Next up on the ‘my year in books’ series running on this site over December, is crime writer (and my long time partner) Angela Savage.
Angela is the author of three highly acclaimed crime novels based in Thailand and featuring the Australian PI Jayne Keeney. The most recent of these books, The Dying Beach was published in 2013 and is available here.
She’s also got a great website, or “piece of author real estate”, as I’ve heard these things referred to by book marketing people. You can find it here.
While Andrew specified that my top five reads for 2013 didn’t have to be crime, I figured crime picks would appeal to regular readers of Pulpcurry. I read a lot of crime in 2013—some 40 books as of early December—but I didn’t realise just how many were recent releases until I sat down to compose this list. The books that made the cut ultimately combine memorable plots and characters with great writing.
After the Darkness, Honey Brown
I read three of Honey Brown’s tense, atmospheric and erotic thrillers in 2013. Difficult as it is to pick a favourite, After the Darkness just pips her debut Red Queen and this year’s Dark Horse to make this list because it is one of the few genuinely scary books I’ve ever read. Riveting, unpredictable, frighteningly good.
The Holiday Murders, Robert Gott
Gott explores the fragile territory between prejudice and murderous hatred in a riveting crime novel both intelligent and terrifying. Set during a nasty period in Australian history when right-wing elements attempted to cultivate a home-grown version of National Socialism, The Holiday Murders also provides insight into policing in Victoria at a time when the Homicide division was in its infancy.
Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
Kent brings the last woman to be executed in Iceland back to life in this stunning debut, which sits very much at the literary end of the crime fiction spectrum. Her prose sparkles, even when the imagery is dark and menacing. Exquisitely crafted, intriguing and moving, Burial Rites is a treasure to be admired and cherished.
Live By Night, Dennis Lehane
Lehane combines an engrossing plot and seamless historical setting with complex, credible characters to tell the lesser known story of Prohibition’s impact in America’s south, specifically Florida. The writing is hard-boiled poetry.
Zero at the Bone, David Whish-Wilson
In this dark, convincing tale of greed and corruption in 1979 Western Australia, Whish-Wilson manages to combine the pace of a hard-boiled thriller with a lyricism that made me pause to catch my breath, before plunging back in for more. Your classic ‘can’t stop reading/don’t want it to end’ kind of novel, Zero at the Bone is simply one of the best books I’ve read this year in any genre.
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
I Hear the Sirens in the Street, Adrian McKinty
Satori, Don Winslow
Antidote to Murder, Felicity Young