In my previous blog I offered ten recent titles for crime fiction fans. To paraphrase This Is Spinal Tap, the second part of my recommendations list goes up to eleven...
Cold Crossover (Tom Kelly)
The first in a popular series of mysteries by a well-known former Seattle Times sports/real estate reporter stars a high school basketball coach turned amateur sleuth tracking down a missing start player. The more recent entry, Hovering Over a Homicide, revolves around a body discovered in a vacant home for sale.
The Watcher in the Wall (Owen Laukkanen)
The latest bestselling thriller from the celebrated Canadian author concerns a teenage “suicide club,” and his deft handling of explosively emotional material interwoven with a riveting plotline further cements his reputation as a master of the genre.
Cleaning Up Finn (Sarah M. Chen)
This debut novel has been favorably compared to the likes of Gillian Flynn, but for my money it’s even more tautly constructed and impressively written than that accolade suggests: an authentically and humanistically resonant noir portrait of an amoral restaurant manager whose exploitative exploits backfire right in his face.
Face Value (William E. Wallace)
The gritty novella featuring a repo man with homicidal tendencies is the real deal when it comes to contemporary noir, and an excellent example of the brilliantly realistic work of this former private eye, freelance writer, journalism professor and award-winning investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.
A Cougar’s Kiss (Frank de Blase)
I’ll just go ahead and quote my own blurb, which sums up this book’s unique appeal: “Frank De Blase writes with the world-weary wit and hardboiled grit of a literary veteran, but his natural talent for storytelling transcends mere nostalgia. The compelling immediacy of his charismatic voice carries the reader not down memory lane, but onward through a brilliantly realized alternate noir-verse that is vibrantly vivid and palpably pulpy, populated by colorful characters and drenched in retro-rich atmosphere.”
Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements (Various Authors)
Editor Jay Stringer has assembled an astonishing assemblage of authors (several of whom are plugged elsewhere in these blogs) including Eric Beetner, Josh Stallings, Ed Kurtz, Mike McCrary, Angel Luis Colon, Liam Sweeny and many others in a noirish tribute to the legendary Minneapolis punk/alt rock band. From Gutter Books, which has also published two of my Vic Valentine novels.
The Things I Love Will Kill Me Yet (Rob Pierce)
As you can discern from that awesome title, this collection of noir short stories is brutally, bleakly unsentimental, yet tinged with savagely sharp humor, which is one of this author's specialties. He never pulls a punch, so you will definitely feel these terrifically tense little tales right where it hurts most: your gut, and your heart.
South Village (Rob Hart)
After fun if dangerous stints in New York City and Portland, amateur detective Ash McKenna finds himself figuring out life and other mysteries in a remote Georgia commune. The author’s gift for describing both the external and internal worlds of his conflicted character continues to impress and entertain.
Imperial Valley (Johnny Shaw)
The latest “Jimmy Veeder fiasco” by the funniest crime writer this side of Carl Hiaasen concerns drugs, duplicity and debauchery South of the Border, with typically exciting and effortlessly hilarious results.
Grizzly Season (S W Lauden)
The sequel to the thrilling Bad Citizen Corporation finds L.A. cop Greg Salem and his buddy Marco switching settings from an urban to a wilderness setting, but retaining the same raw edge and breathless pace.
Nothing Short of Dying (Erik Storey)
The first in a planned series starring a rugged Colorado loner with lethal abilities named Clyde Barr, this “rustic noir” about kidnapping and meth rings by a fast rising young author is one of the most critically acclaimed debuts in years.
Happy holidays! Even with all that murder, malice and mayhem stuffing those virtual stockings...cheers.
PHOTO: DOWN AND OUT BOOKS