We are almost 7.5 years into this decade (where does the time go?). So I am wondering, what is the sole, most influential crime/mystery novel written this decade and why? There are some of you who are numerically challenged out there, so I am asking for just ONE book.

Gumshoe Carl (going through my list).

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Good grief Carl you make the question tricky.

I guess the most influential over all is The DaVinci Code simply because of the amount of publicity - but then again is that really crime fiction - don't know / haven't read it - not that desperate for a book to read yet.

What was most influential for me - The Broken Shore - told an Australian story in an Australian voice and an Australian style.
Karen, I am so glad to hear you say that The Broken Shore was truly an Australian story. I really loved this book and it is good to hear that it is considered correct as I have no way of knowing if it even comes close.

I am not sure about the whole DVCode...I know it stayed on the charts and had huge sales...but influential that is too tough for me to call...
To me it read as quintessentially Australian - right down to the very bottom of it's Driazabone and Blundstones, or your thongs and boardshorts if you prefer (thongs are NOT items of underwear incidentally).

Others will undoubtedly disagree - Sally from Darwin hated The Broken Shore :) - but to this old girl, who grew up in the bush, it worked on so many levels and I often marvel at Peter Temple's ability to pick up the cadence and cultural perspective of somewhere that he came to later in life - makes me think he must have been a very very good journalist before he became a very good novelist :)
Hmmm..... I'm not actually sure DaVinci is the most influential. Big seller? Big cell donor for clones? Yes. But has the debate it caused about the church really had an effect? Uh, the Pope's still in the Vatican, Catholics still tend to think Jesus wasn't married, and the whole storyline was no surprise to people who read the non-fiction conspiracy book it was based on. I'm thinking it will be one of those books that shows up on the "look what they were reading" lists in fifty years and people will say "what was THAT all about?"

The story that influenced people's readiness for DaVinci was the Pulitzer prize winning series in the Boston Globe that kicked off the priest scandal in the US. Doesn't qualify as fiction though, alas.

As for most influential mystery? Hmmm.... still have to mull that over. In terms of real influence, it would have to be one that discovered an issue that became a significant social controversy or took it to another level - as Uncle Tom's Cabin did for the abolitionist movement. Yeah, I know... tough act to follow. But that's what I'm thinking in terms of "significant" rather than "popular" or "favorite."

But I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning to figure out an answer.
Influential, to me, would be a book that inspires me to read more, seek out authors with similar POV and styles and encourages me to continue to improve my own skills

For this decade, I have to go with The Guards as well. Top drawer, and Bruen's unique, spare style is influencing a whole new crop of writers, mixing brutality with heart on your sleeve emotions.

Da Vinci Code stirred up tons of controversy and had people yammering away on all fronts. That's always a good thing for readers and writers. But I find Brown's style a bit ponderous and dull at times. I am always left unsatisfied when I read his work.
Mystic River. It showed how a modern crime novel can also be a strong mainstream novel. It was about people and not all about detection. I hesitate to use the word literary, because I reject that flag until people are in the third generation of reading a particular book.
Jack I am glad you said Mystic River....in the true sense of having a large impact Mystic River seems to fit the bill as it brought movie goers to the crime fiction section in bookstores and had all of us that had read it heading to the movies...but again time will tell.
Mystic River is my choice, too. I think you guage influence by looking at the way the crime writing community responds to it. It may be too early to measure the influence at this point, but I think we'll see more novels about the far-reaching impact of a crime on a community and how it shapes the people who are involved.
I'm with Jack on this. Mystic River brought the attention of publishers and book critics -- the influential people whose opinions help writers to get contracts -- to the fact that crime novels can be good literature and also sell well. We've had more crime novels on the bestseller lists since Mystic River came out. When I say good literature I mean well written without being drearily literary.
I agree that Mystic River was very well written. The Broken Shore was also a very moving book for me and I can't wait for more by Mr. Temple.
I have to agree with Jack. "Influential" does not necessarily mean top seller. In stuyle there is nothing new at all in DaVinci Code. I have to think "influential" means well-written and attempting to push the genre envelope into lasting literature.
I agree with Mystic River. It's power is in showing the devastation crime causes, how it spirals out, poisoning everything it touches. I think Laura Lippman's new one shows just how much we have learned from Mystic River, that the crime is just the jumping off point for serious explorations of society.

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