. And it tasted damned good, I tell you.

RAZOR by Larry Writer

This year I delved into non-fiction of various subjects, but this account of the razor gang wars of 1920s Sydney reads almost like fiction, so I'm including it here. The detail of the research is mind blowing and made even more impressive by being set in locations that I know well. Whatever the newspapers of today may say, Sydney is a far safer city than it used to be.

THE CONFESSION by Olen Steinhauer

In my blogging travels I've come across a number of authors whose work I've read, but this is the first time I've read a second book from any of them (that has more to do with my playing catch up than the quality of the writing). I'm extremely glad I did. Everything I liked about Olen's first in the series, THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS, is in its sequel, but the story is taken to another level here. I can't think of any better endorsement of this amazing Eastern European spy series other than saying I have the next two books waiting on my shelf.

I was very tempted to include Joe R. Lansdale's LOST ECHOES in the list, even though I'm only about a third of the way in. Although I doubt very much that I'll be disappointed with the rest of it, I have to be fair, so I've kept it to a simple mention.

Come on then, fess up. Who tickled your tockley this year? And why?

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I would like to add Blood Trail by Gary Cook (published by the amazing Dennis McMillan) to my list of best read novels in 2007. Blood Trail is experienced </ > rather than read. And the ending is classic. I don't know if Dennis has any copies left but I urge you to try to find one. A Gary Cook novel is about as scarce as a solar eclipse; finding one is finding treasure.
I love these lists! For me, it was:

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indidason
Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill
Recalled to Life by Reginald Hill
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Satterfield
Death by Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard
The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters
The Collaborator of Bethlehem by Matt Beynon Rees
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
This isn't gonna work - I just finished another "best of" on the weekend and there are two weeks to go over Christmas (and we hide from Christmas - major lock down - go away - bah humbug )

But so far, with a right to add more / change my mind / be fickle / and with no attempt whatsoever to limit the numbers!

Diamond Dove - Adrian Hyland. Great central female character. Extremely accurate / realistic portrayal of real Aboriginal and outback life. Tremendous book.

Chain of Evidence - Garry Disher. Best of the series so far. Shared central focus between Hal Challis and Ellen Destry that really worked. Good couple of main threads, touching, evocative, strong.

Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist. Well you knew I'd be pushing this barrow so just shut up and read it. Magnificent, lyrical, touching, tremendous book about crime, punishment, vengeance, bullying and childhood and love.

The Bullet Trick, Louise Welsh. I love quirky and Louise Welsh does the unexpected better than most.

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, Fred Vargas. Same reason as above - quirky, her central character is a marvellous study in individualism.

The Death of Dalziel, Reginald Hill. In my eyes even Mr Hill's lesser books are greater than others. I loved this one simply because the worry didn't let up all the way through the book and I'm still not 100% comfortable with what lies ahead.

Broken Skin, Stuart MacBride. Get this bloke to write another 30 or so books and he could be in danger of knocking Mr Hill off my pedestal.

Ice Moon, Jan Costin Wagner. Unbelievably moving.

Cross, Ken Bruen. You have to ask? But seriously there's some change in Jack and it seems to be so stark in Cross.

Crow Stone, Jenni Mills. Debut book - very engaging voice to it.

Sucked In, Shane Maloney. Now I normally like this series as a bit of a meander through the murk of political life, but there's something a bit more in this outing. There was even a touch of poignancy in this one.

The End of Mr Y, Scarlett Thomas. I can't decide if I'm recently more drawn to the slightly weird end of the spectrum or if this has been a latent tendency less documented. Either way - weird, compelling book about somebody wanting to live in a book.

The Bethlehem Murders, Matt Beynon Rees. Great central character, different viewpoint, tremendous book.

The Killing Hour, Paul Cleave. Twisting, turning, fabulously creepy - great second book from NZ Author.

The Low Road, Chris Womersley. Fabulously bleak and hopeless.

Black Man, Richard Morgan. Science Fiction thriller.

Redback, Lindy Cameron. Great thriller with good character development and strong central female characters.

El Dorado, Dorothy Porter. Crime fiction in verse - good crime fiction in verse what's more to the point.

