Looking for some inspiration for a new book to get stuck into then look no further. This week’s ‘Best of’ feature comes from the lovely people at Faber & Faber, who have picked their Best Contemporary Crime of 2011. Read on to discover some top reads…
City of the Dead ~ Sara Gran
‘The clues are all around you. All you have to do is open your eyes, Claire, and see.’
Vic Willing, Assistant District Attorney, has been missing since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
The Private Detective
Called in from San Francisco is Claire De Witt; an experienced investigator but one whose methods are more than a little unique.
A stunning series-debut, City of the Dead takes us into the dark heart of a crime-ravaged city, as Claire discovers that the only thing worse than an unsolved case, maybe, is a solved one.
‘Terrific. I loved this book! Sara Gran’s is the first fresh voice I’ve heard in years.’ – Sue Grafton
‘Fascinating . . . the most unusual, intelligent thriller I have read for a long time.’ – Sophie Hannah
‘This is deeply intelligent fiction that cuts deep and captures a city’s soul. Claire DeWitt’s power will sneak up on you.’ – Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising
Burned ~ Thomas Enger
A Brutalised Victim
A solitary tent is found to contain the body of a half-buried woman.
A Lone Voice
Physically and emotionally scarred, journalist Henning Juul returns to work, two years after losing his son in a fire.
A Mystery Ignited
Assigned to the story, Henning begins to suspect, unlike the police, that the case may not be as simple as it first appears . . .
‘Thomas Enger is an intriguing new voice. Burned . . . offers another scary insight into the realities of the Scandinavian experience.’ – N. J. Cooper
‘A fascinating addition to the “Scandinavian noir” genre, I look forward to the series unfolding.’ – Crimesquad
‘[Enger is] one of the most unusual and intense talents in the field.’ – Independent
Bloodland ~ Alan Glynn
Corruption. Collusion. Conspiracy.
A private security contractor loses it, with deadly consequences.
An ex-prime minister struggles to contain a dark secret from his time in office.
A dramatic news story breaks in Paris just as a US senator begins his campaign to run for office.
What connects them? Seemingly nothing – until a young journalist, investigating the death of a tabloid star in a helicopter crash, finds himself caught up in an ever-expanding web of lies.
‘Ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, Bloodland is irresistible. An exhilarating thriller from the dark heart of the global village.’ – Val McDermid
‘The debate is over . . . Bloodland is the great Irish novel, no argument. It has it all and it is a cracking read.’ – Ken Bruen
‘I’ve not read such a multi-layered, expertly plotted portrayal of arrogance, greed and hubris for a long time – there are, as the publishers claim, echoes of John le Carré, 24 and James Ellroy here, but Glynn’s talent is all his own, and his ability to ratchet up the tension is eye-popping.’ – Laura Wilson, Guardian
* Click here for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Alan Glynn’s ‘Bloodland’ (comp close Oct 9th)*
Pain of Death ~ Adam Creed
A comatose woman found beneath London’s streets
D.I. Staffe is called out to the tunnels beneath the City of London after the discovery of a woman, barely alive. How long has she been there and who left her to die?
An abandoned baby
A baby is found in a car park near the police station. Staffe links the child to the woman from the tunnel and his investigation leads him to a well-connected gangster and an organisation determined to give the unborn a voice.
A missing woman
When a pregnant woman in Liverpool goes missing, Staffe suspects it’s only a matter of time before another tragedy strikes. Can he save the mother and unborn child before it’s too late?
‘Creed is a distinctive presence in crime fiction, his unusual subject matter rendered in lyrical prose and studded with incisive character portraits . . .’ – Cathi Unsworth, Guardian
‘Creed has the smarts to make a mark in an overcrowded field.’ – Independent
White Death ~ Tobias Jones
La Dolce Vita just got deadly . . .
Private Investigator Castagnetti is hired by local businessman Pino Bragantini to find out who set fire to his car and why. But what looks like being a simple case of mindless vandalism soon turns into something more sinister.
After Bragantini receives threatening phone calls his factory is burned down and an employee dies in the blaze. Castagnetti follows the trail laid by an arsonist across the city and discovers that this isn’t an isolated incident. It soon becomes clear that the construction business in northern Italy is as cut-throat as it is lucrative.
And as Castagnetti is about to find out it doesn’t do to stand in the developer’s way.
‘A welcome addition to the growing body of foreign writers of Italian noir, including Donna Leon, David Hewson and the late Michael Dibdin, Jones writes with understanding, intelligence and prescience about the country of Berlusconi, bunga-bunga and bungs all round.’ – Laura Wilson, Guardian
‘A worthy successor to Michael Dibdin.’ – Evening Standard
‘Tobias Jones is a fresh new voice of crime fiction.’ The Times
All He Saw was the Girl ~ Peter Leonard
McCabe and Chip, two American exchange students, are about to become embroiled with a violent street gang, a beautiful Italian girl and a flawed kidnapping plan.
Sharon Vanelli’s affair with Joey Palermo, a Mafia enforcer, is about to be discovered by her husband, Ray, a secret service agent.
Brilliantly plotted and shot through with wry humour, All He Saw Was the Girl takes place as these two narratives collide in the backstreets of Italy’s oldest city.
‘Lean and tight . . . one of those novels you don’t read so much as glide through, grinning and snorting.’ – Guardian
‘Razor sharp.’ – RJ Ellory
‘A huge talent.’ – Mo Hayder
‘Clever plotting and blood and guts characters.’ – Michael Connolly
‘Great storytelling.’ – Carl Hiaasen
Smokeheads ~ Doug Johnstone
Four friends, one weekend, gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?
Four friends, spurred on by whisky-nut Adam, head for a weekend on a remote Scottish island, world famous for its single malts. They have a wallet full of cash, a stash of coke, and a serious thirst. Determined to have a good time and to relive their university years, they start making friends: young divorcee Molly, who Adam has a soft spot for, her little sister Ash who has all sorts of problems and Molly’s ex-husband Joe, a control freak who also happens to be the local police.
But events start to spiral out of control and soon they are thrown into a nightmare that gets worse at every turn. . .
‘It lulls the reader with the warm glow of a good dram on a winter’s night, then ambushes him with all the bitter nastiness of a brutal whisky hangover.’- Christopher Brookmyre
‘A hugely atmospheric thriller soaked in the spirit of life . . . sip and savour.’ – The Times
‘It is so well written . . . there is plenty of flesh and blood here, much of it splashing across the page.’ – Scotsman
‘All the fun of a wild weekend without the hangover.’ – Financial Times