I just finished reading A GOOD AND HAPPY CHILD by Justin Evans and I really liked it. It's sort of a literary horror novel or a dark psychological thriller, but it has a great Hitchcockian twist at the ending that leaves you wondering if any of the events actually happened. The entire forward movement of the story is essentially told in flashbacks with sporadic bits of "here and now." I didn't think I would like that structure at first, but once I was pulled into the story on the first page, I didn't mind it at all.
Zoe Sharp, FIRST DROP. Female Ex-SAS soldier turned bodyguard running for her life with her bratty teenaged principal and trying to figure out why all these people are trying to kill them.
Warren Ellis, CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. Deeply twisted, perverse,and darkly satirical take on the P.I. novel, in which a broken down private eye gets hired by the President's evil Chief of Staff to find the real, secret U.S. Constitution, which also apparently has the power to control men's minds. Mind-bending.
Roddy Doyle's THE DEPORTEES. It's not crime fiction (though there is a pretty good story in it about some shoplifting teens) but it's terrific. It's short stories he wrote for a magazine started in Dublin by a couple of Nigerian journalists. The "title track" is a sequel of sorts to THE COMMITMENTS.
And Linwood Barclay's NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, a standalone thriller with some excellent twists and turns.
I'm currently reading something exciting and old - Richard S Prather's OVER HER DEAR BODY featuring the wonderful Shell Scott. It has lines like: "But it was more than just a dance. It was like doing a foxtrot and getting your pants pressed at the same time." Wonderful stuff. On the 'new' front, on my TBR pile are Craig McDonald's HEAD GAMES and Warren Ellis' CROOKED LITTLE VEIN both of which I have heard great things about.
New to me - Asa Larsson's Sun Storm. Wow, it's excellent! I was a little slow to pick it up because I thought "wacko religion, ritualistic murder, eh...." But it's very well written, nicely translated, and fascinating. Great setting in the Finnish-flavored north of Sweden.
I also just picked up a non-fiction book that looks very promising - Defending the Damned: Inside Chicago's Cook County Public Defender's Office by Kevin Davis. I started reading the author's note and even that was quite involving!
LOL - I "bullied / begged / cajoled" Helen into reading that one a couple of MWF's ago - and she was leery as well - Sun Storm's fascinating isn't it - so much to make you think it will be horrible but yet.
For me - the most recent new and interesting was definitely The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas - not as magnificently, fantastically, compelling weird and wonderful as Let the Right One In - but still wonderfully weird and compelling.
The last book I read that didn't let me stop was Ray Banks' DONKEY PUNCH. I preferred the prequel, SATURDAY'S CHILD, because I suppose I'm attracted to more plot-based books. But I love the direction he's heading in and can't wait for the next one. I suppose it's contradictory of me to say so, but he could write about brussel sprouts and cardboard and I'd be riveted.
So you've not read Ray's new one VEG THAT MAKES YOU FART? As you could tell from DONKEY PUNCH, Ray is taking Cal Innes in a more cosy direction and this one's a culinary mystery with Cal opening a fruit and veg shop (called Taking a Leek) in Manchester's Moss Side. In the one after, Cal branches out into crafting and solves the death of a scrapbooker who has been suffocated under piles of multicoloured card. Good stuff. He also acquires a cat called Tibbles. (PS - Ray, don't kill me :o) )
Scrapbooking is just horrible. It's about time that the governments of the world unite in fighting this social menace. It's tearing kid's lives apart at the seams, melting the glue that binds us all. I see them lying on the street, flattened beyond recognition, in alleys behind stationery shops, pasted up against cubicle doors in the toilets in large shopping centres dedicated to crafts and hobbies. It's just horrible.