Books To Die For, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke. Over a hundred crime fiction writers contributed short essays on their favorite crime fiction books. A great compendium of the history of the genre--the books cited are listed chronologically--and a great way to see who your favorites like, and who they are liked by.
Would telling what I'm reading amount to a recommendation? I hesitate to go so far as that, though I'd consider it. Anyway, I just finished "The Alto Wore Tweed" and started on "The Baritone Wore Chiffon" both by Mark Schweitzer. No gore so far, or at least not off-puttingly-much, so I reckon I'll probably finish. My Kindle, meanwhile, is loaded with free stuff, including the works of Mark Twain and the collected Oz stories of L. Frank Baum. I'm reading the latter because i was reminded of Oz by two things: first, noticing a road near Helena, Montana, named "L. F. Baum Road,"' and second by tripping over a right-wing website where they try to make a case that Baum dabbled in (left-wing, according to them) politics in his writing by suggesting that the yellow brick road was really gold and that the silver slippers (changed to ruby in the movie, but hey, Baum wasn't in at the creation of that), both related to the U.S. coinage politics and the rest of what had been going on at the time, and even going so far as to suggest that Oz is "oz.," the abbreviation for ounce, though they didn't bother to make a connection with troy weights, and they didn't account for Ev. I thought their theory might be close to the ultimate in stupidity, so I wanted to look and see if they might have a point. (They don't.)
I'm far enough into The Baritone Wore Chiffon, now, that I think it's reasonable to recommend it to whoever likes humorous wordplay in your mysteries. I do: that's why I picked up the second in the series. (Getting the first was pure coincidence, as are so many of my "choices.")
It's amazing what people can read into things, isn't it?
Slaughter's Hound, by Declan Burke. I'm only five chapters in, but it appears Burke has hit his stride after last year's Absolute Zero Cool. I'm hooked.
THIRD STRIKE, # six in Zoe Sharp's excellent Charlie Fox series. Am enjoying it as I have the previous four I've read.
Zoe's first one is next up for me. Matt Hilton recommended her and Sean Black to me. Currently reading Sean's first book Lockdown, very good.
Asset Management by Gamal Hennessy. A hard boiled, New York sex and violence writer who I interviewed on my podcast blog, 2012writersalive.blogspot.com
Currently reading Barry Eisler's 24 Hours. Great premise (a child kidnapping, three baddies holding the child and both parents separately). Generally speaking the writing is fine with multiple POVs and good characterizations, but emotionally it sometimes seems a bit flat when in the POV of the parents, especially the father.
Martin Cruz Smith, THREE STATIONS, an Arkady Renko novel. All of his books in the series are good, even if they don't perhaps quite reach GORKY PARK. We are now in the new Russia. Think capitalism mixed with violence and greed. The authorities still bumble and give Arkady a hard time. Perhaps setting and characters occasionally are a tad over the top (evil dwarves and luxury fairs with nubile dancers and circus acrobatics), but it was a smooth read start to finish. Particularly good was the story of the stolen baby that sucks the reader into the action.
Qiu Xiaolong - DEATH OF A RED HEROINE - I really enjoyed this. In addition to a likable detective, the glimpse into life in today's China and numerous quotations from Chinese poetry added much interest. He's written about six books, so they are now on my list.
Jon Loomis - FIRE SEASON - Jon, you can't write fast enough for me. Great sensibilities.
Alan Furst - DARK STAR - This one has a Jewish journalist from the Soviet Union in France and Germany just before the start of WWII. Always riveting is how you see history through an interesting character's eyes.
Matt Beynon Rees - A GRAVE IN GAZA - as good as COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM.
Steve Hamilton - A COLD DAY IN PARADISE - Good storytelling. In the first person. Tone is similar to Archer Mayor's.
Currently reading Quentin Bates' COLD COMFORT, the second of his Officer Gunnhildur series -
a middle-aged, somewhat overweight, down-to-earth police detective. The woman is very smooth at
Next up is Mark Billingham's latest, THE DEMANDS. Love that Thorne.
I read a lot of international mysteries/police procedurals and have noticed a strange thing.
In most countries, when the police come to call, the person visited (even if a bad guy) offers
refreshments. This never happens in the US, Russia, or South Africa. I don't know exactly what to make of this observation. Any ideas?