Wednesday, June 29, 2022

So Far, So Good

Although I have engaged in similar exercises in the past, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable right now posting a list of the “best crime novels of the year … so far.” Thanks to my concussion in March, I lost more than a month of reading, and still have a stack of untouched new books waiting for my attention. Glancing through my list of works consumed this year, I’m guessing that only one or two will rank among my favorites of 2022. I still have a lot of catching up to do.

That’s apparently not the case for editors at online retailer Amazon, who recently posted their picks of what they say are the 20 best mysteries and thrillers released in the United States during the first half of the year. Here are their choices:

The Maid, by Nita Prose (Ballantine)
City on Fire, by Don Winslow (Morrow)
Carolina Moonset, by Matt Goldman (Forge)
The Overnight Guest, by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row)
Blood Sugar, by Sascha Rothchild (Putnam)
The Love of My Life, by Rosie Walsh (Pamela Dorman)
Hidden Pictures, by Jason Rekulak (Flatiron)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, by Harini Nagendra (Pegasus Crime)
The Violence, by Delilah S. Dawson (Del Rey)
A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)
The Christie Affair, by Nina de Gramont (St. Martin’s Press)
The Chase, by Candice Fox (Forge)
The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd (Morrow)
The Island, by Adrian McKinty (Little, Brown)
The Children on the Hill, by Jennifer McMahon (Gallery/Scout Press)
One-Shot Harry, by Gary Phillips (Soho Crime)
One of Us Is Dead, by Jeneva Rose (Blackstone)
Two Nights In Lisbon, by Chris Pavone (MCD)
Once a Thief, by Christopher Reich (Mulholland)
When You Are Mine, by Michael Robotham (Scribner)

I have read a measly two of those tales, and a couple more can be found in my swaying to-be-read stack. I don’t know how many other of those 20 I’ll get to before the end of the year. Sigh ...

* * *

Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine editor George Easter has been busy, as well, compiling his contributors’ preferred titles of 2022. Here are Easter’s own top-five selections to date:

The Dark Flood, by Deon Meyer (Atlantic Monthly)
Bad Actors, by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)
Even the Darkest Night, by Javier Cercas (Knopf)
The Botanist, by M.W. Craven (Constable)
Shifty’s Boys, by Chris Offutt (Grove Press)

You’ll find many more favored releases—both from DP critics and other editorial sources—by clicking here.

1 comment:

MI6 said...

One of our crime book favourites is ostensibly an espionage thriller but it’s more of a complex whodunnit in a remarkably thrilling autobiography. The author delves deep into MI6’s unsung role during the troubles in dealing with organised crime sans frontiers. Entitled Beyond Enkription (misspelt on purpose), this fact based narrative by Bill Fairclough is set in 1974 and is about a British accountant working in London, Nassau and Port au Prince who unwittingly works for MI6 (later the CIA) while dealing with genuine organised crime.

To get the most out of it try some web research of the true crimes and events underlying the book. There is a lot out there once you start digging but as a minimum include a half hour read of one of the author's bios which don’t include spoilers. You’ll soon feel like you know his family. Don’t be put off by the quasi-educational prologue (in hindsight it’s essential reading) or the passing savagery of the opening chapter. You’ll keep on rereading this after conducting more research and unravelling increasingly enthralling historical material.

If you like raw historical or noir espionage thrillers you’ll love Beyond Enkription. Len Deighton and Mick Herron could be forgiven for thinking they co-wrote it. Atmospherically it's reminiscent of Ted Lewis' Get Carter of Michael Caine fame. If anyone ever makes a film based on Beyond Enkription they'll only have themselves to blame if it doesn't go down in history as a classic espionage thriller or even a true crime epic.