Best Revisit - Beck Series, Sjowall & Wahloo. I've been slowly working my way back through this series as Harper Perenniel re-releases them. Magnificent.
I don't read near enough and I read slowly and I have a memory that makes swiss cheese look watertight, so I've no business participating, but here are two that I really liked. One I read a while ago and think about a lot when I'm doing my own writing. The other I just read and I think I'll be thinking about it a lot when I do my own writing:

1) Concrete Maze by Steve Torres
2) The Electric Church by Jeff Somers

I liked them both because there are earthquakes on every page.
This is great stuff, people. I have SO many books to read now. I like it. I love it. I ... have a problem.
CORMAC MCCARTHY is the best new writer to me in the last 30 years. I read both THE ROAD, and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but I'm too washed out to read any more for a while. In both books, and especially in THE ROAD, something is always happening, and when there was a lull, you know something big is going to clobber the lead or leads. THE ROAD was the first book I ever read that I was AFRAID to finish for fear of what would happen to the characters.

JAMES LEE BURKE got to me with one of the best and most complete characters I have read since Faulkner with THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN. He made me feel the pain of New Orleans and the general area after Katrina. I was a bit disappointed in his climax, but his denouement was perfect. I do get tired of hearing about the same flora over and over again, even though each time is in different words. The man is a poet, though.

CHARLES ARDAI'S, SONGS OF INNOCENCE tells a story whose beginning is not revealed until the last few pages. The author takes a different twist on noir. The good guy who is screwed because he cares so much about his friends.

These were the best of 2007 for me.

Jack Bludis
I assume this is limited to crime writing...

James Lee Burke's THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN is one of his very best, and that's saying a lot.

Cormac McCarthy's BLOOD MERIDIAN. I'd read it before, but even on a second reading, it is absolutely stunning.

Charles Ardai's SONGS OF INNOCENCE. Okay, I'm about to reveal something that will disgust the few of you left who I haven't already disgusted one way or another... I bought this book for one reason - the cover turned me on. Like, got me hot. I know, I'm sick. But the book as it turns out, is brilliant.

Wow, Bludis and I are on the same wave length... was Jack aroused by the cover?
I've pondered this long enough. There have been a number of good mysteries (though I have little enough time for reading these days), but there has been only one book that I thought really memorable:

THE KITE RUNNER by Hosseini.
I did a Best Of list on my blog about two weeks ago. I knew what I had then in my TBR pile wasn't likely to crack the top ten of the 70+ books I read in 2007.

the whole list is at, but my top two were

2. The Blade Itself, Marcus Sakey
1. the Liar's Diary, Patry Francis.
i love a good list. my reading was hampered this year by living in vietnam and only reading hand-me-downs and airport absolute fave in 2007 was:

Broken Shore - Peter Temple: i know lots has been written about this book but it's an absolute corker. i particularly liked the way he captured the policing culture and life in a small town.

my vote for the most intriguing book was one by a japanese crime writer:

Out - Kirino Natsuo: very atmospheric book with an interesting insight into women in japan. it'scertainly got me interested in japanese crime writers.
So here it is. Of the 187 books read in 2007, the following 28 books were rated VG+/Ex.

Box, C.J. - Free Fire 2007
Bruen, Ken - Cross 2007
Carl, Lillian Stewart - Lucifer's Crown 2003
Craig, Philip R. - The Vineyard Stalker 2007
Crais , Robert - The Watchman 2007
De Castrique, Mark - Final Undertaking 2007
DePoy, Phillip - A Widow's Curse 2007
Dobbyn , John F. - Neon Dragon 2007
Fate, Robert - Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues 2007
Franklin, Arianna - Mistress of the Art of Death 2007
Fulmer , David - The Dying Crapshooter's Blues 2007
Harris , C.S. - What Angels Fear 2006
Harris, C.S. - Why Mermaids Sing 2007
Koryta Michael A Welcome Grave 2007
McBain, Ed - Give the Boys a Great Big Hand 1960
Morley, Christopher -Parnassus on Wheels 1917
O'Connell, Carol - Find Me 2006
Parker, Robert B. - Now & Then 2007
Penny, Louise - The Cruellest Month 2007
Robotham, Michael The Night Ferry 2007
Rowling, J. K. - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2007
Setterfield, Diane - The Thirteenth Tale 2006
Stewart, Mary - The Ivy Tree 1961
Templeton, Aline - Shades of Death 2001
Tey, Josephine - Brat Farrar 1947
Thomas, Will - The Hellfire Conspiracy 2007
Thomas, Will - The Limehouse Text 2006
Todd, Charles - A False Mirror 2007

Happy reading in 2008
187! Wow.


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