As we speed toward the end of a very tumultuous year, crime-fiction critics seem to be tumbling over each other to broadcast their “favorite books of 2016” lists. Prominent among those arbiters of literary taste is Friend of The Rap Sheet Tom Nolan, whose “bests” choices appear in The Wall Street Journal. Because the online version of Nolan’s article is available only to subscribers, I’m posting his choices below (in order of his remarking on them):
• You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)
• His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Skyhorse)
• All Things Cease to Appear, by Elizabeth Brundage (Knopf)
• The North Water, by Ian McGuire (Henry Holt)
• Wilde Lake, by Laura Lippman (Morrow)
• The Gun, by Fuminori Nakamura (Soho Crime)
• Nitro Mountain, by Lee Clay Johnson (Knopf)
• Every Man a Menace, by Patrick Hoffman (Atlantic Monthly Press)
• The Trespasser, by Tana French (Viking)
• Missing, Presumed, by Susan Steiner (Random House)
Hmm. I completely missed checking out a couple of those works (McGuire’s and Johnson’s), and disagree about one other choice, but otherwise this is a solid selection. As I would expect from Nolan.
Included among The Globe and Mail’s “100 Best Books of the Year” roster are just five nominations from the crime/thriller stacks:
• The Night Bell, by Inger Ash Wolfe (Pegasus)
• The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)
• The Trap, by Melanie Raabe (Spiderline)
• Conclave, by Robert Harris (Random House)
• The Letter Writer, by Dan Fesperman (Knopf)
The Boston Globe picks a wholly different four mysteries:
• Rain Dogs, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)
• South Village, by Rob Hart (Polis)
• Silence of the Sea, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (Minotaur)
• So Say the Fallen, by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)
Only one work of crime fiction features on National Public Radio’s “10
Best Books of 2016” roster (Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters), but NPR’s broader “Book Concierge” list of “2016’s Great Reads” recommends 13 meritorious novels.
I’m expecting several more of these lists from Crime Fiction Lover, but for now, we must be satisfied with critic Jeremy Megraw’s five top choices, which include Nick Seeley’s Cambodia Noir and Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal.
Finally, the usually interesting Ms. Wordopolis Reads mentions two favorite crime novels for 2016, while Words & Music blogger Don Coffin has nice things to say about 15 mysteries, not all of which first saw print over the last 12 months.