Sunday, November 09, 2014

Are They “Bests” or Just Bestsellers?

There are two things you can easily predict are going to happen in early November: Christmas-related commercials will begin appearing on television, and the holiday theme will quickly be picked up by stores (I actually found all of the employees of my local Office Depot wearing Santa hats the other day); and “best books of the year” lists will start popping up in periodicals and on Web sites everywhere.

I understand Kirkus Reviews will commence to declare its favorite books of the year during the week of November 16-22. But Amazon is already flogging its own picks. You will find the lists for all categories here. Below, though, are that online retailer’s 20 choices in the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense field:

The Cairo Affair, by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur)
Chance, by Kem Nunn (Scribner)
Cop Town, by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte Press)
The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
The Fever, by Megan Abbott (Little Brown)
The Heist, by Daniel Silva (Harper)
I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes (Atria/Emily Bestler)
The Kept, by James Scott (Harper)
The Laughing Monsters, by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Long Way Home, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Natchez Burning, by Greg Iles (Morrow)
An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris (Knopf)
Personal, by Lee Child (Delacorte Press)
Revival, by Stephen King (Scribner)
Secrecy, by Rupert Thomson (Other Press)
The Secret Place, by Tana French (Viking)
The Son, by Jo Nesbø (Knopf)
Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
Windigo Island, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

There are few surprises here, though I suspect you won’t see Kem Nunn’s latest or Rupert Thomson’s new novel appear as frequently on 2014 favorites lists as you will see the remaining 18.

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