Monday, May 07, 2018

Getting a Jump on the Pack

While I keep a loose running tally of favorite new crime novels I have read throughout the year, I don’t start ranking and narrowing my field of choices until, say, October at the earliest. Booklist’s Bill Ott, on the other hand, is already out with his Best of 2018 rundown—though it covers only works published between May 1, 2017, and April 15, 2018. Within those limits, what trends does has he seen? “[L]ook no further,” he says, “than one word: stand-alone.
Was it Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train—the explanation du jour for everything in the genre—that prompted the explosion of stand-alone thrillers, and especially those utilizing unreliable narrators and emphasizing psychological suspense? Time will tell, of course, but for the moment there’s no doubt that stand-alones of every kind are swamping the playing field. Fortunately, many of them are very good indeed, which is why this year’s compilation of our best crime novels and best crime debuts contains more than its share.
Among Ott’s 19 picks you’ll find Walter Mosley’s Down the River unto the Sea, Laura Lippman’s Sunburn, A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window, and Christine Mangan’s Tangerine. Those are also contenders for my Best Crime Novels of 2018 slots, though I still have a lot of reading to do before my deadline at the end of this year.

(Hat tip to Randal S. Brandt.)

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